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Panties in a Bunch About Panty Raids

By Dave Fox
Seattle, Washington

Help me out here, people, because I’m having a little confusion about what exactly constitutes sexual harassment.

I just received the following e-mail from one of the alumni publications at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I went to college:

“The UW has given the world so many gifts, but one of the best is its unique sense of humor. For many years, our students have been known for their pranks and jokes. We at the Badger Insider want to know about the ones you remember. Were you on campus for the sinking of the Statue of Liberty or the planting of Bascom Hill’s flock of flamingos? Did you take part in a panty raid or enhance a professor’s lecture with a levitating raccoon?…”

The Statue of Liberty and Bascom Hill flamingos are pranks that have become part of Madison’s history. Levitating racoons? I have no clue, but I’d love to see it.

But panty raids???

According to the Bad Fads Museum, the first panty raid occurred at the University of Michigan in 1952, when around 600 men stormed the women’s dorm and “confiscated” their lingerie. Okay, I will try to not be so morbidly PC as to suggest there is no humor in that. But am I wrong in understanding that as the fad evolved, it basically consisted of male students breaking into the residences of female students, often late at night while the female students were asleep, and usually without the consent of the female students? Am I wrong in understanding that not only would the male students violate the homes of the female students, they would go so far as to rifle through the young women’s personal belongings and steal some of their most intimate possessions? Am I uptight in thinking this is harrassment in itself, and it is a short step away from much more serious infractions?

I like funny pranks — when they are harmless. But I knew women in college who woke up to find strange men in their apartments, and it wasn’t funny.

I don’t want to be a curmudgeon, but I also don’t want to be one of those guys who sits around and giggles at sexual harrassment. So help me out here before I send an irate e-mail to my alumni association, imploring them not to publish any “funny” panty raid tales in their next newsletter.

Are panty raids funny? Are they sometimes funny and sometimes not funny? Are they a form of harassment, or am I just being an uptight psycholiberal who needs to get a life? Post your comments below.

Published on Thursday, March 29, 2007

7 Responses to “Panties in a Bunch About Panty Raids”

  1. March 29, 2007 at 12:31 PM

    Panties in a Bunch About Panty Raids

  2. brrre
    March 29, 2007 at 4:38 PM

    It’s at least “Grand theft panty”. Maybe they could make a video-game?

  3. March 31, 2007 at 12:38 AM

    Actually, Brrre, there already is a panty raid video game.

  4. brrre
    April 5, 2007 at 10:45 PM

    Oh, I didn’t know that. A bit surprised that you did though, having a very nice girlfriend and all.
    You naughty boy.

  5. Anonymous
    April 17, 2007 at 7:32 AM

    Panty raids in the 50’s were common and reported as pranks in the newspapers across the country. Apparently no co-eds were violated in the process. Interesting that in the 50’s there were no fancy under-duds = most wore granny-panties!

  6. Anonymous
    April 17, 2007 at 7:35 AM

    Panty raids in the 50’s were common and reported as pranks in the newspapers across the country. Apparently no co-eds were violated in the process. Interesting that in the 50’s there were no fancy under-duds = most wore granny-panties!

  7. Amanda
    April 18, 2008 at 11:35 PM

    i don’t think panty raids are a bit funny, i was stalked by a guy who found my address online after one of these so called “panty raids”

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