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"The Mindy Project" – What About It?

(The Verge) – When I decided that I wanted to write a feminist column for this wonderful website, I couldn’t figure out what to pinpoint as my first topic. Obviously, my response was to get a brownie and some ice cream, sit down in front of the television and watch one of my favorite shows to hope for inspiration. That’s right, I watched “The Mindy Project.”

I absolutely love Mindy Kaling and think that she is one of the most amazing people who work in television. Her show, “The Mindy Project,” is now in its second season of woman-power glory. For those of you who don’t watch, the show focuses on Mindy’s personal and professional life as she faces the problems of a stereotypical woman. Amazing topics have been discussed throughout the show, such as the importance that people can put on a woman’s size and how she dresses, how someone can care about their appearance and still be an intelligent individual and how people aren’t always what they seem on the surface. This week, however, a new issue was brought to life: sexual assault.
When Mindy’s position at her medical practice is challenged by the ever-handsome James Franco, she does what any young and trendy woman would do: challenge him to drinking shots. However, something far worse happens. The brilliant doctor that Franco plays cannot handle his liquor and becomes devastatingly drunk. This man is falling down, having difficulty walking and cannot find his own apartment keys. Mindy does the right thing, and helps her coworker get home. Sounds pretty healthy so far, right?
Once Mindy has her colleague at least to his door, she leans over and kisses him on the lips. He panics and yells for the neighbors. Mindy’s response? As an educated, intelligent, role model of a woman, she…
puts her hand over his mouth, tells him to be quiet, and tells him he liked it.
I’m sorry, but as someone who looks up to Mindy and most of the messages that her show puts across, this comes across as a very dangerous line to play with. “Shhh, you liked it” sounds like the behavior of a sexual predator – not your neighborhood OB-GYN.
To make it worse, another woman shows up relatively soon after Mindy leaves the young drunk doctor at his door to “sleep it off.” Christina, another character’s ex-wife, helps Franco inside, and smiles deviously as she closes the door. What could have otherwise been construed as slightly off-kilter or mildly amusing stops being funny as soon as the next morning comes.
While he is blacked out, Christina sleeps with the handsome doctor.
Somehow, when Franco’s character admits this to Mindy and  other members of the medical practice, no one seems concerned about him at all. He is met with hostility and anger. There is no mention of the fact that such a behavior constitutes legally as rape.
In a world where so many people look to women in television as a source of guidance, this type of action is not permissible. If the roles were reversed between the characters, everyone on the show would be outraged with the perpetrator. Instead, because the drunken person was a man, it’s assumed that, well, of course he would sleep with her. Bear with me for a second here. If a drunk woman goes home and a completely sober man decides that he wants to have sex with her, what would most of society call that? Rape. However, if a drunk man goes home and a completely sober woman has sex with him? It’s totally fine and his fault.
It saddens me to write so negatively about a show that I so deeply love, but at this moment, my respect for “The Mindy Project” has flown out the window in exchange for an uneasy feeling where victim blaming is encouraged in cases of male rape.