It seems to me that the main reason that the 'legitimate rape' phrase is getting most of the attention is because that's the sort of phrasing that Akin and his ilk want to put into the laws they're itching to pass. Well, that and it's so easy to make fun of. However, certainly not every American is focusing on only that, and as Moirae points out, not every American woman can (or should) be expected to vote in lock-step with every other. That's basically one of the things that bothers me most about the "new" Republican party -- anyone who doesn't vote the party line 100% of the time suffers for it.
Obviously I wasn't saying that every American woman can (or should) vote the same way as every other American woman. That's just absurd. But when you make up 50% of the population, you should
have a stronger voice in politics. And the excuses given for why they don't just don't fly; for example, pointing out that women don't have equal standing in society as men. Other groups who don't have equal standing don't get the same political dismissal. African Americans for example; the Voting Rights Act
was only passed in 1965
, and it seems they only make up 12%
of the population. What do you think would be the political consequences if a white Congressman made the kinds of statements about African Americans that people like Akin have made about women?
So why is it that a group that was disenfranchised until the 1960s and that only makes up 12% of the population gets more political respect than a group that was disenfranchised only up until the 1920s and makes up 50% of the population? You see what I'm saying? Something is very wrong. I don't know what, but clearly something is very, very wrong in the political discourse. There are plenty of other examples, too, like the case a few months back where a Congressional committee got together to discuss women's health issues... with a committee made up of only men, and no doctors. Do you think it would be possible for a Congressional committee to form to discuss what to do about African American social issues without a single African American on the panel, or even a single expert in social issues? Unlikely. So why? What's the difference? These are the questions that someone should be asking.
But when I watch your news, I don't see anyone asking them. I see your news people focusing only on this "legitimate rape" nonsense. (And, by the way, what's with this thing about taking every general statement I make and turning it into a universal absolute? I say "Americans aren't talking about this issue", and you turn it into "not one single American anywhere
is talking about this issue". Really?) I don't see any of the news programs or discussion programs asking the hard questions, like whether Akin believes that women who get pregnant during rape secretly "wanted it". Or who these "doctors" are that are passing this nonsense off, and why isn't someone putting their licences up for review. Or any number of women's issues related to this flap. And now
the talk has shifted to whether or not Akin should quit (or be kicked out of) the race. But that's irrelevant. Someone should be asking whether the things he believes (such as that women shouldn't get abortions even when raped) are actually legitimate political platforms. Someone should be asking other political candidates to take a position for or against those things. This should be a big stink in the news, not a limited scandal for one politician; over the next week or two, every single politician above the level of the school board should have a microphone put in their face and asked to denounce denying rape victims abortions... or go on the record saying they support denying abortions to rape victims.
It's distasteful. It's stupid. The 'Legitimate Rape' comment was bad enough, but could be an honest verbal gaff, but this thought that a woman won't get pregnant unless she wants too.. that's stupid. Willfully and resolutely refusing to accept the facts stupid.
stupid, too, eh? Because that's just victim-blaming in disguise. That's from the same bullshit "just world" school of thought that also gives us gems like that women who dress sexy are asking to be assaulted. (Another thing someone should ask politicians like Akin about!!!) Because think about where this leaves a woman who did
get pregnant from a rape: it means that she was secretly "in" to it. That's just a recipe for slut-shaming. And even though there's the concession that, "okay, sometimes the 'mechanism' that prevents pregnancy from a rape fails", there's still the statement that it's "really rare", which means that a pregnant rape victim will always have that doubt hanging over her.
It's actually a little bit worse than that. Technically, Akin's statement could be interpreted as saying that not enjoying or wanting the sex is irrelevant, that as long as you unconsciously are compliant via subsequent pregnancy it's still an "illegitimate" rape claim.
He doesn't care if you hated every second of it if it was what you "needed" on a genetic/procreative level.
Yes, that's exactly what I think, too. I don't mean to imply that he thinks you are consciously
"wanting it"; I've been wording it as "secretly wanting it" to try and get that across, but I didn't know how to put it properly. I think he believes that if you get pregnant from a rape, it means that you wanted it... on some level
... not necessarily consciously.
But that, ultimately, is still just saying that you wanted it "deep down inside". It's still victim-blaming, right?
Why has Anne Coulter gone on national television and said in an interview she agrees women shouldn't have the right to vote? That one has me scratching my head too. I can't understand how even a conservative woman can support this crap, but they do. Also, as I've said before, most candidates aren't stupid enough to say something like that publicly. They just co sponsor and vote for the bills, and hope no one notices. Sadly, most people don't. At a family event a few weeks ago, when politics inevitably came up, I told them about congress.org. My aunts and uncles, who are even more informed than the average citizen, didn't know you could go look at the voting record of your rep. They listened to what that candidate said during the campaign (usually a load of crap) and never thought much about it after the election. That
It's only been recently that political activists have been making people aware. My email inbox is full of petitions and candidates asking for money. Before I signed up for these things, my reps could've all voted yes on a bill the redefined rape, and as long as that bill didn't pass, I would've never known such a thing was even on the floor unless it was reported on the news. Even then, the news usually only tells you if it passed, not how the reps voted.
I do try to stay on top of things, and I do vote.
- that "congress.org" - is precisely the kind of tool that should be used more often (here in Canada, too, but that's another story). I have to believe that American women just aren't aware
of how bad they're being treated by their representatives - I can't really bring myself to believe that they're okay with this, crackpots like Coulter aside. (All I really know of Coulter is that a few years back she came to Canada to ask why we didn't join the Iraq war when we were always BFFs with the US before, such as when we joined the US in Vietnam. Canada, of course, went: "uhh... Annie?... we not only didn't join you in Vietnam... we harboured your draft dodgers.")
I don't really know what's going on that this kind of misogyny is allowed to continue to exist, but I do believe that it really boils down to ignorance - either ignorance about how bad it really is, or ignorance about how much better it could be (by comparing the situation in the US to other countries), or both, or neither, with other possibilities, too. I believe that the situation could be vastly
improved... just by talking about it
. And that's really what I was asking: if the problem is that no-one is talking about it... then why
is no-one talking about it? (And if the problem is something else... what is it?)
The GOP's official platform will call for a constitutional amendment completely banning abortion. No exemptions at all.
No 'health of the mother is endangered'
None of that.
See, I didn't even know that! Granted, I'm not really all that interested in American politics, but still, this is the kind of thing I would have expected to have heard dozens of times if it were common knowledge.
If that's the actual, official policy, then when someone like Mitt Romney dismisses what Akin said, reporters should be all over him asking him to explain what Akin should
have said. Because... if Romney stands behind that platform... and if he doesn't believe that rape victims don't get pregnant... then Romney must believe that rape victims must be forced to carry rape babies to term. Someone should corner him and either force him to say this, or to denounce his party's platform on abortion, or something
And Barack Obama doesn't get off the hook either, because this really isn't an issue that should be partisan. Someone should corner Obama and ask him
why he's not making an issue of the Republican position on abortion. Do women's votes just not matter that much to him?
There are so many questions that need to be asked.
I tend to disagree.
The establishment of the GOP may agree with some of these things, but they're pragmatists. They know that a lot of this stuff isn't popular with a lot of folks. So, they go for the attitude of "Get what we can, give in where we have to, but play the long game"
The Tea Party changed all that. Starting in 2008 and cresting in 2010, they grabbed control. They would have taken the Senate to go along with the house except the Tea Party nominated some HORRIBLE candidates (such as Sharron Angle in Nevada).
They took the wrong lesson from that however. They believe that the right thing to do is to, if you'll forgive a bit of my anger to seep through, that the winning move was to double down on crazy. They don't want a functioning government. Anyone who's actually (gasp) worked with the other party is obviously a RINO and needs to be primaried out of a job. The sane people (like Olympia Snowe) have already decided to flee. The tea party is a tantrum throwing four year old, if they can't get their way, they'll blow up the game so no one else wins either,
So most of the sane people in the right wing has either walked away or been kicked out. God help us if they actually get further power. But I'm hoping that Akin and other Republican platform things mean that the R's will lose ground in this election (I think Obama is going to win comfortably, and I THINK the D's are going to retain the senate).. as I said, the GOP needs the metaphorical kick in the jimmies to loosen the crazies hold on the party to get America back to a functioning nation.
I actually agree with all of this. I don't think the Republican party is all crazy. I think they're toeing a crazy platform to get the crazy votes, but I do believe that it's being done with a degree of cynicism. Oh, for sure there are
some crazies among the Republican candidates - Akin, for example - but not all
of the party's platform is nuts.
But what got me off on my rant is that even for the sake of sucking up to a lunatic fringe, things should not be as bad as they are. Let me use a race example again. There are probably a lot
of racists in America; hardly a majority, but at least in the teens, percentage wise. (I would make similar estimates for Canada, so I'm just assuming both countries are roughly the same in that regard.) I would also bet that there are probably more racists than there are African Americans - certainly if you add up racists and people who just don't care, you're probably going to have far
more people than there are African American people. So, mathematically speaking, it would make sense for one of the political parties to go for the racist vote. At least, it makes a whole lot more sense, numerically, than alienating women
But I think we all know... that just won't work. If any party even appears
to be courting racist voters, they're going to be pilloried
in the public square. If one party even sounds a little bit racist, they are going to be flooded with condemnation from both the African Americans that support other parties and their own African American supporters
. It would be political suicide to sound racist, regardless of the voting numbers.
So why isn't the same true for sounding misogynist?
See, no one - not even the most jaded and cynical political strategist - would dare
court the racist vote, even though the numbers make it attractive. It would be political suicide. But no one seems to find anything problematic with courting the misogynist vote, even though women make up around 50% of the population (and that's not even counting the men who are feminists, or at least not misogynists, too).
Why? How can that be? Why is any appearance of racism political suicide, but open and shameless misogyny perfectly acceptable? Why is it totally unacceptable in American politics for white politicians to dictate how African Americans should live... but just fine for male politicians to assert control over women's bodies? I just keep coming up with more and more questions that someone should be asking, and more and more amazement that these questions aren't being asked already.