Posts Tagged Woman
The 8 Worst Things Republicans Have Said About Rape, Sex and Women’s Bodies
It’s not just GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin. It’s practically a party tradition.
August 21, 2012
A sign at a NYC rally for Planned Parenthood.
Photo Credit: Sarah Seltzer
By now you’ve likely heard — and perhaps felt your jaw drop over — Todd Akin’s interview, in which the Republican Senate candidate from Missouri admitted that he believes abortion should be illegal even in cases of rape, because “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” If you follow that logic to its end, Akin means: Ladies, if you say you got pregnant after being raped, you’re probably lying about being raped.
Of course, the scientific facts are far from being on Akin’s side, which should be embarrassing for a member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. While it may be true that female ducks have evolved in such a way that they now have a biological anti-pregnancy response to forced sex, human beings most definitely have not. As the Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff notes, many scientific studies have proven that the you-only-conceive-if-aroused theory is complete bunk. In fact, one study from 2003 even showed that rape victims may be more likely to get pregnant than individuals on the whole.
Akin’s assertion doesn’t make sense in other ways, either. For instance, there’s no sensible reason for the vast majority of mentally stable women to ever “cry rape.” As Amanda Marcotte notes at the American Prospect, “Why would a woman trying to put a one-night stand behind her invite grilling by detectives and defense attorneys? Why would someone so concerned about maintaining the illusion of purity subject her sex life to examination by a crowd of jurors?”
Akin responded to the firestorm over his comments by claiming he “misspoke,” while plenty of members of the media have characterized the incident as a gaffe. But harmless gaffe it is not. As heartening as it is to see pressure for Akin to withdraw his Senate bid, there is a real concern that the situation will be forgotten when the news cycle eventually moves on. Because the reality is that this story is not merely about one inept Republican putting his foot in his mouth. Rather, Akin’s statement fits into the framework of the ongoing Republican assault on reproductive rights, and more broadly, our society’s pernicious rape culture (which is perpetuated not just by Republicans, but some self-identified progressives as well). Akin doesn’t stand alone.
The mistaken notion that one’s body can somehow elude pregnancy when not aroused dates back centuries and is still a popular myth — though one rarely shared in public — among some anti-choicers today.
Within hours of Akin’s remark, journalists were producing detailed accounts of similarly absurd comments on abortion, rape and birth control from GOP officials and pundits, all of which showed a complete callousness toward science and women’s autonomy. To put Akin-gate in context, here are eight of the worst that we at AlterNet could find, past and present, but the full gamut of this sort of talk goes far, far beyond the following short list.
1. Other absurd Republican contributions to the “rape doesn’t lead to babies” myth. As Anna North reported earlier this year, other Republicans paved the way for Akin’s recent statements. In 1995, Republican Henry Aldridge stated that when a woman is raped, “the juices don’t flow,” and in 1988 another Republican congressman stated that women emit “a certain secretion” that stops pregnancy when they are raped. (Which has led many of us to wonder, which is it, guys? Do these mythical juices flow, or do they stop flowing, when a woman is raped?)
2. The daddy of all these rape theories. The National Right to Life Committee’s John C. Willke’s claims in an article that the “trauma” of rape prevents pregnancy — i.e., he “basically just makes shit up,” writes Katie J. M. Baker at Jezebel.
3. GOP donor asks “Want contraception? Put an aspirin between your knees.” This line, now a total cultural punchline, came from Foster Friess, who was a big donor to Rick Santorum before moving on to support Romney. The video clip featuring Friess’ comments and Andrea Mitchell’s flummoxed response went viral this spring.
Friess: This contraceptive thing, my gosh it’s such inexpensive, back in my days we used Bayer aspirin for contraception, the gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.
Mitchell: Um, excuse me, I’m trying to catch my breath from that Mr. Friess, frankly…
4. GOP lawmakers seek to legally redefine rape as “forcible rape” so fewer women will qualify as victims. Remember the media firestorm around the “war on women”? One of its major fronts consisted of congressional shenanigans around the definition of rape in the noxious H.R. 3 “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion” bill. These efforts included Akin and VP candidate Paul Ryan and were aimed at siphoning off the number of abortion-funding exemptions so that only the rarest few qualified. What offended women most — and eventually scuttled the bill — was the idea that the government could weigh whether your rape “counted” or not.
According to the bill, there would be exemptions only for something called “forcible rape.” (Presumably, this is the same thing Willke called “assault rape” and Akin called “legitimate rape,” as opposed to what Willke called “consensual” “statutory” rape.) After a public outcry, Smith retreated from his first draft of the bill and reinstituted the Hyde language, though an additional provision was added later to clarify that the bill will “not allow the Federal Government to subsidize abortions in cases of statutory rape.” Akin and Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan were co-sponsors of the bill, along with 225 others.
Since Sunday, the Romney camp has been trying furiously to distance itself from Akin, but these two names together as co-sponsors of this bill may come back to haunt Paul Ryan.
5. Another GOP lawmaker (surprise, surprise) worries that women will claim rape just to get abortions. This March, Iowa Senator Chuck Winder, who had already proposed that women go through two forced ultrasounds, including one at a right-wing “crisis pregnancy center,” went a step further by voicing his concern that women might use the “rape issue” to go abortion-crazy. Quoth Chuck: “Rape and incest was used as a reason to oppose this. I would hope that when a woman goes into a physician with a rape issue, that physician will indeed ask her about perhaps her marriage, was this pregnancy caused by normal relations in a marriage or was it truly caused by a rape.”
6. Pundits and lawmakers: Forced ultrasounds are okay because women already consented to be penetrated when they got pregnant. Remember the bill in Virginia that would have mandated certain kinds of invasive ultrasounds for women seeking abortions (the kind that already exist in other states?). Well, ultraconservative pundit Dana Loesch, who has already come to Todd Akin’s defense in this round, was hostile to the basic concept that every time a person’s body is penetrated, it’s mandatory to ask for consent. “They had no problem having similar to a transvaginal procedure when they engaged in the act that resulted in their pregnancy,” she said. Sadly, Loesch’s idea was not so far out of the norm: several Virginia lawmakers basically said the same thing.
7. When women sign up for the military to hang out with aggressive dudes, they are asking to be raped. Notoriously anti-woman Fox News talking-head Liz Trotta wondered of enlisted women who were assaulted, “What did they expect?” She also blasted feminist calls for infrastructure and support to help the increasing number of women in this position. And refused to apologize.
8. Santorum and Huckabee are all about rape victims taking one for team “Life.” Let’s not forget our Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee, respectively, think rape victims should “make the best” of it and see the unwanted child as a gift and sometimes cool people are conceived in rape.
Some rape victims unsurprisingly see this idea as torture.
Okay, so these are all pretty heinous things to say. But let’s take a deep breath and remember that rape culture doesn’t just live on the extreme right wing. From left-wing pundits who are convinced that the rape charges against Julian Assange must be trumped up, or that sex with a sleeping woman doesn’t constitute rape, to the mainstream pop culture writers who have long sought to minimize or dismiss acquaintance rape as “grey rape” or not real rape, to local and national law enforcement that don’t know how to handle victims properly, there’s a long continuum of thought that creates rape culture. Rape culture posits sex as a transaction with women’s sexuality as a passive object either given or taken, rather than a consensual exchange. Most importantly, rape culture puts the onus on victims to prevent rape rather than on potential perpetrators not to do it. Rape culture produces comments like Todd Akin’s, and then seeks to sweep them under the rug once the news cycle is over.
- The 8 Worst Things Republicans Have Said About Rape, Sex and Women’s Bodies (alternet.org)
- 6 Worst Things Republicans Have Said About Rape, Sex and Women’s Bodies (alternet.org)
- Republicans Press Todd Akin to Quit Race – NYTimes.com (mbcalyn.com)
- Parker: Todd Akin’s words about rape aren’t the problem (newsday.com)
- Rep. Speier: Akin’s rape views ‘consistent’ with ‘vast majority of Republicans’ (rawstory.com)
- Assange furore: sex with sleeping women ‘not rape’, says MP (smh.com.au)
- Bryan Fischer: Todd Akin right about ‘real, genuine rape’ (rawstory.com)
- Republican Todd Akin: Don’t Worry, You Won’t Get Pregnant From Rape (triing2survive.wordpress.com)
- Editorial: Rep. Todd Akin’s notions of rape and conception are idiotic (newsday.com)
- Todd Akin Apologizes For ‘Legitimate Rape’ Remark (huffingtonpost.com)
Hero Woman Changes In Front Of Open Window
The courageous woman displays incredible selflessness and brings a community together.
NEW YORK—Local heroine Emily, the smokin’ hot neighbor lady from across the street, reportedly went above and beyond the call of duty Monday by selflessly changing her clothes within full view of her bedroom window.
Sources said the humble woman—whose last name remains a mystery as no one has yet summoned the courage to speak to her—did not accept any praise for her heroic act, nor did she mention her altruistic stripping to anyone afterward. But her sacrifice that evening will not soon be forgotten, as her fearless nakedness inspired dozens of passersby and saved the neighborhood from a debilitating drought of T&A; sightings.
“I never thought I’d see this day,” said Juan Ramirez, 23, one of countless local residents who said they owed the gallant Emily more than they could ever repay. “You could see everything. Everything. Thank God she happened to be there, naked.”
Displaying what eyewitnesses described as “enormous” bravery, an incredible rack, blond pubic hair, and a stalwart willingness to put others’ needs before her own, the amazing woman reportedly pulled off a very tight sweater, paused to brush her long, flowing hair, and then reached with both hands behind her back to unfasten her bra. In an impressive act of charity and goodwill, she then proceeded to remove her pants and underwear—slowly, and with great care—before changing into a different outfit, thereby gaining status as a true hero to anyone within 150 feet of her window.
The heroic woman’s nude form was reportedly visible for 35 to 40 heart-stopping seconds, and, according to sources, she never once wavered in the completion of her valiant act despite the chilly February air.
Although she did not reappear at the window for the remainder of the evening, nearby residents said Emily had already done far more for them than anyone could have expected, momentarily uniting the entire neighborhood in an unprecedented outpouring of private appreciation for her gracious nipple exposure.
“She is a true example of just how generous a human being can be,” said Jim Petersen, 32, who lives two houses down from his new idol. “I think I speak for everyone huddled here tonight when I say I’ll never forget what that benevolent woman did for us.”
According to local sources, this one topless sacrifice has saved the entire block from the Emily’s-naked-body deprivation that has haunted the area since she first moved in June 2007. After more than 18 excruciating months of drawn curtains, fears had begun to mount that the hypnotic curves of her glorious body might never be glimpsed by anyone in the vicinity.
“When I first saw her moving into the building, bending over to pick up cardboard box after cardboard box, I knew it was going to get bad,” said neighbor Tommy Riordan, 35. “She had this tank top on, and cutoff—I don’t even want to go into it. But it was clear that the whole block would be facing a major crisis from that moment on.”
With no relief in sight, tension reportedly reached a breaking point last Saturday, when Emily answered the buzzer of her building and signed for a package wearing a terry-cloth robe. However, just when all seemed lost, sources said, she surprised everyone by removing not only her clothing, but also the neighborhood’s heavy burden of half-formed naked-Emily fantasies.
“I didn’t think we’d ever see all that pain and suffering alleviated, but God bless her, she did it,” said Riordan, closing his eyes to remember the triumphant moment all over again.
“She did it!” he added with a cheer.
Though those most affected by her altruism said her fortitude and mettle deserves a showering of praise, the self-effacing Emily was too modest to take credit for her daring act.
“I just got home, changed out of my work clothes, and then went to the deli,” the humble hero said. “I don’t understand why everyone’s treating me like some kind of saint.”
“Who are you people?” she added. “Stop looking at me like that.”
- Area Man Lives Vicariously Through Son’s Bully | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
- Middle-Aged Woman Angrily Demanding Price Check On Rice Pudding Was Once Carefree Youth, Onlookers Speculate | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
- Woman, Gay Best Friend Go On Another One Of Their Little Adventures | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
- Nude Man Who Locked Self Out Of House Delivers Moving Treatise On Human Condition To Slowly Gathering Crowd | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
- 48-Year-Old Man Actually Very Open To Dating 25-Year-Olds | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
- U.S. Facing Helium Shortage | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source | American Voices (mbcalyn.com)
- Mike Holmgren Finally Admits To Friends That He’s Working For Cleveland Browns | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
- Romney Stares Uncomprehendingly At $1 Bill | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
- Hero passerby races into Fitchburg fire (bostonherald.com)
- ‘It’s Been An Honor, Gentlemen,’ Shift Supervisor Says As Giant Vat Of Molten Cheese Erupts | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
Middle-Aged Woman Angrily Demanding Price Check On Rice Pudding Was Once Carefree Youth, Onlookers Speculate | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source
Middle-Aged Woman Angrily Demanding Price Check On Rice Pudding Was Once Carefree Youth, Onlookers Speculate
WESTBROOK, ME—Once, perhaps very many years ago, the enraged 42-year-old woman currently berating a Hannaford supermarket cashier over the price of a package of Kozy Shack rice pudding was a buoyant, free-spirited youth, bystanders imagined Thursday.
“No, no, that isn’t the right price; the six-pack is $3.29, not $4.29,” said the tired-looking woman, whom onlookers could almost picture as a fresh college graduate in the summer of 1992—spirited, fun-loving, and too easygoing to get all riled up over a difference of $1.00. “Run it through again. Something like this happens every time I shop here, and I’m sick of it. This is totally unacceptable.”
“They said it was $3.29 in the circular,” the woman hissed as those around her tried to visualize in her place the younger woman who no doubt would have just let the matter drop instead of upbraiding a minimum-wage-earning clerk. “That’s the only reason I came.”
Express-line sources speculated that the vicious dispute, which at press time had entered its second minute, would have been unthinkable to the woman during her freewheeling early 20s, when her main concerns were probably as simple as which friends to hang out with that night, and whether to meet them at a bar or a restaurant.
Onlookers guessed that in those blissful days, before two decades of adulthood stresses had beaten her into submission, she never would have become so emotionally invested in the price of a 4-ounce snack cup, especially if what she was saving amounted to little more than pocket change.
“Whatever it was that did this to her, I suspect it happened in the past 10 to 15 years,” said local resident Erica Mayfield, noting the presence of a small child tugging at the woman’s arm and pleading for a sleeve of green-apple Mentos. “To think that those angry, exhausted eyes probably once gleamed with the fire of youth, unencumbered by responsibility, or fear, or regret. And then something just doused the fire forever, I guess.”
“I bet she used to laugh a lot,” Mayfield added as the woman began pointing her finger angrily in the cashier’s face. “Once, long ago.”
As the confrontation dragged on, shoppers in the rapidly lengthening line continued their attempts to envision the former life of the woman, who had by then shifted gears toward trying to get the clerk to honor a recently expired buy-one-get-one-free coupon printed from the Internet.
“Right now I know it’s hard to see, but somewhere buried deep beneath that world-weary exterior I bet there’s a girl who once drove 100 miles in an open-back jeep and stood in line overnight for concert tickets,” supermarket patron Keith Woodacre said. “And even though back in those days she probably didn’t have much money to spend, the injustice of getting overcharged a few cents here or there likely wouldn’t have ended with her completely losing it in front of a few dozen strangers.”
“It really makes you stop and appreciate the precious youth you’ve been granted,” he continued. “Because one day you could wake up and half your life is over and you’ve become this person who is stirred to passionate argument by rice pudding.”
Despite her appeals falling on deaf ears, the woman reportedly attempted to state her case one last time, pausing first to adjust the drab, bulky sweater she presumably wouldn’t have fathomed wearing in public 20 years ago.
“I don’t care what your screen says, because the Kozy Shack is on sale for $3.29,” the woman said. “This is why people go around the corner to Family Dollar, you know that? Nobody likes this place.”
“A bunch of imbeciles they have working here,” she added. “And it’s been like this for years.”
As the entire market pictured how her smiling, carefree 22-year-old self would have looked confidently walking away, the fuming woman then snatched the receipt from the cashier’s hand, jerked her pocketbook over her shoulder, and stormed off toward the manager’s office.
- Carefree Youth (theburningplatform.com)
- Middle-Aged Woman Angrily Demanding Price Check On Rice Pudding Was Once Carefree Youth, Onlookers Speculate (theonion.com)
- Rice pudding with strawberries stewed in lemongrass and lime (latartinegourmande.com)
- Parsi Rava Recipe (Or Look How Domesticated I Am) (tinroofpress.wordpress.com)
- Rice Pudding With Roasted Strawberries (abeautifulmess.typepad.com)
- R is for Rhapsodic, Radiant Riz au Lait (Rice Pudding)! (jimlwright.wordpress.com)
- Baked rice pudding with rhubarb sauce (fiveandspice.wordpress.com)
- Previous Post (nutritionbyte.wordpress.com)
- Phirni – Rice Pudding – Subtle Pleasure (quickasianrecipes.com)
- Puddings! (staciapriscilla.com)
Ann Romney: “Why should women be paid equal to men?”
April 18, 2012
By Sarah Wood
At a meeting with the “Moms For Mitt” group yesterday outside Philadelphia, PA, Ann Romney was asked her opinion on Lilly Ledbetter and equal pay for equal work regarding women’s employment. Without hesitation she responded with another question that seemed to shock even the most staunch conservatives in the room.
“Why should women be paid equal to men? Men have been in the working world a lot longer and deserve to be paid at a higher rate. Heck, I’m a working mom and I’m not paid a dime. I depend on my husband to provide for me and my family, as should most women… and if a woman does work, she should be happy just to be out there in the working world and quit complaining that she’s not making as much as her male counterparts. I mean really, all this wanting to be equal nonsense is going to be detrimental to the future of women everywhere. Who’s going to want to hire a woman, or for that matter, even marry a woman who thinks she is the same, if not better than a man at any job. It’s almost laughable. C’mon now ladies, are you with me on this?”
After Ann Romney finished speaking, there was an awkward silence in the air with a smattering of applause that seemed to come from a forced obligation to support their future party nominee’s wife.
Seemingly belittled by the lack of agreement, Ann Romney was ushered out of the banquet hall and driven back to where her husband was waiting for her. It is not known if the former Governor has heard this quote yet. However, I’m sure he will support it and tell anyone who doesn’t that they are waging a war on women everywhere. You know, because that makes total sense.
- Why Should Women Be Paid Equal to Men? (lipsticking.com)
- Hilary Rosen was right. Ann Romney doesn’t speak for women in the workforce. – The Washington Post (mbcalyn.com)
- Rosen gives Romney a chance to close the presidential gender gap – The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room (mbcalyn.com)
- Free Wood Post – Both Mitt and Ann Romney Vow To Only Shop At Wal-Mart Through Remainder of Campaign (mbcalyn.com)
- Free Wood Post – Wal-Mart Vow (mbcalyn.com)
- Michelle Obama tweets support for mothers after Democratic strategist criticizes Ann Romney (boston.com)
- Hilary Rosen is right about Ann Romney (wnd.com)
- Ann Romney has pricey passion for horseback riding (staradvertiser.com)
- Ann Romney: ‘I Love The Fact That There Are Women Out There Who Don’t Have A Choice’ And ‘Must Go To Work’ (kaystreet.wordpress.com)
- Soledad O’Brien Calls Out Ann Romney: She Seemed Like ‘Wow I Was Able To Score Political Points’ (mediaite.com)