Why it sucked to be a feminist this week

What a week – Todd Akin invented “legitimate rape”, Grahame Morris called Leigh Sales a cow and the Anglican Church suggests women should serve their husbands.

It sucks to be a feminist this week.

Coming in first place is Congressman Todd Akin and his “Legitimate Rape”

Against abortion and in support of gun ownership rights; if you are anything like me Todd Akin has never been your favourite politician, but he outdid himself this week. The interview on the Jacko Reportstarted off on odd footing when Todd Akin made his case against the school lunch program and guaranteed student loans; but no one was excepting his response to Charles’ question whether abortion should be permitted in cases of rape.

His answer: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down.”

I mean, firstly, it’s not “that whole thing”. “That whole thing” is a trauma that will affect the victim for the rest of her life, whether or not she falls pregnant in the process. “That whole thing” is an oppressive act of violence that horrifically will be experienced by nearly 1 in 5 women in America (and similar rates in Australia). “That whole thing” does not really seem to adequately describe the violent subjugation of an individual.

Secondly, Akin follows that up with the comment that if the woman for some reason does manage to simply will away the pregnancy; there should be “some sort of punishment” for the rapist, but not the child. We can argue endlessly about whether or not a cluster of cells constitutes a child; instead let’s reflect for a moment on the fact that the Congressman’s response to the crime of sexual assault is that it warrants “some sort of punishment”.

Thank god for the “Renegade Raging Grandmas” who summed it up aptly (and musically):

“Rape wont make babies and that is a fact,

There’s no global warming the earth’s really flat,

We heard it on fox news so it must be true..

Well Mr Akin, we say Fuck You.”

In second place, Grahame Morris called Leigh Sales a “Cow”

Grahame Morris – Liberal party ‘strategist’ – called Leigh Sales a cow because she conducted a tough, telling interview with Tony Abbott. Some would suggest that Sales was simply doing her job. Not Morris – he told 702 ABC that Leigh Sales can “be a real cow sometimes”.

His response? “Poor little sensitive souls.”

When questioned on 702 ABC about whether it was a sexist comment, he replied “no, that’s silly” followed by “no” another six times. Convincing.

To top it off, the boys club became yet again apparent when Andrew Jones published his response petulantly titled “Leigh Sales hates Tony Abbott”. He also responded to Sales’ justifiably indignant tweet “I’d prefer to be a cow than a dinosaur” with “It’s damn rude – and rather sexist as well as ageist – to call Morris a “dinosaur”. Firstly, Jones, I fail to see how calling someone a dinosaur is sexist whatsoever. Secondly, I think the reference was less to Morris’ actual age and more to his archaic attitude towards women – he did call her a cow after all.

And it’s not the first time, let’s not forget that Morris has previously encouraged the Australian public to kick Julia Gillard to death, and called her “bitchy”.

Taking out third is the Anglican Church’s introduction of the “submit” vows

To be honest, I personally think “obey” was bad enough. But, I am baffled by the introduction of a new vow just for women allowing her to pledge to “submit” to her husband. Where did the sudden need come from? What exactly do you do in order to “submit”? Peter Jensen, the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, responded to protests that the new vow was sexist in an opinion piece today. He whipped out the old “equal but different” line in justification of men and women delivering different vows and suggested that using the term “partner” instead of husband and wife denied a man his “special challenge….to demonstrate the masculine qualities which he brings to a marriage”.

I might be cynical in suggesting that this “special challenge” and particular “masculine qualities” might be euphemistic for authority, dominance and power – but hey, I could be wrong.

Leigh Sales’ stellar interview, and the sheer existence of the Renegade Raging Grandmas (who I can now aspire to be for at least fifty years) make me very, very proud and grateful for the feminists that have fought so hard for equality. It’s however very disappointing that we are clearly not yet past the point of encouraging female submission, degrading professional women and trivializing rape.

Also – if you want more reasons to be mad about men in positions of prominence thinking it is acceptable to demean women, check out these Abbott quotes doing the rounds at the moment.

2 responses to “Why it sucked to be a feminist this week

  1. The first and the last can be construed as sexist, but where I would argue with you is the second event. Calling a woman a cow is certainly rude, but its not sexist. There are gender-specific insults for both men and women. The Todd Akin comment was weird, and obviously medically innacurate, but if we are to look at the issue charitably, he clearly does not believe that there is rape that is literally “legitimate” since he said that rapists should be punished. Quoting “legitimate rape” and connecting it to Akin takes it out of context and misrepresents what he said (if only subtly).My guess is that he was hinting at women who fake it and lie about whether they were raped or he was referring to whether the rape was completed or not. (as in, exchange of bodily fluids)This is most probable given the
    medical context in which he spoke.


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