Just when I thought 2012 couldn’t get any worse in the right-wing attacks on women’s bodily autonomy, Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri proves that we haven’t hit rock-bottom of the GOP’s misogyny.
How can you top transvaginal ultrasounds and upstage Rush Limbaugh? Easy! Let’s recap what happened on Sunday when Akin “misspoke” and blatantly spread the false, unscientific garbage that: 1. a woman’s uterus has the magical power to shut down a rapist’s sperm so she doesn’t become pregnant; and 2. rape, by Akin’s definition, only exists and is “legitimate” if there’s a penis involved.
I laughed and tweeted about my newly discovered magical uterus and its secret powers, but all jokes aside, Akin’s comments are shockingly medieval. Not only do his comments place the burden and onus of preventing rape on women, they also insinuate that a uterus – a fist-sized muscular organ – can instinctively react to a rape, as if it’s equivalent to or replaces a woman’s brain.
This line of thinking reminds me of when I read in college about pre-19th century scientific attitudes that claimed that women were biologically inferior, weak and irrational because of the mysterious functions and whims of their uteri. According to Akin’s comments, a woman’s brain and intelligence – what makes her a person – doesn’t control her body and make rational decisions. Her uterus does. That unfeeling, unthinking organ of muscle and blood that is only meant to hold another life.
Yes, these medieval, unscientific, misogynistic ideas jumped from the pages of our women’s history textbooks to a YouTube clip on our computer screens. And the thing is, Akin isn’t alone in thinking this way. As Mother Jones and the New York Times’ editorial pointed out, these medieval, misogynist views are popular in the right-wing and embedded in the GOP’s platform.
The best, and only thing I have to say to Akin and his GOP supporters (besides a big, hearty, fuck you), is what Eve Ensler so brilliantly wrote yesterday in The Huffington Post:
I am asking you and the GOP to get out of my body, out of my vagina, my womb, to get out of all of our bodies. These are not your decisions to make. These are not your words to define.