This Week in Ladybits
Oh, man, is there ever a surplus of people saying stupid things about your ladybits lately. It’s like they’re trying to wear us down from sheer exhaustion. So much stupidity and plateheadedness has passed since then, do you even remember when sitting Congressman Joe Walsh (R – IL) actually said that there is no reason to allow for abortion exceptions to preserve the life of the mother because thanks to modern medicine, pregnant women’s lives are never threatened?
But he did. And yes, just three months ago a pregnant girl died because she was denied life-saving chemotherapy for weeks. Not that ladies really matter or are real or anything. It’s just Walsh making up whatever facts soothe him again. Oh, but maybe Walsh was super busy and didn’t hear that important pro-life news story? Perhaps, but he probably should have noticed his Congressional colleague Jackie Speier (D – CA), who spoke on the house floor last year about her painful decision to have a life-saving abortion.
You can donate to Walsh’s opponent, war hero and non-crazy person Tammy Duckworth, over here.
Senate Candidate Todd Akin (R – YouKiddingMe – MO) compared his opponent, Senator Claire McCaskill, to a dog, but that’s only the second-most-appalling story to come out about him this week. Turns out Akin has been running under his middle name, Todd, because he got arrested a bunch of times as William Akin during “aggressive, physical protests” at abortion clinics… And seems to have had some ties to a radical right-wing militia group.
Oh, but wait, there’s more! Another freaking GOP Senate candidate, Richard Mourdock (R – 1685), said in a debate on Tuesday that there should be no rape exemption for abortion because “life is a gift from God, and even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.”
Shortly after the debate, presumably once his campaign manager stopped punching him in the solar plexus, Mourdock said that he didn’t think God pre-ordains rapes, but that he’s totally cool with the presumed extra bonus of rape-conceived babies:
“It is a fundamental part of my faith that God gives us life. God determines when life begins. I believe in an almighty God who makes those calls. … There are some things in life that are above my pay grade.”
Let’s examine the theology of that for a moment, shall we? An omnipotent God presumably abhors rape, but does nothing to stop it because, I don’t know, free will? But if that’s the case, couldn’t a really on-the-case omniscient deity still make the rapist explode or disappear once his intent was clear?
But then, even under this horrific circumstance, this super-benevolent life-loving God decides he just can’t resist the chance to bring a new life into this world that’s already overpopulated to the tune of several billion. And instead of giving that life to some couple that’s been struggling with infertility problems for years and desperately want to conceive, he “gifts” the woman who he couldn’t be bothered to help moments before.
But he doesn’t want her to terminate that pregnancy, because she should respect the decisions of such a wise and benevolent deity.
Richard Mourdock’s God is a dick. And Mourdock was clearly made in his image.
Obviously there’s simple misogyny and a desire to control women at work here, as well as a more insidious blind spot effect: I don’t think Mourdock-endorser Mitt Romney hates women; I don’t think he thinks about us enough to do so. I think what goes on in our heads and hearts is about as interesting and relevant to these guys as what goes on in the family dog’s head. And that’s why they don’t worry about making monstrous laws that affect us: Quit complaining about being kenneled up on the roof and enjoy the car ride.
But even more than that, I think these candidates (and their base) show a terrifying unwillingness to think in anything other than black and white terms. They need easy categories of Good and Bad and cannot – will not – deal with the concept that sometimes there is no easy answer that is unequivocally good and makes everyone happy. They refuse to deal with the idea that sometimes rights collide, so they plump for the fetus – or the lone egg – and disappear the woman from the equation entirely: She wouldn’t have gotten pregnant if she’d been “legitimately raped,” so we don’t have to think about her. She can’t really be that sick, not with modern medicine, so we don’t have to think about her. She’s been traumatized, but God must be super psyched to bring her rapist’s baby in the world, so we don’t have to think about her.
There’s a reason these guys tend to overlap with the same people who are trying to remove the fact that our Founding Fathers owned slaves from the history books and are flipping their damn spleens and gallbladders over the idea that two complete strangers of the same sex might want to be able to get married and visit each other in the hospital: It’s because they are insisting on jamming a messy, gray-areas world into their own easy, fossilized categories.
And thus they claim that straight people who have happily divorced and remarried and people who don’t choose to get married at all and single parents and gay parents and women who choose to control their own fertility and men who don’t conform to macho stereotypes and kids who don’t fit into a traditional gender category and people of all ages who push against age-old racism are ruining the nation, because if the world doesn’t fit into easy good-bad male-female who-controls-whom categories, their world starts to melt and they don’t know who they are, and they start to panic at the idea that without the old rules that automatically put them on top, they might turn out to be nobody special at all.
So they run for office, and they shout a lot, and they think very little, and they try to control anyone who won’t fit into those prefab boxes. And that’s why feminists have an obligation to stick up for LGBT rights and fight racism on every front and insist on equality, everywhere, for everyone.
Mr. Akin, Mr. Santorum, Mr. Romney, Mr. Ryan, Mr. Mourdock, Mr. Walsh, and all of your pals, if you want pure heroes and easy answers, I suggest you try the movies. Let the rest of us run the world.
Lesley Gore and friends have a more eloquent message for them.
Rachel Maddow devoted nearly her entire show Wednesday night to the ongoing battle for the control of your ladybits. Those guys over at The Rachel Maddow Show should get medals for public service. She was on fire to such a degree that it was tough to choose just one clip. I certainly recommend checking out the entire episode if you have a chance.
This Week in Ugh
Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda ToloKonnikova of Pussy Riot have been transferred to separate prison camps in spite of their lawyers’ protests that the woman should not be sent to prison so far from home until their children are older. Frantically macho big baby Vladimir Putin, who was the focus of Pussy Riot’s protest, said the women totally deserve it for “threatening the moral foundations” of Russia. On the bright side, many members of the band are still free, and freed member Yekaterina Samutsevich says they have no intention of shutting up.
And CNN, which used to be a respectable news organization and is theoretically still run by grownups, ran a story on an incredibly poorly designed “study” that purported to show that ladies vote with their hormones. CNN: Not so much cutting-edge news as safety scissors news. The reporter at least noted that the story did nothing in comparison with male hormonal cycles (guess what, kids: Men go through hormonal cycles too, only for some reason there aren’t fourteen million stories a year about how those cycles make them irrational) and that maybe leaping from hormonal cycles to speculating on whether women “feel sexy” is kind of, uh, unscientific dumbassery.
Ah, but why report on such a thing at all and risk the stoopid headline getting into the public consciousness when there is so much actual news to report? CNN regrets the decision. And why not mention that “researcher” Kristina Durante’s whole bread and butter is releasing periodic “studies” like this to show that women do everything because of men and wanting babies? CNN says the story went up outside the usual editorial process. Let’s hope that process gets put back into place.
And no, PMS isn’t real either.
This Week in What the Hell is Wrong with Marketers
Jezebel pointed us to the news that the long, nightmarish wait is nearly over: Fujitsu is bringing the Floral Kiss computer for your delicate ladyfingers and girlish brain. Fujitsu’s press release hastens to explain that ladies totally designed it! It is, of course, available in pink, with a small mouse and pearl accents.
And it comes pre-loaded with a diary, a scrapbooking app, and horoscopes. We ladying ladies are assured that one can open the case even with long fingernails. Hmm. I that means guess AfterEllen readers could carry a Fujitsu Floral Kiss around to let people know you’re single, but then who would talk to you?
The Floral Kiss is available in Japan starting next week, so book those plane tickets!
Dear Fujitsu: You should maybe not ask Ellen DeGeneres for an endorsement.
This Week in Wonderful
Hey, remember that enraging section up top? Tina Fey has had enough.
Whereas Stephen Colbert had some advice for these gents.
Buzzfeed ran a great pictorial by Alison Baskerville called The Hidden Soldiers: Women of War.
I don’t know about you, but I can still sing or recite huge chunks of the Free To Be… You and Me album from memory. Slate had a touching (and thorough) celebration of the album’s 40th anniversary this week. This piece by Dan Kois on how it all came together is particularly good.
If you have kids in your life, get them this album immediately. If you don’t have kids in your life, get it and hurl it at strangers with children. They’ll thank you later.
Here’s a clip of one of the very best parts of the album, animated for the Free To Be… You and Me TV special. Clear your mind and heart for a slice of awesome.
Have a great weekend. Get out there and do exactly what you please.