Alright, this issue is too universal to pass up without comment. It’s not an made-for-feminists issue and I don’t intend to jump on the let’s-bash-up-Todd Akin-while-everyone-else-is-doing bandwagon, but I want to understand the roots where from spring attitudes such as his even in this day and age.
I am talking about comments made by US Senator Todd Akin, a Republican from Missouri, United States. In an interview on a local television channel, in the context of banning abortions, Akin said that in cases of “legitimate rape” a woman’s body shuts down to prevent a pregnancy – meaning, women who have “legitimately” been raped, do not get pregnant.
His apology later that he meant to say “forcible rape”, and acknowledgment that women “do become pregnant” in cases of rape, was not soon enough for a nationwide furor to erupt. So much so that Republicans including Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney have cast him off as a pariah despite the fact that the Republican manifesto itself calls for a ban on abortions under all circumstances.
For me, Senator Akin’s spontaneous comments in his original interview are symptomatic of a patriarchal society that is still rooted in chauvinism and condescension towards women in general.
This has nothing to do with Christianity or the right to life of an unborn child as professed by American Conservatives, or even about women’s rights over their own body, but simply manifests attitudes of regressive males who are in denial of the real world.
It’s laughable seeing Republicans distancing themselves from Akin because more than 200 Republican Congressmen have co-sponsored the ‘No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act’ in the House that calls for stopping federally funded abortions even in cases of forcible rape or incest.
Such sentiments against women are not limited to any one part of the world, and as is obvious, not even in the so called advanced and progressive Western nations. In India, Hindu texts like Manusmriti equate women with farm laborers, slaves and cattle that need to be taken care of by the men of the world.
With such indoctrination of discrimination against women, I doubt if attitudes towards women will ever change.
Nations will collapse, societies will change, but men, I guess, will remain men… I mean, chauvinistic men.