Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Elusive and Ubiquitous Anatomy of a Woman

The female body is a magical land isn’t it? So completely misunderstood by so many.  Sort of like rape and abuse I suppose.  The great mysteries and magic of it all is so astounding in spite of the medical advances and technology available.  Maybe it’s like the elusive giant squid, we knew it existed we just couldn’t seem to locate it, until recently.  Sort of like a vagina, and a uterus, and maybe a cervix, only deep in the cavernous ocean, far, far away.  Except, it’s not that difficult to locate the ubiquitous anatomy of a woman, what with all the women around, and the uterine probes, and legitimate rapes, and illegitimate births and what not.  Some things, have certainly been going on down there or in and around there for some time.

Maybe when John Mayer  sang, “your body’s a wonderland....” he was foreshadowing Representative Todd Akin’s comments.   "It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare,” Akin said in reference to conception that resulted from  a rape. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child."

 Aside from not being able to understand that a woman’s inner workings do not possess a shuffle type app that controls the fertilization of an egg when she is being raped, there is additional news that might be puzzling to Akin.   Contrary to the belief that women’s bodies have a special mechanism to self-abort a fetus or disallow one from being formed, as a result of rape, a study conducted by Princeton and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (2001) resulted in these findings: the rate of pregnancy from consensual, unprotected sex was 3.1 percent in contrast to the 6.4 percent resulting from rape.  If we go along with Akin’s thought (less) process, it would almost seem like the female body “wanted” to become pregnant from being raped, like it was asking for the “gift” if you consider what Representative Rick Santorum has to say about pregnancies resulting from rape.  

Although Santorum did not make the cut for presidential nomination, he is still in office.    These are his beliefs: Sexual freedom that results from contraception “has led to the debasement of women, mental illness, and an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases, causing infertility cancer, even death."  Do men that enjoy sexual freedoms suffer these same consequences? 

When pregnancy results from rape Santorum believes; “As horrible as the way that that son or daughter and son was created, it still is her child....I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created — in the sense of rape — but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you....we have to make the best out of a bad situation.  One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country. It's not okay. It's a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be....
[Sex] is supposed to be within marriage. It's supposed to be for purposes that are yes, conjugal… but also procreative. That's the perfect way that a sexual union should happen…. This is special and it needs to be seen as special.”  

So this is just insanely hard for me to follow, women shouldn’t be sexual beings in control of their bodies and decisions, and when they are raped they should welcome this as a gift?  Maybe if we start questioning whether rape was special and legitimate, that might clarify some things.  And when do any of these vocal opponents of women’s rights to their own bodies state their beliefs about the responsibility of men?  And why aren’t men and women alike demanding this discourse?  

 It might  be interesting to determine what exactly Akin meant by “legitimate” rape.  Does “legitimate” refer to the woman “asking” for it, by her manner of dress, or her looks, or her inability to physically fight it off?  Does it mean she “deserved” it?  Was it the result of date rape?  Was it her spouse or a family member, did they believe they had rights to her body? I can’t imagine what would legitimize rape or what distinguishes it from being legitimate or not.  I guess I don’t really want to know.  I don’t want to know that in the minds of some, many sadly, there is some distinguishing element to whether or not rape is legitimate.  I wonder if these elements apply to Akin’s, or Sanatorum’s wife, daughter, mother, or sister? 

Mitt Romney has made many of his viewpoints regarding women clear.   He has stated unapologetically, “Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that.”  Roe vs. Wade will be overturned under Romney's leadership.  That will take care of all the problems I guess.  No more mental illness, no more abortion, no more premarital sex and a chicken in every pot!

Let’s not stop here though, additionally, Romney does not believe equal pay is warranted. He refused to answer whether he would support the Lily Ledbetter Law.  This law does not guarantee equal pay.   The fine print uncovers that the Lily Ledbetter Law does not grant women equal pay-because, duh, in this country we don’t think that women need this right or protection exactly.  The Ledbetter Law simply allows women the opportunity to state the case that they are not being paid equally and then a court gets to determine the validity of the case, um, payroll can’t provide this information lickety split? So let me just stress another point here, not only is it ok for women to not get equal pay, but some believe they should not be able to bring it up and dispute it in a court of law. What this comes down to for me is that women are not to expect equal access to the rights and laws that men take for granted.  But I am surely all about crazy.

Recently Eric Fehrnstrom, Mitt Romney’s senior campaign adviser, said “…social issues important to women, such as contraception coverage and abortion rights, were “shiny objects” that were being used to distract voters.  Does he mean all the voters, the legitimate voters, or some of the easily distracted women-type voters, I wonder.   

I still don't quite see how these beliefs will impact men positively.  Will the over-turning of Roe vs Wade somehow result in men marrying the pregnant women?  Or there will be no more unmarried pregnant women?  Will there be fewer divorces because men will only be marrying chaste and pure women that have not had sex because they weren't permitted to go all mental from contraceptive use?  Child support not a concern because the lack of contraception will lead to happy, stable marriages?

I don’t want to pick on the Republican’s candidates exclusively here, but they are making it easy of late.  I feel pretty strongly about the way some of the previous Democratic candidates and elected officials have treated the women closest to them.   It doesn’t bode well for the rest of us women when men treat their wives with disrespect and dishonor, or other women like whores.  It's not OK when we are called sluts for using contraception.  It makes being a women in this nation, much more difficult then it needs to be.  We are after all a nation so concerned about human rights aren’t we?  Isn’t that why we have involved ourselves in so many other nations conflicts?  

Maybe it's time we started grasping that women actually are human and they deserve the same rights as men, in this nation and abroad even if the great mysteries of their uterine cavity continues to amaze us.  Perhaps Sojourner Truth asked the wrong question so many years ago.   Ain’t I a Human? might have been a better starting point.  It is easy enough to determine who the women are, we are the ones with the mysteriously functioning bodies. 

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