We’re surprised by this?
Missouri Republican Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin, who opposes abortion in most cases, including rape, said in a television interview yesterday that it is “really rare” that victims of “legitimate rape” get pregnant, notes ABC’s Dean Schabner. “From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin, who is running against Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill[.] “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Obviously, this is a political clusterfuck for the Akin, the Republican party at large, and Democrats who are in danger of overplaying their hand on this one dumbass remark. (President Obama’s “rape is rape” comment is enough, thank you. Let’s get back to talking about how the majority of Republicans have absurdly antiquated views on how women handle their own reproductive affairs outside of rape, which is even scarier than what Akin said.)
But I’m not surprised that Akin has no idea how the female reproductive system works: most men have no idea. On a long car trip with my ex-boyfriend, I read a few passages out of the information that comes with my birth control pills. I read a few sentences and put the pamphlet down.
“Keep reading,” he said. “This is fascinating.”
He might have been a little punchy from being stuck in the car for so long, but I think it underscores the fact that most men don’t know a vagina from a uterus from a fallopian tube. Partially because they’re so fueled by hormones by the time they get sex ed in school (if they get any at all) they spend the whole time giggling rather than paying attention.
But the main reason is that our hypersexual culture is actually afraid of sex. We don’t blink when we see a barely clothed woman in an ad on the side of a bus stop. But when a public school lets a gym teacher put a condom over a banana in front of a bunch of fifth graders, we lose our minds. We’ll freely discuss the writhing of gorgeous starlets in a movie when the credits roll, but we clam up when having an honest conversation about how best our partner can satisfy us in our less-glamorous real lives.
It’s time we start educating ourselves about how the female and male halves of the reproductive system works and making a concerted effort to be more open about discussing human sexuality without sounding like a group of embarrassed parents. (“When a boy puts his pee-pee in woman’s hoo-ha who did not say it was OK, we call that rape.”) Only then can we even pretend to have an adult conversation about reproductive rights.