Akin Reveals Himself


, member of the United States House of Represe...
, member of the United States House of Representatives. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


No matter how much Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican Senate nominee from Missouri, tries to fix what he said on Sunday, it is not going to work.


He came out with one of the most outrageous, insensitive and, frankly, ignorant comments this writer has ever heard, saying that in cases of “legitimate rape,” pregnancy is rare – that “the female body has ways of shutting that whole thing down.”


My first thought, when I read it, was, “what is ‘legitimate’ rape? And my second question was, “the female body has a way of shutting what “whole thing” down? The movement of a sperm to an egg? What?


I was astounded; in fact, I still don’t know what to think, the comment was so outrageous. It was so sexist, so insanely sexist and ignorant, that words almost cannot suffice.


Now, the good Congressman from Missouri is trying to clean his statement up. He has said he “misspoke.”


OK. Another question. What does it mean to “misspeak?” The American Heritage Dictionary  says that it’s to “pronounce or speak incorrectly.” The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says it’s to express oneself incorrectly or imperfectly.  Akin would probably refer to the latter definition.


But it is doubtful that he “misspoke.”  Akin, resting in the ignorance and arrogance that so often accompanies patriarchal thinking,  most likely said what he has been thinking and saying in private along with his “good ol’ boys” for some time. Riding on a Tea Party security blanket, it feels like Akin got a little too comfortable, and let some really twisted beliefs out of the chicken coop.


What bothers me most in what he said is the “legitimate rape” comment. For the life of me, I cannot understand what he means. WHEN, exactly, is a rape legitimate? Was he referring to cases where rape can be proven?  In legal history, isn’t one of the reasons so few rape accusations were brought to trial, or have been brought to trial, because rape could not be proven…that the victim was often blamed for her own rape?


And, even in cases where rape has not been “proven” in court, hasn’t it been the case, over and over, that a rape had occurred, but the legal system was ill-equipped, or maybe unwilling, to treat rape as a “legitimate” crime?


Hasn’t it been the case that women have been second class citizens for far too long, and have been viewed as objects for the pleasure of men? So, if that is the case, what, pray tell, is a legitimate rape?


And in terms of the female body being able to “shut that whole thing down,” I am beyond perplexed. Anatomically and physiologically, what knowledge does Akin have that I am missing?  I was never taught that I should worry about getting pregnant if I were ever raped, because my body would somehow know the difference between a “legitimate” rape and a rape not so legitimate …or, for that matter, a night of consensual sex.


Is Akin’s line of thinking one of the underlying reasons rape has had such difficulty being considered a “legitimate” crime?  Should we applaud Akin for bringing out some of the thought-patterns of people in positions of power who help make policy?


Whatever we are to think, this is one thing I do not think – and that is that Akin “misspoke.” That’s like making a racial slur and then saying it’s a joke. Nope, Mr. Akin. You have egg on your face and you just need to own it, disgusting as what you said was.


A candid observation …


Girl Talk: Older Women Aging Nicely

English: Madonna at the premiere of I Am Becau...
Image via Wikipedia

I am not a fan of Madonna, nor have the half-time shows at Super Bowls interested me in quite some time.

But I found it quite interesting on Sunday when Madonna, sporting 5-inch heels and before a live audience, stumbled slightly. While there were a number of reasons to comment on Madonna’s performance, the comments surrounding her stumble, with an air of incredulity that this “older” woman would wear 5 inch heels, kind of grated me.

What’s the big deal? If she’s able, at age 53, to wear 5-inch heels, and hold her own, what’s the big deal if she stumbles some?

She’s obviously in good shape and she has some talent. I found myself wondering if Paul McCartney or Lionel Ritchie had been performing and had stumbled if the newscasters would have commented on their age as the obvious reason.

When a man gets older, and has gray or silver gray hair, he is regarded as distinguished and handsome, but when a woman gets older, she’ll do well, most of the time, to cover that gray and do something to get rid of her wrinkles as quickly as possible. I saw a woman just this past weekend whose face looked frozen; it looked as though she’d had more cosmetic procedures than any person ought to, and it just made me sad.

What’s most interesting to me is that no matter how many cosmetic procedures women do, the label “older woman” is still with her, and for some, that reality is depressing and troubling. Instead of being able to celebrate having come through the storms of life in one piece, too many of us grow frantic at the signs of age, and we miss out on the grace and blessing of being older.

I am proud of Madonna for putting on her 5-inch heels and doing …Madonna. I used to love watching Tina Turner for the same reason. Age ought not make us want to hide; it ought to make us strut. There is nothing quite so beautiful as an older woman aging nicely…

A candid observation…