I just read this NYT headline four times. I read it out loud, to Bear. And then I started yelling. Which was bad, because my friend from Australia is staying here for a couple nights and she was trying to sleep.
Do you guys know about this? You probably do. Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, defending his stance on abortion (none at all, under any circumstances!) broke it down for us really simply: if a woman wants to get pregnant, she will. If she doesn’t want to, she won’t. So if she’s raped and she’s into it, she’ll let herself get pregnant. And if it’s a “legitimate” rape, and, you know, she doesn’t like it as much, she will just shut down her special woman hormones and her egg production and get all tight and unwelcoming in there. No sperm allowed! It’s basic biology.
I saw that. I read the quote. It made me die a little inside. Because that whole thing, where you blame women for everything, even their own rape pregnancy, it is so dangerous. It is terrifying. That whole set of logic that starts at “well, she was wearing those sexy tight jeans” and pauses briefly in the middle with “if she wanted to take care of her kids she would get another damn job and stop whining” before concluding with something about how she died of the cancer she got from the toxic fumes in her unregulated factory work and couldn’t afford to pay for any of her frantic, hopelessly expensive treatments– it’s bad.
(it looks so venerable. I want it to be. source)
But what made me yell was the New York Times‘ headline, and then the article. Patiently breaking it down for us. With the usual quotes from both sides. No, no, we’re pretty sure rape is bad. We’ve interviewed some experts. We’re pretty sure women can’t magically decide exactly when and when not to get pregnant.
It was suddenly easy to imagine other headlines and pieces, from other times. This expert says that black people are totally inferior to white people. And he has some good points! Let’s be fair! And then this other expert says, no, black people are not totally inferior to white people. They could be a little inferior, though, let’s not get carried away…