Another Republican politician has said something remarkably stupid and offensive about rape and abortion. This time, the blandly-named Paul Ryan has referred to rape as “a method of conception“, clarifying that rape isn’t really a pressing concern for him, as he’s more interested in prodding around in uteruses. Obviously, there’s been a bit of outrage and a few people calling for his resignation, but really, that seems to be missing the point.
The US is embroiled in an all-out war on choice. It is carefully stage-managed, and, as I noted the last time some Republican said some stupid shit, fits in with a complete rejection of women’s bodily autonomy, which also allows rapes to happen. It’s not enough to seize upon some specific words someone has said and call for their individual resignation from politics/public life/the human race.
It’s a systemic set of beliefs we’re fighting, not just some awful people saying some stupid shit. It’s culturally ingrained that women shouldn’t have the right to do what they want with their own bodies. Sometimes it manifests in the anti-choice rhetoric, the desire to force women into a chronic medical condition to keep the population up. Other times, it manifests as a society which facilitates rape by repeating myths about blame and attempts to redefine rape to benefit rapists. And these beliefs can be articulated at the same time because it’s all part of the same myth: women shouldn’t control their bodies.
And so we need to highlight this system every time the opportunity arises. Rather than cry out for the Akins and Ryans (and, indeed, even the Dorrieses) of this world to go and fuck themselves, we need to point out how unoriginal they are, how they are merely replicating cultural lies.
It’s that we need to attack if we are ever going to win, not the individuals.