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.
3 thoughts on “Republican says more stupid shit: are we missing the point when we respond?”
This is a beautiful bit of writing. It’s so sad and so fucked because it’s so true. I become more of a hermit as each day goes by. I am moved to fight but repulsed by the need to.
Agreed. See, I’m taking the long and stoic view on all this. You can’t be even vaguely smart in this life and female at the same time and not grasp that what underlies all this is an inalienable view amongst men that they somehow get to define not only the corporeal remits of women but even the terminology for its allowances and limitations. That’s just an obvious fact and until those assumptions to superiority are correctly addressed, we won’t really be getting anywhere. They’ll just keep changing the definitions to suit whatever they want and we’ll be expected to go along with it because I guess we must be really grateful that at least we’re not being raped AND beaten to a pulp.
Bearing that in mind, I’m delighted they’re shooting their idiot mouths off because all any of this is doing is reminding women – and I don’t mean the enlightened but the average “I’m not a feminist but I do think I have a right to decide what to do with my body” brigade – that they are still under serious threat and that that threat remains precisely because they don’t fully appreciate either the insidiousness of this assumed superiority or the fact that they are far too tolerant of it. For every remark I’ve seen supporting the cunt Assange the past few days I’ve seen easily three from women talking about what they would do were they the victims in that case and a lot of it is angry. This is a great result to my mind.
So yeah, let them carry on. Dworkin was right – we will never be free until we fundamentally equalise the accepted sexual dynamic. She would have wholeheartedly agreed, though, that in order to do that we need to let them load their own guns. What they say means fuck all because they’ll twist and run from it as always but the conversation is starting and it’s the only conversation that’s ever been worth having. Let them carry on. But for the obvious effect it has on survivors, I’d probably say that I hope it gets worse.
Surely these individuals are a part of that system. and it is surely possible to attack both.