My president has to remind us that “rape is rape”

It’s kind of sad that American politics has come to the point where Obama needs to state the obvious about rape:

President Obama has weighed in on Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) comments that women don’t get pregnant from “legitimate rape” because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” During an impromptue press conference on Monday, Obama said, “The views expressed were offensive. Rape is rape. And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we’re talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people.” “So what I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians — a majority whom are men — making health care decisions on behalf of women,” he added.

Exactly. Though I wish Obama took one more sentence to point out that what Akin claimed has no scientific merit. Especially since Akin is on House Science Committee. A terrifying idea, indeed.

If you want to know the science behind rape, stress, and pregnancy, Kate Clancy has written a great post for Scientific American following this political kerfuffle. The short answer:

Yes, psychosocial stress is associated with fetal loss in some samples. That is not the same thing as saying that stress causes fetal loss. Some women are more reactive to stress than others, and this seems to be based on genes and early childhood experiences. As I pointed out in my post, it certainly isn’t something women have conscious control over. And so it is irrational to link the stress of rape, while awful and severe, to fetal loss, when we understand the mechanism of the stress response and its relationship to pregnancy so poorly, and when we know next to nothing regarding how variation in stress reactivity is produced.

Or instead of understanding the science, you can be like Rep. Steve King (R) and remark how you never heard of someone getting pregnant from statutory rape or incest. Because if you’ve never personally heard of something happening, that means it must be true. It only took a minute of Googling for me to find a scientific paper showing 0.5% of women getting abortions had their pregnancy result from incest, and that obviously doesn’t address the women who didn’t get abortions. But it’s still greater than King’s claim of zero.


  1. says

    But only some rape is rape. When it is a rich white guy it is only “impolite” or some such. Especially when it is someone you know and trusted, then of course it isn’t as bad because…um…good lawyers and obviously victim blaming.

    And now Ryan, who co-sponsered such nonsense, is distancing himself from exactly what he said and believes. And apparently most of the house GOP, too, looking at their voting records. The GOP makes me consider the republic, the “Great Experiment” a dismal failure.

  2. Screamer77 says

    I haven’t seen anyone mention one of the scariest (to me) consequences of Akin’s statement. If the female body has the tools to stop an unwanted pregnancy in case of legitimate rape, that implies that if you do get pregnant during a forcible sexual act… well, that wasn’t really rape, the woman was actually ok with it and can’t complain.

  3. smrnda says

    This is about normal for a Republican. All said, I agree that the guy should have been called out not for just making a scientifically and medically inaccurate claim, but demanding that people state where they got their facts isn’t too common in US politics.

  4. says

    “And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we’re talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people.”

    A less flattering way to put it: Anything with nuance just doesn’t make sense to Americans, they prefer things in black and white.

    Akin’s comments were terrible, but it wasn’t because there is only one kind of rape, with no possible distinctions between different personal experiences. It’s because his distinction is completely bogus, and because he implied that some kinds of rape are somehow acceptable.

  5. lurker says

    There isn’t much for me to say about the Akin’s ridiculousness that hasn’t already been said, so I’m going to comment on a rather minor, but significant, part of this post.

    That you stated “My president” instead of “The president” for its title already speaks towards the goals of A+. I wish I had more time to say how impressed I have been by these very recent posts (especially as a feminist female scientist), but I have to just leave it at “Keep up the good work!” and other clichés. Online you exude so much energy and motivation, and while I’ve never met you in person, I imagine you have such charisma offline as well. I look forward to watching this unfold (while attempting to follow through with backstage support).

  6. marismae says

    I can’t even really properly articulate how much this makes me rage and want to cry all at the same time. And it makes me scared shitless for my daughter who is right now only 6 years old. How is it possible for the people *running our country* to be this ignorant?

    I won’t even go in to the rest of it, because I am at work right now and if I start writing a novel while yelling at my computer I will surely attract the wrong kind of attention. Argh.

  7. Amanda M. says

    *Jumps up and down and waves arms*

    Wait! Jen! The acute stress as a result of rape has also been shown that it can INCREASE the chances of pregnancy (citation: because acute stress can lead to ovulation.

    So the acute stress argument goes in both directions. Can we just call it a draw now and admit that sex is sex and pregnancy can’t tell the difference?
    And that claiming that women’s bodies can shut pregnancy down after rape is using pseudoscience to build some dangerous precedence for institutionalized victim-blaming?

  8. says

    Nor does it account for the many women too fucking scared out of their minds to admit their pregnancy (regardless if they obtain an abortion or not) was from a rape.

  9. BethE says

    Someone should ask King about the 16-year old in the Dominican Republic who was carrying her uncle’s child and died because they wouldn’t let her have chemo to cure her cancer.

  10. Corvus illustris says

    The Dems need to rub the Repubs’ noses in this at every opportunity. The records–not only votes but also rhetoric–are there to be exploited. If the Reps come from Bronze-age districts they need to go home anyway.

    Alas, democracy (direct or representative) is the most fragile form of government, as Europe between WWs I and II demonstrates.

  11. wytchy says

    I’m really lost on why republicans are obsessed with rape, and breaking it down into different “types.” Before it was “forcible” rape, where I guess the only thing they wanted to call the criminal offense of rape was an act that involved lots of violence and physical resistance. And now they’re trying to say that if a pregnancy resulted from the assault that it wasn’t a “legitimate” rape?

    I’m not sure what should freak me out more, that a lot of powerful politicians have this mindset, or that the idiot who made the claim in the first place is on ANY sort of scientific committee…

  12. jiuguizi says

    I am shocked, shocked I say to hear that there is gambling in this establishment a republican congressman who is ignorant about/in denial about evidence contrary tot heir belief. There is literally no part of this story that doesn’t make me sad inside a little bit. Aside from the Onion article anyway

  13. eric says

    I’m really lost on why republicans are obsessed with rape, and breaking it down into different “types.”

    Basically because of classism. They need to be able to excuse behaviors of the upper classes, while criminalizing those exact same behaviors when done by the lower classes. This comes out in two different issues: abortion legality and assault criminalization.

    For abortion, they need to be able to say that nobody should be an allowed an abortion because those slutty slut sluts really wanted it; there is no such problem as pregnancy from rape. But they have to leave themselves a little definitional room – a little exception, a teeny legal caveat – in order to allow their own daughters to get abortions. Thus, there are two types of rape: what happens to us (the true kind), and what happens to everyone else (you secretly wanted it).

    For sexual assault, they need to make sure any accusation of rape against one of their boys gets thrown out by showing that the slutty slut slut was really just asking for it, while still leaving room to prosecute any man who has sex with their property daughter without the parents’ permission. Thus, again, two types of rape: the not-really-serious type that upper class males do, and the deadly-serious kind done to upper-class women.

  14. Lindsay says

    honestly, I think it’s because a lot of those men realize that they have probably committed rape in their lifetime, be it through alcohol or coercion or whatever other means.

    Embracing the concept of enthusiastic consent like a decent person requires a reexamination of how you’ve furthered rape culture, in assuming that women “owe” you sex and how rape only happens in dark alleys to bad women, etc. It’s a lot of baggage to unpack and clearly these assholes are unwilling.

  15. wytchy says

    You took an issue that for me is confusing because of all the intersecting issues (victim blaming, denialism, privilege, etc.), PLUS all of the uncomfortable triggery details that go into these kinds of discussions, and really made it clear what republicans are after with this type of political maneuver. Thanks. :)

  16. wytchy says

    “It’s a lot of baggage to unpack and clearly these assholes are unwilling.”

    You are right on the money.

  17. Grimm says

    In the meantime, abortion girls more girls than boys.

    A lot of talented women were murdered in the womb because of Old White Men on the Supreme Court.

    Pity you can’t see that.

  18. says

    Rape or incest IS NEVER a valid reason to have an abortion.

    And we need to have lots more men making decisions governing women’s ‘health care’ if women can’t get the personhood issue right.

    An unplanned, unexpected pregnancy, is just that. A challenge…not a disaster. And once life starts, there are now three in the scenario, the unborn child, the mother, and the father. Each with their own set of rights.

    A primitive American culture allows the woman to determine the fetus’s viability for all immediately concerned.

    It won’t be like that in the future.

    We will overturn Roe vs. Wade.

    Catholics, Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, and Muslims all agree—its got to go—and it will.

    And that will be just the beginning.

  19. says

    Seriously? We have people (and an article about) saying rape isn’t really rape and you gotta whip out the fucking “what if that baby was Einstein” shit? Fuck you. Fuck you and your trolly woman controlling bullshit. I’m not even going to argue over the value of a cluster of nerveless cells, especially since that shit comes from dualistic thinking (souls etc), I am just going to tell you to kindly fuck yourself. That is what makes me cry over our educational system.

  20. Lindsay says

    and it’s a pity you can’t see that women should have the right to control their own bodies as they see fit

  21. says

    I really do hope the Dems are clever enough this time. They do love to drop the ball, letting the GOP dictate what the “real” issues are. Not that Obama is great, but I’ll take someone who is at least mostly ok on social issues compared to a spineless power grabber and a medieval moron.

  22. Ze Madmax says

    And it will end with a lot of dead women. But that is unimportant, because let’s face it, ZOMG FETUS IS BABIES.

  23. Lindsay says

    Fuck off with your pro-liar crap. This is about rape and treating women like actual human beings: something you’re incapable of doing.

  24. Ze Madmax says

    A lot of talented women were murdered in the womb because of Old White Men on the Supreme Court.

    How many talented women died because of botched abortions?

    How many talented women died because of pregnancy complications?

    How many talented women died because their pregnancy kept them from receiving proper medical care for a life-threatening condition?

    Of course, these women don’t count. Tell me, do you really care about “talented women”? Or are you trying to hide your disgusting ideology that women are little more than semi-autonomous growing vats hoping that people won’t see through your cheap ruse? Because it ain’t working, bucko.

  25. sambarge says

    Because the practice of selectively aborting female fetuses in favour of male fetuses is a result of feminism, right? Because that’s exactly what a woman owning her body is all about, keeping the bitchez down.

    Kiss my ass.*

    *Sorry about the non-civil ending on that post but I had to express it or my head would have popped off.

  26. says

    Where did all the lifer trolls pop out of in a post about rape? I was expecting MRAs or something.

    I suppose they are quite connected, though. Someone who places more value on a likely inviable zygote over a living, breathing, thinking and such woman isn’t exactly woman friendly.

  27. says

    Well Linds, I know you’re incapable of treating the unborn as human beings.

    That’s the only thing that’s been proven in this little exchange.

  28. says

    You know illogicpriest, pregnancy is more than just a woman’s issue. All parties rights must be protected. It’s no longer acceptable to see it any other way.

  29. says

    When I read “legitimate rape,” I thought Akin was trying to distinguish “real” rape from what happens when women are “asking for it.” Lots of Republicans and Muslims really do believe that crap.

  30. says

    While I don’t think this was a deliberate invocation of the Overton Window, it’s certainly behaving as one. The discussion about abortion is now being subsumed into a discussion of whether or not someone was “really” raped (and thus can get an abortion) or not (and therefore can’t get an abortion because abortion is wrong).

    We need to yank this discussion back to the left. Of course women who have been raped should be able to get an abortion, because all women – regardless of how they got pregnant – should be able to get an abortion.

    This needs to be repeated over and over again. Don’t let the other side frame the discussion.

  31. hieropants says

    Thousands of talented men and women are washed down our nation’s shower drains every day.

    When will the genocide end? :(

  32. says

    Typical Marxist feminist ideology pitting women against the unborn, in unrealistic outcomes, ie, “it will end with a lot of dead women.”

    Congrats…you are thoroughly brainwashed!

  33. says

    Oh Looky! See what you did there with my name, adding an “i” and all that. Clever, oh so clever, for I am defeated.

    But really, your arguments are meaningless to a bunch of godless heathens who don’t believe in mythical energy (souls) clinging to some gooey lump. The real issue is that you and your like don’t really care about life that much, considering pro-lifers are usually pro death penalty, pro war, anti-social welfare and generally full of shit. It is not about “life” and it never was. It is about you deciding your opinions on globs of cells are far more important than a woman’s right to control her own body.

    People like you view women as the property of men and society at large. The GOP for example loves to espouse ideals of small government while wanting to control women’s bodies and medical procedures. People like you push for laws where several teenage women around the country have been jailed, with actual murderers and such, for having fucking miscarriages. People like you espouse views that pregnancy magically doesn’t happen because vaginas know when they are being raped “legitimately” or “forcefully.”

    Take your magical souls and bearded males with magic powers and kindly disappear into somewhere that gives a fuck.

  34. hieropants says

    I fully support a fetus’ right to have an abortion if it suffers an unwanted, dangerous, or malformed pregnancy. Does that count?

  35. adamgordon says

    awwwww, CURRENT Idiot, you’re adorably backwards as always.

    And that will be just the beginning.

    I want to hear the rest! What comes after we deny a woman’s right to bodily autonomy?

  36. Ze Madmax says

    Are you really that dense?

    If alcohol is illegal, do people stop drinking completely? No, some people rely on smuggled alcohol or home-made alcohol.

    If homosexuality is illegal, do LGBT folk suddenly become straight? No, they are either persecuted, forced to hide or forced to live a lie.

    Likewise, if abortion is illegal, do women stop having abortions? No. Women who are wealthy enough can have an abortion by paying off a doctor or going to a place with legalized abortion. Women who are not wealthy enough are either stuck having to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, with all the issues that involves, or risk having a back-alley abortion. And back-alley abortions KILL WOMEN.

    So if you overturn Roe v. Wade and de-legalize abortion you’re setting up a social situation that would lead to the unnecessary death of women. This is not propaganda, this is not brainwash, this is cold hard facts. When abortion is illegal, women die.

    But then, you clearly have accepted the notion that pregnant women have less rights than a clump of cells, only because of what that clump of cells may become.

  37. Sam Barnett-Cormack says

    I gather that what he meant by ‘legitimate rape’ was “you know, real rape, with violence and stuff, not those silly women who get their drink spiked, or who refuse to sleep with the guy they just went on a date with”. As in, he was talking stupid bigoted crap in an attempt to make his position more appealing to moderates.

    Maybe he should paint target rings on his foot…

  38. Sam Barnett-Cormack says

    It’s two issues, both vitally and separately important, and we need to make sure both conversations carry on, and articulate the sensible response.

    I say ‘we’ despite not being American, because this has made the news all over the world, and it’s in the marketplace of ideas all over the world, so we need to shoot down both of his implications, by being clear – rape is rape, and no-one should have to ‘excuse’ an abortion through having been raped.

  39. says

    I agree, and I certainly hope my earlier comment won’t be taken as proof that I agree with these ignorant reactionaries on what constitutes rape.

  40. Amanda M says

    I disagree!

    Upper class men can afford to send their daughters to college. That comes with allllllll the stuff college comes with; drugs, alcohol, parties, that one creepy dude at the party who won’t stop touching my arm, social pressure, frat boys, etc.etc.etc.

    I think that upper class girls are just as prone to date rape, acquaintance rape, drunken confused rape….

    I honestly think it’s ignorance. A lot of people still don’t understand that the vast majority of rapes 1) don’t involve physical force of any kind 2) involve a friend, acquaintance or relative 3) go unreported 4) involve alcohol, drugs, and social pressure to “chill out” and “stop making it weird.” They still think that rape is a criminal hiding in the bushes, waiting to jump out and grab a girl as she walks past.

    I really think they just don’t know. They don’t know that they’re backing ALL women – their daughters included – into a corner. They make allowances for “forcible rape” so that abortion isn’t 100% illegal in this country, and then if their daughter DOES get date raped, well they have access to phenomenal doctors who will be hush-hush about it. They can also afford that kind of care as well as that kind of discretion.

    But I really don’t think they plan for that contingency. I honestly don’t think they think much at all past “What’s all this nonsense about rape? Oh, don’t you worry your purty little head.”

  41. No Light says

    Orthodox Jews, like all Jews, have no objection to abortion halakhically speaking.

    It’s just as well really, because as a population, haredim and Hassidim in particular have an increased need for abortion due to some horrific congenitaj deformities and disabilities among the consanguinous population.

    Israel, wow, they have abortions up to full term for a staggering number of conditions. The more religious the woman, the more likely she is to have had an abortion. Dati Leumi women and even schtark Haredi women will agree that it’s sometimes necessary, and their rebbeim often compel women to terminate when the women seek their advice.

    So shut your shoteh mouth, you shtik drek

  42. No Light says

    I’m not exaggerating when I say that I’ve wept for America’s daughters. I wish I could help you all.

  43. Zinc Avenger (Sarcasm Tags 3.0 Compliant) says

    The topic is rape, but thanks for trying to join in. Now hush, adults are talking.

  44. M Groesbeck says

    …you do know that the majority of actual Catholics disagree with you on this, right? Unless you’re pulling the whole “the bishops directly control the minds of Catholics” schtick, right?

    (I mean, seriously — if Catholics in the U.S. actually had control of their church, the right wing would disown them in record speed. They’d still be wrong about theology, but they wouldn’t be quite as horrendous collectively as Current Douchecanoe…)

  45. Tony •King of the Hellmouth• says

    Former Fetus:

    Rape or incest IS NEVER a valid reason to have an abortion.

    And we need to have lots more men making decisions governing women’s ‘health care’ if women can’t get the personhood issue right.

    What are the secular arguments against abortion in the case of incest or rape? Obviously you know the First Amendment prevents the government from showing preferential treatment towards any religion. So the questionable nature of Christian (or Islam, Jewish, Rastafarian, Taoism, or Sikhism) morality cannot be the basis for denying abortion. So what are your reasons?

    Why is it a good idea for men to make decisions about womens’ bodies?
    Why do you feel you’re right about this ‘personhood issue’? Many people do not share your beliefs, but it sounds like you have no problem imposing your opinions on others. I’m not a Christian, so I don’t believe in personhood, fetus=children, or souls? Why should I, or anyone, be bound by your particular religion’s rules?

    An unplanned, unexpected pregnancy, is just that. A challenge…not a disaster.

    You haven’t talked to many pregnant women, have you? Pregnancy is a body and life changing experience. For some women, it is indeed a disaster. Who are you to speak for them, telling them their feelings aren’t important? If a woman doesn’t want to be pregnant, why are you -*someone who is not the pregnant woman in question*- trying to dictate what she does or doesn’t do with her body?

    If you’d like to start your own theocracy, please move to a deserted island and do so.

  46. Doug McClean says

    I agree with your point.

    I think it is unhelpful, especially on the current topic, to perpetuate the idea that a “douche” is the most disgusting thing imaginable and is therefore an appropriate term of witty disdain.

  47. Christoph Burschka says

    “So what I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians — a majority whom are men — making health care decisions on behalf of women,”

    It’s a bit sad that this (and his recent same-sex marriage comments) is all it takes to make a politician sound awesome these days. Rather than being roughly the minimum decency required to be electable.

  48. says

    Ubnrealistic? There’s two deaths that I know of for certain in my family: my great-grandmother and one of her daughters, my great-aunt. Dead because they could not get an abortion. 100% sure.

    Also, in consequence, my grandmother left school at 14 to care for her alcoholic father and 5 siblings. But what does her education and youth matter to you? Women aren’t real people.

  49. says

    No, a douche is a legitimately despicable thing. It is actively harmful to women, and is promoted by advertising companies by selling the idea that natural self-cleaning vaginas are smelly and disgusting. It’s a handy shorthand for woman-hater.

  50. Doug McClean says

    Yeah, I agree with and am aware of that.

    The problem is it doesn’t seem to be that widely known. My misogynist acquaintances (I work in some male-dominated industries), juvenile “shock jocks”, and such own this word and seem to cherish the misogynist interpretation even though they mostly use it to insult other men. I don’t see the point of trying to rehabilitate it through your line of argument even though it’s technically sound.

    I advocate sticking to calling Akin a shithead. I mean, everybody poops, right?

    I don’t have a hardcopy of the OED handy, or electronic access, so I can’t directly verify the sourcing of this article‘s synopsis which says:

    The Oxford English Dictionary traces this process back to 1967, when “douchebag” was a popular epithet for “an unattractive coed”; it has since morphed into “a general term of disparagement, esp. for an unattractive or boring person.

    Argument by reference to etymology clearly has its limitations, but in this case I think it matters. For similar reasons (bad etymology/racism/militarism, not misogyny) I suggest we avoid the word “bikini”, for example.

  51. Doug McClean says

    And not to belabor the point, but a less significant observation I forgot to include.

    The commenter I replied to didn’t say “douche” or “douchebag”, which I agree with you are bad things and that an effort to reclaim the word could be based on that observation. The word used was “douchecanoe” which so far as I am aware is not a reference to any physical object or custom at all but merely sounds funny to say. I think there is reason to suspect the link here between canoes and vulvas, being that they bare some similarity of shape. (For examples of other people who see this association, which perhaps will save me from appearing to be crazy, see every item on the top page of the google results for the search term: vulva canoe.)

    I think that efforts to claim or reclaim this (pseudo-?)word might be yet more complicated.

  52. says

    it’s not ignorance. also, upper class women are still lower in status than upper class men, so if an upper class woman gets raped by an upper class men, then the “son” principle applies, not the “daughter” principle. only working class and black men “legitimately” rape (upper class) white women.

    rape, both the act itself and the way it is defined and culturally understood, has been a means of enforcing various hierarchies since about forever.

  53. Jamie says

    Former Fetus has a blog blaming the deaths of over 100,000 people on “atheistic-communist regimes”. That enough is sufficient to be sent back to the sandpit for naptime.

  54. hoary puccoon says

    FORMER fetus–

    So you’re against abortion in any case? Fine. Show us the color of your money. Are you calling for a guaranteed income for any woman who’s raped and keeps the child? Are you demanding universal free pre-natal care, so fewer *wanted* children die? Are you adamantly opposing cuts in food stamps, so poor, pregnant women have adequate nutrition?

    If you’re not supporting the programs pregnant women need to have healthy babies, you’re nothing but a hypocrite and a liar.

    Take a look at the Paul Ryan’s budget, and you’ll see where he *really* stands on protecting life. And then take a long, long look at yourself.

  55. Blitzgal says

    Also the 9 year old who was impregnated by her own step-father and who would likely have suffered serious health complications if required to carry the child to term. The Catholic Church, of which Steve King is a member, excommunicated the girl’s mother and the doctor who terminated her pregnancy, BUT NOT THE RAPIST HIMSELF. That’s YOUR CHURCH, Steve King. But you don’t know of any cases. Kindly go fuck yourself, sir.

  56. Blitzgal says

    That’s exactly what he was doing. He’s given further clarification to expressly say just that. He points out that the Roe v Wade case stems from a woman who lied about being raped — without giving the broader context that she lied about it because that was the only exception allowed at that time.

  57. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Doug, if you want your language policed by “shock jocks”, feel free. Personally, I don’t give a fuck if douchebags don’t know how truly insulting it is to be called such.

  58. dmcclean says

    I think there is a nesting limit, so I can’t reply.

    Doug, if you want your language policed by “shock jocks”, feel free. Personally, I don’t give a fuck if douchebags don’t know how truly insulting it is to be called such.

    I’m not sure where you got the idea that I wanted language to be policed by shock jocks. I think I was fairly clear that I thought they were assholes and didn’t want to model my language after them.

    I’m fine with disagreement on this point. If you think it is a good insult, that’s totally fine and I understand your reasoning. I didn’t set out to silence or concern-troll anyone, I just wanted to call attention to a problem I see with rampant use of douche-anything as an insult by misogynist assholes. If the way forward is to reclaim the word, OK, I was wrong, it happens.

    Next time I will bring my nomex suit. :)

  59. Amanda M says

    That’s exactly what I’m saying. They’re giving lower status to their own daughters by taking this kind of action. They’re simultaneously putting them down, but ensuring they still have this little out, this little safety net. Just in case.

    But you do have a point. I feel like it’s a mixture of both. Some of these politicians are playing into this agenda a little less consciously than others. Some are truly ignorant and stupid, some know exactly what they’re doing. It’s a spectrum.

    But yeah, well put. Fair enough.


  60. Amanda M says

    *raises hand*

    I’m Jewish and this is absolutely correct. When I first heard Christians saying abortion was murder, it was news to me. It was also EXTREMELY confusing because I’d never heard it before, and I had a hard time understanding the whole “a fetus is a person” thing.

    Hell, I still do.
    (Mostly because it’s bullshit)

  61. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    I’m not sure where you got the idea that I wanted language to be policed by shock jocks. I think I was fairly clear that I thought they were assholes and didn’t want to model my language after them.

    What you say here IS policing your language according to shock jocks. I agree they are assholes. Feminist use of the word douchebag to characterize them is not “modeling” language after them. Its reclamation and redirection. Not saying you MUST use the term to insult bigots, of course. To each their own. I just strongly disagree with the notion that feminists should restrict their language according to what ‘shock jocks’ do.

    What is nomex?

  62. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Your deep hatred for women is very sad. I don’t understand why you so desparately want to reduce women to Axolotl tanks, but that is your burden to bear. I feel very sorry for you, since you are obsessed with imaginary babies and so clearly and so completely hate actual, living, breathing women.

    Please get help for your hate issues. Before you hurt someone.

  63. dmcclean says

    What you say here IS policing your language according to shock jocks.

    Ahh, I see what you are saying. You mean that I am restricting what I choose to say in part on the basis of not wanting to be associated with them. This is a better phrasing, because under that interpretation I am the one policing (choosing?) my language in part in response to what assholes do. You originally said “if you want your language policed by ‘shock jocks'”, which doesn’t make sense because to make “shock jocks” the subject of “policing” would mean that they were actively criticizing me/us and I/we were responding to them. Maybe “defined” or “limited” or “restricted” as you later said, by “what ‘shock jocks’ do”, but “policed by ‘shock jocks'” simply doesn’t have the same meaning. I’d also say that it’s reductive, because the shock jocks were secondary to my point that I feel a desire to distance myself from this language because personal acquaintances in in-person interactions use it, and relish using it, with an obviously misogynist intent on a fairly regular basis.

    Nomex is a fire retardant fabric. Useful for car racing, foundries, and (by analogy) internet flame wars. Which I seem to have accidentally flamebaited, even though that was assuredly not my intention. I really don’t think we are even far apart on this question at all.

  64. Georgia Sam says

    In later remarks Akin said “The punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.” Mr. Akin, there is another person deeply involved in this situation. Do you know who it is? Here’s a clue: THE WOMAN WHO WAS RAPED. Should she be punished?

  65. dmcclean says

    Also, maybe we can agree I have a point about “douchecanoe”?

    I think it’s really a stretch to say that that is OK because douches are physically harmful, and so therefore so are douchecanoes (whatever they might be), and so therefore it’s aimed at bigots and not women.

    It seems to me fairly obvious that making a compound word from a-vagina-oriented-thing and a-vulva-associated-image and then using it as an insult is much more likely to be interpreted on it’s face as “neener neener, Susy has lady bits and so do you” than as a public health message about the dangers of patriarchal “hygiene” practices.

    Again, I’m not trying to be concern trolling, I just think that how people are likely to interpret what we say is of some importance even when they are likely to misinterpret a more important and more nuanced message that we think we are sending.

    Sorry to have created such a distraction from the OP, which is a just spectacularly awful set of circumstances created by the large numbers of bigoted and emboldened assholes in American politics at the moment.

  66. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    I’m not sure why you think I’m flaming you, but apologies for giving that impression. It was unintentional

    which doesn’t make sense because to make “shock jocks” the subject of “policing” would mean that they were actively criticizing me/us and I/we were responding to them.

    Ah, I see. Originally, I was unclear. However, you are ‘actively’ responding to them if you’re not using the word as feminists use it, because shock jocks use it differently (and incorrectly, IMO). As for ‘douchecanoe’ , or ‘douceberet’ or – my personal favorite – ‘douchebomb’ – it gets boring saying “douchebag” over and over again.

  67. dmcclean says

    Cool. I think I would have to choose “doucheberet”, although it might be because American pop culture has biased me to associate wearing of berets with douchiness. The French really get a raw deal around here.

    Sorry, I guess I was oversensitive. I thought you were saying that I was the asshole for trying to be the language police, when I felt that I was just pointing out that we should think about it. Evidently it already has been sufficiently thought about and people decided to reach the opposite conclusion; I was legitimately if admittedly ignorantly unaware of that and so I felt like I had stepped on a hornets’ nest by mistake.

    Calm discussion on the internet where people end up agreeing? I will give a call to hell to get the weather report. ;)

    Good talking to you, thanks.

  68. aiabx says

    In later remarks Akin said “The punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.” Mr. Akin, there is another person deeply involved in this situation. Do you know who it is? Here’s a clue: THE WOMAN WHO WAS RAPED. Should she be punished?

    Of course she should. Eve tricked Adam into eating an apple, didn’t she?

  69. eric says

    I think that upper class girls are just as prone to date rape, acquaintance rape, drunken confused rape….

    Oh absolutely. I sincerely apologize if I implied otherwise. My point was that many wealthy republicans support the notion of two types of rape (serious and unserious) because it allows them to create a double standard in law, so it is lenient on them but harsh on anyone else.

  70. Rilian says

    When these things say incest, are they only talking about rape-incest? Or do they assume all incest is rape? Or what? I see a lot of things talking about “the victims of incest” and I’m like, who could those be? If you mean rape, why don’t you just say rape? It’s more honest.

  71. joachim says

    Abortion kills lots more girls than boys.

    And minorities…don’t forget that.

    Why, if not for abortion there would be 20 Million more Blacks in this country.

    Admit it…you are glad there aren’t.

    So KMA.

  72. joachim says

    Not nearly as many who were sliced, diced, and burned alive.

    If you think sucking the brain out of a viable fetus is not murder, then you are delusional.

  73. joachim says

    “Rape is natural.”

    Sam Harris, Letter To A Christian Nation

    I am glad that bastards 15 minutes of Fame are about up…he is self destruction is long overdue.

  74. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    is it dependant on my body? Can it only survive if leaching off my body?

  75. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    If you think abortion is about killing viable fetuses, please get some help for those delusions.

  76. says

    Flawless logic, Ze.

    You got me.

    Robbing banks and armoured cars is illegal, but since people are going to rob them anyway…well, we should just make it legal, right?

  77. Clarissa says

    There are a number of states where viable fetuses can be killed.

    However, if you are arguing that abortion should not be allowed if the unborn human is viable, then we are in agreement.

  78. says

    Thanks, Jamie for your unhistorical opinion. Don’t go to my site…your mind, or your morality, won’t be able to process it—

    You’ll find all the woo you need right here at Hag!

  79. says

    “So you’re against abortion in any case? Fine. Show us the color of your money. Are you calling for a guaranteed income for any woman who’s raped and keeps the child? Are you demanding universal free pre-natal care, so fewer *wanted* children die? Are you adamantly opposing cuts in food stamps, so poor, pregnant women have adequate nutrition?

    If you’re not supporting the programs pregnant women need to have healthy babies, you’re nothing but a hypocrite and a liar.”

    You’ve GOT my number, Puc.

    If I was President of the United States…I’d put all that in affect.

    And I’d put you in charge of overseeing that new department of the federal government.

    Your singleness of vision, and utter ruthlessness is exactly what is needed. Let’s do what’s right, we can afford it. Canada does.

  80. says

    She had bodily autonomy before she got pregnant.

    ‘Course, where I’m different is I’d use the powers of the state to enforce protection of the unborn. You can’t let the unstable and the immature run your society.

  81. Doug McClean says

    It’s not just univeral free pre-natal care. It’s universal free contraception too.

    I do commend you for being consistent and supporting these other programs, though, a lot of others won’t. (Although, I can’t quite tell if you are being sarcastic in saying that we can afford it and that similarly situated countries do. There’s a group of people out there for whom that statement would be said sarcastically even though it is in fact accurate.)

  82. Doug McClean says

    This statement is an EPIC failure.

    She had bodily autonomy before she got pregnant.

    The pregnancies we are most directly discussing here on this thread (although the principle of bodily autonomy obviously applies in all circumstances) is RAPE, jackass.

    Someone who is being raped pretty clearly does not have bodily autonomy, I think you would have to agree, since that is pretty much the fucking definition.

    Incredible own goal, incredible callousness. Nicely done.

  83. says

    ANY CATHOLIC who agrees with abortion is no longer a Catholic. So your statement makes no sense. Come back when you actually understand Catholicism, I mean beyond a Baltimore Catechism level.

  84. Dee Emarr says


    Relating a rape survivor’s story who got pregnant is not “anecdotal evidence”. If he were trying to prove that, for example, all rapes lead to pregnancy, then you’d have a point. But the statement “X cannot lead to Y” can be legitimately disproven by a single story where “X once led to Y”.

    Furthermore, this wasn’t even used as “evidence” that rape can cause pregnancy. That fact is freaking obvious. This was a story used to put a face on a rape/abortion situation, and to give a voice to one of the people that we are all arguing about. It’s time we actually listened to someone who has been in that situation.

  85. Dee Emarr says

    You’re taking him so preposterously out of context that it’s ridiculous. The sentence you’re quoting him is in a paragraph in which he says the exact opposite of what you’re implying that he’s saying.

    Full quote:

    “As a biological phenomenon, religion is the product of cognitive processes that have deep roots in our evolutionary past. Some researchers have speculated that religion itself may have played an important role in getting large groups of prehistoric humans to socially cohere. If this is true, we can say that religion has served an important purpose.
    This does not suggest, however, that it serves an important purpose now. There is, after all, nothing more natural than rape. But no one would argue that rape is good, or compatible with a civil society, because it may have had evolutionary advantages for our ancestors. That religion may have served some necessary function for us in the past does not preclude the possibility that it is now the greatest impediment to our building a global civilization.”

    He’s saying that just because something arises naturally, that doesn’t mean that it’s good. And he uses rape as an example precisely BECAUSE rape is so obviously horrifically wrong.

  86. Doug McClean says

    Here’s some empirical epidemiological evidence for you to back up the anecdotes, since evidently you are too lazy to look for yourself. (I believe Ed linked a similar study or this same one a few days ago, but it might have been a commenter.)

  87. says

    Nachash, Orthodox Jews are not like all Jews.

    Liberal Jews have no proximity to God, who cares what moral fabrications they come up with?

    I know I don’t. You shall not murder is Amish plain to me!

    You rejected Jesus Christ, and God destroyed your Temple, ended your priesthood, and returned you to the nations.

    Covenanted Israel is not found in the present state of Israel. You haven’t even have an authentic liturgy for almost 2,000 years.

    Israel continued in the Catholic Church.

    Nóthros one, It’s only all pervasive morality declarations from the Catholic Church—to humanity, that matter today.

  88. Oenotrian says

    If I recall correctly, the 9-year-old was carrying twins, making the odds on her surviving the pregnancy even slimmer.

  89. anat says

    See Anatomy of an unsafe abortion.

    When abortion is legal and easily accessible to all this is highly unlikely to happen.

  90. anat says

    And also see When safe abortion isn’t a choice

    People trying to reduce access to abortion are the murderers.

    But if you really care about reducing the number of abortions, here are some good ways to go about it:

    – Support comprehensive sex-ed in all schools, object to abstinence only programs.

    – Support easy and cheap access to all methods of birth control to all.

    – Promote programs to reduce poverty, especially among families with young children.

    – Promote availability of affordable daycare services for low-income mothers.

    Actions like these will reduce demand for abortion. Those who do not support them yet rage about abortion aren’t about the fetuses, they are about punishing slutty-sluts who dared to have sex.

  91. anat says

    To Clarissa:

    I should be allowed to evict unwanted organisms from my body just like I can evict them from my house.

  92. Types of Rape says

    First, Akin is an idiot.

    Second, so is Obama. Our legal system defines several different types of rape, so Obama is way off the mark.

    There is Forcible Rape (what is probably the type of rape most people think of as “rape is rape”).

    There is Diminished Capacity Rape (passed out drunk, or having sex with someone who is mentally incapable of consent).

    There is Felony Statutory (much older man, girl under the age of consent).

    There is Misdemeanor Statutory (usually a young adult male and slightly younger female).

    There is Marital Rape (still legal is some places).

    There is Rape by Fraud. (Pretending to be someone else).

    Certainly, none of these result in a female “natural defense” mechanism like Akin claims, so he’s an idiot. But to say “rape is rape” is just plain stupid (especially for someone who went to law school like Obama). Obama is merely pandering to the emotions that the majority of us have when we think about what our legal system defines as Forcible Rape. However, rape is clearly not just rape as he claims.

  93. portia says

    Well, they are human. They’re just not persons, nor should they be treated as such. /pedant.

  94. portia says

    I think your legal pedantry misses the point completely. The fact that there are legal distinctions between the circumstances of different rapes doesn’t make any one of them more “legitimate” than another. That was the point of the President’s remarks, I do believe. And your protests of pandering are beside that point entirely.

  95. Types of Rape says

    What you are saying is that an 18 year old high school student having what s/he thinks is consensual sex with a 16 year old high school student is the same thing as a woman being drugged or violently raped… Really? Seeing as how the vast majority of Americans likely fit into this scenario during their final year in high school, I’d say that you have projected the horrific nature of all other rapes onto statutory rape to justify our President’s statement (and more importantly justify your support of his statement).

    There are legal distinctions because rape is defined in our laws not just our morals. The term “legitimate rape” is just asinine, and nowhere did I mention one rape being legitimate while others are not.

    There are legal distinctions for different types of murder, theft, and all other crimes. It doesn’t make any of those crimes “legitimate” or not. It’s simply a matter of law. Keep that in mind next time you are caught speeding, running a red light, or parked illegally. You’ll be very happy that there are legal distinctions between different levels of crimes.

    To make another distinction more clear from my comment: Obama is a lawyer. He knows that there are legal distinctions of rape. He very easily could have said something along the lines of “Rape is a heinous crime that we don’t distinguish as legitimate or not. It is never legitimate.” That statement would have been both powerful and factual because our courts don’t distinguish between legitimate rape and illegitimate rape, but our courts do not see all “rape as rape”.

    Obama is an educated lawyer who knows better. It’s not like he didn’t have time to prepare a statement. That is what my comment was about: an educated lawyer who is now President making a statement that goes against the very laws he was educated on. Not unlike Akin making foolish statements about something he should be educated on given his position on the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. It was one foolish statement followed by another.

  96. portia says

    Forgive me if this is presumptuous, but are you perchance in your first year of law school? You seem to have what I like to call One El Syndrome. (I was afflicted at one point, don’t feel bad). We are all very impressed by your vast knowledge of criminal law, and it remains absolutely unrelated to the point that “Rape is rape.” To your point, murder is murder, in that at the end a person is still dead. Regardless of whether the person was driving drunk or putting poison in someone’s wine. To compare the President’s remarks to those of Akin is patently ridiculous. Declaring that ALL rape is wrong is nowhere close to spreading a horrifically damaging lie about female anatomy.

  97. Types of Rape says

    Here I was under the impression that we were talking about Akin’s “legitimate rape” comment and not his complete lack of understanding of female anatomy. After all, that is the content that our President was referring to.

    It’s astonishing that you can view the world in such black and white terms though. Murder is murder? Really? I hope you are never on a jury. You’d convict a woman of murder for a late term abortion I take it. Or a woman who shot and killed a man who was attacking her and trying to rape her.

    And yes, comparing Obama’s statement to Akin’s statement about female anatomy would be ridiculous. However, I was making the statement about the idiotic term “legitimate rape” and Obama’s foolish “rape is rape” (particularly since he is a lawyer). Since there are forms of rape that are completely defined by law (high school students having sex with each other) then not all “rape is rape”. Except in your black and white world.

  98. Dianne says

    The majority of abortions are performed at less than 8 weeks, when there is literally no brain to “suck out.” The vast majority are performed at less than 12 weeks and unless you’re a strict vegetarian, you eat things with more brains than that on a regular basis. You are delusional if you think that a typical elective abortion occurs on a fetus with significant brain mass, much less activity.

  99. Dianne says

    If you include the possibility of cloning and count every nucleated cell as a person then you have to consider…the holocaust in your toilet!

  100. Dianne says

    Formerhaploidcell, didn’t you read the comment above? A teenage girl recently died because she couldn’t get chemotherapy because she was pregnant with her uncle’s child. All the medical advances in the world won’t help if you can’t access them.

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