Talking Points Memo reported today that Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh, already controversial for his demeaning and offensive comments, and his support for Congressman Todd Akin, attacked law student and women’s health advocate Sandra Fluke.
No wonder women still tend to shy away from politics.
Remember when Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan was nominated to be Mitt Romney’s running mate, and the media hounded him with questions about how he could handle campaigning and still take care of his young children? Actually, they didn’t. But they are still hounding female candidates for office.
I have lately become acutely aware of a depressing trend: the denial of abuse – whether the issue is torture, forced evictions, or garden-variety employment discrimination – amongst those of us who should know better. Of course, we don’t call it denial. We call it “realism.” But the mechanism is the same.
Social anxieties around female athleticism are rooted in the same fear of female mastery and autonomy that drives anxieties around reproductive rights. By taking on sexism towards athletes, we can help undermine hostility to reproductive rights.
This may be one of the most important elections that women will…oops…sparkly!
I am tired of it: violence against women may be a current fact—every 3 minutes a woman is beaten up — but it is not inevitable. So here are my top three key recommendations for how you (yes: you) can make it stop before it even starts.
It is difficult to tell if we are witnessing the death throes or re-upping of the radical right-wing. The frenetic pace with which the states are instituting draconian abortion laws, defunding Planned Parenthood and bringing ultrasounds to Capitol Hill could be either. It is going to be up to the us in the pro-choice movement to decide.
Anti-choice billboarders never discuss why abortions are needed; the lack of access to quality health care, sex ed and contraception; or even the jobs needed to help young women care for the families they already have.
Fighting back is a good first step in the war against street harassment, but the abuse and crime will continue as long as our culture promotes sexist beliefs that women lack intelligence and autonomy.