It’s Not Rocket Science: Unless Your Name is Todd Akin
For my non United States readers, Todd Akin was the conservative Republican Senator who sits on the science committee, who proudly professed the belief that women cannot get pregnant from “legitimate rape” because the body has mechanisms to shut down unwanted pregnancies.
Todd Akin was, of course, wrong about pregnancies resulting from rape. In the United States, 32,000 pregnancies a year result from rape. But Todd Akin is far from alone in his ignorant beliefs about the female reproductive system. I’m not going to go into great detail of all the ignorant things that have been said about rape in the US Election cycle, because that’s three posts on its own, and Todd Akin lost his re-election bid.
Instead, I shall talk about the other demonstrations of ignorance about women’s bodies.
- Stephen King: The Infamous Locker Room Scene in Carrie.
- Nobody bleeds that much. Unless you’re miscarrying a baby, having your internal organs sliced to pieces, or in a Stephen King horror movie. Who came up with this notion that women bleed buckets and buckets of blood?
- If you’re emotional, it’s because you’re PMSing so you’re clearly “on the rag.”
- PMS means PRE, pre as in before. Before your period, you are not using “the rag.” Semantics, people.
- Shark Attacks:
- Seriously, we can’t swim in the ocean because the shark will smell the blood on our tampons and eat us? Who comes up with this?
- Bear Attacks.
- So we can’t swim because of Jaws, but we can’t go camping either, because our periods might attract a bear. Why leave the kitchen?
- Vodka Tampons
- This had to be designed by a man. Because whoever designed this has no understanding of how tampons actually work. Tampons expand when they absorb liquid. If they have absorbed liquid, they are too big and lose their insertability. Also, alcohol burns. Who wants to burn one of their most sensitive organs?
- PMS and Mood Swings:
- No we wont’ kill you. We’ll just be a bit more moody than usual, although whether or not PMS is real is the subject of academic debate.
- Women don’t poop or fart.
- Sorry to bust your illusions, but we’re human beings first, women second.
- HPV/Plan B makes women, especially teen girls, sex addicts, hosting orgies.
- High on fantasy fodder, but low on evidence.
- Women only take oral contraceptives because they’re having sex and don’t want to get pregnant.
- Ovarian cysts, irregular bleeding, acne, …there are a myriad of reasons women take birth control, none of which are your business.
- Asprin between the knees works as a contraceptive. (Seriously?)
It’s not just women’s health that many people fail to comprehend. Many people conflate statistics to justify fears about autism and vaccines, call evolution a “theory,” not understanding that the scientific and vernacular uses are different. A large proportion of the United States population believes that President Obama is not a United States citizen.
Where is this culture of ignorance coming from? Why is innumeracy and illiteracy so common? Shouldn’t it be a source of shame, rather than pride? I read somewhere that in business, there is such a stigma on not knowing something that people are compelled to make up information, sometimes with disastrous results. But this doesn’t seem to be the case in politics.
This culture of ignorance is especially tragic when the resources to gain this knowledge are so ubiquitous. I understand that not everyone has the abilities to spend hours pouring over Machiavelli and mathematical theories. However, when these ignorant statements come out of those with platforms of speech, platforms where people take their word as truth, and have the ability to get the correct information, this ignorance is just sad.
Seriously, it’s not rocket science. Unless you’re Todd Akin. In which case, you really should resign from the House Science Committee.
Tell me, Readers, what other baseless beliefs have you heard?
- “The Arbiter For Women”: Todd Akin Just Can’t Seem To “Shut It Down” (mykeystrokes.com)
- What’s so scary about Special Lady Time? (beamagazine.wordpress.com)
- In a 2008 Speech, Todd Akin Said Doctors Give Abortions to Women ‘Who Are Not Actually Pregnant’ [Todd Akin] (gawker.com)
- McCaskill Defeats Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin in Missouri (news.yahoo.com)
- Tina Fey Rips Todd Akin, ‘Grey Faced Men with $2 Haircuts’ Telling Women What Rape Is: VIDEO (towleroad.com)
- Extreme Tamponing (thinkandponder.com)