HOWZAT! THE RETRO-SEXISM WARS
It’s not just the porn star mo’, flamboyant flares and tight white shorts that are making a comeback.
Retro sexism is all the rage.
From the portrayal of young women in Big Brother, The Shire (above) and Being Lara Bingle, to comments by radio announcers and political wannabes, everyone’s on the backlash bandwagon.
During a weekend interview, an American Republican hopeful said pregnancy from rape is “really rare”. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin (below) said.
I had no idea our eggs had brains. Based on his logic, an egg would refuse to be fertilised by a sperm ejaculated during forcible penetration.
It takes “Just Say No” to a whole new level.
Sure, it’s one comment from a right-wing idiot. (According to a US study, there are more than 32,000 pregnancies from rape in any given year, predominantly in adolescents who’ve been assaulted by a known perpetrator.) But it reflects a wider return to old-fashioned ‘values’. The common characteristics are an embrace of misconceptions; an ignorance of facts and the labelling of women as “sluts”.
Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke wants a proper apology from talk show host Rush Limbaugh for calling her a “prostitute”.
She made a speech to House Democrats supporting mandatory insurance coverage for contraceptives.
“If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it, and I’ll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch,” he blurted out on-air.
Sadly, it’s not much better here.
On radio last week, a woman called in tears to talk about her 19-year-old sister who’d been sexually assaulted on an international flight. A man molested her while she slept.
“Why didn’t she tell a flight attendant?” my male co-host asked.
“She was in shock,” the woman stuttered. “Actually, she couldn’t speak about it for years. She’s never recovered.”
“Well, that’s her fault,” my co-host replied. “Women have got to stand up for themselves.”
“Hang on,” I shot back. “This woman was a teenager. She was in shock. I was assaulted at the same age. And I didn’t have the confidence to fight back or tell anyone. So I feel really sorry for her.”
The exchange elicited a flood of calls: from women who’d been attacked but never spoken of it; others who’d fought back and had no sympathy for women who didn’t; and those for whom “no” clearly means “yes”.
It took me aback. Way back. To the dark days.
In 2012, I thought it would be clear-cut. A woman is assaulted. She is the victim. Deserving of our sympathy.
But the retro blamers believe the victim is at fault.
“She was asking for it. Her skirt was too short. I’ve heard she’s a prick tease.”
Each woman has her own story to tell.
I was 19. We had a house-warming party. The theme was Pimps and Prostitutes. I wore a black skirt, fishnet stockings, and lacey blouse.
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