Mind your misogyny

It’s amazing that even though it’s the 21st century, male politicians are easily able to get away with their misogynistic and sexist pronouncements.

Most of us are probably familiar with the rather ingenious dichotomy of rape that Republican politician Todd Akin has coined — legitimate and illegitimate rape. While Akin has been busy highlighting the possible conceptual nuances of rape, his party colleague Richard Mourdock dismissed the need for abortion in rape pregnancies because they are “something that God intended to happen”.

And now an Indian politician has put his foot in the mouth with a remark bound to incense the modern Indian woman. Rajpal Singh Saini, a Rajya Sabha member belonging to the Bahujan Samajh Party, declared in a televised address in Uttar Pradesh that women and children did not need mobile phones. Apparently women should not have access to mobile phones, according to Saini, because it distracts them! From what exactly, you ask? If one were to infer from Saini’s argument, cellular technology keeps them from being like the ideal Indian woman of the earlier decades. “Our mothers, sisters and wives did not have mobile phones but they did not die because of it. If they could survive without mobile phones, why can’t women now?” said the BSP politician. Ironically, BSP president Mayawati is a woman, who uses a cell phone — a fact that has been pinpointed by several Indian publications following Saini’s offensive remarks.

It’s not only ordinary women who are targets of such misogynistic and sexist, even females in power are not exempted from them. Just weeks ago, Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard denounced the leader of the Australian opposition Tory Abbott for implying that her government was inept in handling family policy because the prime minister was herself childless. There’s not much of a logical relationship between the two things, but when you are a conservative male politician, you’re likely to take cheap shots at your more powerful female colleague by such gaffes.

And even though these comments momentarily spark uproar, men in power all over the world will continue to churn out such faux pas and not get seriously reprimanded for it. So it’s just a matter of time that Todd Akin will invent a new sub-category of forced sex — consensual rape, perhaps?

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