Before Missouri Republican Senatorial candidate Todd Akin made his oxymoronic comment “legitimate rape,” the talk of the table, when our daughter and her friends gathered, was Anne Marie Slaughter’s Atlantic article, about whether women can have it all.
My daughter, 21, a college senior, sees a future before her of graduate school, working, achieving. Perhaps she’ll marry; perhaps she’ll have children. She may do one, or both. She and her friends have choices.
I tried to impress upon these young women that they’ll figure it out, that every situation is different, that there are many ways to address the challenge.
What’s more worrying, I persisted, way beyond how they’ll juggle jobs and family, is the perpetual war on women’s reproductive rights, made more evident by Akin’s insensitive ignorance.
Akin’s remarks spurred playwright Eve Ensler, working to help rape victims in the Congo, to write an open letter that appeared in the Huffington Post. She wrote: “I am in Congo but I could be writing this from anywhere in the United States, South Africa, Britain, Egypt, India, Philippines, most college campuses in America. I could be writing from any city or town or village where over half a billion women on the planet are raped in their lifetime.” Here is the entire letter: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eve-ensler/todd-akin-rape_b_1812930.html
My daughter, back at school in Ohio now, has to register to vote, as do her friends and countless unregistered voters across the country. I hope they’ll vote with their brains, and preserve the rights that protect their bodies.
Life is much harder in other nations.
We recently saw Desert Flower, the autobiography of supermodel Waris Dirie, a Somalian nomad subjected to female gential mutilation at age 3. She fled an arranged marriage when 13, making her way to London where she worked as a cleaner in a fast food restaurant. Discovered by a fashion photographer, she became the face of many designers, cosmetic companies, and other consumer products. She began advocating against female circumcision and became a United Nations spokeswoman. Her work continues through her foundation.
Pretty scary. Makes you wonder.