Todd Akin Makes Dumb Comments About Equal Pay: “It’s About Freedom”

  • Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican’s gift that keeps on giving, has now bungled comments about equal pay and why he voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. (You can read my 2010 interview with Ledbetter here to learn more about it.) Akin was asked by an audience member — a man, actually! — at a town hall meeting, “You voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Why do you think it is okay for a woman to be paid less for doing the same work as a man?” His response didn’t actually answer the question (no surprise there) but at least he didn’t blame it on women this time:

    “Well, first of all, the premise of your question is that I’m making that particular distinction. I believe in free enterprise. I don’t think the government should be telling people what you pay and what you don’t pay. I think it’s about freedom. If someone wants to hire somebody and they agree on a salary, that’s fine, however it wants to work. So, the government sticking its nose into all kinds of things has gotten us into huge trouble.”

    You see, he wants the freedom to discriminate in pay if he thinks women deserve to be paid less than men. It’s not about sexism at all! It’s just about liberty. [Marie Claire]

  • California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a domestic workers’ rights bill that would have strengthened protections for nannies, home caregivers, and other predominantly female jobs. [San Francisco Chronicle]
  • Catholic protesters in Brooklyn have successfully gotten the Brooklyn abortion clinic where I used to escort to stop providing abortions. [New York Daily News]
  • Way too much creepy TMI about Tea Party Rep. Allen West in this subhead: “Congressman demanded non-negotiable sex and bikinis in a letter to his wife from Iraq.” This is the same guy who complained that women’s rights activists were “neutering American men” and fostering “weakness.” [Salon]
  • A 16-year-old pizza delivery boy in New York City was arrested for raping a woman while on a delivery. [Complex]
  • Why are the best spies in the CIA women? [Forbes]
  • Over at Slate, Katie Roiphe addresses feminism, earnestness and humor. [Slate]
  • Sociologist and marriage expert Stephanie Coontz penned a piece in The New York Times op-ed page this weekend that has everyone a-buzzin’, which means you should probably read it. [New York Times]
  • Why this woman stopped shaving her body hair. [The Gloss]
  • An appeals hearing for the feminist punk band Pussy Riot, three of whom were jailed for speaking out publicly against Russian President Vladmir Putin, has been delayed. [Guardian UK]
  • What American women can learn from Ghanian feminists. [Clutch Magazine]
  • Meet Fatou Bensouda, the chief criminal prosecutor from the international criminal court, on campaigning to stop violence against women. [Guardian UK]
  • A new iPhone app in Hong Kong helps customers identify which businesses are most inclusive to LGBTQ folks and spend their dollars appropriately. [Queerty]
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