Parsing the Media: "The IMF: Violating Women Since 1945"


For the record, I am ignoring the extremely silly headline for the article, as headlines by their very nature are overstated and manipulative.

As I was reading an article about the IMF's historical complicity with women's rights violations, one sentence struck me like a baseball between the eyes:

For many in the developing world, the IMF and its draconian policies of structural adjustment have systematically “raped” the earth and the poor and violated the human rights of women.

I could go on about grammatical incorrectness and general object-verb failures (and oh, how I want to!) but I'll forgo my grammar nazi reflexes. ("Get to the point, miss oncoming hope, perilously lodged in your glass house!")

It's that word, that word that stands in the middle of the sentence, visually punctuated with quotation marks to guarantee that you don't miss it (there's no other reason for the quotation marks to be there, unless it's a word quoted directly from original speech made by 'many in the developing world', the 'earth' or 'the poor').

Now I read the rest of article because it was recommended by someone I trust, and because I am generally interested in the tyranny of IMF structural adjustment policy. And of course I am interested in international organizations and the systemic oppression of women.

But I couldn't get that "raped" out of my head. No matter how salient the rest of the points in the article might be, that one word has primed me to read the whole thing as overblown and exaggerated. That word tells me this article is written by an activist not an informer. It tells me that every sentence is colored with pre-conceived notions rather than respect for fact.

I accept that hyperbole is the bread and butter of internet commentary. But in most cases, especially as regards to political economy, the facts and the statistics are outrageous enough. The policies that have made the sex trade the only available occupation for thousands of women are deplorable on their own. But poorly formed policies that have been proven not to work do not directly equate to "violations of women's bodies."

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