Presidential Campaigns and Women

Who would have suspected that the 2012 presidential campaign would have so much to do with women’s rights?
And yet, here we are again with candidates talking of reproduction rights as if they had to decide for women when and if they want to have a child, with golf clubs forbidding memberships to women and radio show hosts calling women sluts when they talk birth control and sex.
At least, I thought that my native country was done with all of that.
But last week, Mr. Bayrou, one of the French presidential candidates, declared that he was in favor of special opening days and times for women in the public French swimming pools.
The request is on the agenda of conservative Muslims, and although the presidential candidates don’t want  to offend the  growing Muslim community, and are cautious with their statements, all agree that public pools should remain open to boys and girls, to men and women without special schedules for the female gender.
Mr. Bayrou, however, insisted that many women, especially after a certain age, and a few extra pounds, can feel uncomfortable in a bathing suit and would rather be on their own without men around. He specified that young women at the prime of their youth and beauty weren’t the issue of course.
I’m confused. Is it for the comfort of women or the pleasure of Mr. Bayrou’s eyes?
It is increasingly disturbing to read and hear such comments in 2012. 
If these comments were racially loaded, these men would be in deep trouble. But because they are targeted at women, they are largely dismissed as faux pas. 
Read the following article, another great one from Maureen Dowd, in the New York Times. Perfect timing. 

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