Pay no mind to the cheery, playful "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" melody that rings throughout the Renegade Raging Grannies' take on "Legitimate Rape." These women are serious.
"We don't consider ourselves entertainment," songwriter Vicki Ryder told the Daily Dot. "While my song was a bit more raucous than the other ones we'll do, we were so enraged by ignoramus that we had to sing out."
Ryder is speaking in regards to Rep. Todd Akin's comments on Aug. 19 about the female body's ability to "shut that whole thing down" in the event of "legitimate rape."
A few days later, the elderly Durham, N.C., resident sat down and wrote the lyrics to "Legitimate Rape," a three-verse protest that has racked up nearly 500,000 views after just four days on YouTube.
"I had no idea it was going to the touch the chord that it did," Ryder said. "It's actually a little overwhelming. We're usually just busy in our own cities and not looking for the kind of celebrity that comes with going viral. We're more concerned with getting a message out to the local decision makers."
The Grannies made an exception for Akin’s statement, however. As Ryder said, it's part of a continued effort to create some semblance of gender equality, something that the Raging Grannies have fought for since they were little girls.
"We all lived through the time when abortions were illegal," she said. "We were alive for Roe v. Wade. And we all remember the times when we couldn't get credit in our own names and all the property belonged to our husbands. We remember back alley abortions. Most employers still don't offer any significant type of maternity leave. We still have a long way to go."
The Raging Grannies community is now in its 25th year of operations, having grown from a small protest movement in Victoria, B.C., into a consortium of 60-plus "gaggles" populating cities throughout the United States and Canada. The grannies cooperate and share songs through a unifying website, Raging Grannies, but Ryder said new gaggles are known to spring up in different cities all the time.
"We really have no way of keeping track," she said.
Ryder's hometown crew is based out of North Carolina and goes by the name “Triangle Raging Grannies” (though the group that sang "Legitimate Rape" performed as the Renegade Raging Grannies because it also featured grannies from Florida and Mexico).
She said that the group is focusing most of their attention these days on local hydrofracking and U.S. involvement in the Middle East, but that Rep. Akin's comment was so egregious that it warranted immediate protest.
"It's very dangerous if young girls think that they got pregnant through some fault of their own after a rape because they didn't protest enough," she said. "That that kind of misinformation that gets thrown out there as if it's science is deplorable.
"I don't fault anybody who's uneducated or has misunderstandings, but when you have a person who sits on the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and is in a place to write legislation about things that he absolutely knows nothing about, it gets really scary."
Photo via YouTube