Female Fights: #9 Todd Akin

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Missouri Congressman Todd Akin's remarks about a woman's body resisting fertilization in a "legitimate rape" created outrage. Despite pressure from his party, Akin stayed in the Senate race and lost to incumbent Claire McCaskill. (Sid Hastings/AP Photo)

In 2012, women put up a good fight to defend their interests, even as others fought for their favor. Here are the year's top female fights, as measured by search volume and percentage spikes compared with 2011 on Yahoo!.

The fight was most evident in the elections. Turns out that women vote differently from men, and they vote at a higher rate. Polls hinted that, this time, a woman's yes would make a difference, and the parties came a-courtin'. Yet even as female voters were being wooed, some were taken aback by dubious science surrounding rape. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., in seemingly easy contention for the U.S. Senate seat, resuscitated a medieval concept when he explained to a local TV station, "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole [fertilization] thing down." (Later comments comparing incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill to a "dog" and a "wildcat" and saying she was less "ladylike" earned even the ire of conservative pundit Ann Coulter, who damned Akin as a "selfish swine.")

Akin's gaffe was only one among many that riled women and men alike: Apologies came from (losing) U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, R-Ind. ("I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen"), and Rick Santorum's super PAC contributor Foster Friess ("Back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly").

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