Feminism

Activist Sandra Fluke Comments on Rush Limbaugh’s Bullshit “Apology” & What His Slut-Shaming Reveals

 

Sexism, misogyny and slut-shaming pervade our culture. Women’s bodies are continually policed and judged. Nothing shows that better than asshat pundit Rush Limbaugh’s recent slew of insults to activist Sandra Fluke.

As you probably know by now, conservative radio pundit, aka misogynistic douchebag, Rush Limbaugh called activist Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute.” Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University law student, testified in front of Congress on Obama’s ruling of private insurance coverage of contraception. Of course, that was after Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California) and the GOP wouldn’t let her testify at their hearing so Nancy Pelosi and House Dems, wondering “where are the women?,” held a counter hearing to oppose the “autocratic regime.”

When Fluke testified at the Democrats’ hearing, she eloquently and tearfully shared the heartbreaking story of her friend who had ovarian cysts and was prescribed birth control so she wouldn’t become infertile. But Fluke’s friend had student insurance which didn’t cover contraception so she lost her ovary and faced symptoms of early menopause.

But of course, asshat Limbaugh doesn’t mention that. So let’s take a look at his idiocy, shall we? In his first misogynistic rant on Fluke, Limbaugh said:

“What does it say about the college co-ed Sandra Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex, what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We’re the pimps.”

Wow. So a woman who speaks about her friends ovarian cysts…a woman who speaks freely and openly about reproductive rights, bodily autonomy and contraception…oh yeah that’s clearly the same thing as sex work and is clearly something to demonize. Oh and why the hell not throw in slander and a little slut-shaming while we’re at it! Cause you know, women shouldn’t protect themselves against pregnancy with contraception, STDs with condoms, or have access to healthcare.

After a multitude of people called out his bullshit, Limbaugh initially didn’t apologize. In fact, he harassed and insulted Fluke (and all women) again by demanding women who want contraception coverage post sex tapes online (WTF?!):

“So Miss Fluke, and the rest of you Feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex. We want something for it. We want you post the videos online so we can all watch.”

Wow again. So not only does he slut-shame Fluke, Limbaugh shows no remorse AND sexually harasses her. Oh and “feminazis”…how original. And that’s right, because reproductive rights and gender equality are exactly the same as genocide. Silly me.

For the past few days, the Twitter hashtag #FlushRushNow has been busy with people trying to pressure sponsors to drop Limbaugh’s show. 9 sponsors, including AOL, Carbonite and ProFlowers, have dropped Limbaugh but there are still some, including Sears, which still support his show. But apparently, Limbaugh doesn’t give a shit if his advertisers leave as they’ll be more to replace them.

Over the weekend, Rush submitted a written statement, claiming he “sincerely apologizes” for his “insulting word choices.” But really, it’s a half-assed, feeble attempt at an apology:

“For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week. In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.

“I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability?…”

Of course Limbaugh has no problem with American citizens paying for men’s “social activities” and totally supports the use of Viagra. But as Adam Serwer at Mother Jones points out, Limbaugh has no fricking clue how birth control works. He assumes it’s like Viagra and women who have lots of sex must take more birth control. Rush, contraception is a preventative and it doesn’t matter if you’re having a lot, a little or absolutely no sex, you take the same amount of birth control.

As Amanda Marcotte at RH Reality Check points out, this is no apology. Limbaugh just wishes he had called Fluke another name instead:

“In other words, Limbaugh is saying that there’s nothing wrong with his belief that women who use contraception—that is, 99 percent of American women—are immoral, filthy sluts.”

Marcotte’s right; almost all women use birth control. More than 99% of women aged 15–44 who have ever had sexual intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method. Out of the 43 million women who are fertile, sexually active and not looking to get pregnant, 89% use birth control. Marcotte also notes that while Rush personally attacked Fluke, she was a symbol for his vitriolic misogyny:

“Since 99 percent of American women use contraception—and since contraception is already covered by insurance and subsidized by the government—Limbaugh was using Fluke as a stand-in to argue that every woman who has ever had sex for any other reason than procreation is a bad person. In other words, pretty much all women. Which is a way of saying that Limbaugh wasn’t attacking Fluke, but just using her for a punching bag to express his hatred of all women.

All House Speaker John Boehner had to say was Limbaugh’s remarks were “inappropriate.” Inappropriate?? A woman was slandered on a national platform for no reason and it’s merely inappropriate?? I call bullshit. Nancy Pelosi called Limbaugh’s “attacks that are outside the circle of civilized discussion and that unmask the strong disrespect for women held by some in this country.” She also called on House Republican leaders to denounce Limbaugh’s insults. Luckily, Fluke received a lovely phone call from President Obama himself (!!!), thanking her “for speaking out about the concerns of American women” and telling her that her parents should be proud. People have shown an outpouring of support for her and the DCCC started a petition calling on political leaders to denounce Limbaugh’s offensive commentary.

Now, just because one asshat conservative made a hateful statement, doesn’t mean all conservatives believe his words. I mean not all liberal democrats or feminists or vegans speak for me. But by not denouncing his slanderous comments, the GOP basically condones it. Silence speaks volumes.

Fluke issued a statement herself on Limbaugh’s douchebaggery:

“No woman deserves to be disrespected in this manner. This language is an attack on all women, and has been used throughout history to silence our voices. The millions of American women who have and will continue to speak out in support of women’s health care and access to contraception prove that we will not be silenced.”

Fluke went on The View this morning to discuss Limbaugh’s bullshit “apology.” She dismissed it (rightfully so), saying she didn’t think it changed anything, especially since he was pressured by his sponsors. On The View, Fluke articulately said that Limbaugh didn’t make a few casual comments. Rather he insulted her and the women of Georgetown (and pretty much all women everywhere) over 50 times over a 3-day period. Fluke asserted:

“It is really important for us all to understand, this is not one person who went crazy and made ‘funny,’ outrageous statements. This is evidently a segment of our political commentators who think that it’s acceptable in today’s society to say these things about women.”

So why does the ranting of one asshole matter? For one, many people listen to Limbaugh’s show. He’s one of if not the most popular conservative Also, his insults and the lack of the GOP to denounce them, reveal the misogyny of the GOP in the House and Senate and at the state-level to wage the ongoing “war on women.”

As badass feminist activist Jessica Valenti writes in her book The Purity Myth, women are valued and judged by their sexuality and sexual choices:

“Whether it’s delivered through a virginity pledge or by a barely dressed tween pop singer writhing across the television screen, the message is the same: A woman’s worth lies in her ability – or her refusal – to be sexual. And we’re teaching American girls that, one way or another, their bodies and their sexuality are what make them valuable.”

When a police officer claims women should stop dressing like “sluts” to avoid rape and sexual assault (the incident sparking SlutWalk); when people blame journalist Lara Logan for surviving rape in Egypt when she covered the Arab Spring; when the NY Post runs a headline calling Dominique Strauss Khan’s victim a “hooker maid;” when 26 states enact anti-choice measures and the House votes on 8 anti-choice measures (more than any other year) in 2011  – something’s got to change.

Beyond victim-blaming and striving to strip away reproductive rights in the name of some faux morality, society labels women as sluts when they engage in sex and when they are agents of their own bodies. Limbaugh plays into rape culture by stigmatizing women’s sexuality and slut-shaming a woman for her reproductive rights advocacy.

We must hold misogynistic douchebags accountable when they demean and slander women. As Fluke says, women must not be silenced.

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3 thoughts on “Activist Sandra Fluke Comments on Rush Limbaugh’s Bullshit “Apology” & What His Slut-Shaming Reveals

  1. Speaking of “rape culture,” did you happen to catch Lindsay Lohan on SNL,
    this past Saturday night?
    One of the jokes, during a “scared straight” type skit, had me scratching my head
    and thinking, “The Opinioness ain’t gonna like this!”
    Whomever the writer was, SHAME!

    “The Desperate Housewives of Disney” was hilarious, though.

    As for Limbaugh…
    My God, nobody likes that man, not even his listeners.
    People tune in just to hear how batshit crazy & out of touch, he still is
    in 2012.
    The guy was having some sort of perverted meltdown, when he got
    to the part about wanting to see the video’s of all the sex she was
    having.
    Talk about cringe-worthy moments, that took the cake.
    Rush needs to get himself medicated, again.

  2. Pingback: NO SHAME IN THE GAME; NOT GOOD « BLOGGERNEECY

  3. Pingback: Asshat CNN Contributor Erick Erickson Wants to Silence Powerful Women by Reducing Them to Vaginas | The Opinioness of the World

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