• Wed, Mar 7 2012

Has Rush Limbaugh Helped The Slut Empowerment Movement?

 

Sandra Fluke

Now, we can’t give Rush all the credit as Carol Platt Liebau points out in her book Prude, the word “slut” has lost most of its stigma in many circles. A 2001 headline in Salon urged, “Be a Slut!  Be a Slut!  Be a Slut!”  Similarly, the great Tom Ford once asked a gossip columnist, “What’s wrong with sluts?  . . .  Why do we think being a slut’s bad?  Sluttiness is just a lot of freedom.” And like b*tch, slut is an affectionate and sometimes humorous term in the female teenage zeitgeist (and we now know it is young girls that can make a huge impact on everyone’s language.)

But Rush’s comments have invoked an absolute defiant protest from women who are now asking that if they are in control of their bodies and educated than are they considered sluts too? Jessica Scott, who is a company commander and romance novelist, told BuzzFeed that she had been following the heated debates on contraception and religious liberty for a month. But when he called Sandra Fluke a ‘slut’ after she argued that employers should pay for their workers’ contraception, she decided it was time to act. The second lieutenant, who has served in Iraq, wrote on Twitter that she ‘used birth control while deployed with my husband so I *wouldn’t* get pregnant & sent home.’ She then finished the tweet with the hashtag #iamnotaslut which proved hugely popular and sparked a flurry of tweets expressing anger at Mr Limbaugh’s comments. [tagbox tag="sexism"]

In a post from Daily Kos:

“GOP wordsmith and windbag, Rush Limbaugh, has long railed against taking English words and changing their meaning.  While he does just what he rants about. The word “slut” is a perfect example.  He’s redefining what it means, because Sandra Fluke’s testimony was NOT about sex, it was about women’s health broadly and specifically women’s reproductive health.  She spoke of women’s health and being concerned for women’s health.  Rush has now defined that as being a slut.  He’s using a verbal sleight of hand saying she spoke about sex. He’s shaking a verbal set of shiny keys hoping to distract everyone from what she really said.But she didn’t. This is about women’s reproductive health . . . period.”

From TVNewsLies.org:

“Let’s hear it for all the women who are vilified because they dare to want to control their own reproductive systems, – and who consider pregnancy prevention a vital part of their basic health. Who would guess that this is the 21st century, and that this is the United States of America?  Who would guess that a powerful group of politically extreme, narrow minded, mean-spirited, insecure and backward-looking little men would use  the ‘s’ word to describe any woman, anywhere in this day and age?  Who would guess?  So let’s really hear it for them.

Rush Limbaugh aside, the assault on the rights of women is alive and well all over this country. Every single GOP controlled legislature in the United States has passed laws to limit the rights of women to control their own bodies.  This latest outrage, – the attempt to limit women’s access to contraception is only one skirmish in a war that promises to put American women back in the kitchen where they belong, barefoot and pregnant. And, it promises to attack those women who dare to fight back by labeling them “sluts” and “prostitutes.”  It promises to insult and demean all women who dare to continue a fight that started decades ago, and that brought women the many rights they rightfully won.”

Basically if the word b*tch can stand for “Babe in Total Control of Herself” then slut can stand for “Smart Lady Using her Thinking.” Okay, that is not the best one but you get the point (I am very open to suggestions.) But, at the same time, the word slut does not replace calling someone just a smart and strong woman who is in control. We can use b*tch  in as many TV show titles as we want or call the Harvard University class of 2012 a bunch of sluts but the issues are still there.

“Reframing the narrative and the language used to oppress women is a drastic measure to be sure; but in a world where women’s sexuality is politicized and commodicized by heavy hands, comments and attitudes like those on display in our political landscape demonstrate that we’ve got our work cut out.

Quite simply, the successful emancipation of women will require more than a revision of this slur; more than anything, the men and leaders in this region must no longer evaluate a women by her sexuality (chastity, virginity, etc.), but by the contents of her mind, convictions of her heart, and behaviors beyond the bedroom that make this world a safer, more sustainable place for us all.”

 

What We're Reading:
Share This Post:
  • Tinamarie Bernard

    Love that you reference my article in your piece. One request – the Examiner.com didn’t write it, I did, and the Ethical Slut was written by Easton and Janet Hardy. I neglected to mention that in the first draft of the article.

    Thank you, Tinamarie Bernard

  • Meredith Lepore

    Thank you Tinamarie! I will make the change!

  • ShyTown

    Ugh, I have been in a war with my Dad about this on facebook all week. The fact that he is in full support of Rush is driving me crazy, but I’m tired of fighting with him about it bc I’m getting nowhere.
    He even gave me a link to his blog (which I didn’t know existed…) where he tore Fluke apart : http://politicsncrap.blogspot.com/2012/03/devil-is-in-details-rush-was-right-i.html
    I also wrote about the craziness on mine, though from a much different perspective! http://gutsandglitter.com/2012/03/03/rush-limbaugh-should-be-beat-up-by-a-slutty-prostitute-gg-is-volunteering/

  • Jeff

    I’m first to admit Limbaugh isn’t careful with his speech, but that’s the game. Since when have commentators like Madow, Olbermann, Maher, et al. ever been careful about what they called who? And in most cases, with less reason.

    But its a red herring anyway. Fluke, a seasoned activist, claimed a $3k need for contraceptives per student over 3 years, which placed an unreasonable financial burden on students which she believes the US Government has the responsibility to cover.

    Think about that. CVS less than a mile away from campus sells condoms for about $0.64 each. $3k provides enough for more than 12 sexual encounters every day for 3 years with no breaks. That is if the woman does not use birth control pills, which can be obtained at the local Target for $9/mo, or $324 for 3 years.

    This highly educated, respectable, Georgetown woman either cannot do proper math, or by her own admission she has earned the less than complimentary title several times over.

    But in reality neither is the case. Fluke is an activist making an absurd comment for political reasons. R.L. is doing the same thing. All of these attacks against Limbaugh are just a cover for an incredibly stupid statement that Democrats have no other answer for.

    • katelyn

      Maybe I’m in an alternative universe here, but whenever I hear about Mrs. Fluke it is always about the medical necessity of birth control. Why is it that so many people fail to address her friend, who lost an ovary because her school felt that it wasn’t necessary to cover the cost of birth control for their insured students?
      I’m sorry, but all the condoms in the world won’t prevent someone from getting ovarian cysts, having horrendous cramps, heavy bleeding that leads to anemia, or migraines. Not to mention that Mrs. Fluke has never once, to my knowledge, called Limbaugh a manwhore because he disagrees with her.