Radio host Rush Limbaugh is so keen on pornography, he’s suggested an entirely new genre of it.
In an attack against the Georgetown University law student, Sandra Fluke, who House Republicans wouldn’t let testify at a hearing on insurance coverage for contraception, Limbaugh shared his ideas about what should happen to women who dare disagree with him on women’s health.
He said, “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.”
He also called Fluke a “slut” and a prostitute after she argued that birth control should be covered by health insurance at religious institutions.
The Washington Post’s Melinda Henneberger argued in an earlier piece that Fluke may not have been the best witness for a very different reason: As a student, rather than an employee, of Georgetown, her insurance coverage would not change one way or the other under the Affordable Care Act as currently written, with or without a religious exemption to institutions like the Jesuit school Fluke attends.
Fluke has, however, proven quite fit when it comes to resisting the hackneyed and typical attacks inflicted upon women who choose to raise their voices.
Fluke said in a statement, “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.”
What Limbaugh did - and does frequently - is “slut-shaming” and it’s no less hateful and derogatory than racial slurs.
Any woman who dares admit that she is anything other than a virginal “Madonna” is rebuked and intimidated into silence and shame. And this tactic is profoundly dangerous in this context of helping to insure women’s health.
“She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception,” Limbaugh said of Fluke.
Let us ignore for the moment that Fluke was testifying about a friend who is too afraid to come out publicly and announce her need for birth control for a medical reason, and so spends $1,000 a year on medicines that are free or nearly so on insurance plans that don’t adhere to Catholic doctrine.
This is a textbook attack on a woman for being female and for speaking up.
Limbaugh, who invented the reprehensible slur “feminazi,” hurls that epithet at any woman who dares believe that insurance should pay for drugs her doctors deems necessary to the protection of her health. That includes women who are Jewish. Limbaugh feels it’s appropriate to liken those women to the terrorists and torturers who would have exterminated them.
This is hate speech. There is no excuse for it. And it must be called out at the moment it is uttered.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) silenced women’s voices by holding an all-male hearing on drugs that not a single participant would have cause to use. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) could hold alternate hearings.
Limbaugh’s tactic of trying to silence women’s voices by making them afraid of the reprisals that will come if they express themselves is far more damaging than holding one meeting and not letting one woman speak.
He wants women to be too afraid to say anything at all. His language crossed into the realm of sexual harassment when he demanded that women objectify themselves and submit their private sexual activities to him and the world to watch.
Fluke was gentle in calling such language “beyond the acceptable bounds of civil discourse.”
All because a woman dares to hold an opinion.