Sex is not a four letter word

Unless you've been hiding under a rock somewhere in the east end of nowhere, you've already heard all about Rush Limbaugh's latest controversy and the resultant firestorm of criticism. He called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a slut after she testified before Congress advocating that institutions (religious or not) be required to offer health insurance coverage for birth control.

Never mind that he misrepresented to the listeners of his radio show what she actually testified about. (Read the transcript of her remarks to Congress here.)  Forget that he got his facts wrong. She was actually talking about the dangers of not covering a drug that is also used for reasons other than birth control. She was talking about women's health. Reproductive rights. But no matter. That's just filler.

He called a 30 year old woman a slut.

It makes my blood boil.

When I was a few years younger (a couple of decades ago to you youngens), that was a word that was used pejoratively, to keep young women (women of all ages, really) in line. To ensure their behavior.

We had to be ladies.

Men had sex but women didn't- or weren't supposed to, anyway. And we for damn sure didn't talk about it if we did. It had to be a secret...or we risked being branded a slut.

That's stupid. Dumb. Illogical. Unfair. Wrong. Crazy.

What the hell is so wrong about having sex?

(That's a rhetorical question.)

I was married for 14 years, and then I got divorced. If I never remarry, am I supposed to not have sex for the rest of my life, or risk being called a slut? Are those the choices that people like Limbaugh offer women: marital fidelity, sluthood or celibacy?

Where do you start with that kind of nonsense? The fact that it's demeaning to women? That men think they can categorize women by their sexuality? That a woman's value lies in her ability to keep an aspirin between her legs?

It's hogwash. Bullmalarkey. And I'm not surprised that women stood up in a fury and started demanding recompense from Limbaugh and those who support his words and ideas. We deserve better than to be classified by how often we have sex. Or with whom. Or why.

We deserve, as Sandra Fluke told Congress, to have our reproductive health needs covered by insurance. We deserve to be able to take a medication without being called names. We deserve to be equals.

And there you have it.

Filed under: Opinion


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  • You have a problem with Rush talking about floozies? I assume you don't listen to a lot of hiphop.

  • In reply to gwill:

    I do have a problem, and Rush isn't hiphop.

    It is defamation per se to accuse someone of being a prostitute, and this accusation was made against an identified individual.

    And, of course, slut is a 4 letter word.

    So, unless Rush was talking about someone arrested on Mannheim Road for the offense of prostitution, the language was, at the least, inappropriate. I suppose that if a particular woman was called a ho on a hip hop record, she could sue.

  • In reply to jack:

    hiphop just maligns women in general not a specific person, sorry for missing that point.

  • You know what's funny? You really only see Mr. Publius Forum and the other super-conservative bloggers on this site attacking other men who take offense at what Rush said. They're too cowardly to refute when a woman makes a very salient point concerning the issue.

    Typical (perhaps single) misogynists who wish to impose their values upon the opposite sex through legislation, not conversation or compromise.

    So keep talking. And then please run for office.. ;-)

  • In reply to Dan Bradley:

    ^^^Dan Bradley I hope you're not saying I'm "super conservative" and a "coward" by making the point of how considerably misogynistic hiphop is?

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    I think Limbaugh went to far in calling Sandra Fluke a slut. In fact, what Limbaugh did actually detracts from what he wanted to accomplish. Instead of talking about the real issue, that Sandra Fluke and people like her have a sense of entitlement to what others have earned, we're talking about what a blowhard neo-con like Limbaugh said.

    My question to Sandra Fluke and her supporters is this. Where in the United States Constitution does it say that I or anyone else has incurred a debt to you to pay for your contraception and abortions? You can't find it anywhere, because it isn't there. Therefore, I don't owe it to you, and make no mistake, stealing from one group to buy votes from another is what this is really about.

  • What amazes me about the entire controversy is the selected outrage. The chronically offended seem to be only upset by the Rush Limbaugh's of the world and not the Bill Mahrs or even rap music.

    Right, Michael, this is not about "reproductive health" but about roping in votes.

    Where does the "deserving" in life end? Why should it end with contraception being covered by insurance? Don't we all "deserve" to have broken dishes covered by homeowners insurance? Why should I have to buy my own replacement dish.

    And Dan, you the hypersensitive guy, you. You cannot see that government IS imposing its will on women (and others) by mandating what is or is not covered by private insurance companies? It used to be that government was not wanted in the bedroom; now the door is open and the lights dimmed. So Obama wants insurance coverage for contraception, which can be bought and paid for fairly easily, and he and Congress "order" it done. Perhaps President Gingrich, Smith or Jones wants the opposite? Another order effecting the bedroom.

    Regarding the term "slut". I am supposing you were in the vanguard of criticizing Bill Mahr and condemning rap songs? Or are you selectively offended as well?

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    Michael and Richard,

    Thank you for leaving rational comments. It's refreshing. However, I disagree with both of you, and here's why:

    First of all, you're trying to reframe the issue at hand. This isn't about government entitlements. This is about citizens being able to pay private insurance companies, out of their own pocket, for health care coverage that is fair and equitable.

    "The pill" is not just a simple formulation- there are different combinations of several hormones that prevent pregnancy. They are prescribed for women for various medical conditions. It's a prescription drug for women's health. And yes, for women, pregnancy affects our health.

    We are prescribed the pill because we might have horrible, wretched menstruation that knocks us out of the loop for several days with painful (as in, needing prescription pain medication) cramps and heavy bleeding that causes anemia. We are prescribed the pill because we've had a bad miscarriage, or difficult pregnancy, and getting pregnant before giving our bodies a chance to recoup would cause potentially life-threatening (for ourselves and future children) problems. We're prescribed the pill because we have endometriosis and our doctors are trying to prevent- or delay- a hysterectomy, as well as bladder and gastrointestinal damage.

    And yes, we're prescribed the pill because we don't *want* to be pregnant at this time.

    I fail to see how any of the above reasons don't fall under appropriate health care.

    Why *don't* women deserve to have equal health care coverage? And, while I hate to drag out the old argument......if men have Viagra covered- which is hardly a health issue- why shouldn't women have hormone therapy covered?

    I'm not asking you to cover my prescriptions for any medication, and neither was Sandra Fluke. She pays for her health insurance. She simply doesn't believe (and neither do I) that institutions should be able to selectively dismiss legitimate medical needs of 50% of their insured.

    It has nothing to do with the bedroom, and everything to do with the health of women.

    Secondly, as to your query about Bill Maher and others who defame women, yes, I am offended. I don't watch him, and I won't. Some might make the argument that Maher makes his statements on a cable channel, and that his comments have been one-off quips and that Limbaugh went on a rant that lasted for days......but I think that's bullshit. I'm disgusted with the words he uses to describe women with whom he disagrees politically.

    Kirsten Powers wrote a column on liberals "winking" at left-wing misogyny. I'm not generally fond of Powers, and I think she leaves out slews of conservative men who almost proudly carry the badge of misogyny, but she makes several good points.

    It's always this back and forth, isn't it? If one person calls bullshit on something, then someone else says, "but SO AND SO did it, too." At some point, it just simply has to end.

    Or, as my mama used to tell me, two wrongs don't make a right........

  • Sex is a three-letter word, duh.

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