Rush Limbaugh's recent, awful attacks on Georgetown student Sandra Fluke, who had the audacity to testify about the contraception policy at Georgetown, a Jesuit University, at a hearing led by House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi last Thursday, have inspired calls for Limbaugh to apologize as well as at least one company to pull advertising from his radio show. This was all precipitated when Fluke, who is a third-year law student, said that she had to pay up to $1,000 a year for birth control because Georgetown health plans did not cover it, and Limbaugh responded on his show, “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.”
Not content with that, Limbaugh added, "Can you imagine if you're her parents how proud of Sandra Fluke you would be? Your daughter goes up to a congressional hearing conducted by the Botox-filled Nancy Pelosi and testifies she's having so much sex she can't afford her own birth control pills and she agrees that Obama should provide them, or the Pope."
Nice gesture, invoking the parents, Rush.
Following that, on Thursday, "Fluke appeared on MSNBC’s The Ed Show," writes Maggie Fazeli Fard in The Washington Post, where Fluke called Limbaugh's comments “outside the bounds of civil discourse.” Which, clearly, they are -- not that that's anything new for Limbaugh. Per usual, his comments don't even make sense, and only show that the conservative radio host a) lacks of any sort of knowledge or apparent interest in any knowledge about what birth control is, or how it works; b) has an innate hatred (and/or perhaps fear of) women; and c) knows how to seriously just rile people up. Which he has successfully done in this case. In addition to the calls for apologies and ad-pulling, there's the chorus for justice heard from civilians across the Internet. And on the other side, there's Limbaugh's attempt to turn this into yet another "the left is being insane about something stupid" issue.
But, the simple fact is this: If Rush Limbaugh slut-shames you, you're doing something right, because he is pulling out what he imagines to be his most hurtful, vicious, full-barreled defense strategy against a woman. If you call a woman a "slut," you see, she will cower in a corner and hide because that is akin to calling her ugly, or worthless. At least that's what small-thinking men (and sometimes women) assume; women would rather die than be dubbed such a thing! Slut-shaming is a tool of cowards who want to make women feel bad because, truthfully, they're afraid of what those women might do given a platform like, say, the floor of Congress. And this means Limbaugh is not just a bully, but also an über-troll, exploiting his own drummed-up outrage and the Internet's eagerness to amplify it. Which only makes Sandra Fluke, and all of the thoughtful people out there fighting for women's contraceptive rights -- who, for the record, aren't resorting to name-calling or troll tractics -- look even better.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.