Sexist Screed Gone Too Far-Now Rush Must Go

It’s Women’s History Month. Let’s make Rush Limbaugh history. Here’s one action you can take. Scroll down to the bottom for more actions, and updates as they come in. His sponsors are bailing fast, thanks to you!

Politico Arena asks:
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh has been heavily criticized by the Georgetown University law student who he called a “slut” after she testified on Capitol Hill about women’s access to contraception.

“I’m not the first woman to be treated this way by numerous conservative media outlets, and hopefully I’ll be the last,” Sandra Fluke said on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show.” “This is really inappropriate. This is outside the bounds of civil discourse.”

Although Limbaugh infuriated Democrats by calling Fluke both a “prostitute” and a “slut,” he has shown no signs that he’ll issue an apology.

Should Limbaugh issue an apology? Or will the media firestorm blow over?

My Response: No apology is good enough. Rush must go. Period.

Women have had to put up with his “feminazi” epithets for far too long, but now, his labeling an upstanding young college student a “slut” and a “prostitute” for claiming her moral and human right to the very contraceptive coverage that allows millions of women to be sexually responsible should get him bounced from his host seat forever.

This woman-bashing is at its core about fear of women, especially women with power to determine the course of their own lives. Limbaugh has revealed the ugly sexism that underlies the warped logic of proponents of the Blunt amendment, the recent VA forced ultrasound bill, insurance coverage of contraception, and opposition to just about anything that might allow women to function as equal citizens.

If Don Imus lost his job over his “nappy headed ho” comment, then surely, as Rachel Larris at the Women’s Media Center put it, Rush Limbaugh’s latest insults to women are “Finally Too Much to  Bear.” Limbaugh’s vicious, misogynist screed is profane beyond the bounds of decency.

March is Women’s History Month. Time for women to make Rush Limbaugh history.

Here’s the link to my original post on Politico

Update and more action information 3/3/12:

Your voice makes a difference. Carbonite just peeled off:
For people who have asked about how to influence Limbaugh’s sponsors to dump him, here is heartening news-go thank them:

Carbonite Online Backup
A Statement from David Friend, CEO of Carbonite: A Statement from David Friend, CEO of Carbonite: “No one with daughters the age of Sandra Fluke, and I have two, could possibly abide the insult and abuse heaped upon this courageous and well-intentioned young lady. Mr. Limbaugh, with his highly personal attacks on Miss Fluke, overstepped any reasonable bounds of decency. Even though Mr. Limbaugh has now issued an apology, we have nonetheless decided to withdraw our advertising from his show. We hope that our action, along with the other advertisers who have already withdrawn their ads, will ultimately contribute to a more civilized public discourse.”

Other sponsors that have dropped Rush thus far are Quicken Loan, Sleep Mattress, and Sleep Mode.

Sign the petition to urge ProFlowers to dump Rush if you haven’t already done so, as they are holding out.

Find a more complete list of sponsors and advertisers that you can boycott or/and write to to urge them to stop sponsoring him.

Update 3/4/12: You all rock!

Here’s today’s Limbaugh update from @jljacobson at RH RealityCheck: ProFlowers has suspended their advertising on Limbaugh’s show, which is no small feat because … ProFlowers is owned by Liberty media and according to Forbes there are strong and direct ties between Liberty and Koch Brothers, as well apparently, with Bain Capital…. what a web!.

Here is a piece that lists all the sponsors who’ve dropped Limbaugh.

And here is a piece at Forbes.com that puts together the links between various actors.

This is great news, but don’t stop yet. Compliment the advertisers that dropped Rush, keep the pressure on those that are still recalcitrantly supporting his sexism, and remain vigilant about all sexism in the media.

Onward!

Blogher 2010 Conference

At the 2010 Blogher Conference, I was a keynote speaker on closing panel, called “How to Use Your Voice, Your Platform and Your Power.” Need to Know PBS anchor Alison Stewart moderated a powerhouse panel: Marie Wilson, Founder and President of The White House Project (and creator of Take Our Daughters to Work Day), and P. Simran Sethi, Emmy Award-winning journalist, blogger and environmentalist.

Empowerment is a constant theme at and on BlogHer. All signs point to others recognizing our power – as a group and as a demographic. How are we leveraging that power as individuals? How should we be?

Now that we know marketers and advertisers seek the opinions of women (who make over 80% of consumer purchases) and their blogs, how can we control what we are being sold? Now that we know having a unique presence online has turned us into “personal brands,” how can we use it to our best professional advantage? Now that we’re each part of the large BlogHer community and many sub-communities, how can we harness and strategically focus that collective power? How and when and for what can and should we turn on the power spigot?

Here are some clips of me speaking on the panel.

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Power unused is power useless. The internet has changed the shape of what advocacy looks like.
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Powerful women used to be reticent to raise their voices. The wonderful thing about the internet is that everyone speaks at the same decibel level. The future of the feminist movement depends on women and men working together.

Check out this article in Media Post for a summary of the panel as a whole.

The Feministing Five Interview

Feministing.com’s Chloe Angyal asked me the five questions that the terrific online community puts to a different feminist every week. In case you have ever wondered what food, beverage, and feminist I’d take with me to a desert island, read on…

Gloria Feldt is a force to be reckoned with. Feldt is the former President and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Foundation of America and has devoted her entire working life to women’s rights. This week marked the conclusion of efforts to pass health care reform, and because abortion coverage was used, successfully, as a wedge issue in the debate over those efforts, it’s important to reflect on what went wrong, what we did right, and what our next steps should be. And who better to help us understand that than Feldt?

That said, any week is a good week to interview a woman who had led a life like Feldt’s. Raised in West Texas, she grew up in a world that was, in so many ways, totally different from the one we live in today, a world where women couldn’t get credit cards or take out loans under their own names or without their husbands’ permission. Today,

Read the full interview here.

Historic Health Care Vote Leaves Women Feeling Shortchanged

After last night’s historic health care vote in the US House of Representatives, I feel a combination of relief that the (flawed but symbolically important) bill passed and fury that the ban on abortion coverage will not only remain but will remain by virtue of an executive order issued by the hand of a president who during his campaign pledged to repeal the Hyde anti-abortion coverage amendment. In my often expressed opinion, repeal of Hyde and full integration of reproductive health services including abortion is what the president and the pro-choice groups should have demanded in the first place. For if they had, we not would have ended up with this travesty for women’s health. The pro-choice women in the House fought hard, but without the president, Speaker Pelosi, and pro-choice groups standing firm behind them, they were left twisting in the wind.

Linda Lowen, who writes the Women’s Issues column at About.com, suggests that one intangible benefit to women will be a huge increase in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s stature and power. Jen Nedeau, who manages the Not Under the Bus campaign, describes a sense of betrayal shared by many—and how to move forward, in this exclusive written for the Women’s Media Center and reprinted with permission. Kindly scroll down to see one specific action you can take to help right the wrong done–and indeed the only action that can. Let me know your thoughts.

So this isn’t radical reform.  But it is major reform.  This legislation will not fix everything that ails our health care system.  But it moves us decisively in the right direction.  This is what change looks like.”—President Obama

So this is what change looks like? Throwing women’s rights under the bus in exchange for health care?

Something about this doesn’t feel like change. Something about this feels all too familiar. Once again, women’s rights are being used as a bargaining chip for political gain. Once again, the right to choose is not left in the hands of women, but left in the hands of male politicians who will never be faced with an unwanted pregnancy.

Yes, it is true that Speaker Nancy Pelosi worked incredibly hard to get the votes to pass the bill that now makes it illegal for insurance companies to discriminate against women with higher premiums than men or deny coverage to women who have had Caesarean sections or survived domestic violence.

Yes, it is true that bill will make health care more accessible for women and families across America by controlling costs and offering a public marketplace where those without insurance can buy their own affordable coverage.

However, these very important advancements cannot disguise two major attacks on women’s choice.

The first attack was passing a bill that contained Ben Nelson’s Manager’s Amendment.

The second attack is the Executive Order from the White House reaffirming the Hyde Amendment ban on federal funding of abortion and effectively extending it beyond its current application. In the Daily Beast, Dana Goldstein discusses how the “executive order enshrined the Hyde Amendment and expanded its reach into the new private insurance exchanges created by the health-care bill.”

At the end of the day, more than 30 million uninsured American’s can now have access to health reform, but it is abundantly clear women’s health is not considered a priority.

If you are a pro-choice advocate, this is not the change we hoped to see, particularly from a Democratic President and Democratic Majority Congress.

The bill that was passed contains language that has the potential to create a nation completely divided by access to abortion.  With the Nelson language intact, it is possible for abortion rights to be completely stripped from the hands of low-income women, who are disproportionately non-white, by the predominantly male-led state legislatures.

According to the Guttmacher Institute , “nearly half of all pregnancies to American women are unintended and four in 10 of these end in abortion.” Guttmacher also reports that unintended pregnancies have increased by 29 percent among poor women while decreasing 20 percent among higher-income women.

As the bill stands at this point, if a state opts out of abortion coverage in the exchange, women who cannot afford a private insurance plan would have few viable options for seeking access to abortion. That means reproductive choice is no longer left with women individually, but given to the state. After last night’s historic vote, it may feel like the health care reform battle is over. But for millions of women across America, it has really just begun.

Today CREDO launched an action taking a firm stand against anti-choice Democrats who betrayed women across America saying, “It’s time for pro-choice donors and members of Congress to stop funneling money to the anti-choice candidates via the DCCC.”

You can sign CREDO’s petition and take the momentum of ”Yes We Can” pass health care to “Yes We Can” repeal the Hyde Amendment.

It is time to finally give women across America—not just those who can afford private health care, but every woman—a real choice when it comes to their body, their destiny and their future.

The views expressed in this commentary are those of the author alone and do not represent WMC.  WMC is a 501(c)(3) organization and does not endorse candidates.