Stop the Nasty Talk, Rush
Interview by Andrew Goldman, NY Times – After you testified before House Democrats in February about the limited contraceptive coverage in Georgetown University’s insurance plan, Rush Limbaugh referred to you as a “slut” on his radio show. He said you were “having so much sex” that you couldn’t afford all the birth-control pills you needed. Do you suppose he doesn’t understand how the pill works?
It does seem to make a case for comprehensive sex education, doesn’t it? Actually, what I’ve learned has less to do with Mr. Limbaugh specifically and more to do with a part of our population that has this view. Because frankly, you don’t go on national radio and talk for several days about something that no one wants to hear. There’s an audience for this type of sexist vitriol. There is real hate and sexism within our society that we have to do something about.
But what exactly can you do? Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda wanted the F.C.C. to revoke the licenses of stations that carry Limbaugh’s show, but doesn’t that go against basic First Amendment rights?
Free speech is a complex area legally, but it’s important to recognize that there are distinctions between one’s ability to express an opinion versus one’s ability to use F.C.C.-regulated airwaves to do so, and also one’s ability to engage in speech versus one’s ability to engage in slander.
Rick Santorum said during his campaign that pornography “contributes to misogyny and violence against women.” Do you agree?
Congratulations on finding a position that Rick Santorum and I agree upon. I do think there’s a serious problem with the violence we see in some pornography, and it has severe consequences for sexual-assault rates. That said, I don’t think that all erotic material is necessarily problematic. As a friend put it, she would be just fine with feminist porn. [more]
Jenna Johnson, Washington Post - For decades, Georgetown University law students have led the push to have the student health-insurance plan cover contraception.
Sandra Fluke fit the profile of those who have gone before her: Law students are typically older than Georgetown’s undergraduates, less likely to be Catholic at the Catholic institution, and more likely to rely on school-provided insurance.
But unlike those others who were part of a running campus controversy, Fluke became part of a heated and highly personal national debate when she agreed to testify before a congressional committee last month.
Fluke said she anticipated criticism but not personal attacks from prominent pundits including Rush Limbaugh, who repeatedly has called her a “slut,” and from hundreds of people who have typed even more offensive slurs on Twitter.
“I understood that I’m stepping into the public eye,” said Fluke, 30, a third-year student studying public interest law. “But this reaction is so out of the bounds of acceptable discourse . . . These types of words shouldn’t be applied to anyone.”
Limbaugh, a conservative radio talk show host, was criticized by prominent Democrats and Republicans. A handful of companies suspended their commercials on his show in protest and by Saturday, Limbaugh apologized in a statement on his Web site.
In the statement, he said “my choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir.” [more]