So called US entertainer Rush Limbaugh certainly opened a can of worms when he remarked on Sandra Fluke's possible promiscuity. Whether Ms Fluke's appearance before US Congress regarding contraception was a put up job is debatable. If it was a ploy by the US Democratic Party it was fell for hook, line and sinker. However that is by the by. Most people have been appalled by Limbaugh's sexist and disrespectful remarks.
Whilst this blogger was appalled she could perhaps see where he was coming from, albeit the wrong direction entirely. In the past some people have said that women and girls who only date and sleep with men of a certain standard of income are like prostitutes. That speaks for itself. It smacks of selling yourself to the highest bidder. The issue of Ms Fluke is very different.
"Fluke said her fellow students at Georgetown, a Jesuit university, pay as much as $1,000 a year for birth control because campus health plans do not include coverage of contraceptives for women." As TEKJournalism reported last week, here is what Limbaugh said about Sandra:"What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke [sic] who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex -- what does that make her? 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. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex." Limbaugh then said, "ok, so she's not a slut. She's round-heeled." "Round-heeled" is an old-fashioned term for promiscuity.
Mr Limbaugh claimed that Fluke effectively wanted the government to subsidize her sexual activity and demanded, "We want you to post the (sex) videos online so we can all watch." Hmm
Plainly all of that went a step too far. Rightly the media has responded quickly in order to distance themselves from Mr Limbaugh. Today, March 6, 2012, there are reports that Rush has been dropped by advertisers. The plug has been pulled on many advertisers who offered commercials during the breaks of Limbaugh's shows. This will hit him and the show's producers hard and where it hurts, that is in the pocket. Sources online claim that AOL and various Radio Stations are also dropping Rush. It seems that this dog has had his day.However whilst not wanting to defend this right wing man one has to wonder about the US media.
Is Limbaugh's the only case of speaking out of turn? Is the US media policed and controlled fairly or are others stepping out of line? If in the past it has been an almost anything goes mentality then singling out one silly man who has a big mouth seems wrong.
Kirsten Powers has come up with the same thoughts it seems. This week she has asked how come those on the other side of the fence do not attract bad press? After all sexism is sexism is sexism. Disrespectful humour and commentary is just that, no matter what the political leaning of the speaker is.
As a woman I know that it is often hard for men to know when they have overstepped the mark. After all there will always be some men who can get away with a statement whilst another man may make you cringe. Calling a woman a slut or prostitute is not humour though. Fact.
This means that when the other side of the political spectrum wade in, such as Bill Maher regarding Sarah Palin, the same outcry should follow. Hypocrisy these days is far too evident in all walks of life. Whatever happened to fair play? Precedents should not be set. Neither should there be excuses made for some, but not others.
Such abuse is either just that abusive and to be deplored or it is not and it is acceptable. It cannot however be both depending on who the target is and perhaps more importantly who the commentator is.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog