Saturday, March 10, 2012


Dear Madame L,

Now that Rush Limbaugh has apologized for his revolting insults of a private individual (Sandra Fluke) who dared represent the  views of many young single women in a Congressional Democratic forum, shouldn't people just let the issue drop?


Enough Already

Dear Enough Already,

Madame L points out again that Limbaugh's apology was not sincere. It meant nothing. Madame L points out that this kind of public discourse indicates a deeper problem among many sectors of our national community: a problem of basic misogyny, of fear of what might happen if women were able to control their own bodies, earn equal pay for their work, and so on.

Madame L was pleased to hear that Pres. Obama called Ms. Fluke to offer moral support; and Madame L was appalled to read that Republican presidential candidates did not take the initial insult seriously, with even Mitt Romney, whom Madame L thought would do better, only saying he wouldn't have used the same words. (See, that makes it sound like he would express the same views but instead of using the words "slut" and "prostitute" he would have called Ms. Fluke some other synonym.)

Madame L quotes here someone else's (Irin Carmon's) writing on why Limbaugh's behavior is so appalling, and why the refusal of many men, including so-called progressives like TV "comedian" Bill Maher, to condemn it, is just as bad:

"If you think employers should be able to deny women coverage of contraception while covering Viagra, because their religious philosophy happens to be that women’s purpose is baby-making, or that women should “pay a price” for having sex, or that you should be able to determine which uses of birth control are permissible and which are slutty, you’re a misogynist. Even if you use politer words than “slut” and don’t demand a sex tape.

"If you believe that women who are about to have abortions don’t realize they’re pregnant, and that they need to be “empowered” by being shown a picture of their “child” (misrepresentations are courtesy of McDonnell), to teach them a lesson about what’s at stake, you’re a misogynist. Even if you’re not forcing them to have a transvaginal ultrasound."

The good news: "The Rush Limbaughs of the world don’t get to define the boundaries of appropriate sexual or moral behavior. But something is happening: Women are defining those boundaries for themselves, with many men alongside them, and they’re being reminded that there’s a concerted movement to take that right of self-definition away. And we’re mad."

Madame L is mad, too. Madame L, as you know because she repeats it every time she writes about this, opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incestuous abuse, the mother's health, and such reasons. 

But Madame L affirms the right of every woman to make her own decisions, without some dirty old man (like Limbaugh) or comedian who will say anything to get an outraged laugh (like Maher) or ambitious politician who will do anything to curry the favor of Tea Partyers (like Va. Governor Bob McDonnell) coming between the woman and her own family and doctor.


Madame L

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