On this episode of Reality Cast, I’ll be interviewing a representative of Provide about the struggle to get abortion access to rural women. Rush Limbaugh has decided Obamacare is a plot for oversexed women to steal men’s money, and high school kids in Texas get a sexist abstinence-only Christian speaker prevented from coming to their school again.
I love reading advice columns, and love how, no matter how bad the letter writer’s partner is behaving, they inevitably describe them as an otherwise wonderful person. But this recent example from Dear Prudie struck me as a reach even by those standards.
- Madonna *
I get that people can have a lot of flaws while otherwise being upstanding folks, but someone who is always trying to make you ashamed of having a sexuality is beyond that. Luckily, Prudie advised that she dump him.
The highly gendered attacks on the Affordable Care Act continue. I covered this in the last podcast, but Rush Limbaugh has really taken to this idea that Obamacare is nothing but some kind of major plan to move money from men to women. And that it’s some kind of secret feminist subversive plot so that women aren’t dependent on men anymore and thus don’t have to get married to them and clean up after them. Which is just asinine. Because feminists make no secret of our distaste for forced female dependency on men. And a program that makes it easier to get health insurance for everyone is hardly what’s going to end thousands of years of sexist oppression of women. And yet, here’s Limbaugh and a caller calling in the show.
- Limbaugh 1 *
Yes, we’re supposed to be so offended that women pay health insurance premiums and get their health insurance covered. This is the worst thing that ever happened. It’s “communism” and “wealth transfer.” It’s none of those things of course. It’s always amazing to me how sexist arguments like these only work if you assume women don’t pay taxes or pay health premiums or anything like that. But of course we do. But since they’re already playing in a fact-free zone, I guess ignoring the obvious fact that women do, in fact, pay for our insurance just like men do will be an argument.
Limbaugh was humping his favorite thesis, that women only lean liberal because we’re evil people looking to steal from hard-working men. That came up in his supposed “analysis” of the Virginia race, where anti-choice fanatic Ken Cuccinelli lost to middle-of-the-road Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
- Limbaugh 2 *
So basically, the theory is that if the government starts depriving women of health care, and starts starving them if they lose their jobs, and starts starving their children out and takes away their basic right to abortion, we’ll be forced to get married. How romantic. How wonderful a worldview that sees marriage as something women have to be forced into through sickness and starvation, instead of a commitment made by two people who love each other. Oh, and it gets worse.
- Limbaugh 3 *
Seriously, his entire “argument” against not just any kind of government assistance for ordinary people—though he’s still perfectly happy with government giving massive aid to the already wealthy through grants, investment, and tax breaks—has increasingly just been that he worries that it makes women feel they can have sex without getting married. That’s his argument against Obamacare now, too, even though his argument there is that women should not receive services for the insurance premiums we pay because somehow that means we’ll be able to have sex without “paying the price,” i.e. of being stuck in an unhappy marriage. He’s been really quite focused on this fear lately.
- Limbaugh 4 *
Yep, he’s actually trying to pretend he’s trying to help women with his plan to terminate government benefits, end comprehensive health insurance, cut women off from legal abortion, and make it harder to get contraception, all in the vain hope that this will make you more likely to suck it up and get married to someone you don’t love and otherwise would like not to marry. Thanks for the offer, Rush, but I don’t think women need your, um, help.
The kids today are pretty great. I’m frequently reminded of this, and the latest reminder is what happened in the town of Richardson, Texas, which is an inner suburb near Dallas. The PTA in Richardson arranged to have one of those obnoxious Christian right “motivational” speakers come in. This is a practice that the government really needs to crack down on, because while these speakers supposedly are there to present secular presentations, inevitably it’s just a bunch of lies and misinformation that is really meant to indoctrinate kids into fundamentalist Christian beliefs. Even if they’re really good at scrubbing the God talk from their presentations, it’s still a problem because inevitably they are promoting highly offensive and inaccurate gender stereotypes and lies about sex and contraception. The youth minister pretending to be a “motivational” speaker in this instance was a man named Justin Lookadoo, and he was there to supposedly teach kids about dating.
- lookadoo 1 *
Is this true? Was the quote that was flying around taken out of context? Well, the quote I saw being brought up over and over on Twitter and in the media was, “Dateable girls know how to shut up,” and that “They listen more than they gab.” Was that out of context? Well, no. If you read the website in question, it turns out that’s the least offensive thing on it. Other fun quotes: “Let him lead. God made guys as leaders,” which means that girls should never ask guys out, according to Lookadoo. Another quote: “Dateable girls know that guys need to be needed. A Dateable girl isn’t Miss Independent.” He describes girls as “soft” and “gentle,” and lets boys own all the fun qualities, saying that guys and only guys are “stronger, more dangerous, and more adventurous.” He says “guys don’t live by the rules of the opposite sex,” which is presumably why people said he was encouraging rape culture, which also believes that men prove their manliness by ignoring a woman’s refusals. He also says that “dateable” guys “keep women covered up.”
He has all sorts of delightful ideas about how women are weak and stupid and broken, in fact! These were easy to find online, where he advertises his quote-unquote “motivational” services.
- lookadoo 2 *
He then goes on to promise that as long as women carefully avoid having sex, avoid going to parties, and play mind games with men where they pretend not to like them in hopes that they’ll get guys to chase them, then they’ll get to marry a handsome, rich man. No, I’m not kidding. He portrays this as a matter of protecting their self-esteem, because he clearly believes the only reason women would go to parties, have sex, or show a guy they like him back is because they’re weak and desperate for men to like them. He says he doesn’t want women to “compromise” for a guy, but it’s only about these things, since his site clearly states that women are to compromise their desire to talk about themselves on dates. The possibility that we might like these things, too, is simply ignored. But men get to enjoy being horribly stereotyped too.
- lookadoo 3 *
He goes on to suggest that feminism is why guys like video games so much, because they’re pansies and yeah, it doesn’t make sense, but he needs to work any angle he can to scare people into thinking that believing in women’s equality and rights will destroy sex and relationships. In other words, it’s a lie. But don’t worry, most of his stereotypes about men are there for one reason and one reason only: To excuse bad and even abusive male behavior.
- lookadoo 4 *
Despite his claims to be a Christian, Lookadoo is openly lying here. How do I know? Well he says that he knows why his wife puts the garbage there, but then says that he steps over it anyway. That’s an admission that he’s just pretending not to know what she’s getting at. This is not some harmless sexist joke because he’s using it to blame a woman who is telling a man “no” and having that man “pretend” not to hear her. He’s basically saying it’s women’s fault if a man refuses to hear them say no to a relationship. This is all reasons why the students at Richardson threw a fit on Twitter about his presence at their school, and good for them! Luckily, he’ll never be coming back.
And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, Fox News just keeps getting more blunt with the misogyny edition. This is from a segment on the Fox Business channel.
- female brain *
I guess the phrase “politically correct” is now just being used to damn actual facts. No, there’s nothing wrong with the “female brain.” You want to believe so not because you’re so politically incorrect, but because you’re also just straight up factually incorrect.