Fight Over Rape in New Orleans, Anti-Sex Ed Battle in California

Related Links

Invisible benefits of gaming while male

Tammy Bruce insinuates people want to be rape victims

Rich Lowry is awful

Sex ed controversy

“Princeton mom” interview


On this episode of Reality Cast, Kat Stoeffel will tell a story that shows how hard it still is for people to deal with sexual assault appropriately. The UVA story causes the mainstream right to become a bunch of rape truthers and parents in Northern California throw a fit over sex education.

Gamergate is sputtering out as members are beginning to realize no one buys that ethics in journalism line, but the whole thing has had the side benefit of bringing attention to the issue of sexism in gaming. Feminist Frequency brought together a number of men to help highlight the ways that they are privileged in gaming, just by being male.

  • Gaming *

To be clear, no one is saying it’s wrong to be able to have these experiences, by and large. We just want women to have the same right to fire up a video game without immediately being told to prove yourself or show your genitals off.


Over the years I’ve been doing this podcast, there’s been one trend that I actually kind of find surprising, and, of course, very, very troubling, which is the mainstreaming of fringe so-called men’s rights thinking into the mainstream conservative movement. To be clear, mainstream conservatism has always been brutally sexist. And there’s always been a few characters in it, like George Will, who are quick to make excuses for rapists and sexual harassers. But by the early 21st-century, some of the really grotesque misogyny of the right that openly excuses sexual and gender violence had really been pushed to the margins. Most anti-feminist energy was spent attacking reproductive rights and efforts to end workplace discrimination, not in shielding men who commit violence against women. Instead, for that, you had the so-called men’s rights movement, which is mostly relegated online where most of the participants can remain anonymous, which is important when you’re someone who is highly invested in making it harder to prosecute rape and domestic violence. Their “activism” is mostly about flooding spaces where people are trying to talk about feminism to bolster the illusion that there’s legitimate controversy over whether rape and domestic violence are serious crimes. They, for reasons of their own, many of which I suspect are deeply unsavory, want people to believe that many to most women who speak out about being victims are lying. They are sleazy, woman-hating trolls.

But now it seems they’re being treated like a legitimate target demo for conservative pundits. Fox News has generally been drifting in the direction of just more and more unhinged sexist blathering lately, but this UVA rape story situation has really just brought this crap to a boil. The unchecked glee at being given an excuse to push the myth that false accusations are more common than they are is really repulsive. And the way this is being used to discredit the efforts of anti-rape activists generally is appalling. I mean, this is rape. When Todd Akin spouted off about “legitimate rape,” most conservatives were quick to distance themselves from him. Now I worry they’d thrown him a parade. Take, for instance, Tammy Bruce going full-blown rape denialist on Fox News.

  • Rape 1 *

“Authentic feminists,” ugh. For those who don’t know, this is a really common anti-feminist tactic, to call yourself the “real” feminist so that people who aren’t up on all the names and personalities in activism and media get confused and think that this is a person who means well criticizing other feminists. You get it with the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-woman, anti-choice organization. Or the Independent Women’s Foundation, which is not actually in support of female independence. Or with personalities like Christina Hoff Somers or Tammy Bruce here who call themselves “feminists,” but think that every argument in favor of women’s equality is bunk. That unwillingness to correctly identify themselves so viewers know what they’re seeing shows the level of honesty we’re working with here, which is at subzero levels.

Anyway, usually you hear the claim that women make up rape to get back at a man for dumping them, but this is a newer strategy. Instead of exploiting the stereotype of the vindictive witch, the stereotype being employed is the attention whore, a phrase thrown these days at any woman who believes she has value outside of being quiet and scrubbing things. Attention is a thing for men only, I guess. What’s frustrating about these stereotypes is that if you point out that they are stereotypes, right wingers simply note that it has happened, once or twice before, that some woman did something wrong. As long as one woman lied one time, then that means that we can throw out the overwhelming evidence that shows most women tell the truth most of the time. It’s idiotic.

On top of accusing victims of lying for attention, conservative commentators were also interested in accusing researchers of inflating sexual assault statistics, because of nefarious, unnamed agendas. Such as Rich Lowry, on ABC News, denying research that shows a one-in-five sexual assault rate on campus.

  • Rape 2 *

Squeaking about the police is a way to confuse the issue. Shoplifting isn’t the same as home invasion, but you’d think I was off my nut if I said that means that shoplifting isn’t a crime. This is what I mean by conservatives going full “men’s rights.” We’re not talking about someone trying to sneak a kiss and then being rejected. In fact, the researchers specifically excluded what they call “verbal or emotional coercion” from their definition of sexual assault, so a guy who whines until you kiss him was classified as a creep but not an assailant. The survey also distinguishes by severity of sexual assault, openly acknowledging that being forced to kiss someone is not the same as being raped. So his concerns were addressed, if he had bothered to read the study. But for all that Lowry is accusing the White House and Rolling Stone of having an agenda, I think he has a much bigger and more obvious one.

  • Rape 3 *

So Lowry has an agenda, and it’s pretty clearly to conceal the ugly realities of male-dominated campus life, particularly in the Greek system. He scolds about covering bases, but refuses to do it. He told an easily fact-checked lie about the sexual assault research. He argues that a discrepancy in one victim’s story somehow means the overall portrait of campus is wrong, but if you actually bother to read the story, you’ll find there’s multiple accounts that really do show a culture that just that kind of sexist culture. In fact, Lowry himself is an example of this sexist culture, using his perch on TV to shield rapists from justice by scaring victims out of speaking out. So yeah, if you’re against “agendas,” start at home, jerk.




One of the greatest rhetorical coups for the right in the last decade is convincing so many people that Planned Parenthood is not actually a boring old family planning clinic for check-ups and condoms, but some kind of exotic sex emporium where all manner of demented perversions take place. It’s gotten to the point where the mere name of Planned Parenthood sends some conservatives around the bend. It reminds me, honestly, of the way that religious right folks in the 80s were so scared of the game Dungeons and Dragons that merely saying the name would cause them to freak out. Or the way that fear of Satanic messages in music would make people afraid to even touch rock records. It’s completely out of control. And now this hysteria is touching a high school in the East Bay area of California.

  • PPFA 1 *

That this has been taught for a decade without problem is your first clue as to what the issue is here. We’re dealing with a relatively recent invention, this new belief that Planned Parenthood is the devil. A few years ago, they really weren’t a particularly controversial organization outside of the abortion stuff. But now every time you turn around, some right wing nut is melting down at the very idea that you might actually bring an expert in to handle sex education. I think what’s going on here, honestly, is that as contraception use improves and pregnancy rates are going down, conservatives are beginning to panic, realizing that attacks on abortion aren’t enough, and if they want people to be punished for sex, they’re going to have to attack contraception, too. And they’re accomplishing this goal by equating Planned Parenthood with sex itself, and sending prudish adults around the bend. And that’s exactly what’s going on here, even as parents claim it’s not about being prudish.

  • PPFA 2 *

I don’t even know if I need to add more to this. Really, the notion that one could expect to have a life unencumbered by sexual urges if but for Planned Parenthood showing you what a condom looks like is a theory easily debunked by a brief glimpse of all of human history. Though I do always wish I could get people who say this sort of thing to sit down and tell me about their own sexual histories. Is it that they really truly only had sex a handful of times, for the purpose of procreation, and think that’s a norm that everyone else is deviating from? Or are they just so blinded by their own hypocritical hysteria that it never occurred to them that everyone else is just as entitled to sex for pleasure as they are? I am insatiably curious for answers, but I suspect I’ll never get them.

But you can take heart, folks, because this supposed organization and supposed coalition doesn’t seem to be very big, even as it’s very loud.

  • PPFA 3 *

All this fuss resulted in….one parent pulling her kid. One. That’s hardly what I’d call some kind of groundswell. Not that it would be acceptable if it were, of course, because no amount of wishful thinking is going to make kids somehow asexual, but that the parents here are by and large being responsible adults makes this controversy even sillier. But Fox News’ website is trying to keep this alive, unfortunately, and even making a fuss over the fact that the materials emphasize consent. The argument is that by teaching kids to communicate with partners about sex, that is somehow endorsing sex. I guess sex is somehow less wrong in their eyes if it’s shameful and/or coercive. Hey, as long as you’re crying afterwards, it’s a win, I guess? But seriously, good on Planned Parenthood for considering consent as important an issue as contraception. I think this message from a 90s house band LaTour still is relevant.

  • PPFA 4 *


And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, let’s get stupid edition. CNN decided to spend time interviewing the least relevant person in the entire universe on the subject of sexual assault, so-called Princeton mom Susan Patton. Unsurprisingly, her bizarre hyper-misogyny was repulsive.

  • Princeton Mom *

I wish I could say she’s an outlier, but she’s spouting nonsense that’s all too common. Sadly, one of the reasons we have such an ongoing rape problem is just this: Parents who think it’s perfectly fine to teach their boys that forcing sex on women doesn’t count as rape as long as you learn her name first.

UVA Rape Story Goes Viral, and a Virginity Pledger Explains Why She Changed Her Mind

Related Links

Broad City on holiday parties

Why didn’t UVA investigate a gang rape claim?

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Elizabeth Lauten resigns over Obama daughter criticism

Eugene Robinson on the Obama daughter story

Laura Ingraham pulls the “silent majority” line


On this episode of Reality Cast, I’ll speak to a former virginity pledger about why she changed her mind. The University of Virginia rape story gets huge and what was the deal with that congressional staffer who attacked Sasha and Malia Obama?

Y’all, I am so excited about the next season of Comedy Central’s Broad City, which debuts in January. To help advertise it the two main characters, Abbie and Ilana, did a guide to holiday parties.

  • Broad *

The show is really raunchy but that is why it’s so brilliantly feminist. It shows women can do the same kind of raunchy humor as men, but it never feels forced or trying too hard. Plus, the satirical stuff about being young in the big city is dead on. You can watch the first season on Hulu Plus.


The campus rape issue just seems to be getting bigger and bigger. Last month, the Rolling Stone published an article by Sabrina Rubin Erdely about the campus rape problem at the University of Virginia, which is getting the highest level of investigation for purported Title IX violations that you can get. Erdely went on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to talk about her article.

  • UVA 1 *

At this point I must break in and acknowledge that the rape apologists have gotten involved, and because there is no such thing as a rape story they will believe, they are accusing the anonymous girl in this story of trying to frame the unnamed men who she describes raping her. But even on the exceedingly rare chance that this woman is lying for whatever reason, it doesn’t even matter. The story wasn’t about this particular rape and whether it happened or not. The story was about the school refusing to even investigate it. Unless rape apologists are actually willing to come right out and say they think that rape reports should never be investigated, hand-wringing about this case is a red herring. In those exceedingly rare cases where victims are lying, an investigation will likely show that to be the case. It’s funny how rape is the one crime where the fact that a small percentage of complainants are lying is wielded to support the idea that we shouldn’t even investigate the complaints at all.

And the lack of any interest in investigating is what Erdely was interested in.

  • UVA 2 *

The issue here isn’t whether this is the exceedingly rare case where a woman is falsely accusing a man. The issue here is that a girl is standing in front of you, telling a story that is 99% likely to be true, and you, the university officials, are pushing her in the direction of just dropping the whole thing. The university is on the hook for this regardless of what the actual facts of the case are, which weren’t flushed out because of the lack of investigation. Which is why, after this whole story came out, UVA apologized to the student in question. Indeed, the public shaming has created quite the reaction, as the school also, in an effort at getting good PR, shut down the frats until January. Of course, as many students pointed out, that means that most of that time is during the holiday break, meaning that it’s barely a blip. But it’s more than just a brief break to try to buy good will with the public, according to NPR.

  • UVA 3 *

I went in feeling skeptical, but these comments make me feel better. A lot of the time, the discussion of alcohol and rape centers around scolding women not to drink so much. While drinking too much isn’t good, of course, that scold suggests women are bringing this on themselves while ignoring the way that sexual predators deliberately use alcohol in order to incapacitate women. Which includes behaviors like pressuring women to drink more, deliberately obscuring how much alcohol is in a beverage, or targeting freshmen girls who have little to no experience drinking, knowing that it’s likely their inexperience will lead to overdoing it. In many of these cases, telling women to watch it is ineffective. How can you “watch” how much you drink if you don’t know how much you’re drinking? Beyond that, of course, it’s just ridiculous to think that the price someone should pay for a victimless misdemeanor crime like overdrinking should be violent sexual assault. A hangover, okay. A ticket for public intoxication, sure. But not rape.




Okay so here’s a story that seemed like a silly little thing to me at first but gradually I began to realize speaks to much bigger issues that it might seem at first. Elizabeth Lauten, the comms director for Republican Rep. Stephen Fincher (TN), decided to get all judgmental on Sasha and Malia Obama for how they were dressed and acting at the Thanksgiving turkey pardon. For those didn’t see the pardon, let me be clear the girls were acting and looking just fine. They were wearing skirts and sweaters and looked like normal teenage girls of 16 and 13, which is their ages. There were occasional moments of eye-rolling, which is expected because this is a very stupid tradition that really deserves more than a little eye-rolling. To normal people, it was cute to see our president get the dad-is-a-dork treatment from his kids. Wholesome family fun. But to Lauten, it was a travesty.

  • Lauten 1 *

My initial take on it is simple: Part of the conservative mindset is that there’s nothing more satisfying than lecturing teenagers to stand up straight and wipe that smirk of their face. Lauten may only be in her early 30s, but she is really getting that church lady act a-going. But reading some takes on Twitter and elsewhere, especially from women of color, I was really educated in how this had many layers below that surface. After all, the girls were dressed in exactly the kind of modest dresses and sweaters you expect kids to wear to a family holiday event. They looked like they were straight out of a Thanksgiving spread in Martha Stewart’s magazine. The only way you see their sweaters and skirts and think “bar skank” is if your racist assumptions about black women’s sexuality overwhelms your ability to accurately assess even something as simple as what a sweater looks like. So it’s true that Lauten is someone who really loves scolding teenagers, it seems that there’s a deeper, even more troubling angle to it all.

Which is why I was glad to see this story get the full blown Rachel Maddow treatment, because I do think that it speaks a lot about race, gender, and conservative attitudes about female sexuality.

  • Lauten 2 *

I’d like to take a moment and reflect on how far we’ve all come that this is even happening, that the discussion is getting deeper on this level. Just a few years ago, it was a truism in most media circles that in-depth political analysis was impossible on cable news, and yet here we have Rachel Maddow inviting Eugene Robinson on to explain, in no uncertain terms, exactly how this attack was both racist and misogynist. But, of course, you usually don’t get that kind of discourse because the second you start to point this stuff out in most places, you get the defensive nuh-uh reactions from people who refuse to see racism or sexism unless someone is being so overt it’s undeniable. So in most media spaces, the line was that Lauten had to go because she was rude to children.

  • Lauten 3 *

I think that’s part of it. Dehumanizing minor children simply because they belong to a different political party than you is really bad form for a congressional staffer. But I am a cynical person and frankly, I think there’s more to it than this. Right now conservatives are doing everything in their power to take away women’s reproductive rights, often in attacks that disproportionately affect women of color. Make no mistake; this is due entirely to the belief that women generally, but especially women of color, are out of control sluts and that we need to have our rights taken away to get us under control. But they know they can’t say that out loud, because they’re already fighting off the “war on women” narrative. So they claim that these attacks are about “compassion” or “religious freedom” or whatever, anything but admitting it’s all about their paranoid fear that women are out there being all sexy. Lauten, by spinning her bizarre racist and sexist fantasy about Sasha and Malia Obama, gave the game away. So she had to go away. I think that’s what happened more than the hands-off-the-kids thing.


And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, self-serving racist denial of obvious reality edition. Which of course means that the conservative du jour is Laura Ingraham, who is a real champ at just making crap up.

  • Ingraham *

This is the classic “silent majority” nonsense, where you swear up and down that millions of people agree with you but the only reason they aren’t saying so is because they’re scared or busy or whatever. It’s about puffing up your numbers with invisible people. It’s also nonsense, as anyone who has tangled with conservatives can tell you. They are not a group that is prone to keeping their opinions to themselves. And they love protesting! Ask anyone who has heard the term “Tea Party.” Or anyone who has tried to walk into an abortion clinic.

Abortion Stories, Bill Cosby, and Defeating ‘Personhood’ in Colorado

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Glenn Beck thinks asking questions is rape

Rush Limbaugh making excuses for Bill Cosby

Long list of Cosby accusers

Don Lemon victim-blaming

Don Lemon apologizes

Jessica Valenti abortion speakout

Favianna’s story

Talking with protesters

Nick Conrad mansplains rape


On this episode of Reality Cast, I’ll be speaking to Cristina Aguilar of COLOR about their fight against the personhood amendment in Colorado. The Bill Cosby rape allegations bring the worst out of the usual suspects and I compare women’s actual abortion stories with the myths that anti-choicers churn out about them.

This is a little out of my wheelhouse on this podcast, but I thought I would take note of what has become one of the biggest stories of the year: the lack of an indictment for Darren Wilson, the cop who shot Mike Brown, an unarmed teenager, in Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis. Here’s a comment from Cornell William Brooks, the head of the NAACP.

  • Ferguson *

Many people have spoken more eloquently on this than I could, but, simply put, part of the blanket of reproductive rights people should enjoy is the right to raise the children you want without fear of violence taking their lives for no good reason. For Black parents in this country, they do not have that right. That must be changed. This is inexcusable.


There’s this widespread notion on the right that feminists just made up the idea of “rape culture.” They would have you believe that women who allege sexual assault are generally taken seriously and that if any questions arise, it’s because of the individual specifics of the case and not because of a knee-jerk, widespread tendency to disregard any rape allegations or to blame the victim and tell her she brought it on herself. If it was true, however, that there was no such thing as rape culture, then having people dog-pile an accuser with claims that she’s just making it up for attention and/or money would be the exception to the rule. The fact that you can predict with 99 percent certainty that a rape allegation against a popular, rich, or famous man will be immediately denounced as lies made by crazy women suggests that we have, you guessed it, a pattern. A pattern resulting from a culture. A culture that systematically refuses to take rape seriously. I do believe it’s getting better in many ways, but the fact remains that it’s impossible to come out in public about a famous man raping you and not have tons of people claim, without a shred of evidence, that you are a fantasist and a liar. If we didn’t have a rape culture, the absolute certainty that this will happen to you simply wouldn’t exist.

I bring this up, you will not be surprised to hear, because of the reaction to the reemergence of long-standing rape allegations against Bill Cosby. A theme emerged from many corners, and there’s no nice way to put it: Many commentators basically seemed to believe the media interest in exposing the alleged rapes was illicit and, well, that Cosby is the real victim here. Some commentators didn’t even bother mounting arguments about how the victims are supposedly lying, which is hard to do when you have over 17 of them, many of whom are public. No, the narrative that emerged in some corners was that media interest in this story is somehow just as bad, if not worse, than raping someone. Like Glenn Beck here, who is furious at an AP reporter for asking Cosby a question that Cosby didn’t want to answer.

  • Cosby 1 *

Conservatives are always accusing feminists, absolutely falsely, of trying to turn all sorts of things into sexual abuse, from consensual sex to flirting. That’s all a lie, of course, but it also appears to be a bit of projection. Because here is Glenn Beck suggesting that it’s rape, perhaps worse than rape, to be asked a question you don’t want to answer. Which you can say no to, and Cosby does, by the way. Saying no comment is definitely easier than trying to escape when you’re drugged and a man is holding you down and forcing sex on you.

Rush Limbaugh was singing a similar tune, suggesting that no one actually cares about rape, but is only using it to push some kind of weird agenda.

  • Cosby 2 *

Breaking in to remind you that it’s not one woman. There are over 17 separate accusers as I’m writing this. There’s not much need to speculate on why Limbaugh would ignore the many other accusations of sexual assault here, because it’s just a lot easier to write it off as a single crazy woman if it’s just one. So that’s what he’s going to pretend happened.

  • Cosby 3 *

It’s tempting to write all this off as just right wing talk radio stuff, though I have never understood the urge to write off media that millions of influential voters listen to as if it doesn’t matter. But this sense that the accusations shouldn’t be taken seriously infected even Don Lemon’s interview on CNN with one of the accusers, Joan Tarshis.

  • Cosby 4 *

Despite what Don Lemon might think, there is actually a pretty good reason not to bite someone who has already demonstrated he’s a violent person by sexually assaulting you. Odds are he’s not going to take it well. But I don’t need to belabor the point, as this is classic victim-blaming, and regardless of Lemon’s intentions, this line of inquiry fuels the notion that women are lying when they say they’re raped, because the insinuations that real rape victims would fight back even at the cost of their own safety or even lives. Lemon’s line of inquiry isn’t as offensive as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh openly suggesting this isn’t a big deal, but it serves the same purpose of suggesting that the alleged crime isn’t as serious as the accuser says it is. Lemon apologized, though it was one of those mealy-mouthed if-you-were-offended apologies.

  • Cosby 5 *

Every time a big rape story gets in the news, we see the same kind of things happen over and over. And every time, feminists point out the problems with it. So it can’t just be that people are randomly screwing up. There’s a pattern here, and that’s what you might call rape culture.




Advocates for Youth has had a long-running campaign called the 1 in 3 Campaign, which I’ve covered for Reality Cast before. The idea is to educate people on how common abortion is and, because it’s so common, the experiences of women are rather interesting and diverse but always very human. Anti-choicers stereotype and paint women who have abortions as either selfish sluts who abort to fit in prom dresses or, if they’re trying to be “compassionate”, they instead stereotype them as stupid sluts who have to be saved from their own supposed inability to make good choices. So to fight back, the 1 in 3 Campaign held an eight-hour livestream of women speaking out about their own abortions. Since it was a livestream, I don’t have anything to pull from it, but feminist writer Jessica Valenti made a separate video talking about her abortion experiences.

  • Abortion 1 *

She goes on to explain that she had to abort a second pregnancy in her 30s because, after her first daughter was born and it nearly killed her, the doctors told her no more pregnancies. So she aborted that rather than run the risk of leaving her daughter without a mother and her husband without a wife. She notes that her second abortion is often considered the more “justified” one by the public, but suggests that’s not how it should be.

  • Abortion 2 *

That’s the video from the speakout that’s up at the website, but there’s another that’s just a little over a couple of months old from a woman identified as Favianna, who also has a compelling story.

  • Abortion 3 *

Both of these stories really reflect what you hear from women who are telling their own, actual, abortion stories. It does cause pain and reflection, but not how anti-choicers imagine it to be, with women regretting the fact that they aren’t virgins or that they’re not going to have a baby. It’s more about thinking about your life and your choices and really assessing what your priorities are, and yes, you hear very little regret about the abortion itself. In fact, abortion is what it has always been: A solution to a problem, not the problem. In light of these complex, personal stories, it’s doubly weird listening to the anti-choice protesters that Jill Filipovic of Cosmopolitan interviewed in the Boston area.

  • Abortion 4 *
  • Abortion 5 *
  • Abortion 6 *

The gulf here is just tremendous. You have pro-choicers believing that women are human beings, with all the complexity and diversity that implies, and that we need to be able to decide for ourselves what our lives will be. But then you have anti-choicers who believe there’s one single path for all women, all the billions of women on earth: Abstinence until marriage, very little sex within it, not having a career and instead dedicating your life to raising children with no control over when you have them. One side simply sees women as people and the other as appliances for baby-making that have little use outside of that function.


And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, British rape apologist edition. BBC host Nick Conrad got criticized recently for resorting to the very old, very discredited argument that women bring rape on themselves by teasing men sexually and then not giving up the goods.

  • Nick Conrad *

Self-flattery about how men have this sexual rapaciousness that mere women cannot understand aside, this is simply a discredited theory about rape. Research done by David Lisak has shown, beyond any quibbling or whining, that rapists aren’t ordinary men who get carried away, but a small subset of sexual predators who deliberately set out to rape women. Often, they use the promise of consensual sex to get a woman alone and then spring a rape on her. Or they target women who are too drunk to consent. But one thing that doesn’t actually happen much, if at all, is men thinking they’re going to get laid and then being denied at the last minute, and, too horny to stop themselves, violently assault a person. That’s not how it works, and telling women they are obliged to get a guy off after making out a little, or else they have it coming, is pure nonsense and misogynist as all hell. It’s not just that we all have a right to change our minds. It’s also that men generally respect that, and those who don’t were probably going to rape anyway.

Abstinence-Only Ideologues, and New Research on the HPV Vaccine

Related Links

Cats vs. cat calls

Gilbert school board acting out

Arizona Honors Biology

Maddow’s first segment on Gilbert

Maddow’s second segment on Gilbert

Virgin Coaches

Clips from Virgin Coaches

Pat Robertson is going off again


On this episode of Reality Cast, a researcher will explain how the HPV vaccine is linked to lower cancer rates even before its protective effects kick in. Textbook wars in Arizona show that abstinence-only is not completely dead, and a new show on TLC tries to pretty up the abstinence-until-marriage ideology.

From Feministing, this L.A.-based group of high school girls from a group called ImMEDIAte Justice made an extremely cute video calling for more cats and fewer cat calls, by rewriting the lyrics to that Lil Jon song that somehow never gets old.

  • Cat call *

I recommend checking the video out, just to see the special effects magic that makes it look like actual cats are coming out of the mouths of teenage boys attempting to cat call.


Support for abstinence-only education is in a freefall, which might lead some to believe this issue is over and we don’t need to worry about it anymore. But verily I say unto you, the religious right is a zombie movement and they will continue rising up and trying to push their discredited agenda over and over again, in any way they can. If that involves acting like outright fascists who are literally destroying books, then they will do that. Which is what is happening in the town of Gilbert, Arizona.

  • Gilbert 1 *

Two things here. One, the law says that schools can’t promote abortion above childbirth, which is so paranoid I don’t even know what to say to that, but either way, the book is not in violation. You can go to Arizona Honors Biology dot com and see where MSNBC has uploaded the pages and verify for yourself. The page in question is a one-page description not of abortion, but of contraception. Abortion is only briefly mentioned to distinguish it from the morning-after pill. Which all leads me to believe the real objection to the passage is the fact that it contains information about contraception, and abortion is only tacked onto the complaint as a cover story. Second of all, the school board’s recommendation is to, and I’m not joking here, go in and deface the textbooks by ripping pages out, old school fascism-style. So yeah, teach kids to violate the first amendment and destroy ideas you disagree with, all in service of trying to hide the fact that people sometimes have sex for reasons other than baby-making, something they already learned from TV. Great plan, guys.

You will not be surprised that the reason the pages in question have been uploaded to a website by MSNBC is because Rachel Maddow, who is nearly as great a lover of conservative religious anti-sex idiocy as I am, is all over this story.

  • Gilbert 2 *

This is what is so frustrating about all this. The law, which was passed in 2012 in what Maddow calls an anti-abortion frenzy, is already an overreach, because it demands the injection of natalist ideology into the classroom. But these books don’t violate the law! It would only be a violation if the books promoted abortion. Anti-choicers are trying to imply that even mentioning abortion is promotion. Or contraception, for that matter, because, as I said before, the pages they want to rip out are almost exclusively about contraception. And they’re not wrong that human beings are inherently interested in information about how to have sex without making babies. But that shows how futile their efforts are. Indeed, I would say that it’s so self-evidently futile, this effort at fooling kids into thinking there’s no such thing as non-procreative sex, that there’s no purpose to it at all. This is more culture war muscle-flexing, censoring books for the pleasure of feeling self-righteous and not out of any sincere attempt to make change.

But there’s been a development.

  • Gilbert 3 *

So now there’s a really strange situation going on where the people who are coming into office don’t want to censor these textbooks but the people who are still there might, as one last act of defiance against basic decency and common sense, go get to ripping pages out of books. Personally, I can’t think of a better symbol of what’s up with the religious right. They know they’re losing, they know they’re on their way out, but they’re going to do as much damage as they can before they leave. Let’s hope they are thwarted in this.




TLC, which was supposed to be The Learning Channel, continues its strange trajectory of functioning as something of a propaganda channel for religious right sexual ideals, most of which are so ridiculous that even their adherents tend to reject them when it comes to living their lives. The newest show is Virgin Coaches, a show about Christian sex therapists Bill and Janean Fuller, who run a kind of boot camp of sex ed for engaged couples, actual adults, who are trying to remain chaste until marriage and want help for figuring out that married sex thing. Because, you know, they’re not allowed to warm up to it slowly like the rest of us, but expect themselves to go from 0 to sex expert overnight, which is a way of setting yourself up for failure. Here’s a bit of the promo for the show.

  • Virgin 1 *

Yes, “practice making love” does sound incredibly risqué, like they’re going to take a bunch of virgins and plunge them into some kind of over-the-top orgy situation that none of them are even remotely able to handle. The truth, however, is much dorkier than that, for better or for worse. What really happened on the show was they had a maze painted on the ground and the couples were supposed to walk through it and at the middle there were seats and buckets of water. Because, if you’ve ever done group activities in a church or religion-based setting, you know that the default setting is “goofy.” But here, let’s have them explain what the purpose of all this is.

  • Virgin 2 *

It’s almost like they’re daring feminists to get mad at them, like see feminists! We’re all about a woman’s pleasure and this about men serving women! But I will not take the bait, and not just because feminists are for equality, not for some chivalry-reminiscent attitude taken to the bedroom. Yes, men should care about women’s pleasure and vice versa. And I do think it’s useful to tell men to take their time and really pay attention, not because men should “serve” women but because sex is a mutual thing and not just masturbating into someone’s body. But setting up women’s bodies like they are some kind of puzzle to unlock reinforces sexist stereotypes about how women are mysterious creatures that are totally unlike men. A better way to handle this is to teach people to learn to communicate with each other about what they like, but of course, they can’t do that, because that would mean having a good idea of what you like, something that can only be learned through the experience they are supposed to deny themselves. So, unable to give truly good advice, they have mazes and rigidly gendered ideas of how sex is supposed to work.

And I mean incredibly rigid ideas about how sex is supposed to work. Really, really rigid.

  • Virgin 3 *

Not that you should have your eyes closed, of course. Do what you want with your eyes! That’s the issue here. One reason people have problems with sex is because they get it into their heads there’s one right way to do sex and every other way is wrong or unhealthy. But people who have happy sex lives tend to be flexible and generous. Someone who takes this “God sex” advice to heart is likely to get a complex every time their partner closes his or her eyes during sex. You’re not likely having fun if every closed eye moment causes you to wonder if you’re screwing up somehow. Also, as everyone who has no need for a class for about to be married virgins could probably tell you right off the bat, this requirement that you have your eyes locked at all times precludes a little diversity in your sexual positions. And monotony is really death to a good sex life.

Not that everything they do draws my ire. I liked this part, for instance.

  • Virgin 4 *

I considered this a tacit admission that even though their religion strongly forbids it, most of these guys are probably looking at porn and might feel inadequate about it. So that was cool. But overall, I feel the problem with these kinds of classes is they are there to paper over a very serious problem, one that doesn’t need to be a problem. The Christian right has long sold the idea that the way to be happy, sexually and romantically, is to be as sexually inexperienced as possible before entering marriage, but what people all too often find is that instead of the sexual bliss they’re promised, they find that it’s hard to be good at something you’ve stifled for so long. Classes like this are supposed to help people by lowering expectations and teaching some skills so they aren’t so far behind the curve. I think it’s well-meaning, but ultimately it’s just another futile effort to salvage the idea that waiting for marriage is some kind of master key to unlocking happiness. It’s simply not, and in a country where 95 percent of people have sex before marriage, it’s getting ridiculous to continue pushing the idea that waiting is something everyone should strive for.


And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, good ol’ Pat Robertson edition. Robertson is not becoming less nutty or hateful or weird about sex in his old age, I’m sure you’ll all be pleased to learn.

  • Robertson *

Pat Robertson’s world is one where having a bunch of sex or choosing not to have a baby is on level with murder. But only if you’re a woman, of course. Believe me, this entire rant was about sexual so-called sin, and the only sinner whose sins interested him was a woman who had multiple partners, not the men she slept with.

Post-Election Reproductive Rights Roundup

Related Links

Kama Sutra jokes

NPR looks at how Colorado shook out

Cory Gardner wriggles

Walker ad

Ballot initiatives 2014

Colorado’s personhood ballot goes down in flames

Tennessee abortion law passes


On this episode of Reality Cast, I’ll be talking to a lawyer from the Center for Reproductive Rights about what’s going on in Oklahoma. I’ll also talk about how anti-choice politicians beat the “war on women” narrative, and what happened with ballot initiatives dealing with reproductive rights.

I know a lot of you are bummed this fall, for good reason, so here’s a moment of sublime weirdness that happened on MSNBC that I hope cheers you up a little.

  • Kama Sutra *

Sadly, cable news isn’t a place where you can just be quiet for a moment and let the silence punctuate a statement, because I do think that moment needed a second to sit in instead of pivoting to the next one.


Voters aren’t anti-choice. That’s something that we know from polling study after polling study. They’re basically pro-choice, though many of them cling to the illusion that there’s a way to ban abortions for “bad” girls while keeping them legal for the women whose sex lives they approve of. They generally support economic policies the pundits would recognize as liberal. So why on earth did a bunch of anti-choice fanatics who have economic policies the voters reject get elected last Tuesday? Did the voters misplace their reading glasses on voting day?

It’s nothing like that. A lot of different factors go into every election, but I thought I’d flag some analysis of particular interest to the Rewire audience. NPR had an excellent segment explaining the one way anti-choice candidates pulled it off: they presented themselves as far more moderate than they actually are. Colorado is a really good example of how this played out. NPR went to Colorado to talk to voters about the way that reproductive rights and appeals to single women have influenced the voters in that state. Personhood, as listeners from last week know, is a ballot measure there.

  • Election 1 *

So from the get-go, Gardner’s strategy was to minimize and deflect and present himself as a changed man who was not the misogynist firebreather who wants to ban the birth control pill that Mark Udall was painting him as. Painting him as reasonably, I have to point out. It’s undeniable that Gardner has a long, unsavory history of associating with hardline anti-choicers and who has been dogged in pushing for laws that not only would ban abortion but could do things like criminalize miscarriage or be used as a pretext to ban birth control. Gardner couldn’t hide that past, so instead he just simply argued that he was unaware of the ramifications of personhood laws and would therefore not support them going forward. In order to bolster this narrative, he basically lied about how much he had supported them in the past, because if voters knew how dogged he was about these laws in the past, his claim that he just didn’t know what was in the legislation would sound false. This dodging and weaving and minimizing really frustrated the debate moderators during one debate.

  • Election 2 *

That statement summarized a pose taken not just by Gardner, but by many other anti-choice fanatics in other states who were running in close elections and didn’t want voters to think they are anti-choice fanatics. The stance was to imply that you are personally against abortion, but weren’t going to take measures to actually ban it. Gardner’s claim that the bill was just a “statement” isn’t true, however, because if the bill in question became law, it would absolutely ban abortion, as the moderator said. But this anti-choice wolf in pro-choice sheep suit maneuver was something Gov. Scott Walker did a similar thing in a campaign ad.

  • Election 3 *

Anyone watching that ad would assume that Walker was personally against abortion but had not supported any legislation to regulate it. That is, however, totally untrue. Walker signed a bill that would have banned more abortion clinics in his state by forcing doctors to get medically unnecessary hospital admitting privileges, with the full knowledge that most doctors will not be able to get them. It’s a law that shut down half the abortion clinics in Texas and, if a court hadn’t blocked it in Wisconsin, would have done the same. It’s not really leaving the decision to a woman and her doctor if you’ve banned doctors from taking patients. That’s like saying I have a legal right to buy milk from the grocery store, but putting landmines along the front door of the grocery store. It doesn’t work that way.

But the fact of the matter is that the strategy worked and worked well. Walker and Gardner and many other anti-choice politicians like them were able to deflect the issue. Young people who are most affected by these issues barely turned out to vote, no doubt because they didn’t feel like they were under the threat they are actually under. There were nearly three times as many voters over 60 as under 30. And now you know why.




It wasn’t all just about electing officials this year, of course. There were also a number of ballot initiatives in the states, ranging from popular ones like marijuana legalization and a minimum wage hike to some rather confusing ones regarding gun control. Huffington Post had a good rundown, with an explanation of why ballot initiatives exist even though we supposedly have a legislative system to handle laws for us.

  • Ballot 1 *

Three states had ballot initiatives that addressed reproductive rights: Colorado, North Dakota, and Tennessee. I’ve covered all three on this podcast, with Colorado and North Dakota being addressed last week. This election turned out to be a mixed bag. In Colorado, amendment 67, which I covered last week, failed.

  • Ballot 2 *

Nearly two-thirds of the voters voted against it. This is particularly interesting because, unlike the previous two attempts to get personhood laws passed through ballot initiatives in Colorado, the proponents disguised the intention behind the law a little better. Didn’t matter, voters were still against it. I think this shows, and is an important lesson to take home, that voters are not as easily fooled as some think they are. That’s a hard pill for a lot of liberals to swallow, of course, because that means that people vote against their own rights and economic self-interest because they really, truly mean it. But it’s important to remember. When voters support abortion restrictions, for instance, it’s not because they are too dumb to know what will happen. It’s just that they, often correctly, assume that poor people will bear the brunt of the misery, and they don’t care. It’s worth it to them to make a statement about the naughty ladies having sex.

But Amanda, you may ask, if people are so down on women, at least single women, having sex, why did they vote down personhood? Good question, and one I answered in my recent piece at Rewire, which you should read. But the short answer is that personhood isn’t meaningfully better at punishing single women who are sexually active than extremely restrictive abortion laws, but it does have the side effect of damaging the interests of married, conservative people who want things like IVF and the right to miscarry without the cops getting involved. That’s why a personhood amendment also lost in North Dakota. But on the flip side, you have Tennessee.

  • Ballot 3 *

Previously, Tennessee had strong constitutional protections for the right to privacy, which this law amends to make an exception for abortion. Basically, it’s straight up saying that if you’re a woman of reproductive age, you don’t deserve the same right to privacy as everyone else. But what it does is allow the legislature, which is really conservative, to go nuts in passing anti-abortion laws of the sorts we’ve seen in places like Ohio and Texas. This is scary, as Tennessee has a relatively high number of abortion clinics compared to its red state neighbors, and has become a place where women in neighboring states can go to get the abortions they aren’t able to get at home. With this passing, we can expect to see Tennessee go the way of so many states before it, making abortion inaccessible to all but the privileged and relatively wealthy.


And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, Rush Limbaugh got a little wound up before the election edition. While Republican politicians were careful to take moderate poses during the campaign, right-wing media was all-out in trying to whip up older, male voters about how everyone is trying to steal marriage away from them.

  • Limbaugh *

And wah and whine and so on. I do love him accidentally tossing science in there. It isn’t liberals who deny global warming or how birth control works, Rush. But the fact that four-times-married Limbaugh is complaining about the supposed assault on marriage shows how empty this sort of thing is. It’s all code for what he’s really talking about, which is the white male privilege to declare what reality is, regardless of the facts, and force everyone else to fall in line. And yes, that is under assault by liberals.

Anti-Choice Ballot Initiatives, and Attacks on ‘Single Ladies’ Voters

Related Links

The Colbert Report takes on #GamerGate

Fox News tries to minimize attack on single women

Fox News paranoia

Beyoncé voters

Politico takes on personhood

Dispelling myths about the IUD

Rush Limbaugh blames feminism for cat-calling


On this episode of Reality Cast, I’ll speak to an activist fighting against a personhood amendment in North Dakota. Fox News has been really down on single women voters, and Colorado is facing the third iteration of a personhood amendment ballot initiative.

Stephen Colbert took on #GamerGate last week and did not disappoint, giving Anita Sarkeesian plenty of room to talk about the harassment she has endured. I found this bit to be particularly funny:

  • Colbert *

Of course, as I covered on this show, the claim to be standing for ethics in journalism is based on the presumption that it’s unethical, somehow, for game reviewers to share sincerely held opinions on games. Which has no relationship to what we in the real world consider “ethics.”


Last week, for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, I played a clip of a Fox News host saying that single women shouldn’t sit juries but should instead just be on Tinder or something. Unsurprisingly, the comment got criticized all over the place, both on feminist blogs and in the mainstream media. So much so that the folks at The Five on Fox News felt like they had to respond. Their response, however, was dishonest and condescending, to say the least.

  • Fox 1 *

Sadly for them, the tape is readily available for checking. In fact, I still have a clip sitting in a file from last week. I only clipped the relevant part where she is talking about juries, but in context, that all important context, she was saying that single women are bad voters for the same reason that young women are bad at sitting on juries. The context, if anything, made it worse, since it was a lengthy, sexist conversation painting unmarried women as people who are terminally incapable of thinking for themselves.

  • Fox 2 *

It’s a comment that has it all. There’s stoking of the sexual insecurities and sexual hysteria in the audience by mentioning Tinder, and of course for the folks who haven’t heard of Tinder. There’s stoking of resentment of single women for supposedly having it so good while you sit at home living your sad, responsibility-laden married life. Man, if the viewers think marriage is such a raw deal, one wonders why they went with it. There’s holding out marriage as a mechanism for taming women and making them submit to a conservative agenda. Toss in a mention of Lena Dunham, and it would have been a perfect culture warrior moment, sculpted to maximize viewer hatred and resentment of single women for merely existing.

And that was just in the context of that particular segment. When you look at the overall context at Fox News, you realize this wasn’t a one-off, but in fact, they are constantly stirring their audiences up about the supposed single ladies who are supposedly having all this fun while you, the sad Fox viewer, never gets to have any. If you want to talk about context, you have to consider this:

  • Fox 3 *

So yeah, we all need to give up on our universal health care because of some urban legend. But this is just part of a larger Fox News push to characterize single women as some kind of layabouts who abuse the system while the poor married people have to pay the bill. Like this.

  • Fox 4 *

Another classic. The implicit argument, made mostly to male viewers, is that they are having to support all these women and they’re not even getting sex in return. He even paints your paycheck as some kind of social service being provided, with that “equal pay” swipe. It’s a mentality that assumes the only value women have is sexual and therefore if they get paid to do anything but have sex, it somehow doesn’t count and is a giveaway. Then there’s the swipe against Beyonce, for added race-baiting and, of course, to make Fox viewers think single women are having all this fun they’re missing out on.

While these attacks are designed to flatter both men and married women by suggesting that it’s single women who are ninnies who are too stupid to participate in our political process, if you give it a moment’s thought, it becomes clear these attacks are actually attacks on all women. After all, all married women were single once. The only thing that changes is you have a husband now. The unsavory implication, therefore, is married women can only be trusted because they have a man making their decisions for them. Sure, they may dress it up and say oh it’s about mortgages and children and bills and whatnot, but the fact of the matter is single women also have bills to pay, jobs to go to, and yes, they often have children to care for. The only difference is a man, and at Fox News, that apparently makes all the difference.




North Dakota is not the only state where there’s a personhood amendment on the ballot. In Colorado, anti-choicers have put a personhood amendment on the ballot a third time. It’s been defeated at the polls twice, so antis have changed tactics a little, making it a little more narrow than in the past, by claiming that it would only define a fertilized egg as a “person” in the Colorado criminal code and for the Colorado Wrongful Death Act. And they’re even claiming this time around that it’s for the protection of pregnant women, because it would increase the penalties for assaulting a pregnant woman. But that’s a bunch of balderdash, because pregnant women were already protected, because it’s illegal to assault anyone, pregnant or not. These kinds of laws insult all women by insinuating that an assault against them is somehow less awful if they happen not to be pregnant at the time. It assumes your value as a person is tied up in your ability to have a child, and that you’re not valuable on your own.

Keith Mason of Personhood USA is the man behind most of these personhood amendments, and he is glib and dishonest in his defense of them.

  • Colorado 1 *

Basically, the idea is to just keep putting this on the ballot, with slight wording and campaign changes each time, until they trick the voters into passing it. This would take it to the next level. Nathan Woodliff-Stanley of Colorado’s ACLU explained some of the problems with this law.

  • Colorado 2 *

Keith also told Politico that he can’t imagine that these laws would be used to ban abortion or prosecute pregnant women because, he claims, our society isn’t like that. But since he’s openly trying to change society, that defense rings hollow. Also, it’s simply not true, because even in Colorado they’ve prosecuted women for giving birth to stillborns. Colorado law professor Aya Gruber called B.S. on this, explaining that if it’s law, then no matter what the supposed intentions were behind it, it can be used to prosecute women for miscarriage.

  • Colorado 3 *

On top of banning abortion, outlawing IVF, and making it possible to prosecute women for miscarriage, this law might be used to outlaw the use of the IUD or prosecute women for having them. That’s because many of the supporters of the bill believe that IUDs are basically a form of abortion. They claim, falsely, that IUDs work by making it impossible for fertilized eggs to implant. Now, even if that were true, it still wouldn’t make it abortion since pregnancy doesn’t start until implantation and I can’t believe we’re literally arguing about what is just a small ball of cells anyway. But it isn’t even true, as Dr. Stephanie Teal of the University of Colorado explained to the Rachel Maddow Show.

  • Colorado 4 *

If you actually thought that fertilized eggs were people, then this should be a relief to you. Instead, anti-choicers persist in this lie. I’m forced to conclude, then, that the only reason they want to equate the IUD with abortion, against all scientific evidence to the contrary, is that it’s a pretext for banning the IUD, presumably under a personhood amendment. What about the IUD is so offensive to anti-choicers that they hate it above all other forms of contraception, even the pill? Probably because it works, and it works especially well for young women.

  • Colorado 5 *

While there’s a lot of complex stuff going on with anti-choicers, at the end of the day, the primary thing that drives the movement is just this fear that young, single women are having sex without having to endure an unwanted childbirth. They dislike modern society where women can have long youthful periods where they date a bunch of different men and concentrate on their careers. Having a baby at a young age is seen as a way to bring that to a halt, by forcing women into shotgun marriages or, in some cases, single motherhood. Whatever it takes to bring an end to youthful carefreeness and career-oriented thinking. And since effective forms of contraception are even more central than abortion to protecting women’s right to choose when to have a baby, of course they’re going to shift to attacks on contraception.


And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, sexual harassment edition. As I detail in this week’s column for Rewire, mainstream conservatives are starting to sound like fringe MRA-types when they talk about things like street harassment. This one example was particularly silly.

  • Limbaugh *

Yes, Rush Limbaugh openly blames not men for cat-calling, but feminists for somehow being unable to single-handedly stop men from cat-calling. His actual argument is that if you can’t fix a problem overnight, then trying to fix it at all somehow causes it. Yeah, that makes no kind of sense.

The Misogyny of GamerGate, and Outrage Over Abortion Education

Related Links

GamerGate on NPR

Anita Sarkeesian on Melissa Harris-Perry

Zoe Quinn on Ronan Farrow

Folding Ideas on #GamerGate

Fox News would prefer you get your abortion from someone who doesn’t know anything about the procedure


On this episode of Reality Cast, I’ll have both a segment and an interview on the topic that won’t go away, #GamerGate. Also, Fox News is really irate that a university might teach abortion instead of just leaving it up to people to figure it out for themselves through trial and error.

Before we get into the major segment on GamerGate, I’d like to point out one of the most unintentionally hilarious aspects of it, which is that any time someone is defending it, they tend to be exhibit number one showing how rotten the whole thing is. Like this guy who called into NPR to defend it.

  • Angry Gamer *

He continued on to complain about one game review site that gave a game a negative review because they thought it was sexist. So when you see GamerGaters saying that GamerGate is about “corruption in journalism,” know that they define “corruption” as allowing game reviewers to give games honest reviews. That is, of course, the opposite of corruption, but a good rule of thumb with Gamergaters is whatever they say they stand for, the opposite is true.


I’ve been doing a lot of writing and tweeting about GamerGate, including a piece that ran last week at Rewire called “What #GamerGate and the Anti-Choice Movement Have in Common.” But I haven’t addressed it on this podcast because it never made the leap into the mainstream media spaces that I usually wait for before tackling a subject on here. But that has changed, folks. The mainstream media is paying attention and they are alarmed. Melissa Harris-Perry did her best to sum up what is going on with GamerGate, despite the fact that it is confusing by design.

  • GG 1 *

The woman in question is named Zoe Quinn and the allegations were not true, but that didn’t stop GamerGate from exploding. The pretext has been that it’s some kind of protest of bad ethics in gaming journalism, but since they’ve never actually produced a single example of bad ethics, besides some sexual urban legend that isn’t true, that’s hard to buy. That, and the fact that they have also been harassing Anita Sarkeesian, an independent culture critic whose journalistic ethics are impeccable. She funded herself through Kickstarter, unlike some YouTube gaming critics who have been called out for taking payola from the industry by people that are not GamerGaters. Sarkeesian was on Harris-Perry’s show.

  • GG 2 *

No matter how obvious the misogyny of GamerGate, the people in it continue to claim it’s about journalistic ethics. However, the main people who are targeted, on a list of seven that was being circulated in GamerGate circles, belie this claim. For one thing, a lot of them aren’t journalists but game developers. For another, not one of them has ever been accused of violating any of the commonly understood ethical rules of journalism. Indeed, the only thing they have in common is they are women and they are feminists. Which suggests that is what GamerGate is attacking. Zoe Quinn herself was on Ronan Farrow’s show to talk about her perspectives.

  • GG 3 *

Dan Olson, the host of Folding Ideas, which is a show that uses current events and pop culture to talk about critical ideas, took on GamerGate and he had some interesting points I think are worth examining. His video is 20-minutes long, so I can’t cover it all here, so I recommend you watch it. But there’s a couple of points I pulled to get you started. He also notices what I noticed, which is that the targets of GamerGate are not picked because of some abstract notion of ethics in journalism, which GamerGaters clearly don’t care about, but because they are feminists and feminists are seen as the enemy.

  • GG 4 *

There’s been a lot of mainstream focus on the most lurid part of GamerGate, which is the overt threats of violence, one of which caused Sarkeesian to cancel an engagement at Utah State after finding that the university, due to the concealed carry laws in the state, couldn’t forbid people from bringing guns to her talk. Yeah, I know. But there’s so much more going on than threats. In fact, most of the GamerGaters don’t threaten but instead just engage in dishonest, sleazy tactics that are supposed to frustrate their targets into giving up and going home. Olson talks about this, as well.

  • GG 5 *

On my next segment, I’ll be talking to a woman who was targeted by GamerGate about her experiences and about her theory that GamerGate makes the most sense if you think of them as a hate group.




In recent years, anti-choicers have been claiming that they are concerned about the health and well-being of women getting abortions and, even though they don’t agree with abortion, they claim, they want it to be safe. This is obviously a paper-thin pretext that exists for no other reason but to come up with medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion clinics in order to shut them down. But still, it’s funny to see how, as soon as the topic switches away from shutting down clinics toward some other aspect of abortion, the purported concern for women’s safety is dropped like a hot potato. Take, for instance Bill O’Reilly’s outrage over a new online course offered by the University of California San Francisco on abortion care. Now, if you actually care about women’s health, you’d applaud them for this, because it means that people who are interested in doing abortions are going to learn more before training and be safer and more skilled. But that’s not the angle Bill O’Reilly took.

  • Abortion 1 *

Try to imagine this kind of umbrage taken over any other medical course on any other medical topic. They’re offering a course on cancer, but being pro-biology zealots, they refuse to include counter-theories about how cancer can be cured with homeopathy! They’re offering a course on vaccinations, but being pro-vaccination zealots, they refuse to let Jenny McCarthy share her anti-vaccination views. They’re offering a course on infectious diseases, but being germ theory zealots, they’re excluding the view that disease is caused by sin. And so on.

The segment was like watching a transmission from another world where people cannot believe that a doctor would think that there’s any reason to think there’s any educational interest in a medical procedure that one in three women will get.

  • Abortion 2 *

Or perhaps she correctly realizes there’s no reason to talk to people who are saying one moment that they are worried that abortion isn’t safe and therefore needs to be regulated out the wazoo but then the next minute are freaking out at the very possibility that anyone might learn something that makes abortion safer. Such people have outed themselves as unserious people. The fact is this segment clearly suggests that O’Reilly, his staff, and the crisis pregnancy center people they interview want abortion to be unsafe. Why else are they so terrified of the idea that someone might actually learn something that makes abortion safer? Why on earth would you talk to people who are so hostile, so paranoid, and make no pains to hide that they hope that women lose access to safe medical care and have to resort to using coathangers instead?

  • Abortion 3 *

I’m trying to imagine how you’d have this “balance” or “both sides.” Like one doctor gets up and talks about some of the tools or medications you can use to help a patient seeking abortion and then what? Give someone five minutes to talk about how women who want abortions are dirty sluts who need to be forced to give birth to teach them a lesson? That’s not what I’d call “education.” There’s just nothing informative that anti-choicers have to add to this discussion. They’re just against sex. We’ve heard that opinion, and there’s no reason it needs to be included in an educational course. No more than we need to hear the opinions of people who oppose psychiatric care in a course teaching about the various techniques of psychiatric care.


And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, Fox News really, really hates young, single women edition. Kimberly Guilfoyle, who was a former assistant district attorney, suggested that young women are too stupid to sit on juries.

  • Juries *

Of course, young men, being male, are born oh so wise, right? My guess is the prejudice against young women isn’t really about how they’re supposedly so stupid but because they tend to be more liberal and open-minded, they are probably more open to defense arguments and don’t roll into the court room ready to throw the book at the defendant, as more conservative types, who are more likely to be older or male, would be. Considering how out of control our prison industrial complex is, I think that should be treated like a good thing.

Who Is Sean Fieler?

Related Links

Anita Sarkeesian discusses harassment of women

Supreme Court stays Texas abortion law

Rachel Maddow on the Texas abortion law

More from Rachel Maddow

Sean Fieler

George Will is fussy

Phyllis Schlafly has opinions


On this episode of Reality Cast, I’ll be talking with Sharona Coutts about a relatively unknown but extremely generous funder of all sorts of religious right causes. The Supreme Court temporarily stays part of the Texas abortion law and George Will claims the war on women is a myth.

Anita Sarkeesian, who has been subject to terrorist threats and run out of her home because, no joke, she has a video series exploring sexism in video games, gave a speech recently about the harassment she has endured.

  • Sarkeesian *

The fact that there’s a rather explicit goal to “take her out”—not argue, not criticize, not persuade, but to silence through a relentless harassment campaign—shows how much these men know, in their hearts, that they cannot win an honest argument.


I have to say I was not expecting to hear a bit of good news regarding the Texas abortion law that continues to be battled out in court.

  • Texas 1 *

The stay only applies to one part of the law, the part requiring abortion clinics to meet ambulatory surgical center standards, even though first-trimester abortions done with either the pill or the vacuum aspiration machine are so simple and non-invasive that they are no more surgery than a colonoscopy is. Only eight clinics in the entire state are equipped like this, because it costs a lot of money and is only worth doing if you’re doing more intensive procedures. The Supreme Court previously denied a request to stay another Texas abortion regulation requiring that abortion providers have hospital admitting privileges. They didn’t say why one medically unnecessary regulation is okay but another is so bad it requires a stay, because the Supreme Court doesn’t need to justify these types of decisions.

Rachel Maddow explained the extent of the damage of this law.

  • Texas 2 *

This stay will allow 13 clinics to reopen, though it’s unclear if all of them will have the resources to do so. But that shows how bad the damage is already, because 13 plus eight only equals 21 clinics, which is only half of what Texas had before this law went into effect. Part of that is the stay doesn’t cover the hospital admitting privileges provision. That said, I fully expect both the hospital admitting privileges provision and the ambulatory surgical center requirements to be looked at should this law reach the Supreme Court. And what is going to happen on that day is obviously what everyone is thinking about and worrying about. Nancy Northup of the Center for Reproductive Rights took that question on during her short interview with Rachel Maddow.

  • Texas 3 *

I realize this is complex, but here’s the most boiled down take I can make: Most of the other appeals courts have struck down laws requiring hospital admitting privileges or ambulatory surgical center standards because they are clear violations of the requirement that no undue burden be put on abortion access and because the laws are clearly meant to be an undue burden and not a legitimate attempt to protect women’s health. The Fifth Circuit court is the exception, holding up the hospital admitting privileges requirement so far and signaling a supportive attitude towards the ambulatory surgical centers requirement as well. Should they uphold that part of the law, the only way to resolve this tension is for the Supreme Court to look at it. The problem is that there’s no way to know how the Supreme Court feels about this. Only three judges have made it clear that they intend to vote for every abortion restriction that comes down the pipe, no matter how disingenuous. Four intend clearly to vote against the restrictions. But now we have a situation where two judges supported one stay on the law and rejected another. It’s already hard to tell where a judge stands on a law when it comes to the power to stay it, but this mixed messaging makes it even harder to tell. However, if they had let the law go into effect, that would have suggested there is little chance they won’t allow the law to stand in the long run. This decision creates reason to hope.




If you watch the Sunday news shows or any cable news, you’ll know that pundits say fool-headed, ignorant things like it’s their job, which, in the case of Fox News, it is. But rarely do they speak in ways that cause you to wonder if they even read the news. I mean, generally speaking, pundits do actually read headlines at least, and often entire news stories before they bother opining about stuff. But with this George Will comment, I can’t help but think the man hasn’t picked up a newspaper or turned on a newsfeed for at least a decade and gets all of his news from D.C. cocktail chatter.

  • war 1 *

Your concern that women are being treated like they’re illiterate is noted, as is the utter and complete falseness of your pose, George. It’s really rich to pivot and pretend that you respect women’s intelligence within seconds of joking that someone’s name sounds like “uterus” and therefore he should be ashamed. Or that there’s something gross and “gynecological” about addressing women’s very real health care needs. Shorter George Will: Talking about women is gross and icky, but I respect women because I say so. But for all his concern that Democrats are supposedly treating women like they are illiterate, he doesn’t seem to be too concerned about how illiterate he sounds when he claims that contraception and abortion are settled issues and that the only reason they’re mentioned at all is because pro-choicers keep bringing them up.

  • war 2 *
  • war 3 *
  • war 4 *

I put this montage together, and believe me, I could make it hours long if I wanted to, not to make you bleed from rage stress, but to prove the point that George Will is either illiterate himself or he’s being deliberately dishonest here. The sole and only reason the “war on women” narrative has taken off is because conservatives keep waging the war on women. The attacks on contraception are real. The diminishing number of abortion clinics due to regulation is real. Conservative pundits whole-heartedly arguing that women’s sexuality is strictly for procreation is real. I have no doubt that conservatives hate the “war on women” meme. But the way to make it go away is to stop waging it. It’s that simple.

Of course, what Will hopes he can accomplish here is to get liberals to simply stop talking about the war on women so that it can be waged without paying any political consequences for it. Or, as was made clear with his swipe at Mark Udall, he wants to return to a situation where being seen as pro-woman or associated with women is bad for you, politically. But women are more than half of voters and more than half of women are single now. There’s no going back.


And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, Phyllis Schlafy is sad that men won’t just beat women into submission edition. I would like to say I’m overstating the case, but she quite literally blamed men’s supposed reluctance to be violent to women as the reason feminists won’t go away. She learned this lesson from watching a nature documentary.

  • Schlafly *

I like how she had to tell us not once, but twice, that these were real bears and not actor bears. But that amazing bit aside, I think her implication is clear, that male violence against women is a good thing and it’s a shame that men don’t beat back feminism. You know, in the literal beating way, not the actor bear fake beating way.

Katha Pollitt on Abortion Rights, and Reality TV’s Right-Wing Radicalism

Related Links

Aziz Ansari is a feminist

Reince Priebus tells a lie

When men force pregnancy

Nancy Northup on the Texas abortion law

New study on states with abortion restrictions

Duggar’s risible Holocaust statements

Pretty creepy

Phil Robertson is talking again

Jerry Boykin has theories


On this episode of Reality Cast, Katha Pollitt will talk about her new book arguing for abortion rights. I’ll have more on the Texas abortion law and a segment on radical right wingers on reality TV.

Aziz Ansari outed himself as a feminist on David Letterman recently, and I really liked his example of what makes you a feminist.

  • Aziz Ansari *

I realize there’s a lot of debate in feminist circles about all these celebrities coming out and saying they’re feminist, often because they might have what the feminists call “problematic” stuff in their work or because they might be afraid to talk about more controversial issues like abortion. But as this example shows, it really isn’t so light as that. There are a lot of people who find Beyoncé threatening or think powerful women are emasculating, and pushing back against that is a big deal.


I’m so used to anti-choicers telling blatant lies about abortion that it takes a lot—a lot I tell you—to shock me. But Reince Priebus, chair of the Republican National Committee managed to pull it off, and by “it”, I mean he told a whopper so huge I had to pick my jaw up off my desk. He was being interviewed by Chuck Todd of MSNBC and Todd asked him about the law in Texas that is shutting down nearly all the abortion clinics in the state, forcing some women to drive hundreds of miles to get an abortion, a distance some cannot afford to travel. Priebus responded with two rabid fire lies in a row, lies that were so stunningly and obviously untrue that it was really remarkable.

  • Texas 1 *

So I’m going to work backwards here. The second lie he told is that this is about “taxpayer funded abortion”. It is not. He’s just throwing a bunch of nonsense words out. The issue here is that they are shutting down abortion clinics. It has nothing to do with funding. If I burn down your sandwich shop and they come arrest me for arson, it’s not a defense to say I was just against taxpayer-funded sandwiches. That is basically what he’s doing. It’s a lie so big it’s like a mega-lie.

But the first one is a little more in line with what the anti-choice movement is trying to argue generally, that their attempts to ban abortion shouldn’t be construed as misogynist because of all their supposed compassion for women. Priebus and anti-choicers generally like to imply that the abortion restrictions come with a side dose of help and support for having your baby. That is a ridiculous lie, as evidenced by a new report out by Ibis and the Center for Reproductive Rights shows that, to quote Laura Bassett at the Huffington Post, “a state’s performance on indicators for women and children’s health and well-being is inversely proportional to the amount of anti-abortion laws in that state.” So no, there isn’t a desire to support pregnant women. Just a desire to hurt and punish them for having sex.

And of course, there’s the dangers to women who need abortions but can’t get them, from maternal mortality to higher poverty rates. And, as we covered last week, there’s also the higher domestic violence rates. Huffington Post brought an abortion doctor on to explain how women can be terrorized by forced pregnancy and need abortions to escape.

  • Texas 2 *

The notion that these restrictions are meant to help women is so laughably thin that only the Fifth Circuit Court has even bothered to sign off on it, as Nancy Northup of the Center for Reproductive Rights explained on the Rachel Maddow show.

  • Texas 3 *

The conflict between the Fifth Circuit Court and all the other courts on this issue is scary, really scary. I personally don’t see a way out of this besides having the Supreme Court look at all these different decisions on what is basically the same law in many different states. And while I usually feel confident about predicting how the court will see various issues, I have to say, I have no idea when it comes to these abortion laws. Justice Anthony Kennedy will almost surely be the swing vote and he takes a paternalistic, controlling view on abortion and could be very amendable to the argument that it has to be taken away for women’s supposed own good, even though, as we’ve seen here, taking legal abortion away can raise a woman’s chances of poverty, medical complications, and even domestic violence. But maybe he will see reason on this. We can only hope.




Conservatives are always accusing Hollywood of being run by the “liberal agenda,” but that has always been an extremely simplistic view. Hollywood has many products that are downright conservative, such as many right-leaning action movies and offensively sexist romantic comedies. But there’s also reality TV. Now, not all reality TV is conservative. Some of it is apolitical, like dance or singing contests. Some, like RuPaul’s Drag Race, have a sly progressive agenda. But overall, I’d say that reality TV leans more to the right, with fare like The Bachelor that pushes retrograde gender ideals or the relentless wedding propaganda of the TLC network. Not that you have to be conservative to enjoy those things, of course, but taken as a whole they send the message that women’s ambitions and education matter less in the long run than their ability to snag a husband. And the less said about misogynist clap-trap like the Real Housewives franchise, the better.

But that’s just the mildly conservative stuff. What’s really interesting to me is how reality TV has given voice to right-wing radicalism. I’m not talking about everyday conservatism, but fundamentalist Christian, science-denying, majorly anti-sex, super-homophobic Bible-thumping fringe right wing ideology. Such as the Duggar family of the show 19 and Counting. The Duggars often get packaged as a harmless, if shocking large, bunch of well-meaning cuddle bears. In reality, they are adherents to a form of Christianity so misogynist and controlling that even most fundamentalists don’t go that far. They don’t believe in birth control but also don’t believe women should be able to say no to sex when their husbands want it. They believe that your dad should basically arrange your marriage for you if you’re a woman and you shouldn’t even kiss before your wedding. Oh yeah, and women shouldn’t really be educated because they exist only to serve men and make babies. One of the many elder daughters on the show made headlines with the nutty statements recently.

  • Reality 1 *

This sort of statement is not only ahistorical and misogynist, it’s also blatant anti-Semitic. I mean, I’m sure they don’t see it that way because hey, they are against genocide and not for it. But that’s a really low bar, which I hope is obvious. No, this is anti-Semitic because for all the “pro-life” bleating, it’s actually a way to reduce the suffering and murder of millions of Jewish people by making it all about this radical anti-sex agenda. That the desire of the Duggar family to control your sex life and end women’s equality is somehow the moral equivalent of the resistance movement that fought the Nazis. That is an unbelievable hijacking of a very real historical event for the sleazy and frankly immoral purposes of the radical Christian right.

Less risible but just as head-scratching is this video from one of the wives of the Duggar boys, Anna Duggar, and her sister Priscilla Waller, in which they talk about marriage.

  • Reality 2 *

They go on to talk about how the purpose of a woman’s life is to be a “helpmeet” who exists solely for no other reason than to be a wife and mother. But even though the point of your life is to be a wife, the amount of control you’re allowed to have even over that decision is miniscule and apparently your parents are the ones who decide.

  • Reality 3 *

All of which suggests that the idea here is that you agree to an engagement with a man you barely know, because they have all these rules against socializing with the opposite sex. So maybe now you’re engaged and you actually get to talk to him and you discover you aren’t into him. Sounds like you’re not allowed to break the engagement unless your parents do it for you. So you’re left praying that your parents don’t make you marry a man you don’t love and who may even scare you. I’m guessing that part gets edited out on TLC.

Shifting gears to another radical right-wing family whose out of control misogyny and homophobia hasn’t prevented them from getting a cutesy reality TV show on A&E: The Robertsons of Duck Dynasty. Phil Robertson was at it again recently, giving this bizarre sermon at a West Monroe church. After claiming the church dictates that marriage is one-man-one-woman, he goes off.

  • Reality 4 *

And if you never leave the house you’ll never catch a cold. And if you never love anyone, you’ll never suffer grief. And if you die today, you won’t risk feeling sad tomorrow. This logic is as endless as it is ridiculous. Sometimes we have to balance risk with our need to live and learn and enjoy our lives. Needless to say, Mr. Preacher Man here doesn’t know his Bible, or he’d know that many of the patriarchs of the Bible committed adultery or had multiple wives. But simply telling people to give up the opportunity to experiment, to learn about themselves and what they like in favor of marrying someone you barely know with the vain hope that their spouse will happen to satisfy them sexually? Crap, I’d rather get gonorrhea. At least you can cure that with antibiotics. An unhappy marriage from which there is no escape sounds exponentially worse.


And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, racist eugenics paranoia edition. Jerry Boykin of the Family Research Council was on a conference call with E.W. Jackson this week and he had some theories about Muslims.

  • Boykin *

For people who are quick to accuse liberals of “eugenics,” conservatives sure are quick to push the idea that we need to manipulate people’s private reproductive choices for the purpose of engineering a society they want to see, aren’t they?

Texas Down to Eight Abortion Clinics, Values Voters Claim Oppression

Related Links

Jessica Williams takes on cat callers

Rachel Maddow announces the news about HB 2

$1,500 to get an abortion?!

Touring an abortion clinic

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Now contraception is worse than genocide

Bill O’Reilly is being a pig again


On this episode of Reality Cast, I’ll be talking to Sarah Roberts about the relationship of domestic violence and abortion. Texas loses all but 8 abortion clinics, but it’s the conservatives in D.C. who are claiming to be oppressed.

Jessica Williams of The Daily Show has been on fire in recent months attacking all sorts of sexist nonsense. After she called out cat-calling and got the usual men telling her she obligated to like it because it’s supposedly a “compliment,” she fired back.

  • Daily Show *

Hiring Williams might be the best decision that show has made since they decided to do a spin-off called The Colbert Report.


Starting Friday, absolutely devastating news in the State of Texas.

  • Texas 1 *

That leaves eight and only eight clinics in the entire state. I think some people who haven’t been there or haven’t spent much time there don’t quite realize how seriously low that number is, but I lived there for over 30 years and can tell you that when people say Texas is big, they mean it. It’s over 800 miles from El Paso to Texarkana on the east side of the state. It is actually easier to drive from El Paso to Los Angeles.

There will be no clinics left in the south or western parts of the state. That’s the entire Rio Grande Valley, the Panhandle, the Big Bend area, El Paso, and the Permian Basin. Everything will be in central Texas or Houston, convenient for the families of the politicians who passed this law, but for one in six women of reproductive age in the state, it’s over a 300-mile round trip or more to get an abortion. Which is, may I remind you, a procedure that takes about five minutes to do and is easier and less stressful on your body than getting a cavity filled. And it’s a common procedure, too. 73,000 women a year in Texas get an abortion. To handle that volume, each clinic would have to do 25 abortions a day for 365 days a year. It’s impossible.

  • Texas 2 *

As I’ve covered extensively on this podcast, the hardest-hit parts of Texas are places like the Rio Grande Valley, which are geographically isolated and have far more people who are trying to get by on poverty wages. Now that the clinic in McAllen has closed, it is a nearly 4-hour drive to the nearest abortion clinic, in San Antonio. There’s also a waiting period, so a woman who wants to make that drive needs to arrange overnight stay and child care for that time. With gas prices the way they are and with so many people in poverty having unreliable cars, it’s not just workable. But even if it is workable, the amount of stress that it puts on you is really unhealthy for you. It’s obvious the whole point of this law is to make the process of abortion as miserable and painful as possible, in order to punish women for having sex in the first place. But anti-choicers claim they are just trying to “help” women by passing all these medically unnecessary regulations. Help them how? By making their lives a living hell, emptying their pocketbooks, forcing them to resort to illegal means, or, worst, forcing them to have a baby they probably can’t afford? Rewire added up the cost for someone who lives in Harlingen, which is also in the Rio Grande Valley, to get an abortion, and found it is about $1,500 with child care, hotel, gas, and of course, the price of the abortion itself. Only a miserable misogynist would actually think that $1,500, which is a month’s salary for a minimum wage worker, should be the fee for having had sex.

The excuse for claiming that the new restrictions, which require abortion clinics to meet ambulatory surgical center standards, is that this is necessary to make abortion safe. Anti-choicers would like you to believe that abortion clinics currently are not meeting minimum standards for outpatient care like abortion. But Andrea Grimes of Rewire toured Whole Woman’s Health in San Antonio and found, no big surprise, that it’s actually very nice and a completely professional, clean, well-equipped clinic. It’s not a hospital surgery, no, because abortion isn’t really a surgery. There is no cutting of anything. They literally just stick a tube in your cervix and empty out its contents with a machine that takes only about a minute or two to do it. In some cases, it’s not even that and you just take one pill there and another at home. Andrea Ferrigno, who manages the clinic, explained.

  • Texas 3 *

This is about hurting women, and nothing else. There is no other reason to take this away from women. Not that anyone doubted otherwise, but the audacity of people who are trying to hurt women claiming they only want to help should never stop appalling us.




Time yet again for the Values Voters Summit and, of course, Reality Cast’s coverage of it. The Values Voters Summit is an annual gathering of religious conservatives, thrown by the Family Research Council, a group that’s so rabidly anti-gay that it’s been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. This does not stop a stampede of right-wing leaders and conservative politicians from going to it in order to preen and pose about how they’re such huge victims because they don’t want to share the country with feminists, gays, and non-Christians. The summit kicked off with Family Research Council president Tony Perkins engaging in some deep delusions of oppression by comparing American Christians to Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian woman who was jailed for not converting to Islam, which he equated with occasionally having people criticize you in the U.S.

  • Values 1 *

What is the evidence for the claim that conservative Christians are being bullied? As far as I can tell, any time you argue with a conservative Christian, especially if you win the argument, that’s considered bullying. They are free and happy to hold conferences like this, which get a lot of coverage. They have their own media and an entire cable network that caters to them. They not only get to have blogs and websites of their own, but they are so dogged and hateful that they actually silence others by running them out of those spaces. The Supreme Court just opened the door to Christians exempting themselves from all manner of federal law, just because they want to. I personally am not only not silencing Perkins, but I am quoting him on this show.

There were many subjects that were offending the values voters during the summit, such as the fact that Islam continues existing and universal health care hasn’t been abolished yet, but fury that people were having sex without their permission was still at the top of the list. Jerry Boykin was all over that.

  • Values 2 *

Christian conservatives have been swearing for 40 years now that the nation is just on the verge of realizing that all this having sex for pleasure business is evil and we’re one minute away from strapping on our chastity belts, giving up our birth control and picking up Bible study instead. I’m beginning to think it’s all a con job just to string their followers along, particularly since people who say they have no religion at all is the fastest growing religious group in America. Which is true in no small part because the religious right has convinced so many Americans that being religious necessarily means being a Bible-thumping, misogynist bigot, and given the choice between being a bigot or not having religion at all, people take the latter. I don’t make the rules, just an observation.

Then there was Mat Staver, arguing that having sex for fun is the moral equivalent of rounding up families and gassing them to death in concentration camps. Or actually, he thinks it’s worse.

  • Values 3 *

I don’t know if people like Anne Frank would agree that participating in a genocide is what you’d call voluntary. But of course, Staver isn’t thinking about how the Jewish or Rwandan victims of genocide are people. He just thinks of them as objects, tropes to use in order to raise the stakes in his war on women who suppress their own ovulation. That possibility that someone who dies in a genocide might have been worth more than an egg that didn’t get ovulated because its owner was on the pill doesn’t even occur to Staver. People are having sex for fun and since, in his mind, that is the worst thing that could ever happen ever, he can’t be bothered to actually ponder what he’s really saying when he equates your choice to have no more than two children with Hitler’s choice to kill millions of innocent people.


And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, have you considered that women are just inferior edition? Of course, bigots who bust out the it’s-not-bigotry-if-it’s-true line never outright say that women are simply inferior to men. No, the favorite euphemism is the word “different”, on display by Bill O’Reilly here.

  • O’Reilly *

After implying that women are merely born to be a servant class and sexism has nothing to do with it, O’Reilly suggests that women who stay at home or work part time are the reason for the gender pay gap. That is a blatant lie. The figure of women making 78 cents to a man’s dollar only compares full-time, year-round employment. So, it really is just discrimination and nothing else.