It’s a Feminazi’s World

Slut: A middle English word used around the 1450s to describe an individual who is considered to have loose sexual morals or who is sexually promiscuous. The term is generally pejorative and often applied to women as an insult or offensive term of disparagement, meaning “dirty or slovenly (Oxford Dictionary, 2012).

Prostitute: “Prostitute” is derived from the Latin prostituta. Some sources cite the verb as a composition of “pro” meaning “up front” or “forward” and “situere”, defined as “to offer up for sale”. A person who willingly uses his or her talent or ability in abase and unworthy way, usually for money (Merriam-Webster, 2012).

Feminazi: “an extreme or militant feminist”. An unspecified women whose goal is to allow as many abortions as possible (Merriam-Webster, 2012).

Sandra Fluke: Feminazi (According to the Limbaugh Dictionary) who testified before Democratic members of the House of Representatives on why she believed free contraception is generally essential and should be covered by employer health plans.

Vanessa Geffrard

Wondering why I decided to start off with a little vocabulary lesson? Well, if you do not have the slightest clue what these words refer to, I’m referring to the disgusting, humiliating, misinformed words political commentator Rush Limbaugh used to vilify the testimony of Sandra Fluke. Limbaugh has been known to push the envelope, but this time, his comments take aim at men and women of all political affiliations and backgrounds, and even his advertisers, who are starting to pull ads from his radio talk show. When Limbaugh called Fluke, a Georgetown University law student, a “slut” and a “prostitute” (neither of which accurately describe Fluke) for publicly advocating that employers cover contraception in their health plans, he crossed the line.

Limbaugh concluded his sexist rant by telling the women, also known as feminazis in his dictionary (see definition above), who want their contraception covered by their insurance plans, to post pornographic videos of themselves online in exchange for taxpayers funding contraceptives. When Limbaugh said, “If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch,” he went too far.

What is probably most offensive is that Limbaugh decided to go on a tirade discussing his viewpoint and repeatedly tried to make a connection between Fluke wanting contraceptives covered by insurance companies to women wanting to be “paid” to have sex. See the connection? Yeah, I didn’t either. Limbaugh did not bother to base any of his opinions on fact or conduct any preliminary research in order to formulate an informed and logical opinion about women and contraceptives.

In a November 2011 report, The Guttmacher Institute found that 88% [of women] take oral contraceptive pills for non-contraceptive purposes; most commonly, women used the medication for menstrual regulation (46%) and menstrual pain (40%). Guttmacher also cited that more than half of pill users, 58%, rely on the method at least in part for purposes other than pregnancy prevention; 31% percent use it for cramps or menstrual pain; 28% for menstrual regulation; 14% for acne; 4% for endometriosis. Therefore, many women, as mentioned by Ms. Fluke in her testimony, are using their right to use birth control pills in a non-contraceptive manner to help alleviate health problems experienced by women, and especially young women (Guttmacher, 2011).

Some other good things to know when accusing women of “having so much sex, they can’t afford birth control,” with “no self-control,” is that birth control’s benefits include:

  • Reducing the amount of blood flow during the period. Less blood loss is helpful in preventing anemia.
  • Endometriosis: Occurs when cells from the lining of the womb (uterus) grow in other areas of the body. Most women with endometriosis have cramps or pelvic pain during their menstrual cycle. Birth control pills are often prescribed to treat endometriosis and work by temporarily preventing periods.
  • Menstrual Cramps: When over-the-counter medications don’t help with severe cramps, birth control pills may be the solution because the pills prevent ovulation and lighten periods.
  • Lack of periods (“amenorrhea”) from low weight, stress, excessive exercise, or damage to the ovaries from radiation or chemotherapy: With any of these conditions, the hormone “estrogen” is not made in normal amounts by the body. Birth control pills may be prescribed to replace estrogen, which helps to regulate the menstrual cycle. Normal estrogen levels are important for healthy bones.
  • Reducing the risk of ovarian cysts: The risk of developing ovarian cysts is greatly reduced for birth control pills users because the pills help prevent ovulation. An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled growth that can develop in the ovary during ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary).
  • Protection against pelvic inflammatory disease: Birth control pills provide some protection against pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Pelvic inflammatory disease is a serious bacterial infection of the fallopian tubes and uterus that can result in severe pain and potentially, infertility (YoungWomensHealth.org, 2010).

And you know what’s funny? Again, as Guttmacher, The Center for Young Women’s Health, and Ms. Fluke indicate, many of these benefits and necessities to women’s health have nothing to do with a woman’s sex life (which is her business) or that of her partners. Advocating for insurance coverage for contraception has everything to do with a woman’s choice to choose to advocate for herself, her health, and have the right to affordable and reliable resources to help her ensure the health of her body, as recommended by her medical practitioner(s). Contraceptives have been shown to be reliable and critical to the healthcare needs of needs of women—if women need and choose to take them. Limbaugh’s tirade against “feminazis” like Fluke and women’s rights advocates who speak up against the unfair practices to keep women who desperately need their medications from having affordable access minimizes women’s health , turning it into political mockery.

In addition to this widespread denigration of women’s health, we now have Limbaugh attacking the personal sex lives of women in the most degrading sense,calling women sluts and prostitutes for simply accessing basic, standard health care. This topic of women’s health keeps resurfacing as a cornerstone issue in our society, and now is the time to express our opinions and advocate for ourselves. Women of all ages are being attacked, condemned, asked to make pornographic films of themselves, and are having their sexuality and reproductive health spawn out for all to judge, criticize, and testify upon without their permission. So what can we do? How can we express our voices?

  1. Don’t let misogynistic insults such as slut, prostitute, feminazi, etc. define, demonize, and divide us. We are empowered and we know our rights to affordable and reliable medications and health care. Let’s exercise our voices and speak up when we are being treated like second class citizens.
  2. Get involved! Get involved! Get involved! Write an email to your local congress person expressing your views against policies that affect women’s reproductive rights.
  3. Be an advocate and a voice for young women and girls in your community; hold a teach-in at your local community center, host a webcast, post informative articles on your Twitter and Facebook, sign an online petition against policies you see as anti-women, join or start a women’s circle, educate men and women around you on women’s reproductive health issue.
  4. Join the conversation and get information from healthyteennetwork.org and connect with us on Twitter and Facebook to keep abreast of the issues!

In conclusion, let’s not give up hope and let’s keep letting our voices be heard above noise of nonsense, hate, and misinformation.

And for you, Rush, in light of your gracious, heartfelt apology; in the words of Mr. Kanye West, “Yo Rush, I’m really happy for you and Imma let you finish your sorry apology and all, but the feminazis are giving the best testimonies of all time!”

Vanessa Geffrard is a Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator for Healthy Teen Network.

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2 Comments

  1. The misinformation coming out of these people’s mouths recently is beyond ridiculous. That women who use birth control want to be paid to have sex? That taxes pay for contraception? That a woman needs to use more contraception the more sex she has? PLEASE. Thank you for the informative, appropriate, and FACTUAL discussion of contraception, Vanessa!

    Reply
  2. Vanessa- your completely right! Great to hear your view points from a factual point! This debate was unnecessary if people could just educate them selves and stop being so ignorant on women’s health issues! Geez! Keep on educating V! -BUI, GWU MPH

    Reply

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