We always knew it was there, lurking under the surface. It was there back in the sixties when the Rolling Stones sang "Under My Thumb."
It was there in the 1970's when Donna Summer moaned her way through "Love to Love You Baby."
It was there in the 1980's when David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen sneered their way through "Hot for Teacher"
and the J. Geils Band bemoaned that the girl they thought was a virtuous virgin appeared as a "Centerfold"
. It's been a part of pop culture ever since the Pill came along and upended the notion that women who don't (as Foster Freiss recently said) keep an aspirin between their knees were punished by unintended pregnancy.
I'm old enough to remember when pregnant teens were sent away "to stay with Grandma for a while." "Sick Grandma" was such an easy cover story that notorious family-murderer John List even used it to give him enough time to escape after murdering his entire family in 1971. In those days, pregnant teens weren't admired or emulated. They were shamed, and even when they returned to school with their new, slim figures, people looked at them with a peculiar mix of curiosity, judgment, and for some, a tiny bit of admiration -- but only on the part of the girls. For the boys, these girls were tainted forevermore. And this was in the late 1960's!
With all the video of Woodstock and Height-Ashbury, the popular conception (sorry) has been that from, say, 1968 on, this country was one big orgy of baby-boomer sex. Oh, there was a lot of sex going on, but most of it was outside of hippie enclaves, and while the sex was happening, the old double-standard was alive and well. At the small Pennsylvania college I attended in the 1970's, a girl who "slept around" still got a "reputation." There weren't so many accidental pregnancies, though, because even in provincial eastern Pennsylvania, college towns had free taxpayer-funded clinics where coeds could get gynecological examinations and free contraceptives of any kind.
But lurking under the surface there was always a double-standard. I'd been taught about sexuality from books written in the 1950's which promised dire consequences for girls who "necked and petted". There was always this Catch-22 of boys trying to get sex and girls trying to stop them -- and as long as the girls succeeded in stopping them and never thought about wanting sex themselves, the retrogrades who broke out in cold sweats at their own inability to handle their biology were happy. It really wasn't until the late 1970's that female sexual empowerment really went mainstream, and even then, the "If She Fucked Me That Means She'll Fuck Anybody" doctrine reared its ugly head at times, with its delusion that it said something about the women being judged rather than about the self-loathing of the men who made such judgments.
It seemed to go away for a while, until this birth control fracas, or at least it seemed to. After all, we watched Sex and the City
for what seemed like a whole decade, and even after fucking a different guy every single week, Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and even the comically voracious Samantha ended up finding True Love And Happiness®. We got sick of them after a while, but what was refreshing about the way that series ended (and should have stayed ended) is that the "pasts" of these women DIDN'T "catch up to them." What a frightening thought to men who had grown accustomed to being able to use shaming and ostracism as weapons to keep women in line.
The ugly nature of Rush Limbaugh's comments about Sandra Fluke
this week shocked many people. They shouldn't have. Comments like this are nothing new. Calling women whores, sluts, and prostitutes has been with us for millennia. It was shoved under the rug for a while, but it's always been there. Sexually active women have always been threatening to men like Rush Limbaugh, because to affirmatively take charge of one's own sexuality -- to decide when to have it, with whom to have it, to avoid the biological consequences of having it, up-end the illusion of male control that men like this seem to need so desperately. It's no accident that the most vocal public attackers of Ms. Fluke are Rush Limbaugh -- a man who struggles with his weight but attacks fat women, a man who has been married four times and has no children to show for it, a man who was nabbed at the border while returning from the Dominican Republic with a bottle of twenty-nine Viagra tablets in someone else's name; and Bill O'Reilly, who had to pay his producer millions of dollars to settle a sex-harassment suit
Limbaugh and O'Reilly are the most public spewers of misogynist venom these days, but check out some of these gems from the comment sections of various online publications:
From "Anonymous", in response to jurassicpork's post No Fluke Here
"Gee I need help. I've got this bad masturbation problem, six to eight times a day. Is there a way I can get money from the government so I can buy more paper towels? I'm going broke. "
Someone ought to tell Anon that this is about insurance companies, not about the government. But that's pretty tame. Here are some more that so far have escaped the comment-scrubbing that's been going on at news sites for the last few days.
From the comments at CNN.com:
Lib women are constantly telling conservatives to leave their uterus and ovaries alone.
Now this trollop wants to require taxpayers to babysit her input in said organs by paying for
birth control ? Just another me-me-me libtard who can go to a local clinic and get free contraceptives
but is too stupid to google and read street signs. I love it when the Pelosis of the world use morons like "Fluke"
for their transparent foibles. (Link)
Dominicant mama 4 nobamaFrom Faux Noise
What else do you call someone that needs to spend the amount of money she claims college students are spending on contraception...what the hell are they doing sleeping with everyone on campus AND all the professors??? guess people don't go to college to get an education anymore...
No one is trying to silence you...It's not your mouth that needs to be closed... (Link)
, in response to Limbaugh's non-apology "apology":
Whats the matter the TRUTH HURTS, all these woman have to do is KEEP THERE LEGS CLOSED is that too much to ask........................................ Dont make me pay unless Im doing you. (Link)
This s lut wants birth control so she can s crew all she wants too without getting pregnant have a good time and wants me to pay for it. That is b ull s hit! (Link)
In the eyes of some, ALL who even SPEAK to Democrats are sluts. Again, from Faux Noise comments:
Are we paying for her College also...for a 30 yr old.."girl"? She got what she ask for by following Pelosi.. wonder how much she got paid for that little trip. Rush is correct... sluty!! (Link)
At Washington Post:
A student who admits to being promiscuous will get insulted especially when that same student wants the taxpayer to pay for birth control for her. My comment has nothing to do with women in general. It has to do with one who has agreed to be a scape goat for the Democrats on a very sensitive issue meant to be an election issue. She freely admitted to having sex at least twice a day. She is supposed to be there to learn not screw. She also is not there on a grant which means she can afford her own birth control. The least expensive of which is abstinence. Birth control pills will not protect her from STDs so it would be wiser for her to go to the drug store and buy condoms if she is going to continue her promiscuity. I do not see this as a feminist issue. I see it as one girl willing to be used for more than sex. (Link)
And this little gem from Glennbeckistan:
Posted on March 3, 2012 at 5:41pm
if the gov‘t doesn’t offer to cover it, you could go paper bag and playboy magazines vs the dog and pills. works just as well and alot cheaper. then again, just find yourself a hot chick and pass on this one would be my recommendation. personally, i’d rather skip the ugly chick, paper bag, pills, dog, and just get the playboy magazine and take care of it myself. (Link)
Comments like this are becoming more difficult to find, because comment moderators are busy scrubbing the worst of them, something I wish they wouldn't do. Because views like this -- any woman who has sex is a whore or a lesbian, any woman who speaks out is part of the Great Obama Kenyan Muslim Communist Socialist Homosexual Conspiracy, women should just keep their legs closed -- really need to be out there so it's all clear exactly what we're dealing with.
Labels: contraception, misogyny, The Republican War on Women