sluts to watch out for

Back in the 1980s, when I was at Barnard, there was a pioneering comic strip we used to read called Dykes to Watch Out For. Written and illustrated by Alison Bechdel, the series explored the “lives, loves and politics” of a group of four queer women and their friends. And yes, it was funny.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the lives, loves and politics of all American women, in part because now we have that authority on women’s health issues, Rush Limbaugh, weighing in on contraception. He’s not the first man to insult women’s intelligence this past week. He’s also not the smartest or the sanest of the bunch, when you consider that women, last time I checked, account for roughly half the population. And 99 percent of American women use or have used birth control, more often than not covered by health insurance (if they’re lucky enough to have it). Here’s Rush from the transcript of his February 29th radio show:

What does it say about the college co-ed Susan [sic] Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex, what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We’re the pimps. (interruption) The johns? We would be the johns? No! We’re not the johns. (interruption) Yeah, that’s right. Pimp’s not the right word. Okay, so she’s not a slut. She’s “round heeled.” I take it back.

But wait, there’s more…from his show on March 1st, Limbaugh said:

I’ll tell you this, you people on the left: I’ll happily buy her all the aspirin she wants…We would happily buy Sandra Fluke all the aspirin she wants. What could that possibly cost. But contraceptives? So much sex at Georgetown?

Exhibit 1: law student and alleged round heeled pill popper (Alex Wong, Getty.

Thanks, Rush, for single-handedly reviving “round heeled,” an archaic English expression to describe slutitude. If using birth control makes 99 percent of American women sluts, then count me as a proud card-carrying member of the United Sluts of America.

Birth control pills don’t work the same way your pill addiction did, Rush: taking more of them doesn’t make you less likely to get pregnant, no matter how much sex you’re having. And stop grousing about how taxpayers are footing the bill for contraception: family planning costs far less than the alternatives. Birth control saves lives and money.

Exhibit 2: blowhard and convicted flatfooted pill popper, on the lookout for angry feminists (Ethan Miller, Getty.

One of the things I learned studying history is how often it repeats itself, especially when we’re not paying attention. With all the other issues our country faces, why are we rehashing something that was settled during the (Republican!) Nixon Administration?

I don’t listen to Rush Limbaugh as a rule, but I do try to pay attention. I read things from across the political spectrum, so I can have a better sense of what’s going on. I force myself to read stuff like the National Review and op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal. I also watch the Republican conventions. If history winds up biting us womenfolk in the ass, and election year shenanigans take away our reproductive rights and healthcare benefits, sluts like us will hit back in force in the voting booth.