Rush Limbaugh, his fans, and what’s really off limits

I was unsurprised a few days ago when Rush Limbaugh called a woman who uses birth control a slut, as this is hardly a new thing for him to harp on about. The response, while certainly appropriate to his comments, has been striking precisely because it is a new response to what had at first appeared to me to be the same old misogyny. Limbaugh called a woman who uses birth control a slut and suddenly everyone is paying attention, unlike all the other times he’s vilified women who want to control their reproductive lives.

The difference this time is that Limbaugh called a white professional woman a slut. Normally he restricts his comments to either insulting women in general or making it clear that the women he hates on are also marginalized along race and class lines. You know, those other women who use birth control. The bad ones. The ones that his listener base want to define themselves in opposition to, rather than the ones they want their daughters to identify with.

As much as I am delighted to see advertisers pulling away and networks dropping him, it’s very sad to me that this is not because Limbaugh hates women but because he has finally made clear to his audience that he includes white professional women in with all the other women that he hates.

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