Female Superheroes, Weak Excuses, and War on Porn


A new documentary about female superheroes is a must-see. Limbaugh’s defenses of himself are remarkably weak, and Santorum expands his war on sex to porn and masturbation.

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Links in this episode:

Karen Santorum trying to dress Rick in feminist garb

Limbaugh’s diamond-encrusted misogyny defense

Limbaugh thinks judging beauty pageants somehow means he’s not misogynist 

The winner of the Hack Olympics, birth control edition

Santorum opposes porn

Conservatives aren’t going to take radical anti-porn stance  

Santorum-approved porn

On this episode of Reality Cast, Kristy Guevara-Flanagan will discuss her new documentary about female superheroes. Limbaugh’s defenses of his misogyny get positively baroque, and Rick Santorum expands the war on sex to porn.

Rick Santorum is beginning to realize that his opposition to contraception is hurting the voters view of him as electable. So he’s sending his wife Karen out to try to do a little clean-up.

  • contraception *

Of course, she contradicts herself within this statement. “Religious liberty”, of course, is a code phrase for supporting a law that allows your employer to invade your privacy and withhold health coverage you paid for because he disapproves of your sex life. That attitude is anti-freedom, at its core. “Freedom” of employers to take away the freedom of employees is no kind of freedom at all.

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I will admit, I left for a week and really thought that Rush Limbaugh was going to slow his roll. For a man who claims to be so oppressed by so-called feminazis, he really doesn’t seem to actually compelled to rein in the misogyny one itty bitty bit. I thought he’d at least have the sense to tone down the hateful anti-woman stuff until the whole “slut” thing blew over, but if anything, he’s turned up the volume.  And not that there was any doubt, but that pretty much destroys his claim to have apologized for calling Sandra Fluke a slut.

I recall being very firm that Limbaugh was basically calling all women “sluts” and “prostitutes” when he called Fluke by those names, because his phrasing made it clear that he equated using medical services for reproductive health care with prostitution.  Since that group includes pretty much all women, he was calling all women prostitutes, which he clearly thinks is a bad thing to say. Well, he went ahead and confirmed the theory that he thinks that women are essentially prostitutes, i.e. that we have sex in exchange for compensation from men. And that this is the way it’s supposed to be.

  • Limbaugh 1 *

That you enjoy having a woman clean up after you, have sex with you, and bear your children doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t hate women. Even men who burned women at the stake while accusing them of witchcraft appreciated women for their housework and sexual value. Saying you pay top diamond dollar for these services and make meaningless gestures to suggest women are fragile, not-quite-human creatures doesn’t change this. What’s most interesting about this rant is that he neglected to remember that many Republicans ARE women. And of course, that some are pro-choice, but they are just getting shut out. He just simply forgot that women can do people things that he does, such as vote Republican. Which suggests to me what Limbaugh was stabbing at when flinging the word “slut” and “prostitute” around. He was trying to argue that women aren’t really people, and therefore it’s offensive to let them have people health care. Instead, he views them as very expensive pets. And while you may buy your pet nice things and open the door for your pet—I know I do—you hardly expect to show up at the doctor and see Fifi waiting in line with you. So maybe Limbaugh would be less offended if women went to veterinarians for our birth control?

This attitude explains very well his other defense against charges of misogyny.

  • Limbaugh 2 *

I really think the “Limbaugh thinks women are pets, not people” theory is being held up here. Beauty pageants are like dog shows, except that the contestants have to do more tricks. That he wants women to parade around in front of him and be judged on whether they fit the American Kennel Association’s breed requirements hardly suggests to me that he’s a supporter of women having human rights. The next question is how this fits into defenses of Mitt Romney strapping his dog to a car roof.

Defense number three Limbaugh offered was no more convincing.

  • Limbaugh 3 *

The ol’ misogyny gets grandfathered in excuse, eh? The idea that if someone has been a sexist pig long enough, they get a free pass for life and no one can ever observe that is, indeed what they are? Convenient, that one. If taken seriously, it actually means no one can demand progress ever, if you think about it, since it would mean challenging people who’ve held oppressive beliefs for many years. So, no. I think that having been a jerk a long time just reaffirms my belief that you’re a jerk now.

But as much as Limbaugh appears to be losing it, he is, believe it or not, holding it together better than some of his pale imitators on Fox News. Like Greg Gutfeld.

  • Limbaugh 4 *

Rule number one of comedy: If you have to stretch that far for a joke, it’s never going to be funny. And that’s even if you’re a liberal and more inclined to actually grasp what’s funny. Honestly, for all that Fox claims that liberals are the ones who want to give money to the undeserving, I have to point out that they’re pretty much running a charity for comic hacks. Can’t make it in the real world of making funny? Grab a chair and park yourself on Fox News, where everyone will pretend to laugh at your nonsense as long as you stay on message.

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insert interview

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Rick Santorum is getting, pardon the expression, a bit overexcited. His anti-contraception views went mainstream in a way that he probably never anticipated, and so he’s expanding the war on non-procreative sex to include an attack on masturbation. Specifically performed in the way that is favored in every home with a dude and a computer.

  • porn 1 *

I’m not disputing that it’s not great for children to walk in on a parent having a private moment in from of the computer, but that’s an argument for putting locks on your door and not for throwing people in jail. Of course, Santorum is an adherent to the anti-choice belief that young people would have no interest in sex if Planned Parenthood didn’t tell them about condoms, so it follows that they’ll believe that you can basically keep the young from ever feeling the stirrings of lust by scrubbing the internet clean of porn. To which I say, good luck. Even if you did throw some pornographers in jail, a million more rise up in their place. Even if you could scare people out of making porn in the U.S., they’d just make it somewhere else and distribute it online. This is just about releasing that sadomasochistic urge to throw people in jail for the sexy.

While people all over the gender spectrum enjoy porn, the kind that Santorum is thinking about is probably the kind that’s geared mainly at men, both gay and straight. While the conservative base is completely on board with an all-out assault on women’s sexual rights, I do believe he may have gone a step too far with this one. Roy Edroso at the Village Voice recorded many conservative bloggers doing the unthinkable, and actually criticizing Santorum, though they claimed that he’s being a “liberal” with this. I guess they think “liberal” is just anyone doing something they don’t like.  They were cool with Santorum when they though the every-sperm-is-sacred thing was just a cover story for lady-hating, but now they fear he means it. He did lose the primary in Illinois. Coincidence? Cenk at Young Turks suggests not.

  • porn 2 *

The real question here is how will Santorum’s anti-porn stance go over with Rush Limbaugh? Remember, Limbaugh said that women should be required to turn over sex tapes if they want contraception coverage, and Santorum is happy to take good press from Limbaugh. I’m really seeing the Limbaugh exemption in this, where porn is okay as long as it’s non-consensual and used to harass women who want reproductive rights.

Seriously, I will never, for the life of me, understand people who just freak out at the mere thought of someone else feeling pleasure and start obsessing over ways to stop it from happening. Using “the children” as an excuse is particularly grating, since the underlying assumption here is that children are somehow better off if adults are unhappy and unsatisfied. I’m skeptical of that assumption. But I will say that Santorum’s anti-pleasure agenda is backfiring, since people continue to be sexual and now they get to have fun laughing at him.

  • porn 3 *

In case that wasn’t obvious, the pizza guy shows up and delivers the pizza, which she pays for before shutting the door. It was on Jimmy Kimmel. Like I’ve said before, once you attract the entire world of comedy to make endless fun of you, that’s really not good for your long term political prospects.

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And now for the Wisdom of Wingnuts, no man could ever actually think of women as more than obstacles between them and vaginas edition. That appears to be Greg Gutfeld’s point with another one of those things he says that I think are supposed to be jokes.

  • gutfeld *

The most important thing to remember about anti-feminists is they simply don’t believe that men could like women. They really do think all men believe women are objects for sexual release, heir creation, and housework, but not people in themselves. All these comments make much more sense if you believe that. Personally, I think more of men, and believe them perfectly capable of liking women and seeing women as human beings.  


Follow Amanda Marcotte on Twitter: @amandamarcotte

  • johann7

    I’ve been missing out on all kinds of “easy sex without committment”? Damnit; here I though my support of feminism was all about equality and ethics and harmonious coexistence of all people. Turns out I was just in it for all the anyonymous random sex, and I haven’t even been having any of that, what with concerns about male sexual privilege, consent, STI transmission, and pregnancy potential.