Enough is Enough: Speaking Out About the Right-Wing Media’s War on Women

by: Kara Crawford

Over the past several months, we have witnessed a great deal of political chaos and turmoil, and of course, I’m talking mostly about the right wing of U.S. politics. In particular, I have heard far too many pundits say deprecating and downright terrible things about women; in my opinion, one comment is over the line, so how outrageous it has been recently is completely unfathomable. If the religious right is allowed to routinely use the phrase “war on religion” to describe just about anything, I’m going to cry “war on women.”

Even though I’m currently in Colombia and relatively dependent on social media for the purpose of finding out about U.S. politics — and as a result, I am often among the last of my friends to know what is going on stateside — I have watched in horror in recent weeks as pundits who are treated as “journalists” have stooped to lows which, while by no means new, are certainly pathetic cries for attention, resorting to outrageous verbal attacks on women’s rights and those who speak up for them.

My recent desire to beat my head against a brick wall every time someone from the right wing opens their mouth began with none other than Fox News pundit Liz Trotta. As many already know by now, she outraged everyone with her ludicrous commentary on the reports on sexual abuse in the military.

My thought as I watched the video for the first time was, “Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t think I heard you correctly. Are you implying that I should apologize for being feminist enough to believe that women in the military (or anywhere for that matter) should not be raped?”  Apparently, the extremist views of radical feminists are destroying the military with ridiculous notions that women should be allowed to serve alongside men in the military without being raped. [1] However, it can apparently just be credited to the fact that “they’ve actually discovered there’s a difference between men and women,” according to Trotta. (For the sake of avoiding tangents, I’m not even going to begin to touch that one.)

So, women who enter the military should expect to be raped, as Trotta has established. This is, of course, a problem caused by the fact that the men in the military are obviously making harmful choices that affect the women? Surely rape can be prevented, but that prevention isn’t the sole responsibility of women: it’s the responsibility of men. Right? Right, Liz Trotta? Nope. Trotta continued to blame it on “the feminists,” I suppose because we fight for women to have access to the same work as men and complained about all the money wasted and bureaucracy built on providing sexual assault support services to the women who are being raped. Seems a little necessary to me.

Trotta later appeared on Fox with the opportunity to recant any of her prior statements. She refused and continued to read her statement continuing and amplifying the same outrageous rhetoric as before. She completely disrespected women in the military, claiming that the media supremely sensationalizes their work, then went on to tell us how women should not serve alongside men in the military because, of course, “biology is destiny.” [2]

When asked to respond to criticisms that it sounded like she originally implied that all military men are rapists, she launched into a long-winded and asinine explanation of how in the military “basic instincts rule,” which apparently means that raping women is a side effect of testosterone build-up, and s  it should not be the military men who should be blamed for the rapes.  Rather, this is the fault of feminists who pushed for the women to be there in the first place. The overarching message? The rapes are our fault, feminists. It’s a shame that we asked for equal opportunities for men and women — because look at the results we got.

Then there’s Rush. Good ol’ Rush Limbaugh. We can always count on him to say something completely absurd and out-of-line — and even lawsuit worthy. In response to Sandra Fluke’s testimony at the congressional hearing in favor of the new “birth control law” that is all the rage, Limbaugh began with the ridiculously exaggerated (and non-factual) idea that because her contraceptives would be paid on her behalf by her insurance, they are effectively paying her to have sex. Because of that, she is a “slut” and a “prostitute.” He then went on to say that if she’s going to be a “prostitute,” she should at least share her experience (that we’re paying for in his fantasy world?) by making porn and sharing it!

Wait, what? In my opinion, Jon Stewart gave the best response possible to the situation. [3] Rush can call me a “feminazi,” but that is not appropriate any time or anywhere. Sure, he has apologized, but this was only to try to keep his advertisers from pulling out.  For goodness sake, isn’t there anyone out there besides “the feminists” and that “biased liberal media” (which the femnists control) who is willing to be upset about this? Because this has gone way too far.

Maybe the republican candidates have something to say?

Newt Gingrich: “I’m astonished at the desperation of the elite liberal media…to suddenly decide that Rush Limbaugh is the great national crisis of this week.”

Rick Santorum: “You know, he’s being absurd, but that’s…you know…an entertainer can be absurd.”

Mitt Romney: “It’s not the language I would have used.” [4]

Really? Is that all they have to say? This is outrageous. How can anyone sit back and watch someone be maliciously called a “slut” and a “prostitute” and give the politician version of “meh?” Apathy. That is all this shows, is apathy — and from men who are allegedly running for president. These antics are simply shameful. I never expected much, if anything, from the U.S. right wing, but this is unbelievable.

However, there is hope. A group is organizing demonstrations in the capitols of every single state on April 28th called the “Unite against the War on Women March on Our State Capitols,” and on September 16th, they will follow up with the “We Are Woman March on Washington, D.C.” This is a way to get involved with a movement that is saying enough is enough. These attacks on women must stop here.

So, to all the women, womyn, feminists, “feminazis” and supporters of women’s rights out there: in the spirit of last Thursday’s International Women’s Day, in what should be the spirit of every day, you must get out there and support these marches however you can. Together, we can raise our collective voice to say enough is enough.

Kara Johansen Crawford is a graduate of DePaul University, with a BA in International Studies and Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies. Kara has been actively involved in activism and community service for much of her life and is particularly passionate about labor justice, queer issues and engaging faith communities on social issues. Kara is currently serving as a Mission Intern with the United Methodist Church at the Centro Popular para América Latina de Comunicación, based in Bogotá, Colombia. Follow Kara on Twitter @revolUMCionaria and on her blog.

[1] Now, I’m not particularly a fan of the idea of military service for anyone and am strongly opposed to the US’s [ab]use of war in all its forms. But, in order to be a consistent feminist, I say there should be equity, equal opportunity, in all fields. So if women choose to go into the military, let them go into the military, for goodness sake! In the mean time, I’ll keep working for a day when militaries are no longer necessary (yes, I’m one of those optimists).

[2] Feel free to grab your barf bags for this statement; I certainly needed mine.

[3] Watch the video. No, seriously, watch it; it’s worth your time.

[4] If you followed the instructions of my previous footnote, you’ll recognize I pulled these quotes from The Daily Show, but let’s account that to my current isolation from US media beyond what I have easy access to on the internet. Also, I love Stewart’s response to Romney, because it reminds me that Methodists are awesome.

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2 responses to “Enough is Enough: Speaking Out About the Right-Wing Media’s War on Women

  1. Pingback: Nico Lang: When in Boystown: Don't Create Racism, Create Change | USA Press·

  2. Pingback: When in Boystown: Don’t Create Racism, Create Change « In Our Words·

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