by Sarah Jensen
Last week Rush Limbaugh called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, a “slut” for speaking out in support of accessible birth control. He later elaborated
“A Georgetown coed told Nancy Pelosi’s hearing that the women in her law school program are having so much sex they’re going broke, so you and I should have to pay for their birth control. So what would you call that? I called it what it is. So, I’m offering a compromise today: I will buy all of the women at Georgetown University as much aspirin to put between their knees as they want. … So Miss Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal. If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”
After years of bullying and slandering women, these comments became the final straw; over the weekend thousands of angry people took to the internet, urging his sponsors to stop cut their ties with him. He’s been dropped by 35 of them so far, and the number continues to rise.
Among the many articles which have been written about the situation, one of the most interesting I’ve found is the Forbes piece that I’ve excerpted below, which discusses the powerful role that social media has played in the boycott:
“Women aren’t waiting to be told what to do or which petition to sign, they’re just doing what we do best: talking and connecting,” agreed Allison Fine, senior fellow for progressive think tank Demos.
It’s the next chapter in many ways to the story that hit the public consciousness with the strong, active online reaction to the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s decision to cut funding to Planned Parenthood a month ago. The response was quick, massive, and targeted. My own social graph (on both Facebook and Twitter) lit up like a summer fireworks display after sundown – stirring conversation, concentration around hashtags and shared media, and truly crowdsourced action.
“What we’re seeing right now is a continuation of the networked response to the right-wing war on women’s health that began with the Komen reaction a few weeks ago,” said Fine. “It is across generations and extra-organizational with individual women using a variety of social media channels to connect with other women and create their own protests.”