Despite the widespread outcry against Rush Limbaugh’s and Bill O’Reilly’s sexist smears against Sandra Fluke earlier this year — when they claimed she was a “slut” who wants the government to pay for her “social life” — other far-right commentators haven’t quite grasped why these types of attacks are offensive. After Fluke took to the stage of the Democratic National Convention last night to articulate the issues at stake in the ongoing War on Women, conservative media took to Twitter to bash her for “whining” about needing free birth control for the activities that go on in her “bedroom”:
Sandra Fluke: I am woman, hear me whine.
— Todd Kincannon (@ToddKincannon) September 6, 2012
Sandra wants taxpayers to pay for her tanning appointments.
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) September 6, 2012
Don’t lecture conservative women about empowerment while demanding that we pay for what goes on in your bedroom #DNC2012
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) September 6, 2012
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) September 6, 2012
I hope someone was passing out free condoms tonight, otherwise Sandra Fluke might be in trouble tomorrow.
— Michael Berry (@MichaelBerrySho) September 5, 2012
RNC had Condi Rice, DNC has Sandra Fluke. One overcame segregation to become Sec of State, one wants you to pay for her pill.
— Chris Barron (@ChrisRBarron) September 2, 2012
I wonder if she has “Birth Control Martyr” business cards.
— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) September 6, 2012
Feminism weeps as Fluke and other DNC women get on their metaphorical knees to beg for government to take care of them.
— S.E. Cupp (@secupp) September 6, 2012
Aside from misrepresenting Fluke’s point that women should not have to pay more than men do for essential preventative health services, including contraception, these smears degrade Fluke as a woman. In fact, Fluke speaks for the one in three American women who report struggling to afford birth control, and does not need to apologize for either her sexuality or her demand for equitable health care. And although some commentators decried Fluke for “only” talking about birth control rather than addressing other political themes, as if contraception is merely a petty and personal issue, access to health services like contraception is inextricably linked to economic issues.