Ever since Rush Limbaugh called law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” after she openly supported the use of contraceptives (and argued in favor of making them a part of free healthcare), women everywhere have decided they’ve had enough of the derogatory word and are taking it back. And although Limbaugh apologized later for his outburst, the firestorm continues.
A woman by the name of Susan McMillan Emery has started an online forum called “Rock The Slut Vote” in an effort to draw attention and support to the Democratic cause this election year and says she doesn’t want to give politicians the satisfaction of using the word to draw ire.
“It’s really about taking the power away from that word more than it is about Rush Limbaugh,” she said. “He gave the word the notoriety but we are trying to take it back,” she said. “Originally my intention wasn’t so much to try to have a platform as to be able to find a voice myself through the website. It was good for me personally because I felt so much outrage.”
The site, which is aimed at empowering women to make their voices heard in this emotionally charged political season, gives a list of reasons one might be a “slut”:
Reversing the views on derogatory names isn’t a new thing; young girls and women actually began taking them back in the ’90s during the Riot Grrrl movement, which saw female-fronted bands emerge from Seattle and Minneapolis such as Hole, Bikini Kill, Babes In Toyland, and 7 Year Bitch. Girls would show up at concerts wearing babydoll dresses and too much makeup, sporting the words “slut”, “whore”, and “bitch” written on their arms in lipstick in a cheeky effort to stick their tongues out at the male-dominated music world. It seems the movement has found a new generation, or perhaps the old one is just feeling a resurgence of that activism.
But not everyone feels that women’s health rights are being restricted, so Emery may not have a revolution on her hands just yet. According to a poll, only 5% of women voters feel that health issues are more important than others, such as the economy.