Tuesday, December 18, 2007

So What Else Is New?

Rush Limbaugh hates women.

I know, not exactly a startling revelation. This is the man who once suggested that women aren't fit for combat because:

"If combat means living in a ditch, females have biological problems staying in a ditch for 30 days because they get infections and they don't have upper body strength. . . On the other hand, men are basically little piglets. You drop them in the ditch, they roll around in it, it doesn't matter."

Now, that's offensive to men and women, as far as I'm concerned. Mr Bitch is no piggy. If you tried to drop him into a ditch, it would look something like what happens when you try to put a cat in water.

Yesterday, on his talk show (to a reported 14.5 million listeners), Rush asked whether Americans will want to watch a woman age before their eyes. He asked this question in response to a picture published of Hillary Clinton looking kind of wrinkled and rather like a woman her age (60) who hasn't gone under the knife or needle.

WTF kind of question is that? How is that pertinent to her qualifications to run this country? Maybe we should take her measurements, too. This is a perfect example of the "men age like wine and women just age" double standard. Nobody asked if we wanted to watch an idiot do stupid shit before our eyes either time Bush ran or if we wanted to watch Nixon get uglier, because it didn't matter. Limbaugh even said that when men age they look "more authoritative, accomplished and distinguished." So, a man who displays signs of aging can be, according to this logic, assumed to be a better authority figure, have accomplished more and is "marked by eminence". Wrinkles + penis = eminence. Wrinkles + vagina = hag.

With these two examples of Mr Limbaugh's attitude, it's very clear that he, like many other Americans, believes that gender is fixed and innate, that men and women are fundamentally different. (Why this automatically puts women on the bottom of this particular dichotomy, I'm not sure.) By this logic, men and women are simply "wired" for different roles in our world. Women are supposedly naturally caring and men are the breadwinners. This is called a "legitimizing myth" and it's one of the things dominant groups use to maintain their powerful position. They provide what sound like reasonable arguments for keeping another group down. If men and women are fundamentally different, then women should stay in the kitchen and not worry about things like careers (or politics). It's called a myth because there's no basis in fact. That's right, there is no research that demonstrates that gender is firmly anchored in chromosomes, nor is there any that shows that men and women are fundamentally different. Fathers without partners manage to be just as nurturing as women and women have, time and time again, fulfilled a myriad of traditionally masculine roles.

I'd also like to take a moment to thank Hillary for resisting societal pressure to have plastic surgery or other so-called "procedures" (Botox, I'm lookin' at you). Our culture so reviles age, but I think most women get better with age. With age comes wisdom and wisdom can't be purchased, implanted or injected.

PS My grandpa, with whom I was not close, was a genuine old fart, union-supporting democrat. When Rush became House Speaker he made bumperstickers on his ancient (and very cool-looking) printing press that read "Flush Rush."

PPS Rush also apparently needed to weigh in on the Swedish army's decision to remove the penis from the picture of a lion on the coat of arms. He called it an example of "chickification."