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She’s No Fluke: Is The Word “Slut” Still Relevant? – OpEd


A woman close to me once characterized the sea change in our society well. “Years ago you knew who the bad girls were,” said she. “Now you know who the good girls are.”

And the good boys get condemned for not pretending the bad girls are good.

I am, of course, speaking about the dust up involving law student Sandra Fluke and talk-show host Rush Limbaugh. Fluke had said in front of Congress that financing rolls in the hay can be so expensive that it can be a burden on women in law school. So she wants you, dear taxpayer, to foot the bill for her contraception. In response to this, Limbaugh called her a “slut” during his commentary on the matter. And now he’s being labeled a “sexist” and misogynistic for it (he has since apologized).

Of course, in Fluke’s testimony, she didn’t literally say that she was having $1000-worth of sex a year. What she said was, “Without insurance coverage, contraception can cost a woman over $3000 during law school. For a lot of students who, like me, are on public interest scholarships, that’s practically an entire summer’s salary.” Now, I’ll leave it to you to determine her implication, but I’ll say that if a female law student is engaging in so much sexual congress that she’s spending a mint on birth-control, I wouldn’t reflexively assume she’s a slut.

Because I’d wonder how she was working her way through law school.

Really, though, if such a woman doesn’t deserve slut status, who does? Is the word now obsolete? Have we become like a Barbary-pirate nation where the term “thief” may be out of style because its use may offend the majority?

It really is a testimonial as to how we live in that prophesied time in which good is called bad and bad is called good. Undesirable behavior is kept to a minimum through stigmatization, and to this end we have always labeled such behavior and those who habitually engage in it with derogatory terms. Now, however, it is the virtuous who are stigmatized into silence.

As for Fluke, slut or not, she is certainly something else: a slick political operative and willing Democrat human prop. Contrary to earlier reports, which portrayed her as a starry-eyed 23-year-old being picked on by a big bad powerful white guy, Fluke is actually a 30-year-old former president of Georgetown Law Students for Reproductive Justice. In other words, she’s an experienced feminist activist – and I suspect she relishes the attention.

Her reasoning ability, however, makes one conclude that helping her become a lawyer may not exactly be in the “public interest.” She said that in criticizing her, Limbaugh was trying to stifle free speech, when he was just exercising his. When commenting on Georgetown’s unwillingness to pay for her contraception, she said, “[C]onservative Catholic organizations have been asking: what did we expect when we enrolled at a Catholic school? We can only answer that we expected women to be treated equally….”


Am I to understand that Georgetown offers men free contraception?

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Selywn Duke

Selywn Duke is a columnist and author.

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