Obama Campaign Targets Women: Thanks, Mr. Limbaugh!

The Obama campaign is launching a concerted effort this week to target women, The New York Times reports. And as long as this isn’t the kind of woman-targeting that involves trying super-hard to sell us yogurt, this seems like great news. Not because we love being focus-grouped, but because we love being listened to. And the fact that Obama’s handlers see an opportunity in this all-too-long conservative War on Women means that we’re winning.

Many have wondered why Rush Limbaugh’s recent attempt at slut-shaming law student/contraception rights superhero Sandra Fluke caused so much uproar. That is, they’ve wondered why this particular “mouth dump,” as Jon Stewart recently called Limbaugh’s regular diatribes, of all his disgusting mouth dumps, got so much attention. Was it because Fluke is a private citizen, as opposed to regular political targets like Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton? Maybe. But I suspect it’s because he was calling her a “slut” for wanting basic insurance coverage of contraception, something most women in America want. I think it’s because in calling her a slut, he was calling the vast majority of American women sluts. And we don’t love that.

Ultimately, though, this is a great development. Limbaugh voiced the true thoughts of what many other warriors against contraceptive rights would never actually say. The jig is up: Now we see what many who are fighting against basic birth control really think of us. We’re more outraged, more vigilant, more willing to speak out and donate money to causes and campaigns we believe in. We understand the stakes now, and we’re not going to complacently believe our birth control will always be covered by insurance. We wish we could, because we have other things to worry about, and we sort-of thought we handled this issue a while ago, but so be it.

We’re thrilled that this means we have the president’s attention this election cycle. We should continue to wield all the political and social-networking power that gives us.


Author: Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong grew up deep in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, then escaped to New York to live in a succession of very small apartments and write about pop culture. In the process, she became a feminist, a Buddhist, and the singer/guitarist in an amateur rock band. She also spent a decade on staff at Entertainment Weekly, cofounded SexyFeminist.com, and now writes for several publications, including Women’s Health, Runner’s World, Writer’s Digest, Fast Company, and New York‘s Vulture. Her history of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted, will be published by Simon & Schuster in 2013; her collaboration with Heather Wood Rudulph, Sexy Feminism, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2013. She is the author of the Why? Because We Still Like You, a history of the original Mickey Mouse Club published by Grand Central in 2010. She has provided pop culture commentary for CNN, VH1, A&E, and ABC, and teaches article writing and creative writing. Follow her on Twitter: @jmkarmstrong


  1. Susie Smith says:

    Apparently I have failed the Republican Slut test. This is why I have started the SFO. Please check us out on @ facebook.com/slutsforobama or visit our online store at slutsforobama.com. We are donating 10% of our profits to Planned Parenthood. Please show your support for women, our president, and Planned Parenthood today.

  2. I think we need to voldemort the “sl*t” word. Yep, it needs to be entered into the realm of words that we are ashamed to say aloud. Why is it that people who would cringe at race-based denigrations feel perfectly at ease tearing apart women’s sexuality?

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