Dominic Dieter, the morning show host I wrote about on Monday, apologized for his thoughtless and incredibly offensive comments. While his apology seems heartfelt, and he genuinely seems to be contrite, no apology can erase the words he broadcast to Cleveland, and were repeated around the country.
Words can have far-reaching effects. His words may have been the justification someone needed to actually commit the crime he suggested (attempting to “rape someone straight”). If you’ve seen the movie Boys Don’t Cry, or if you have read anything about the rape gangs in South Africa, you know that corrective rape is something that actually happens. His flippant comment was an incredibly dangerous one.
While I commend Dieter, and the station that he works for, in their efforts to atone for the blatantly hateful sentence Dieter uttered (they are running PSAs about parental rejection, and he has had undisclosed disciplinary action), the fact remains, you can’t take it back. There are still sick individuals who will claim he was coerced into an apology, and use his words to continue justifying hate, violence, sexism, and homophobia. Through Rush Limbaugh’s “prostitute” rant, we have already seen how the hateful words of one person can affect others, even after an apology. His message and apology on Monday morning are just not enough to reconcile the damage of his words.
I would like to see Dieter do a fundraiser for the LGBT Community Center in Cleveland, with an offer to match every dollar, up to $5k, out of his own pocket. How about it? Should we campaign for Dieter to put his money where his mouth is, and actually do some good with his popularity?
I stopped listening to morning radio shows years ago. When I wake up, I want to listen to upbeat happy music, mostly to keep my brain from deciding to scale a full-fledged revolt at being up before the sun. I always became bored or angry listening to the inane or offensive patter of the morning show hosts. Dominic Dieter, who is part of the morning show in Cleveland, has taken offensive to a whole new level.
For reasons unknown, a father wrote a letter to Rover’s Morning Glory, the morning show on Cleveland’s WMMS 100.7, asking for advice about his teenage daughter. The father was concerned that his daughter is a lesbian, after seeing her kiss another girl. Dieter’s advice?
“You should get one of your friends to screw your daughter straight.”
I am so angry that I might explode in a fit of apoplectic fury. First of all, rape is never something to joke about. Secondly, corrective rape is a real thing. It happens all the time in South Africa, and I also happens frequently in the US. This guy needs to be fired. I am writing to the station (firstname.lastname@example.org), and to Clear Channel (email@example.com), the company that owns WMMS. I’m even lodging a complaint with the FCC. Won’t you join me? Here, I’ve even drafted it for you already:
Dear Gary Mincer and Bob Pittman,
Your employee, Dominic Dieter, a morning show host on Cleveland’s WMMS 100.7, is an abominable human being. On Friday, April 27th, in response to a letter written to the morning show, Dieter clearly incited and advocated the use of rape on a teenage girl who may be a lesbian. Broadcasting these words, “You should get one of your friends to screw your daughter straight” is not only incredibly offensive, but is illegal, immoral, and horrifying. Advocating the use of rape to attempt to “correct” homosexuality is unconscionable and reflects poorly on your company. GLAAD has already called for his suspension and a piece regarding the real harm that can come from parental rejection of LGBTQ youth, but I am going further. I am requesting his immediate termination.
If I have any readers in Cleveland, I would love to know what companies advertise on this morning show, because I would like to bombard with requests for termination as well. Let’s hit this company where it hurts: on their bottom line.
There have been countless articles and comments making their way through the public consciousness regarding Rush Limbaugh’s misogynistic comments about Sandra Fluke, but I would also like to respond to this recent event and how it relates to the double-standard that many Conservatives espouse.
For those of you who don’t know, Sandra Fluke is a law student at Georgetown University. She wanted to speak before the House Oversight and Government Reform committee. The issue at hand was whether or not religious institutions should have to provide health care coverage for birth control. Sandra Fluke has long been an advocate for women’s rights, but she was denied the opportunity to speak before the committee regarding the issue. Sandra Fluke testified instead to the House Democratic members. And then, Rush Limbaugh decided to attack her on his talk radio show.
“What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke [sic] who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex — what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. [...] So Miss Fluke and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal: if we’re going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch. [...] She was not allowed to testify because it was not about women at Georgetown who have so much sex they can’t afford birth control. [...] She’s having so much sex she can’t pay for it, and we should. [...] So the woman comes forth with this frankly hilarious claim that she’s having so much sex — and her buddies with her– that she can’t afford it. And not one person says, did you ever think about maybe backing off the amount of sex that you have?”
Clearly, Rush Limbaugh has no idea how birth control works. Here’s a hint, Rush: it isn’t like Viagra and it isn’t like condoms. A woman doesn’t just take a pill when she intends to have sex that day. Hormonal birth control can take two weeks to start being effective when a woman is initially prescribed the medication, and she has to take a pill almost every day for it to continue being effective. The cost of birth control is steady, no matter if a woman is celibate or if she is having sex multiple times per day.
I recently discussed the statistics of women who use birth control here. The vast majority of women who use hormonal birth control, literally, MILLIONS of women, use it for reasons other than contraception. That is why Sandra Fluke wanted to testify before the committee, not because she wants the country to pay her to have sex. But that clearly isn’t how Rush sees it.
It appears that Rush Limbaugh, like so many of his fans (and myself, at one time), has the dangerous and simplistic view that there are two types of women. There are “nice” women, who choose to abstain from sex until they are married, and there are “bad” women, who don’t.
As recently as 60 years ago, we were a predominantly agrarian society. It made evolutionary sense that a young woman who was unmarried remain a virgin. After all, she would not be the one to inherit her family’s property and farm, and her eventual husband would want to be sure that any children that came during the marriage were biologically his.
This is no longer the case. Indeed, unless women are still “property”, then virginity and chastity before marriage no longer actually matter. With the industrial revolution and the later sexual revolution, women are no longer relegated to the home, and they are no longer dependent on the men in their lives to provide for their livelihood. They are also free to engage in sexual activity if they so desire, without the fear of becoming pregnant with a child that they are unable to provide for. Women who do become pregnant outside of wedlock, or who cannot provide for a child are also derided by the vast majority of conservatives. I would go so far as to say that they view any woman who has refused to relinquish control over her own sexuality as dangerous, and would prefer that all women remain abstinent until they are married.
It is unrealistic to tell young women that if a woman cannot provide for a potential child, that they should completely abstain from sexual activity. Sex is natural and a healthy part of an adult life. Indeed, I personally believe that a woman who enters marriage without having experienced any form of sex is doing herself and her partner a disservice. If the two are sexually incompatible, or do not understand the mechanics of sex for pleasure and intimacy, the inevitable dissatisfaction will fester and the relationship will suffer with infidelity or divorce.
To Rush Limbaugh, the fundamental worth of a woman lies in tending her marriage prospects, and ensuring that her father or husband have complete control over her entire sexuality. Rush clearly still views women as property. But his comments did not just attack Sandra Fluke. His comments attacked all women.
Yesterday, I read a heartbreaking blog at the Daily KOS, which can be found here. A 16 year old young woman was attacked by her peers for taking hormonal birth control to manage her menorrhagia and secondary dysmenorrhea, both of which are incredibly painful and traumatic for a young woman. Girls at her school used Rush Limbaugh’s words to cause this brave young woman further pain and trauma. Her mother has spent days trying to convince her daughter that taking a prescription to ease her pain does not make her a “slut” or a “prostitute” any more than taking ibuprofen for a headache does. I hope that during this mother’s visit to the principal and school counselor today, she demanded that the harassment and bullying stop immediately.
Rush, you gave a classic non-apology to Sandra Fluke, saying that your words were “in poor taste”, but only after you started hemorrhaging advertisers. I want to see a real, heartfelt apology to ALL women for your hateful and horrible words. I demand that you stop your harassment and bullying of women, immediately.