Rush Limbaugh, the conservative talk show host known for his anti-feminist rants, devoted an entire show to the 2002 Ms. Women of the Year. The thirteen Women of the Year, a group of groundbreaking trailblazers and champions for justice, were recognized not for any “real accomplishments” but because they had “flipped the bird to men,” he said. “Qualifications are based on an interpretation of these women’s reaction to men, not their legitimate successes.”
Rush then launched personal attacks against the 2002 Ms. Women of the Year with lies, inaccuracies and purely offensive remarks. He begins his rampage by claiming that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi became the first woman elected to lead a party in either chamber of Congress because she “stabbed Democrat men in the back to get into power.” Rush seems to have forgotten that Pelosi was elected to her top leadership position by those same Democratic men.
Rush dismissed Barbara Blaine, as merely “somebody who’s been abused by a priest and then started an organization.” Blaine, who survived sexual abuse herself, went on to found the nation’s leading organization for survivors of priest sexual abuse and is currently leading the fight for accountability from the Catholic church, is, according to Rush, just some woman who “flipped the bird to men.” If standing up for survivors of abuse is equal to “flipping the bird to men” then Rush Limbaugh may be the only public figure to defend the Catholic Church for its rape and abuse of innocent children.
As if that wasn’t outrageous enough, Rush attacked the three courageous whistleblowers, Enron’s Sharon Watkins, WorldCom’s Cynthia Cooper and the FBI’s Colleen Rowley, for exposing widespread fraud in corporate America and our federal government. “They got the award because they brought down a bunch of guys. They got the award because they brought down a bunch of heathen corporate executives,” he said.
And in yet another example of this twisted logic, Rush questions Ms. for selecting Jamie Lee Curtis as a Woman of the Year for courageously insisting that More magazine photograph her in her real flesh – without makeup, without flattering clothes and without computer alterations. He claims that Ms. judged Curtis based on her looks, when in fact she was honored for taking on the beauty myth and society’s artificial notion of feminine perfection.
Rush refuses to recognize the 2002 Ms. Women of the Year as women who demand justice in everything they do and look forward to make sure that the future generations of women are not left behind.