”We’re not sexists, we’re chauvinists — we’re male chauvinist pigs, and we’re happy to be because we think that’s what men were destined to be. We think that’s what women want.” – Rush Limbaugh
The inclusive “we” in Limbaugh’s comments above doesn’t reflect someone who has actually had open-ended conversations with people other than his drinking buddies at the all men’s club. I think it’s safe to say that he didn’t come to this conclusion by sitting in on a select panel of objective individuals on the subject. Limbaugh knows deep down this is not a real truth (though he may disguise it as a joke) but a perception he harbors with other like-minded men to justify their inability to have long meaningful relationships with women. He has after all been married 4 times.
When public figures who connect with millions of Americans each day make comments that have no basis in reality, there are bound to be those listeners who will assimilate them into their world view that they have already been partially or wholly programmed to. Whether he’s truly serious, attempting to be humorous or engaging in “theatrics designed to rev up his audience”, Limbaugh’s comments can be scoffed at by people like me while at the same time registering with those males who have been raised by domineering fathers, doting mothers or both.
Images of male superiority have long been entrenched in our culture, from the patriarchal writings of our religious scriptures to the absence of equal citizenship status when our Constitution was framed. The male dominance perception has survived in today’s culture by people like Limbaugh who sees women only as he does his pet female cat; a subservient, docile creature wanting only her basic material needs met.
By definition a male chauvinist pig is a male who patronizes, disparages, or otherwise denigrates females in the belief that they are inferior to males and thus deserving of less than equal treatment or benefit. When men start incorporating such a demeaning view of women deep within their psyche then traditional relationships embodying a mutual, self affirming connection with each other begins to disappear.
When this happens then it’s not that much of a leap to explain why 55% of men reported in a less-than-scientific-survey from Glamour Magazine that they would falsely tell a woman they cared about them just to get them in bed. By the standards set by people like Limbaugh, women are objects to be used by men, thinking that this is how they really want to be treated.
If the demeaning comments about women were a one time sentiment expressed by the ultra-conservative radio commentator, there would be little to support the premise that what he said affects some male attitudes in his audience who’ve been conditioned to think like this all of their life. But it’s not. Limbaugh has a history of such warped images.
How serious can you take someone who has claimed that he’s “a huge supporter of women. … [and loves] the women’s movement — especially when walking behind it.” Image, not content, is the measure by which men like Limbaugh assess the female gender. During the Clinton administration he told his audience that the President has a pet cat but he also has a dog, as he held up a picture of the Clinton’s daughter, Chelsea
Women have more value solely for their beauty and as someone who wants to pleasure a man based on comments made by Limbaugh over the course of his broadcast career. The talk show host once stated that some women who are offended by sexual harassment in the work place are “out there protesting what they actually wish would happen to them sometimes.”.
He expanded on this shallow view when he claimed that “Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women access to the mainstream of society.” Were the same criteria about good looks applied to men however, Limbaugh would most likely be an unknown quantity. He might even find himself being repeatedly rejected by those self-absorbed women who he thinks personify the ideal woman, unless they were true gold diggers attracted only to his celebrity-based wealth. This of course would only further feed into his cat analogy about women.
Limbaugh’s further ignorance of women and thus his devaluation of them as human beings is expressed in his fallacious comment that “women still live longer than men because their lives are easier.” Woman do indeed live longer than men but not because they live the pampered lives like Limbaugh’s cat. Research has shown that women live longer because they’re more cautious and health conscious.
To think as Limbaugh does that women have it easier than men is typical of the gender who has never had to deal with a 9-month pregnancy and then at birth pass something the size of a football through an orifice in their body. He should try giving birth to 19 children like Michelle Duggar before he presumes how much easier women have it. Having and raising children is something he is unfamiliar with considering the man is childless after 3 marriages.
My wife and I have a daughter and a son and we have tried to view them as equally capable of accomplishing whatever they put their minds to. If I were to limit my daughter’s chances by subscribing to Limbaugh’s demeaning view of women I would be bordering on the repressive treatment many women receive in rigid fundamentalist Jewish, Christian and Muslim cultures. Despite Limbaugh’s ignorance of history, women were NOT “doing quite well in this country before feminism came along.” (Radio show, quoted in FRQ, Summer/93)
Some may feel that Limbaugh has been genuinely contrite about his comments regarding Susan Fluke, like his liberal-bashing pal, Cal Thomas. But a cursory reading of his latest “apology” is nothing more than a Flip Wilson style of evading personal responsibility while blaming it all on the “liberal devil”. His frequent misogynistic references are out of date and destructive.