Watch out Republicans, here come the sluts.
Women’s rights activists are banding together to “Rock the Slut Vote” in an online effort to register women to vote and cast their ballots against Republicans in 2012.
“If the GOP thinks that throwing the word ‘slut’ at us at this point is going to silence women they have another thing coming,” said Susan McMillan Emry, the site’s founder.
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh thrust the derogatory word into the political arena in February when he called law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” for testifying before Congress in support of contraceptives.
Following the national backlash over Limbaugh’s name-calling, “Rock the Slut Vote” is now aiming to “defuse” the offensive term, Emry said.
Taking a vein from comedian Jeff Foxworthy and his “You might be a Redneck if…” jokes, Emry’s website gives visitors 22 reasons why “You might be a slut,” including “if you’ve ever used contraception” or “if you’re still downloading Dixie Chicks music” or “if you don’t go to church.”
The site aims to “re-appropriate” the word “slut” so that Limbaugh and other Republicans cannot use it to “bully and silence women,” Emry said.
“It’s really about taking the power away from that word more than it is about Rush Limbaugh,” she said. “He gave the word the notoriety but we are trying to take it back.”
Emry said the “Rush Limbaugh mess” coupled with the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s decision to cut Planned Parenthood funding and recent efforts in state Legislatures to restrict access to abortions and contraceptives “compelled” her to create the site after 56 years on the political sidelines.
“Originally my intention wasn’t so much to try to have a platform as to be able to find a voice myself through the website,” Emry said. “It was good for me personally because I felt so much outrage.”
But what began as way to vent her anger, has evolved into a voter registering, GOP “propaganda” refuting, women’s rights information hub where, Emry says, she hopes voters will come to learn more about the “war on women” before they head to the ballot box in November.
“It has evolved in the last few months from being my own personal avenue to let out a holler on what’s happening to something that we hope will make a significant impact,” she said.
But while the rather shocking name may catch voters’ eyes, Emry could have a hard time selling the message to prospective female voters.
Only three in 10 women said they believe there is a “wide-scale effort to limit women’s reproductive health choices and services,” according to a Kaiser Health Tracking poll in May. And just 5 percent of female voters said the issue they want candidates to talk about most is women’s health, compared to 60 percent who said the economy was most important.
Selling merchandise, on the other hand, hasn’t been as difficult. Her best-selling items are bumper stickers, T-shirts and totes that say “Rush Limbaugh thinks I’m a slut!” Emry said.