Using Media to Broadcast Ignorance: Enlightened Medieval Medical Writers

If turning women’s health into a huge political issue and using it to wage a culture war wasn’t enough to shock me, the vocal atrocities of the Republican “voice” (otherwise known as Rush Limbaugh) has put me in a catatonic state. I knew this man was beyond the pale in the beginning. Recently, I have revised my initial observation and concluded that his IQ is in the single digits. These days, that seems to be the IQ of the severely right-wing Republicans and those who try to win their undying love.

I won’t go into the background of Sandra Fluke since most Americans know of her. (If you don’t, I’ve posted the CSPAN footage of her testimony below. I have also provided this link for you). Three days ago, Rush Limbaugh began a personal war against Sandra Fluke for her testimony in Congress. He blatantly ignores the facts regarding the multiple uses of contraception for women’s health and simply states that Sandra Fluke is — and I’m sure this quote is currently famous to several Americans — a slut who wants taxpayers to pay for her to have sex.

He didn’t stop there and proceeded to call her a prostitute and taxpayers are her pimps. If that wasn’t enough for the first day of his personal war on Ms. Fluke, he spends an additional two days continuing his attack and even going as far as including all the women of Georgetown University into his hateful discourse.

While I would like to be optimistic — I’m usually a very optimistic person — in thinking that the President of Georgetown University came to the aide of Ms. Fluke because she is one of their beloved students. I doubt that’s why he wrote the defense. When Limbaugh revisited the aspirin joke and expounding upon it stating that “all the women at Georgetown University [should have] as much aspirin to put between their knees as possible,” he aimed his attack at the female student population of Georgetown University. Hence besmirching all Georgetown University.

Keep in mind Georgetown University is a Catholic University. Limbaugh’s vitriol against the women of Georgetown University suggests that the administration of the University condones housing a den of imoral females sexually running amuck. Rushy boy indirectly attacked the President of Georgetown University!

Thus, the President of the University was defending himself as he was defending Ms. Fluke. The President was forced to be self-serving in his righteously indignant defense of Ms. Fluke. This could be an insane conspiracy theory since I don’t trust much when related to the Catholic church. Yet, I wouldn’t be surprised if I was right.

At least the President of Georgetown University defended Ms. Fluke without a petition to do so while House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) reluctantly did so at the behest of a Democratic petition. Even then it was weak since it came from his spokesperson and he only called Limbaugh’s comments inappropriate. I agree with Steve Benan from The Maddow Blog when he said, “Under the circumstances, that’s a pretty mild rebuke for such ugly and offensive language.”

It’s hard to believe that people would actually defend the actions of Limbaugh. Yet there are people insisting that he was being sarcastic in his remarks. I’m sarcastic everyday and even I wouldn’t use such base language to convey my point. Let’s face it, you delusional people! This wasn’t sarcasm it was good old fashioned bullying on a national level.

For centuries men have downplayed the outrage of women in saying that women have blown male sarcasm out of proportion, that women misunderstood them. They misunderstood nothing and received the message clearly. Simply put, the rights and needs of women matter extraordinarily little in the male GOP’s morality. As Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) put it, “When it comes to women, they don’t get rights. They get restrictions.”

Even other men do not misunderstand the rhetoric of Limbaugh and the extreem right of the GOP!

In the 20th Century, women suffered the indignity of a patriarchal society dictating women’s reproductive sovereignty in the U. S. In the 21st Century, women have suffered the indignity of an all male panel commenting on women’s reproductive health in the House of Representatives. Those men were NOT medical professionals. They were religious leaders since Issa’s little hearing was about religious freedom and not women’s health.

The hearing was about employers providing contraception coverage in their insurance policies. Having the opinion of a group of people in a hearing is good as long as you have an opposing viewpoint by another group. While Issa had his five religious dudes attend, logic dictated that he should at least let Ms. Fluke speak up for the women this impediment on religious freedom affects.

Georgetown University is a Catholic University that does not provide contraceptive coverage in their student health insurance. Yes, Issa, Sandra Fluke’s testimony was relavent to the hearing since she was a student at a Catholic University and was effected by their “religious beliefs” through their student health insurance. Then there’s the most important fact that the media continuously repeats: She’s a woman!

Reporters and such insist that the GOP wants to turn back time at least a century. I say they want to turn back time even further to Medieval times. Back then, “the texts that describe [women’s health] were primarily written by men who were systematically absent from the birthing chamber.” Sound familiar?

Kate Phillips, author of “Capturing the Wandering Womb: Childbirth in Medieval Art”, described it best

Hippocrates, as well as generations of medical thinkers after him, viewed the womb as an independent creature. Because female bodies were thought to crave warmth and moisture, frequent sexual activity was needed to stabilize the uterus. It was thought that unnatural behavior, such as celibacy or an excess of “male activities,” would drive the uterus to distraction and cause it to wander freely throughout the body. There were various consequences to these travels depending on how far the uterus wandered and where it chose to attach itself, but when the roving organ ultimately came to rest next to the brain, it caused hysteria…

By the Middle Ages, the majority of Hippocrates’s theories on women’s bodies had become obsolete, but the idea of the wandering womb remained influential… [Medieval medical] writers, following in the footsteps of Hippocrates, claimed that the womb would only remain settled through frequent sexual activity, and, because birth control methods were less reliable, frequent reproduction.

Wait! I was wrong. Even Medieval medical writers with all their backwards notions — particularly the belief of the “wandering womb” — were far more advanced than the supposedly modern GOP! Those writers would have condoned the use of reliable 21st Century birth control since it would help to “settle the womb.” This would preclude women from having frequent sex.

Meanwhile, Limbaugh and his followers of ignorant Republicans believe that women “are having so much sex that they can’t afford birth control.” They believe that the best method of contraception — including the best method of preserving women’s health — is to “keep their legs closed.”

Conversely and ironically, Medieval medical writers believed that the best method of preserving women’s health was reliable birth control. They also thought it would help women in keeping their legs closed.

The far right Republicans just want to bring America into another plane of existence where women are objectified baby factories easily thrown away when “broken.” It’s a sad day when barbarian Medieval medical writers are more enlightened than the 21st Century far right Republicans.

While the Democrats used to spend their time in stagnant frustration of their Republican counterparts in the House of Representatives, I’m happy to see that the women’s health issue, which should be a non-issue, has galvanized them to fight the misogynistic Republicans. Furthermore, I’m filled with prideful patriotism that President Barak Obama found time to call Sandra Fluke and offer his support.

I doubt former President George W. Bush would display such compassionate concern while he was in office.

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