A widely mocked article attacking feminists prompted Rush Limbaugh to justify his own decades of sexism and feminist-bashing, as well as to repeat a discredited attack on a feminist professor.
On the November 30 edition of his syndicated radio show, Limbaugh read from a Fox News.com article by Suzanne Venker claiming that she has "accidentally stumbled upon a subculture of men who've told me, in no uncertain terms, that they're never getting married" because "women aren't women anymore" and arguing that "the dearth of good men, and ongoing battle of the sexes" is "women's fault." Venker cited as evidence that "for the first time in history, women have become the majority of the U.S. workforce. They're also getting most of the college degrees." Venker concluded that "women have the power to turn everything around. All they have to do is surrender to their nature - their femininity - and let men surrender to theirs."
Venker's article has been widely criticized and mocked by various sources. In fact, Venker herself later backed down a little, claiming that she meant to make the article about wives and husbands, not women and men, and blaming the confusion on how "it can be so hard when you write as much as I've written -- three books, articles, blogs -- you think you have said something but you haven't."
Nevertheless, Venker's article prompted Limbaugh to recall his own decades of sexism and attacks on feminism in "previous years and, in fact, eras of this program" -- which center on his popularization of the term "feminazi" to slur them -- and lament that what he criticized was "becoming reality":
LIMBAUGH: Folks, here's the thing that -- it's a hard cold reality to me, and I've been doing this 25 years, and I think back to previous years and, in fact, eras of this program. And we did our feminist updates, and what were the feminist updates? We laughed at what was being done in universities. We laughed at some of the radical, cockeyed ideas that radical feminists and feminazis - while we were laughing, that stuff was becoming reality. Well, I'll speak for myself - I was laughing. And I was of the opinion that no rational majority of people is ever going to subscribe to this radical feminism. For example, portraying men as natural predators. All sex is rape -- Remember Catherine MacKinnon? All sex is rape, even the sex in marriage. And she was a professor of something at the University of Michigan, and she was teaching this stuff. I remember doing feminazi updates about it, laughing. OK, there's always going to be some small group of unhappy people who fall into -- no, it's not a small group. It has become reality for a whole lot of women, that and a lot of other things.
In fact, MacKinnon never said that "all sex is rape" -- according to Snopes, the quote was made up by MacKinnon's critics to attack her feminist views. MacKinnon herself addressed the charges in her book Women's Lives, Men's Laws:
In a telling convergence between left and right, when Rush Limbaugh, a conservative commentator, said that I say 'all sex is rape,' he was repeating a lie that Playboy, a glossy men's sex magazine with liberal politics and literary pretensions, has been pushing for years. This is a lie, rather than a mistake, on the assumption that they both read my work which may be giving them too much. That those whose politics conventionally divide them are united on this point reveals the common nerve struck by questioning the presumptive equality of men and women in sex.
To say that I -- and others who analyze sexual abuse as part of gender inequality -- say all sex is rape is a political libel, a false statement of fact that destroys repute in a community in which sex is the secular religion. Focusing on amorphous, visceral misogyny in sound bite, spit-out, get-her form, it targets hatred by harnessing the fantasy that men are deprived of sex and are about to be deprived of more sex.
Later in the show, Limbaugh read another section of Venker's article, followed by what he claimed were tweets criticizing it. Limbaugh then said that such tweets demonstrate that "women like Catherine MacKinnon have been teaching women this for 20 years, that that's what men do is beat their wives, and that's what men want. And a bunch of women believe this stuff, and they vote for Obama by -- they vote for Democrats."