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Duly Noted

Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 2:03 pm

We Are All S.E. Cupp, the Conservative Pundit Bullied by Hustler

By Lindsay Beyerstein

Hustler ran a photoshopped image of conservative pundit S.E. Cupp with the headline, "What Would S.E. Cupp Look Like With a **** in Her Mouth?":

S.E. Cupp is a lovely young lady who read too much Ayn Rand in high school and ended up joining the dark side. Cupp, an author and media commentator who often shows up on Fox News programs, is undeniably cute. But her hotness is diminished when she espouses dumb ideas like defunding Planned Parenthood. Perhaps the method pictured here is Ms. Cupp’s suggestion for avoiding an unwanted pregnancy. [Hustler via Mediaite]

This is beneath contempt. This time the victim is a conservative pundit who is being humiliated for her outspoken views on reproductive rights, but this kind of bullying can happen to any woman who speaks her mind. Remember when tech blogger Kathy Sierra was harassed with "satirical" images of herself in pornographic poses?

I'd like to think that the scumbag(s) behind this feature hate reproductive rights as much as they hate outspoken women. How better to tarnish two objects of contempt at once? The more disturbing possibility is that the creators think of themselves as feminist allies.

The fight for birth control isn't just about freeing up women to service men, as the guys at Hustler fervently hope. It's about freeing women to participate fully in all spheres of life, including the public arena. We value women's reproductive freedom because we value women's freedom in general, including the freedom to express unpopular, offensive, and just plain ignorant views. Using sexualized attacks to silence women is antithetical to the struggle for reproductive rights.

Would-be allies should take a page from Tbogg of firedoglake. When George Tierney, Jr. of Greenville, South Carolina tweeted at reproductive rights activist Sandra Fluke, "When you gonna shut that goddamn dick sucker?," Tbogg swung into action, using his platform to mercilessly, and hilariously mock Tierney. Fluke retweeted Tierney's comment to her 36,000 commenters and added a few choice words of her own. The saga has been covered all over the web, from Jezebel to Fark.

Tierney was reduced to sputtering about how he's going to sue Tbogg for quoting his tweets without permission. Good luck with that, dude!

Lindsay Beyerstein is an award-winning investigative journalist and In These Times staff writer who writes the blog Duly Noted. Her stories have appeared in Newsweek, Salon, Slate, The Nation, Ms. Magazine, and other publications. Her photographs have been published in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times' City Room. She also blogs at The Hillman Blog (http://www.hillmanfoundation.org/hillmanblog), a publication of the Sidney Hillman Foundation, a non-profit that honors journalism in the public interest.

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