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Forget Rush – Let’s Talk About Our Social Media Victory

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Can we all agree that Rush Limbaugh says horrible things? I mean, that comes as no shock to anyone, right?  The man’s made a career out of spouting ignorant homophobic, racist, classist, and sexist remarks. And he’s done so for twenty years, “three hours a day, five days a week”—as he reminded us all in his self-serving faux apology for calling Sandra Fluke (and by extension any woman who takes birth control) a slut and prostitute and demanding that she tape sex acts for him.

So yeah, as Rush points out, he’s been paid to say awful things for quite some time now. This isn’t news. But something about this time is different—and it’s not the heinousness of his words. He’s finally pissed off the wrong crowd, the crowd that, unfortunately for him, holds the greatest influence across social media. Not only do women make up the majority of users on popular social networking sites, according to several studies, but they’re proving themselves to be adept at leveraging these communication platforms to affect change. This latest kerfuffle with misogynistic troll Limbaugh only further illuminates the very power he sought to silence. Oh, the beautiful poetic justice.

Thanks to campaigns (spearheaded by savvy, outspoken women) on Facebook and Twitter targeted directly at advertisers that work with Rush, twelve sponsors (and counting) have pulled out of Limbaugh’s program. That’s a serious victory—and just one example of how women can affect change through social media. While men, like Rush, may historically get handed a microphone more often than women, we’ve commandeered the social media space—a space proving to be louder and more effective than Rush’s little radio show.

Rush may get a microphone for three hours a day, five days a week, but all we had to do was turn to our robust networks and tell behemoth companies like AOL what we wanted them to do. Talk about influence and power! Rush can have his ignorant notions and low-tech platform for spouting them; clearly, we “sluts” are at the helm of a much larger machine.

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