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By Devi Rao, Law Fellow

Yesterday the National Women's Law Center hosted a tweetchat with women's health advocate Sandra Fluke and Law Students for Reproductive Justice. The chat provided a great opportunity for university students and employees to learn more about their contraceptive coverage under the health care law and the Obama Administration's proposed accommodation for religiously-affiliated employers.

And although the actual chat conversation was lively and informative, unfortunately a few vocal "participants" attempted to "hijack" (their word) the chat and launch hostile, offensive, and sexist ad hominem attacks on Sandra Fluke and any person who dares to ask his or her school or employer to provide contraceptive coverage. (The worse examples of the comments can be found here.)

So, apparently a woman who advocates for equality in health care exhibits "whorish behavior and a slutty lack of respect." Charming. And a woman who wants contraceptives is "putting an ‘open for business' sign on [her] vagina." Sorry, what???? And it turns out that "progressive girls" need to "quit yer bitchin and get in the kitchen!" Sic!

This type of behavior isn't just offensive, ignorant bullying. And it's not just "boys being boys." Let's call it what it is: sexual harassment. The comments—in addition to being idiotic and mean—are based on outmoded Mad Men-era stereotypes about how men or women in our culture are "supposed to act." (Note: if these comments were being made in a school or university setting, they could contribute to a hostile environment, which Title IX requires a school to remedy.)

If adorable little Riley can understand that gender stereotyping is wrong, why can't we as a society? It's not that hard, people! Yes, some girls like superheroes. And, no, women on birth control aren't sluts.

Cross-posted from WomenStake

[View the story "Attacks on Women's Health in #cceduchat" on Storify]


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