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Rock Your Slut Vote and Other Tips From My Interview With Kimberley Johnson

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"What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke [sic] who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex -- what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex." -- Rush Limbaugh

In response to an environment where Republican legislators in 49 states introduced 916 bills targeting women's reproductive rights, radio talk-show hosts like Limbaugh refer to college students speaking before Congress as "sluts," and anti-choice activists convinced the Susan G. Komen Foundation to defund reproductive services provider Planned Parenthood, one group is taking up arms in the War on Women in an effort to get every American woman to vote with both bravado and a sense of humor.

"If every women was aware of the literally thousands of bills targeting women's rights, I predict this election would be a landslide Obama victory," Rock The Slut Vote spokesperson Kimberley A. Johnson told me.  "Those who claim this War On Women is merely a liberal distraction will soon realize how serious and destructive the GOP plan is to both genders. It's our goal to make sure that never happens."

Some of the more egregious pieces of legislation Kimberley cites are:

"As you can see, we are being hit from all directions and this campaign against women is not just about the right to choose." Kimberley explained.

Founded in March 2012, by 56-year-old mother of two Susan McMillan Emry, Rock The Slut Vote's stated purpose is "to fight the GOP effort to bully, subjugate and silence women. We will wrest the power from the word slut and help women get informed, get involved, get registered and vote."

"Women and men need to be informed," Johnson told me.

"This is one of the most important elections in recent history and we all must understand what's at stake. Only looking at and voting on the headlines doesn't provide the full picture of what's going on and can prove detrimental in the voting booth."

Johnson, also an anthologist and an actress who appeared on Days of Our Lives, joined the Rock The Slut Vote effort in April of this year. Together, Johnson and Emry have received national attention and a following that grows daily. They've also released a book, Rock The Slut Vote: American Edition: Navigating The Republican War On Women. 100 percent of the profits are donated to Planned Parenthood.

RTSV also has an online store, where supporters can purchase t-shirts, tote bags, and bumper stickers to support the cause.

"The favorite slogan chosen for t-shirts and bumper stickers is 'Rush Limbaugh Thinks I'm A Slut," Johnson said.

CB: The word slut is controversial and not every woman, including liberals, will want to take on that label. What do you say to those women who may be uncomfortable with the word?

KJ: We are uncomfortable with the word slut, but we are more uncomfortable with all of the legislation being introduced by Republicans that denies access to birth control, fair pay and the right to choose. We realize the term is ugly, but much like our Founding Fathers embraced the derogatory term Yankee, we choose to embrace and seize the word slut and refuse to allow a small group of people to take away our power. In other words, if Fluke is a slut for wanting affordable birth control on her insurance plan, then we are sluts too. We don't expect that every woman will take on the name and that's okay. We choose to fight this very real War On Women and have garnered enormous support from people in more than 25 countries all over the globe. We're proud to have men and women from all walks of life support our cause. Most recently, MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry was seen at the Democratic National Convention wearing a pin that read: Sluts Vote.

CB: What is your goal?

KJ:  To get women registered and to the voting booths. Our site www.waronwomen.com has a tab that makes registering easy. We are galvanizing and informing both genders and our message is to get out and vote! While 10 million more women than men voted in 2008, another 20 million women did not vote in that election. Those numbers are dramatic and important.

CB: If Romney were to win the election, what do you see happening to women's rights?

KJ: Romney is on record saying he will defund Planned Parenthood. The Republican platform states very clearly they are against abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. Ryan has a record of working on legislation that takes power away from women and the two of them would reverse decades of progress. Once elected, there's no telling how fast they will work to dismantle the laws already in place, but we believe it's a safe bet they will act swiftly.

If you're interested in getting involved with Rock The Slut Vote, you have a number of options.  When I spoke with Johnson, she said about twelve thousand people are reading the articles outlining the GOP agenda and blog posts directing people to volunteer for the Democratic Party on RTSV's Facebook page.

The RTSV website also "provides various resources to get informed and involved, including tabs that get you registered to vote, Truth vs. Propaganda and a Sound Off tab that makes it easy to contact local officials and have your voice heard on the specific issues that concern you," Johnson says.

But the most important thing you can do to Rock the Slut Vote is, of course, to vote.  "I often hear people complain their vote is meaningless. To that I say, vote anyway!" Johnson said. 

"If you owned a business and a top-ranking employee was damaging the company, would
you throw your hands in the air and say, 'Oh well, there's nothing I can do, so I'll keep paying them.' Or would you fire them? The answer is clear. We are the government's employer. It is our civic duty to partake in the democracy on which this country was founded. Freedom isn't free and it's up to each and every citizen to exercise the right, the privilege and the duty to vote."