And the first rule of Fight Club, as you all know, is we don’t talk about Fight Club. Michigan state rep Lisa Brown (D-obvs) discovered this the hard way when she referred to vaginas by name while discussing an abortion bill in the state’s House of Representatives.
From the Detroit News:
Brown, a West Bloomfield Democrat and mother of three, said a package of abortion regulation bills would violate her Jewish religious beliefs that pregnancy be aborted to save the life of the mother.
“Finally, Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no,'” Brown said Wednesday.
First of all, kudos to her for bringing up her religion; anti-abortion Christians who claim freedom of religion means everyone has to accomodate their views would do well to remember that not all religions are opposed to abortion or contraception. But Brown’s use of the scientific term for the female anatomy was just terribly shocking and upsetting to all those male politicians and their delicate sensibilities. Pearl-clutching ensued:
Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas, R-Midland, determined Brown’s comments violated the decorum of the House, said Ari Adler, spokesman for the Republican majority.
“If I can’t say the word vagina, why are we legislating vaginas?” Brown asked Thursday at a hastily called Capitol press conference. “What language should I use?”
Brown noted “vagina” is the “medically correct term.”
“We’re all adults here,” she said.
Well, yes, but apparently some of us are incredibly prudish adults:
“What she said was offensive,” said Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville. “It was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.”
Let’s stop alternately laughing and head/desking for a moment to unpack the ridiculousness of that statement. Vaginas are so offensive that you can’t mention them in front of women….the people who have them? Does he think our trips to the gynecologist are conducted entirely in charades? Would he prefer that the House records reflect lawmakers calling it a “down there” or “vajayjay”? As for “I would not say that in mixed company”…does he mean he would say it he were hanging out in the men’s locker room with no ladies present? I kinda doubt it. What’s so distressing is a woman discussing the existence of women’s genitals in a legislative session, and doing it with authority.
Of course, the same men who can’t bear to hear the word vagina spoken, or put the word vagina in print the legislative record are the same ones making laws about her vagina. And that’s the real problem.