Irradiated by LabRat
So it seems recently a Michigan representative got thrown off the floor for using language too salty for the sensibilities of the House.
The offending word was “vagina”. No, seriously. The one that gets, like, a couple of titters when it’s used in health class in front of schoolchildren. The actual anatomical term for that part of a woman’s reproductive anatomy that is surrounded by the vulva and terminates at the cervix, through which penises and semen enter and babies exit some time later. This is not a slangy nickname, let alone an offensive slangy nickname like “cunt” or “gash”, it’s the actual proper term for the body part.
The context for this entire episode was a speech given by Rep. Lisa Brown in opposition to a proposed bill that would, among other things, ban all abortions after 20 weeks. In the course of a longer speech pointing out among other things that anyone who would institute a flat ban on abortions after 20 weeks has not really thought through some of the medical realities of pregnancy, she concluded:
And finally, Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no.’
OK. Unquestionably a barb, a goad if you will, perhaps even an insult that might not have been appropriate*, but politics isn’t a tea ceremony. There are rough edges and thrown elbows and in days of yore the occasional savage beatdown. The roughness and occasional crudeness of politics was in fact advanced in days gone by as an argument for why women shouldn’t be allowed to participate, and not in the sense that they were going to frighten the men.
Lest you think I’m exaggerating and she was just thrown off for some sort of “no directly insulting the Speaker, also shut up my god you’re annoying” reason, here is a quote from one of the other representatives:
“‘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.’
A glance at his campaign biography indicates that Mike Callton is married, to a woman, and has children, which means that unless a paternity test is failed somewhere down the road that Mike Callton must have interacted with a vagina at some point after his birth, in front of a woman no less. (This also brings to mind the horrifying question of what Mike thinks an appropriate term for the place he must have put his penis at least once is. My imagination is unhelpfully volunteering “vajajay.”)
His Wikipedia page reveals the rather more mind-bending factoid that Mike Callton has a biology degree, which I have difficulty imagining he obtained without ever learning what the proper anatomical term for the bit of a mammal that leads up to the uterus and opens to the world is.
There is, of course, always the depressing option that he thinks vaginas are inherently dirty things that must never be mentioned even in front of people who have to endure the burden of owning one, of course.
Either way, I feel fairly certain that if he, or any other member of the House, is unable to hear the word “vagina” or contemplate its existence without a fainting couch, they sure as fuck should not be allowed to write legislation affecting them.
*It wins over exactly no opponents but the stripe of pro-lifer who appears to be under the impression that women carry babies around in little suitcases under their dresses and not inside their bodies, which can get pretty full-contact gruesome even when nothing is technically all that wrong and the baby is fine, let alone when it is and it’s not, is pretty irritating.
ETA: Actually, two female representatives were barred from the floor, one of which wasn’t told why. Both women were trying to introduce an amendment to the legislation expanding the proposed new regulations on abortion to vasectomy. If trying to make a point through bill edits and amendments is somehow considered unnecessary roughness in legislature, it must be a very, very new development.