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Vagina. There. I said it. As far as I know I won’t be formally punished for using that word. In fact, you could say “vagina” almost anywhere with no repercussions. However, this was not the case for a certain state Congresswoman Lisa Brown of Michigan. Here’s the story:
“A lawmaker was barred from speaking on the floor of the Michigan state legislature for saying “vagina” during a heated debate over abortions. House Republicans blocked Democratic Rep. Lisa Brown for her remark during a speech blasting the controversial bill that would restrict abortions after 20 weeks.”
I’m going to assume that everyone reading this has been involved in some form of official parliamentary procedure. And by that, I mean chapter. If your chapter meetings were anything like mine, they probably started out formal, maybe even with a gavel banging on a desk to call things to order. But after a few minutes of controlled argument under parliamentary rules I’m willing to bet that someone dropped a “Fuck bomb” and then everything essentially went to hell after that.
In spite of how inept our legislatures appear to be, at least they try to maintain decorum, a word that has very little meaning in our own process. Which brings me back to the topic at hand, which is that Lisa Brown was censured for her use of the word “vagina.” As a professional purveyor of any joke related to dicks, and as a fan of equality, I think women should be able also be able to drop some V or C bombs for fun every now and then. However, this right does not extend to the floor of a state legislative body.
The main argument brought by Lisa Brown and her legion of sweaty, liberal bloggers is that she used the correct anatomical term for a woman’s reproductive health organ in a debate about women’s reproductive health. Which I would actually be on board with if the context didn’t totally disagree with that. Her exact quote that earned her censure was:
“Finally Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no.’”
Lisa Brown wasn’t making an anatomical argument against a bill that she found to be oppressive, she was intentionally creating a soundbite by referencing genetalia. Her statement had literally nothing to do with the abortion issue (and thank God, because who the fuck wants to talk about abortion less than me?). She didn’t even try to make it about all women, she made it about herself. And to top it all off, that was her last sentence. It wasn’t an argument, it was a vulgar exclamation point. She ended her argument with the female equivalent of a guy at a bar yelling “Suck my dick!”
Some writers have asked whether a male Congressman would have been censured for saying “penis,” which is funny because I can’t recall a single instance of that ever happening, in spite of the fact that men were the only gender in American legislatures for over a hundred years.
Again, I’m not against vulgarity. I personally try to follow the example of Ralphie’s dad in A Christmas Story in that I “work in profanity the way other artists might work in oil or clay.” But at the same time, I respect the legislative process. If I’m ever elected to public office (God help us all if I am), I’m not going to talk like I’m in a fucking motherfucking Quentin Tarantino movie, vagina damn it.
So let’s all screw our heads back on straight, America. Lisa Brown wasn’t impeached, she was barred for one day. And what did she do in response? Read the Vagina Monologues on the front steps of the Capitol to a crowd of angry women who ordinarily would have just burned their bras except for the fact that 21st century bras are way too comfortable to burn. She’s not being discriminated against for being a woman, she’s being discriminated against for being a moron. Which is a gender-neutral term. And for the record, Congresswoman, I think I speak for the male majority when I say: no one is remotely interested in your vagina.
- [Via NYDailyNews.com]