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Jun 21 2012

Ladyjunk strikes fear in hearts of Michigan ledge

Cast your mind back, back, back through the mists of time to the craggy cliffs of the distant past, and you may recall a little blurb I wrote on the subject of the vaginafication of pop culture. Media personages, in an effort to enhippen themselves using the time-honored technique of women’s objectification, have taken to sticking the hi-fuckin-larious word “vagina” in all their scripts, monologues, and comedy bits. To the extent that some industry dudes are now claiming to suffer from vagina fatigue.

Not so, apparently, dudely Michigan state politicians. Vaginas rattle them to the core. I allude, in particular, to one Republican State Representative Mike Callton, who considers the allusion to female anatomy

“so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.”

What the what? Why, in this age of vagina saturation, is Michigan state rep Mike Callton flipping his weenypeen? Dear god, did one of his female colleagues call him a cuntalina on the House floor?

Almost! It turns out that State Rep Lisa Brown alluded to her own vadge, using the word horrible word “vagina,” in a speech criticizing some super-misogynist anti-choice bill. The next day, after figuring out how horrified they were by this and what an excellet pretext this would be for shutting the bitch up, the pro-compulsory-pregnancy honchos banned her ass.

That’s right. Banned, by Republican jacknuts, from the debate, because she used the word “vagina” in a discussion on women’s health care legislation. Brown’s shockingly disgusting obscenity “violated the decorum of the House.”

Ladyparts. Can’t allude to’em on the House floor,** can’t remove unwanted parasites from’em. It’s almost like men control’em!

Here is Rep. Brown’s first person account of the Michigan ledge’s vaginasteria.

____________________
* This super-edgy fad comes mere decades after Eve Ensler.

** Alternate rules apply to TV and internet, wherein one is required to allude to the vulva at all times, although it is mandatory that the less accurate word “vagina” be substituted, because apparently nobody in the entertainment business has ever so much as glanced at an anatomy poster at the gyno’s office.

58 comments

  1. otoc

    I’d bet $10,000 there’s mountains of porn on all these jacknuts’ work computers. How about we require a full computer probe before someone be allowed to attempt to legislate on anything having to do with genitalia of the opposite sex?

    One of the assholes later compared the women who were banned to a children who needed a timeout.

  2. Hippolyta

    It’s a parasite. Pro-choice pregnant women don’t seem to realize the hypocrisy of patting their bellies and anthropomorphizing a rapidly dividing collection of cells that is making it’s host ill, while at the same time referring to it as a fetus that may be aborted at any time. Ascribing personality characteristics and motivation to one’s baby, seems at opposition to believing women have the right to abort. Don’t get me wrong, I think hypocrisy makes people interesting, but knowing and acknowledging one’s hypocrisy is surely a virtue.

  3. quixote

    How the hell are you supposed to refer to female genitalia when you’re legislating about them? The Onion had a headline along the lines of “Hoo-ha doctor wins Nobel prize for research down there.” Is that the right idea? If so, it seems the horribleness of the underlying anatomy would make “hoo-ha” unacceptable in minutes. Then what? Inquiring minds want to know.

  4. Jessie

    Apparently, human anatomy is both offensive and hilarious.

    otoc: I would actually be very, very surprised if these guys didn’t look at porn on their computers.

  5. Jane

    Michigan, like Nebraska and Kansas and Colorado…I shouldn’t neglect to add New Jersey, all States that are in one court or another [recall judges and lawyers are future Congresspeople-Senators, and Appeal Supreme Court judges], have been more and more RULING cases in favor of

    SHARIA LAW

    this has a lot to do with the global Banking system, [that gold in the vaults among other things, how banks are operated under Sharia finance, etc] anyhoo, where this culture of returning to B.C. Assyrian law can really be seen is IN the

    DOMINION movement aka fundie right wing/or secular right wing Nordic Xertianity. [do research on Assryian laws of ancient on women, on ancient Persia under Xertian and the Nordic/Germanic laws that btw, were influential if you go far back enough, on the Culture that mingled with the Romanic church of Innocent, were behind the burning times [witches...I didn't know this until one day doing research but witch hunts go as far back as Herod, of Rome, in fact pagan Rome among other Pagan nations DID hunt women and kill them, so it's not some born thing out of churchianity, this misogynist crap goes WAY back]

    point being, Reason I mention this…as Mary Daly said, Spinsters are Weavers, Spinners, Spookers and Sparkers, and we should look for the CONNECTIONS. When the term Vagina is deemed unproper and dirty, that sends dangerous precedence,

    what’s next? Demands that they be removed? This is where Western women, sorry to say, really need to Wake up and see the connections to where these attitudes are not only increasing but how they are more and more being implemented through legislature or the Silence of the legislature in regards to court systems and the penal system [penalizing more women] operating in an B.C. theocratic Inquisition type of apparatus towards females.

    In other words, I see a very dangerous LEGAL precedence path here that is paving the way to not only undo all the well, few rights we have [which don't apply in reality across the board, depending on race, economics esp the latter] but push us back into the B.C. era…of course taking us back to the centuries of the burning times…

    if you pay attention to Media [movies depicting women as evil witches and sorceress's who create mass wars, among men of course], the current legis in Kansas that requires all Victims of rape to be psyche evaled [because you see they are not victims but Hysterical] and other legis, such as a couple of court cases where judges are more and more [one Woman judge btw, in Oklahoma who is in favor of ruling with Sharia law] ruling against women IN this country to be forced to endure the laws of Sharia, meaning, divorce, etc.

    When I see the mainstream feminists, often it’s about birth control, abortion, and fun feminism, are they NOT aware that what so many of the MRAs and fundie hater nuts are after a hell of a lot more than that–and that the leftie liberal porn let’s do children men are all in the same camp as well–

    these are dangerous times, I cannot emphasize this enough…I know most of you here KNOW this, but there’s so many young women out there who are just in So much denial and yes, it does scare me. I think, Mary was right,

    WE have to carry the torch, spin and spook and spark, because there’s some serious Night heading our way.

  6. Pantsuit Sally

    Actually, Rep. Callton later backpedaled, claiming it wasn’t the word “vagina” that so offended his delicate sensibilities, but Rep. Brown’s employment of “No means no” to punctuate her remarks, which he interpreted to be an allusion to rape. Because apparently it’s really unfair that a Republican can’t support a piece of legislation that completely undermines the concepts of women’s consent and bodily sovereignty without being compared to a rapist.

    This is particularly precious in light of the fact that for the last 10-plus years, the Republicans in the Michigan Legislature have been whining about the greatest injustice ever visited upon mankind by the government: the requirement that one wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. They were a bunch of regular William Wallaces over that one.

  7. dreamt

    In the article, he says that it wasn’t the word ‘vagina’ which offended him but the “no means no” part. Though it wouldn’t have mattered, since they find both our anatomy and our autonomy offensive.

  8. Owly

    Where does she go from here though? How does she go about getting her self un-banned?

  9. Saurs

    Wait, if Carlton “really” meant something else, how does that explain his remarks about mixed company and the like? He wouldn’t say “no means no” around women? Whaa? Why?

    Fucking liar can’t even lie convincingly.

  10. Pantsuit Sally

    Owly, the length of the ban is generally at the discretion of the House leadership. In this case, it was in effect for only one day, although Rep. Brown was not immediately informed of that and was under the impression that the ban was indefinite. However, the Legislature broke for the summer after the ban was lifted, so she won’t get the chance to speak on the House floor again until after the election in November. Fortunately, the level of backlash over this has taken the Republicans completely by surprise (which just shows how out-of-touch they are with human beings) and the issue is not going to just die out as they had hoped.

    Oh, another lovely detail regarding this incident: when the bills were still in committee, before they made it to the House floor, only anti-choice people were allowed to present their position on the legislation. No pro-choice people were allowed to speak.

  11. Laura

    Hm. It seems to me that “Finally Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no.’” actually is an accusation that Mr. Speaker is contemplating raping her. If I were a man who had thoroughly internalized the concept that rape is a Very Bad Thing, as we’d like men to do, I’d probably take offense at somebody calling me out for contemplating rape in front of an audience.

    I can understand linking control of one’s body in the abortion context to rape, but that needs to be more than a throwaway line at the end of a speech. Because expressed that way, it didn’t communicate anything meaningful, it only shocked its audience.

  12. tinfoil hattie

    Dear god, Laura! What about the men! Who were offended at the idea of RAPE! You know, while they busily pass bills in other states (Texas, my own Virginia – is “Virginia” offensive now, too? What’s George Allen gonna do when he becomes the next U.S. Senator from VA? Resort to “macaca,” again? But I digress) that require women to be sexually assaulted with a vaginal probe for no reason whatsoever. Kinda sounds like “rape” to me.

    Besides, I’ll be you a dollar none of those men ever equated “no means no” with women not wanting sex. Until some hip-to-the-vernacular female staffer gave them an out, of course. Saurs is right on the money.

    Also, @Hippolyta, it’s not hypocritical to plan and dream and hope for a baby you want. I miscarried, and was devastated. Two of my friends’ babies died in the 8th month,and they were inconsolable. That I still advocate for women’s right to decide when a fetus is a joyful baby-to-be and when it is an unwanted parasite is not hypocritical. It’s trusting women to make our own choices.

  13. Lindsay

    It seems to me that “Finally Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no’” actually is an accusation that Mr. Speaker is contemplating raping her. If I were a man who had thoroughly internalized the concept that rape is a Very Bad Thing, as we’d like men to do, I’d probably take offense at somebody calling me out for contemplating rape in front of an audience.

    I don’t know, I liked it. I think people who don’t have uteri or vaginae, who can’t get pregnant or give birth, have serious trouble understanding just how invasive and violating forced pregnancy is. I think they need to be shocked into empathizing with us by these stark images.

  14. Owly

    Thanks Pantsuit Sally. How convenient!

  15. Saint Exuperantius

    @tinfoil hattie. Virginia will now be known as the Commonwealth of Lady Flower Purity.

  16. Laura

    My guess is that “no means no” was equated with rape a lot more easily than pro-life legislation was.

    It all comes down to what she wanted: to make a point and advance her argument, or to shock her hearers. If she wanted to shock and offend, she accomplished that; and don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place. Then the person you offend reacts, and there you are with an article in CNN.

  17. speedbudget

    Your concern is noted, Laura.

    I have filled about six bingo slots on my card, and I haven’t yet won. Please comment again.

    Using a medical term in response to a medical procedure is not a breach of decorum. Calling something what it is is not a breach of decorum. Maybe if these people don’t like being compared to rapists they should stop advocating for procedures and laws that are invasive and circumvent consent.

  18. Comradde PhysioProffe

    I thought what she said was completely apropos and made her point clear. This is what was so enraging to the sicke fucke right-wing scum that control the Michigan legislature: that a woman dared to tell them “Keep your fucken grimy laws off my fucken body!”

  19. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    If those crusty old farts can’t stand to hear it discussed, they have NO BUSINESS legislating what goes on in it. Wankstains.

  20. Lovepug

    I’m going to hop on a high horse and question the whole “no means no” is a always a reference to rape assertion. While it is certainly CRITICAL for that subject matter, It’s really a reference to the fact that when a woman says no, that’s what it means under all circumstances. The patriarchy always assumes that a woman’s no is negotiable because women have no say in a patriarchy. If a woman’s no inconveniences the patriarchs in any way, they feel it is their god given right to question that no, to browbeat the woman until she changes her no to a yes and the patriarchy wins.

    No means no when:

    No, you’re not going to legislate my vagina (Vagina! Vagina! Vagina! – just for fun).

    No, I will not wash your underwear. Wash it yourself.

    No, I will not accommodate your every need because that’s what nice ladies do.

    No, I will not volunteer for the umpteenth school activity/fundraiser/class party because everyone assumes the moms will do it and no one gives the dads dirty looks when they say no (if they’re even asked in the first place).

    No, I will not shut the fuck up just because my anger makes you uncomfortable.

    No, I will not be refused the raise and/or promotion you know I deserve.

    No, I will not listen endlessly to all of your little problems without any reciprocal support because women are the sensitive understanding ones.

    No, I will not let you cut me off in traffic because you are man in a oversized car with an undersized weenie and something to prove.

    No, I will not wear 4 inch stillettos because you think that’s what makes a woman sexy.

    No, I will not let you indimidate me out of performing some traditional man’s task.

    I could go on, but I’ll spare all y’all. As far as I’m concerned, Lisa Brown’s use of the phrase was spot on. I’m just sorry she didn’t add, “Now quich yo jibba jabba!!!” at the end. That would have been money. Maybe she needs to be sent the Mr. T. key chain.

  21. Sarah

    The mixed company remark (“I wouldn’t say that in front of women”) has prompted me to just imagine a cigar-smoke and old white men-filled room, chatting leisurely and in a manly fashion about their wives’, girlfriends’ and expensive call girls’ vaginas.

    Yeah, because that’s the word men use to talk about women’s genitalia when there are no women around. VAGINA. Sure.

  22. tinfoil hatfield

    My guess is that “no means no” was equated with rape a lot more easily than pro-life legislation was.

    It all comes down to what she wanted: to make a point and advance her argument, or to shock her hearers. If she wanted to shock and offend, she accomplished that

    If a man wasn’t a rapist, he wouldn’t be shocked at the idea of “no means no.”

  23. Twisty

    I have never heard a man speak the word “vagina” except in a jokey, derisive, or uncomfortable tone, and then it’s only on TV.

  24. Twisty

    Oh, and speedbudget gets a hell yeah for this:

    Maybe if these people don’t like being compared to rapists they should stop advocating for procedures and laws that are invasive and circumvent consent.

  25. qvaken

    Sarah, now I’m picturing a bunch of old white men in a room filled with cigar smoke, discussing the effectiveness and modern applicability of the “No means no” anti-date rape campaign.

    And that’s what “No means no” is: An anti-date rape campaign. To help women, and to teach men. For women’s safety, and for women’s sake. Frankly, it’s disgusting and pathetic that “No means no” tipped an old white man’s offense-o-meter to the point of real disciplinary action being taken against a woman.

  26. Laura

    It’s not that she put forth the concept of “no means no”, it’s that she said to “Mr. Speaker” “I know you’re interested in my vagina, but no means no”.

    Look, if offending somebody gets you what you want, fine. Offend the crap out of them. Cool. I’ve done that myself. You should just be aware that that is what you are doing and convinced that that is the route you want to take. It’s satisfying, sure. Does it get you what you want? Because otherwise, if all you want to do is cause those men to feel offended in the knowledge that it’s not getting you anywhere you want to be, you’re really making it all about the men. Again.

  27. ecorad

    Some other comments during the now infamous “Vagina” House Debate include:

    “Respect the decorum of the House, this is an emotional issue for all of us.”
    This is the Speaker’s response following Rep Brown’s comment. This response struck me because the Speaker, and no surprise here, is a non-vagina, non-uterus having Dude, so I doubt the issue of forced pregnancy is anywhere near as “emotional” as it is for those whose ability to consent to pregnancy is being taken away by Michigan legislators. That is, unless you count the emotional trauma he must experience at having his entitlement to control women’s bodies questioned by one of those women.

    “Stop having sex with us gentlemen. Find somebody else to do it with. Seriously, I ask women across Michigan to boycott men until these bills stop moving through the House.”
    This is a comment by Rep Tlai during the same House floor debate. Honestly, I was a little surprised that this comment wasn’t greeted with as much offense by the House conservatives as Rep Brown’s was. There is nothing that gets the Dudes more upset than the thought of losing their access to women as fuck-toys. On further consideration however, I’m guessing this comment wasn’t as offensive because it wasn’t even taken seriously – but oh if it was.

  28. Kristine

    Nobody was offended by Rep Tlai’s words because (A) a man said it and (B) women who have sex are complete hussies who deserve rapey legislation and (C) everyone knows it’s women’s responsibility to control men’s behavior, because men can’t control themselves and women are the mommies who discipline us.

    I think that’s what it comes down to: “It’s your fault we are treating you like shit, because you keep sexing us.” It reduces women to the sole function of sexbots, supports the widespread belief that women use sex as a tool for manipulation, and puts the responsibility to fix men’s hatred of women on women’s shoulders. So you see, even though it sounds feminist, it’s really some sexist bullshit.

    (Sigh) Can’t win for losing.

  29. speedbudget

    Look, as far as “decorum” goes, Mr. Speaker and all his Dude friends in the lege are sitting around bandying about bills that DIRECTLY AFFECT VAGINAS. This, to me, signals undue interest in vaginas. If a man gets all offended and hurt-feeling about a woman with one of said vaginas saying flat out that this man’s interest in her vagina is unwanted, HE CAN FUCKE RIGHT OFFE.

    I will add that for CENTURIES women have been nothing but nice and sweet and gentle and have taken everyone’s feelings into consideration, and where did this get us? To the point where people are talking about removing birth control and have already passed laws making an invasive, rape-like procedure that is totally unnecessary a REQUIREMENT to procure a legal, safe procedure.

    You can quit concern trolling everyone’s tone now. Jesus.

    (You know, I gotta say, Comrade Physio Proffe’s spelling makes that much more satisfying. I don’t know why.)

  30. ecorad

    Kristine – Just as a clarification, Rep Tlai is a woman so I think her comment was less about women being held responsible for male sexual behavior, but was rather aimed at pointing out to male legislators that women don’t become pregnant through immaculate conception.

  31. Denise

    Look, if offending somebody gets you what you want, fine. Offend the crap out of them. Cool. I’ve done that myself. You should just be aware that that is what you are doing and convinced that that is the route you want to take. It’s satisfying, sure. Does it get you what you want? Because otherwise, if all you want to do is cause those men to feel offended in the knowledge that it’s not getting you anywhere you want to be, you’re really making it all about the men. Again.

    The entire country is making fun of the Michigan legislature for getting the vapors over what she said, and you’re concern trolling women over how we’re a bunch of hysterics who don’t know the consequences of poking fun at dudes.

    Whose approach do you really think was more successful, from a feminist perspective? The one that got everyone talking, or the one trying to shame everyone into shutting up?

    Rep. Brown spoke those words to bring attention to an otherwise hopeless situation. And with the help of her ridiculously misogynistic co-workers, she succeeded in spades. So if you’re a feminist, what the fuck is your problem with what SHE did?

  32. Saurs

    You should just be aware that that is what you are doing and convinced that that is the route you want to take. It’s satisfying, sure. Does it get you what you want? Because otherwise, if all you want to do is cause those men to feel offended in the knowledge that it’s not getting you anywhere you want to be, you’re really making it all about the men. Again.

    How exactly does one protest oppression without acknowledging the oppressors, the actual dudes who are actually legislating how and when and under what circumstances some women are sometimes granted some small amount of temporary bodily autonomy?

    Like, dudes were really gonna get it, pinky-swear and no backsies, but then some short-sided hot-headed lady had to run her mouth off, sabotaging the entire women’s movement with sarcasm, which as we all know is kryptonite to self-important windbags. You’re just hurting yourselves! Where have I heard that concern-filled derail before?

    Oh, and this–

    If I were a man who had thoroughly internalized the concept that rape is a Very Bad Thing, as we’d like men to do

    is pretty funny, considering. We live in a rape culture. A Very Bad Rape dudes can all agree on is A Very Rare (possibly Mythical) Thing. A theory, more than anything else. Theoretically, rape is bad. In practice, it can always be mitigated into some kind of error / confusion / lie on the part of the victim.

  33. dreamt

    ecorad – Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if he thought himself more objective and therefore a better judge than any women reps because of that.

    I might get a little ticked off too if I had to deal with assholes like these and their dehumanization talk day after day. Uphold the decorm = be polite while we piss all over you.

  34. TotallyDorkin

    “no means no” is a reference to the idea that we should respect the wishes of others when deciding how we treat them.

    When a woman says it, obviously it’s only relevant to having sex with her because what else are women for?

    This is especially true when she mentions her vagina. Vagina’s are JUST for sex. So the only thing you could be referencing is Penis in Vagina sex!

    /sarcasm

    Jesus Fucking Christ fuck the fucking megatheocorporatocracy and these fucking smarmy misogynist asshole legislators.

  35. Kristine

    Oops. Sorry. How’s about I start paying attention to what’s going on?

  36. TA

    Hm. Did not know that you duct-tape the woman’s mouth because she’s OFFENSIVE. I thought it was just because she was making too much goddamned NOISE. Fucke.

    I have a feeling that if she’d used a euphemism like “cooter” or “hoo-ha,” she’d have been banned for being flippant. Not respecting the seriousness of the office or the discussion, you know.

  37. gyp$y

    @ Laura,
    Rep Brown’s comparison was perfectly apt: both rapist and state-mandated fetal parasitism seek to annex viscera belonging to an individual without said individual’s consent. Also, they’re not two separate ideas but rather acts that coexist in a continuum of anti-woman terror tactics. Even if her goal was to shock, are iconoclasm and affront to popular convention purviews not allowed to women?

    Ps. Twisty, I’m a 21-year-old novice balmer and your biggest fan ever.

  38. yttik

    I get what Laura said.

    The whole incident felt too much like political games and not enough like women’s rights. The object was to make Republican men look bad, rather than to untie women and actually advance our rights. The problem is, lately we never get passed, “Republican men are evil so Dem men win by default.” Once these Dem men get their default win, they are praised as being such great advocates for women, when in fact they haven’t done anything at all. At least 50 of them sat there and let Lisa Brown blow in the wind. And why shouldn’t they? She was doing their dirty work for them.

    “Whose approach do you really think was more successful, from a feminist perspective?”

    Considering that we appear to actually be going backwards, I suggest that the approach we’ve been using isn’t working. Some people seem to believe that pointing out how evil Republican men are is the same thing as advancing women’s rights, when in fact, it isn’t at all.

  39. Saurs

    Eww, democrat dudes. Maybe the fun an’ sexy feminists dig ‘em, and certainly the so-called Chill Girls do, which explains why they only acknowledge misogyny selectively and when it’s committed by all the wrong people, but radfems are hardly giving the liberal boys and their current god-like figurehead a pass, are they? Maybe I’m out of the loop.

  40. Twisty

    It is written in the Ancient Texts of Savage Death Island: liberal dudes are jacknuts.

  41. Saurs

    Thank fuck for that.

    (Also, scanning the thread thus far, I realize I called somebody short-sided, which is fairly stupid and also describes me to a T.)

  42. qvaken

    Conservatism and liberalism are both male-constructed. They each purport to be working in women’s best interests at times, but they’re always working from their own interests, and using women as tools along the way. Neither conservatives nor liberals are our friends.

  43. yttik

    Yes qvaken, they do use women as tools.

    What started out as a debate over abortion restrictions has now been changed into a discussion about whether or not women can say the word “vagina” on the House floor, which totally transforms the whole issue. We’re going to get restricted abortion, but women will now have the right to say vagina. Yay, another win for women, right along with our right to pole dance.

  44. qvaken

    Lately, I’ve been feeling like the whole abortion issue in the US, in itself, is one huge distraction. It’s the most obvious and blatant step backwards in women’s rights and women’s position in society, and it obviously needs the necessary attention to turn the whole thing around and start heading in the right direction again. It’s important, and due to the rapid deterioration of many legislations in the US with regard to the issue, it’s also urgent, meaning that women are forced to focus all of our attention on it – right now.

    It’s preventing women – especially American women, but also all women around the world – from focusing on, and fighting, the more insidious and deeply-ingrained forms of widespread misogyny. These are at the root of women’s oppression, and these are what really hold us down and hold us back. But because of this ridiculous, archaic caricature of an argument against women’s rights, we’re simply not allowed to focus on that right now.

  45. Barbara P

    Hey, gyp$y

    For a novice balmer, that was some pretty good blaming!

    (Not actually trying to pick on you, I just thought that was a funny typo.)

    And while I’m on a nit-picking roll: yttik, yes, no one is helping women untie!

    [ insert smiley icon ]

  46. tinfoil hattie

    yttik, I am fairly certain that if Rep. Brown had said, “Please, oh please, my dear sirs and esteemed overlords, respect the rights of women to bodily autonomy,” the Michigan legislature would still pass their woman-hating laws. She was right to say what she did, and to bluntly state exactly what these men are doing. For her work on behalf of the citizens who elected her, she was literally shut up.

    I note nobody was censored for comparing these women legislators to unruly children (who must be punished, yes?).

  47. yttik

    Actually tinfoil, she had a pretty good argument going on about religious freedom and how this legislation would violate the rights of Jewish people, but that’s all gone now because she and the general public have moved on to a vagina obsession where the entire debate is now about women’s right to say the word.

  48. G

    Another very important point Brown made in the speech that got her banned was about religious freedom. We hear a lot about the religious freedom of people who think their religion requires them to discriminate against women employees and citizens but Brown pointed out that a tenet of her religion (Judaism) is that abortion is required if it will save the woman’s life so the law banning that interferes with her freedom to practice her religion.

    Of course she and everyone else knows that the people screaming about religious freedom really mean the freedom for them to impose their fundie religion on all of us but I’m glad she pointed it out so clearly.

  49. G

    I disagree with the tone argument. If it wasn’t for Brown’s strong phrasing and the Speaker’s cowardly and extreme reaction to it, nobody outside the Michigan capitol would have heard either her ‘hands off’ or her ‘religious freedom’ argument at all.

  50. Ms. Lovegood

    otoc: Yep. I concur. Screen the honorable jacknuts!!!

  51. otoc

    So when Mike Callton said it was “so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company,” he was actually talking about “no means no”? Whatwhy? How does that make any sense at all? No, I don’t buy it.

    And I don’t buy that the conversation is all about vaginas now and not abortion rights, or that the abortion issue was entirely separate from vaginas before this or that Rep. Lisa Brown has condemned us to pole-dancing status for her outrageous use of the word in front of menfolk trying to pass legislation about, you know, vaginas.

  52. Carpentet

    The entirety of Michigan politics is scarring the ever-living shit out of me. From the refusal to actually count votes in the legislature, to the undemocratic takeover of towns and cities to the censoring of female politicians. Its like we ‘mericans have our own state sized version of “It Can’t Happen Here”

  53. speedbudget

    @otoc: To the people who believe this was about “no means no,” I have a bridge to sell you. This was definitely about the vaginas, and when this guy was called on it, he did what most Republicans do when they are called on their shit and lied about it. I bet he wasn’t expecting to get called on his shit at all. Why should he, when he and his cronies have been blithely legislating away about vaginas without one word from the current administration or even really the press? Oh, they’ve been “reporting” on it, but only in a Congressional Minutes kind of way, not with any real depth or in any way making these men uncomfortable about what they are doing.

    That’s why what Brown did was brilliant. She made them uncomfortable. She made them squirm. She made them actually think about the thing they have been happily legislating against. Until she threw that word down, it was all conceptual and all about the babies. Then she slapped them in the face with what they are actually doing, and it made their feelings get hurt.

    And for those who think all people are talking about now is whether women can say “vagina,” I welcome you to visit my G+ stream. I have over 300 people circled, lots of them from various foreign countries, and all of them are talking about how ridiculous this whole legislating ultrasounds and etc. before access to abortions is. The fact that she said the word and got slapped down got her story reported in foreign press, where there is still some attempt at journalistic integrity. Most of the world is on our side, judging from what I see in my stream. Most people have made the connection that it is ridiculous to say that a human body part’s scientific terminology is vulgar while at the same time legislating against it, especially when it is perfectly decorous to talk about intravaginal ultrasounds, but no the actual vagina in which said procedure happens.

  54. qvaken

    Fine then. When I first read it, I noticed two parts to the statement that relate directly to women: “vagina”, and “no means no”. And it’s ludicrous to claim that either of them are inappropriate to say within earshot of women.

    Either way, State Rep Lisa Brown is pretty much women’s superhero, using her linguistic powers to strike fear into the hearts of crusty old uterus-obsessed white men everywhere, and to bring justice into the language of Twitter and Facebook users all over the world.

    I’m holding firm on my belief that the sudden backflip on abortion rights in the US is a giant government-mandated feminist distraction maneuver, though.

  55. Redpeachmoon vagina

    If it hasn’t already been suggested,should we all start using vagina in our names ?, titles? Saturate the press with vaginas? this vagina American thinks so.n

  56. Keri

    Maybe since our voices will just be silenced by the speaker man, we should just respond with hand written signs like the kids do:

    http://slacktory.com/2012/06/sassing-back-boys-with-pseudofeminist-handwritten-signs-its-a-trend-nsfw-naked-woman-inside/

  57. Twisty

    @Keri: Ha!

    I appreciated the general feminist tone of this blurb, but I was sad to read the line “Hopefully [the Reddit boys] won’t take these women’s hilarious [fuck-you] responses as an excuse to devolve into nasty adult misogynists.” This is one of those things that Internet feminists hear all the time. “You won’t win any dudes over to your cause if you don’t sufficiently suck up to them.” The implication being that it is women’s responsibility to convince boys that sexism is wrong. Dudes, oppression is either wrong or it isn’t, but either way it has nothing to do with the demeanor of the oppressed.

  58. Keri

    Yeah, I like the eff you attitude of the young ladies themselves but not that commentary. Guess the youths are supposed to run along and play nice feminism in the sand box or the boys might get upset.

    Every time I look at the gal mocking space boy’s face I just crack up though. Oh the kids these days. They can be funny.

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