See that guy up there? He’s offended by the word “vagina.” That word is so offensive, in fact, that a female legislator who used the word during a speech on Wednesday, has been barred from speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives in Michigan. (Since I have begun writing this post, House GOP Spokesman Ari Adler has defended their actions, claiming that it was the “no means no” part of her speech that got her gaveled out of order and barred from the House floor. Unfortunately, this doesn’t change the fact that Mike Callton is offended by the medical term used to describe a part of the female body.)
From The Detroit News:
House Republicans prohibited state Rep. Lisa Brown from speaking on the floor Thursday after she ended a speech Wednesday against a bill restricting abortions by referencing her female anatomy.
Rep. Brown (D-West Bloomfield) ended her speech with, “Finally, Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no’.”
Are you ready for Rep. Callton’s response when he was questioned about the action taken against Rep. Brown for using the word “vagina”?
“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.”
Seriously? You don’t want to use the medical term for that part of a woman’s anatomy IN FRONT OF WOMEN?! I promise you, Mike, “vagina” is not a dirty word. We women use that word all the time, along with some other descriptors that would probably obviously give you heart palpitations.
All is not lost, though, Mikey my boy. There are ways to combat a strong aversion of this nature. One of the most common therapeutic tactics involves confronting a person with the very thing they fear or despise–in this case, the word “vagina”–in order to take away its power over a person.
And I’d like to help you, Rep. Callton–like lots of women have been helping you recently–by leading a therapy session designed to strip away the fear and loathing associated with this so-called “offensive” word.
Let’s begin. Repeat after me, Rep. Callton:
VAGINA. VAGINA. VAGINA.
Good job! I know this is difficult for you, but we must face our fears and learn to overcome them. And we shouldn’t stop there–if a serious aversion is not treated in a timely manner, it can lead to new and even more serious issues.
With that in mind, Rep. Callton, please repeat after me one more time:
UTERUS. CERVIX. LABIA.
Isn’t this fun? Don’t you feel better now? It feels good to free yourself from those uptight and downright silly notions of propriety, doesn’t it?
I thought so.
In all seriousness, though, this really isn’t about the terminology Rep. Brown chose to use in her speech. As she responded when asked about what happened on the House floor on Wednesday:
“If I can’t say the word vagina, why are we legislating vaginas?” Brown said. “What language should I use?”
“We’re all adults here.”
Exactly. If those anal apertures in the House of Representatives don’t want to openly discuss our offensive vaginas (using correct medical terminology), then they should keep their offensive legislation away from us.
And let’s be honest–House Republicans in Michigan weren’t offended by Brown’s terminology choices. They’re just using any ridiculous excuse they can find to silence a voice that is disagreeable to them. Mike Callton has a biology degree that he earned from Michigan State University in 1981. Did he confront his biology professors every time the word “vagina” came up in class? Did he run out of the room screaming? Did he have any biology professor banned from teaching for daring to use the word “vagina”? No, of course he didn’t.
The only things that are truly offensive about this whole situation are Republicans’ patriarchal attitudes and their horrid anti-choice legislation.