Vagina, Vagina, Vagina

From The Nation:

Jessica Valenti
June 15, 2012

Yesterday, Michigan Representative Lisa Brown was banned from speaking after having the audacity to use the word “vagina” in a debate over an anti-abortion bill. Apparently, it’s not enough that Republicans have made it a political priority to roll back women’s reproductive rights—they also want to ensure that we remain silent as they do it.

Representative Mike Callton, for example, was absolutely scandalized by Brown’s comments: “What she said was offensive.… 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 does realize that this mixed company likely has vaginas, yes?)

I wished this latest GOP gaffe surprised me, but Republicans feeling squirmy about women’s “down-theres” while desperately trying to keep said “hoo-hoos” in check is pretty standard these days. We live in a country where it’s fine to legislate vaginas, but saying the actual word is forbidden.

Is it run of the mill misogynist disgust of female bodies? Puritanical pearl-clutching? Or simply sexist legislators who would rather not be reminded that the vaginas they’re attempting to control have pesky women with opinions attached to them?

No matter the reason, it speaks volumes about the way in which Republicans would like women to participate in policy conversations that effect their health and lives: they wish we would just shut up already. It would be so much easier if we just left the important decisions about women’s bodies up to men!

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