A Silly Aversion, A Serious Question

June 17, 2012 § 4 Comments

Okay, okay, enough already with the vagina.  Even I, with my newfound comfort level around the correct for term lady-parts, am getting a little tired of the jokes.  (Though, I must say, my favorite from this list of “Vagina” alternatives has GOT to be “God’s Stab Wound.”)

Something I hinted at in my previous post, “Vaginas to the Left, Vaginas to the Right,” was that I am borderline compulsive about seeking out opposing viewpoints from which I can learn, and from which a real discussion can be cultivated.  In my satirical exploration of why Michigan Rep. Lisa Brown’s comment sent her colleagues into orbit, I also joked that perhaps Republicans were hurt by the implication that they were being compared to date rapists.

Well, heidi-ho, it appears I’ve hit on something.  I searched the interwebs for a Republican response to Rep. Brown’s comments, and had a very hard time finding anything in my favorite news outlets, MSNBC, Huffington Post, and CNN.  The only thing I could find were discussions of whether or not the word “Vagina” was uttered improperly in the State House’s debate.  Truly, that irritated me, but that’s a rant for another time.

In desperation, I turned to Fox News.  Not surprisingly, they focused a little more seriously on Republican response.  I still found a heavy emphasis on the decorum aspect of Rep. Brown’s parting shot.   “‘I ask all members to maintain a decorum of the House, and I felt it went too far,’ Republican Floor Leader Jim Stamas told The Detroit News. He scratched Brown and Byrum from the list of speakers.”  I also, though, found this: “Rep. Lisa Lyons, R-Alto, said Brown’s comments were “disgraceful” and her “no means no” remark seemed to inappropriately compare the anti-abortion bill to rape. The House approved the bill on a 70-39 vote.” (Both of these quotes came from an article I link to here.)

What do you know about that?  Here, my friends, is where this embarrassing episode can cease being fodder for late-night comics and turn into a real discussion about a very simple question I have.  This was, obviously, a bill about limiting access to abortion, among other things.  From this point forward, I will frame the debate, not in Democratic/Republican terms, but in Pro-Choice/Pro-Life terms.  I know Pro-Life Democrats and Pro-Choice Republicans, so leaving political party affiliation out of this seems fair to me.

If we take the highest road, giving the leadership who censured Rep. Brown the greatest amount of credit, I can almost buy that the implying support for the bill was comparable to date rape was, indeed, disrespectful and an affront to decorous behavior.  Here is my question, though.

Would that same leadership have penalized a Pro-Life member of the House for implying opposition to the bill was comparable to murdering babies?

If the answer to that is “No,” I’d like to ask a follow-up question.

When did being compared to murderers become more decorous than being compared to date rapists?

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Vaginas to the Left, Vaginas to the Right.

June 15, 2012 § 13 Comments

My friend, Mitch, knows how to make a boy cry. So, apparently, does Lisa Brown.

Here’s one of the things I’m good at.  Seeing the other side.  I do it in many of my pieces about women’s rights…especially when it comes to advocating legal and safe abortions.  I’m going to try it again, here.  This is me, playing devil’s advocate, tongue-in-cheek style.

Let’s just asssseeewwwwwwwme that the censure of Michigan State Lawmaker, Lisa Brown, was NOT a result of her having used the dreaded (correct) term, “Vagina”  “Hoo-hah.”  Let’s asssseeewwwwwwwme that the male Republican leadership was not simply offended by the use of the word, “Vagina,”  Hoo-hah when they said she was barred from speaking because she violated “decorum” rules of the Michigan State House.  Let’s asssseeewwwwwwwme that the reason Rep. Brown’s challenge, “…Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina hoo-hah, but ‘no’ means ‘no.'” “…was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company…” wasn’t the fact that she used the (correct) term, “Vagina” Hoo-hah.

No, nooooooo.  Let’s give the Republican leadership of the Michigan State House a little more credit, shall we???  I mean, what if what Rep. Mike Callton (R – Nashville) found so offensive was the implication that the men in the House were interested in Rep. Brown’s “Vagina”  Hoo-hah?  That’s a real possibility, here, right?  I mean, how on God’s Green Earth could any self-respecting, male, conservative, Republican be actually interested in her “Vagina” Hoo-hah?  She’s JEWISH, after all!  Scandalous!!!

Oh, pardon?  You don’t think they banned her from speaking because she publicly rebuffed (HA!  Get it?  Re-BUFFED?) her male collegues’ lascivious advances?Hmmmm.  Why else would they be offended?

Oooo!  Oooo!  I know!!!  They were offended because when she said, “…’no’ means ‘no,'” she was implying that they kept asking her for sex, and she kept saying “No,” and that they couldn’t take “No” for an answer.  That almost implies they might force themselves upon poor helpless Rep. Brown.  And they would NEVER do that!!!  THAT’s what Rep. Callton doesn’t “…even want to say…in front of women!”  They are so ashamed of their gender’s history in this area, they could never mention it in mixed company without being reduced to a withering puddle of remorse!  Right?  No?  No…that’s probably not it…

Wait!  I’ve got it!  The offensive thing is that she doesn’t realize that those trying to legislate abortion based on religion are really just trying to save precious LIVES! What about the babies/fetuses???  How can Rep. Brown lose sight of that?  How offensive to decorum that she’s taken the eye off the prize of birthing babies in favor of her own health considerations and religious beliefs!  How dare she imply that by outlawing ANY abortions after 20 weeks, the State House would be violating her religous beliefs, and her right to consider and made decisions with her own doctor?  And putting the health of  women at risk?  And used the word VAGINA Hoo-hah in the process???

Well.  Maybe I should re-think this whole “devil’s advocate” role I thought I had mastered.  Doesn’t seem to be working for those of you with synapses that actually fire and connect.

Full disclosure, folks.  I, too, cringe a little when I hear the word, “Vagina.” Especially if it is spoken by one of my parents.  I don’t know why, except perhaps that it is something I consider so PRIVATE that it almost feels like a violation when anyone other than my doctors (in medical context) say it.  “Vagina” (and also, “Panties” – WTF?) are words that make me want to put my fingers in my ears and say “LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-” until I predict it’s over.   Yes, I own my own silliness and immaturity in this area – I’m human, and everyone has their own personal triggers that make them cringe.  My sister has the same trigger, which maybe implies my parents used the word a little too liberally when potty training us.  Who knows? Who cares?

In my constant quest for self-improvement, though, I will launch an effort to combat this little demon of mine, and to inure those poor men, who’s sensibilities were so callously stomped upon by Rep. Brown by mentioning a part of her anatomy correctly.  Join me!  One and all!  For my part, I will now go around singing proudly, and at the top of my lungs, “VA-GIIIIIIIIIIIII-NAAAAAAAAA” to the tune of “Volare” whenever the mood strikes me (as brilliantly suggested by a fb friend.)   Who’s in?

In conclusion, I would like to THANK the Michigan GOP.  Yes, you heard me right. THANK them.  Whereas I had accepted my little quirky trigger with relative equanimity, I now realize that discomfort with the word, “Vagina” can lead to something much more dangerous – namely, the silencing of women in our government.

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