Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Women have to speak up for their vaginas to protect them from political harm

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Long before Michigan state representative Lisa Brown entered the national political landscape, vagina was destined to be the word of 2012. Yes, the “Vagina Monologues” deserves some of that credit for bringing alive what should be a common word, yet little heard in American media and society.

Over 50% of the country has one, most of the rest of us want to find one, and all of us came from one. Yet vagina was a word that just … wasn’t … used.

Sure we use pussy and the c-word and, with apologies to our Canadian readers, beaver. Va-jay-jay is a recent phenomena that was worse than the actual word vagina.

I do enjoy a phrase I heard from the folk/comedy duo of Garfunkel and Oates (both women) who spoke of the “Georgia O’Keefe bouquet.” And I personally like “secret garden.” But I and others in our society should feel just as comfortable to use the clinical term, vagina.

The penis has many great slang terms — dick, cock — to name a couple, but the word penis and its euphemisms are much more commonly used.

Mentioning of lady parts in American society is a recent trend. Women’s lib brought up the idea of burning bras, even if we didn’t always talk about what was inside the bras. Even as much play as breasts have received, people who support raising money for breast cancer research use phrases such as “Save the ta-tas.”

Lisa Brown (D-West Bloomfield) got banned from speaking on the House floor by Michigan House Republicans. This is what got her silenced:

“I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but no means no.”

Brown was referring specifically to her vagina, and also to vaginas all around.

This was too much for Rep. Mike Callton (R-Nashville), a chiropractor with a biology degree, who said that what Brown said was “so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.”

Afraid to say to women about something that they all have … in 2012.

The embarrassment that these men feel at the use of such word would be slightly amusing at a party. But the Michigan Republicans were jumping on the bandwagon of passing draconian legislation to interfere in health care decisions made by women about their vaginas.

The war on women has been about abortion and reproductive rights, but also laws that treat women as second-class citizens incapable of making decisions about their own bodies. Part of that war has been to make it difficult for women to talk about their private parts.

Clitoris, uterus, ovaries, vagina. Not being able to say these words, not being able to talk about what potential legislation will do to these body parts, this is where women lose the power. Being able to say breasts, nipples, areolas, vaginal wall. This is where power comes into the discussion.

Men talk about their penises and scrotums with pride and vigor. Women need to own what they have and be proud of what they bring to the table. Their vaginas are being put into danger by these legislatures run mostly by men. While some men are rising up to support vaginas, women have to rally to support their own body parts, and protect them from undue government interference.

If these representatives can’t say vagina, then they shouldn’t be messing around with them. And there’s a word for people who behave this way: they are dic, er, penises.


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