Monday, June 18, 2012

Vagina Angina

by Donna Pendergast

Say it loud, say it proud, the vagina word (gasp) screams out from the crowd.

A scene the likes of which has never been seen before will unfold this evening as thousands of women converge on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol to protest the recent silencing of a women legislator who was banned from speaking on the house floor after saying the word vagina during a heated debate about abortion.

Last week Representative Lisa Brown was speaking against a bill that seeks to put new regulation on abortion providers and ban all abortions after 20 weeks. She ended her statement with the comment "Mr. Speaker, I'm flattered that you are all so interested in my vagina but no means no." The reaction was quick and severe. The next day Brown was censured and not allowed to participate in floor debate on the final day of session before the summer break. She was informed that she would not be allowed to give her opinion on a school employee retirement bill because she had "failed to maintain the decorum of the Michigan House of Representatives." In a separate move Representative Barb Byrum was also blocked from addressing the legislature on Thursday. The house forbid Byrum from introducing her amendment to the abortion bill which would have banned men from getting a vasectomy unless they could provide proof that it was a medical emergency.

The response from women was swift and overwhelming. Women across the country rallied in support of Brown and Byrum and newspapers across the country made note of the unprecedented ban. A rally was organized for the Capitol steps for tonight and women in masse RSVP'D to the event in a show of support. But it was about to get more interesting. The rally was to grow to a crusade and then to a scream. The scream was then to grow to an event. By The time of this post nearly 3000 woman had expressed their intent to attend the rally which by then had morphed to something never seen before.

In the event's latest incarnation the rally will be highlighted by several Michigan legislators Who will be joined by Eve Ensler, author of "The Vagina Monologues" for a live performance on the Capitol steps. Carpools and bus transportation have been arranged for the masses and it is anyone's guess how many vaginas (gasp I said it) will turn out for tthe event. Whatever your feelings on the underlying hot button issue and subsequent ban, the event promises to be an extraordinary event. Women of both political persuasions intend to make sure that their voices are heard in this arena.

As for that troublesome "v" word, oh yeah that, in the play alone the word will be spoken 127 times tonight.

Oh my it promises to be an interesting night in Michigan and the heat being felt won't be coming from the warm summer night.

Statements made in this post are my own  and are not intended to reflect the views, opinion of the Michigan Attorney  General or the Michigan Department of Attorney General.


Anonymous said...

"Mr. Speaker, I'm flattered that you are all so interested in my vagina but no means no." That is incredibly rude and especially so in a House of Representatives. Her grandstanding deserved censure, and while she achieved the goal of support for her cause, she did so by seeming more at home in a tavern than a legislature. If she isn't smart enough to make her case eloquently, she should study up on people who are. It's a sign of the dumbing and trash talking of America for her to garner any support for her actions, no matter the noble intent of her cause.

Anonymous said...

Its a sign of dumbing down of America when a legislative group can not only take away someone's freedom of speech but take away someone's right to represent others. While she could have worded things a little differently, its more evidence of the eroding of women's rights. As long as legislators can pull stunts like booting her out, men will continue to try to control things that really don't concern them.

Melissa said...

You ladies (I assume you are ladies) think the correct word of a body part is wrong? She is absolutely right. The government has no rights to my vagina or my uterus.

Anonymous said...

Have any male representatives ever used the penis word while speaking on the floor? If yes, where they censored?

DrGina said...

I think her comment makes overt the covert sexism in the legislation. The sexual connotation of the comment, while crude to the more refined among us, draws attention to the personal violation women feel about government intrusion into our bodies. Excellent post Donna.

Anonymous said...

My point is not that the use of the word vagina is wrong. My point is her putting forth the assumption, indeed, the allegation, that the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives "are all so interested in (her) vagina." And then ending up with the words"no means no" which is an allusion to a woman's right to not accept unwanted sexual advancements. Intimating that the legislative body has any sniggering personal sexual interest in this matter is crass grandstanding. Far better to quote the terrible statistics and wrenching stories of self- induced and back -alley abortions in which mother and child BOTH died, and which safe legal abortion was legislated to prevent. The argument that we can go back to that past with a ban is surely a stronger one than an argument about her body parts. I want to hear about that reality, the reality of coat hangers and mangled lives, that is where my vote lies, with those desperate women, not with women demanding to say the word vagina.

Beth The Sailor said...

Donna - great post. BTW, OWN is replaying your Mio murder case....and a commercial for Michigan tourism came on!

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