Michigan State Rep. Lisa Brown gave a speech on Wednesday during a heated debate about an abortion bill. According to both NPR and the New York Daily News, Rep Mike Carlton (R-Nashville) silenced her, calling her word choices inappropriate. By Friday morning, social media was a-buzz. Indignant. Men and women were both outraged. One friend posted there wasn’t enough punctuation to contain his outrage.
What the hell is going on here?
“Vagina” is a dirty word? Well, every gynecologist on the planet is in trouble (and if yours isn’t in trouble, you should be doctor shopping!). Are there synonyms that you would have preferred Ms. Brown used, Rep. Mike Carlton?
There’s the C-word. Chaucer used the C-word, well queynte. It’s just a guess on my part, but I think Carlton would have objected more vehemently to that.
Or she could have used the Tw-word, no not twitchel, although that’s an appropriate synonym too, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. So, “vagina” is a taboo word-how do we move forward? It seems as though we’re moving backward.
Do we add it to the list with other taboo words? Like the N-word that one ballsy writer dared to edit from Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn? Can I say ballsy? I mean, that’s term that refers to male genitalia. As a woman, I don’t find it offensive, Mr. Carlton. And although you stated you wouldn’t, I’d say it in mixed company. Ballsy. But editing one of America’s greatest writers is a story for another day. Mark Twain used words in mixed company.
Mixed company. Really? There are still things we can’t say in mixed company? A woman serves as Secretary of State-Hillary Clinton is the third woman to serve in that position. When I think about them the words brass balls come to mind, and I’ll say it in mixed company. Brass balls, brass balls, brass balls! I may not always agree with these women politically, but I am glad they have been out there in the trenches, doing their jobs. I’m glad we have role models to prove that women won’t pass out upon hearing anatomically correct language. I declare, Mr. Carlton, we won’t get the vapors! I promise.
I can share some words that have no place in our political arenas: censored or worse, what I read at NPR, “Representative silenced on the house floor.”
Mr. Carlton, references to human anatomy are not offensive. They just are. Words are necessary for clear communication. How else would you have us talk? Oh, that’s right, you have silenced the ballsy woman who dared to mention body parts. I must say, and it’s beyond the reach of the Michigan House to silence me, that “vagina” is a perfectly acceptable word. You may have silenced one woman, but her silence, at least through the vehicle of social media, has given voice to millions.
I think twitchel is catchy, I wonder why it went out of fashion. I mean, other than the fact that it’s not anatomically correct language.
PostScript: Please note this piece is being posted here after having been declined by a paying outlet, twice, because its contents were not considered “timely.” Please share this post, reblog it, tweet it, like it on Facebook. The silencing of voices of opposition is always timely. Please link back to http://melwalshjones.wordpress.com