Vaginagate: Our Nation's Fear Of All Things Technically Correct
Imagine using an anatomically correct term. Shock horror.
By now you're familiar with the political "scandal" that many in the blogosphere have cleverly classified "Vaginagate." If not, please remove the rock from above your forehead and read:
Two female lawmakers in Michigan have been banned from speaking on the House floor following their correct, albeit emotional, use of the word -- wait for it...
...vagina during remarks opposing an anti-abortion bill.
Watch video of the incident here:
Both democrats, Rep. Lisa Brown and Rep. Barb Byrum learned the following day that their use of the words "vagina" and "vasectomy" respectively was considered offensive (i.e. gross and scary) by other members of Congress and, in turn, violated House rules of decorum.
"They behaved in a way that disrupted the decorum of the House," said Ari Adler, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Jase Bolger (R-Marshall). "For Brown, it was not the words she used, but the way she used them that resulted in her being gaveled down."
This has been a long, hard claim to swallow for many in the government, media and beyond, inciting all kinds of uproar in the form of late-night comedic monologues, passionate political commentary, and written suggestions for more appropriate alternatives to the V-word.
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Though this issue regarding the use of a medically correct name of the female reproductive orifice is significant, it's not completely surprising. Keep in mind society's uber-sensitivity when it comes to all things icky.
Underarms = arm pits. The idea of referring to the dark, dank concave under our arms as precisely what it is -- a pit -- is far too real for our nation's deodorant-makers and advertising executives.
Toilet tissue = toilet paper. Though it's simply a thin sheet of paper used to wipe clean our naughty bits and their neighboring areas, referring to it as such just won't cut it in our dainty lives.
Restroom = toilet. We all know that none of us head to the loo to have a nap, but unlike our European counterparts we Americans just can't admit that we're rushing to sit on a porcelain basin in which to empty our anatomical waste containers.
Sanitary napkin = pad. Oh come on. The wad of cotton women bleed into and proceed to sit on for hours is anything but sanitary, and if we actually used napkins to do the job we'd be leaving a trail of reproductive excrement everywhere we walk. And sit.
So naturally one could propose meat wallet, sin tunnel and birth cannon as logical, family-friendly alternatives to the V word. (Let's just call it schmagina to protect frail ears/eyes.) But we're still waiting on Congress' final verdict.
And while we're on the subject of revolting lady parts, remember the time a VP of Business & Culture at the Media Research Center called actress Olivia Munn's no-no hole "disgusting"?
Vaginagate isn't the first time that lady parts have received the finger-wag of vaginaphobes in positions of power. (And not the preferred position -- between a woman's thighs.)
Mr. Man, and a slew of other morally
upright uptight suits found Munn's cooter, featured on the cover of that month's Maxim, to be disgusting. That was the exact word used in the Media Research Center's official statement.
"Disgusting" seems a bit extreme to describe the V-shaped outline slightly visible through Munn's lacy underthings, which ultimately was responsible for the sale of 112 more Maxim magazines than usual that month.
And just a year-and-a-half later we've evolved (?) from considering the barely-there appearance of a woman's vulva nasty to calling foul -- and worthy of sanction -- the mere act of referring to the fun tunnel by its biological name.
But until we can feel comfortable telling people that we're leaving to use the toilet or looking for a new anti-perspirant to keep our armpits from sweating profusely, how can we be as natural when discussing our reproductive organs?
(Can I say "reproductive organs" on the Internet? Is "fuck tools" better?)
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