I’m tempted to respond like a fourth-grader and refer to New Hampshire State Representative Peter Hansen as “penis” for the rest of this post. But unlike this “fairly well-educated” man, I’m not of the mind that genitalia are acceptable substitutes for gender. In an email sent to the New Hampshire House of Representatives list-serv Rep. Hansen wrote (emphasis ours):
“What could possibly be missing from those factual tales of successful retreat in VT, Germany, and the bowels of Amsterdam? Why children and vagina’s [sic] of course. While the tales relate the actions of a solitary male the outcome cannot relate to similar situations where children and women and mothers are the potential victims.”
The email was part of a debate over the repeal of a “stand your ground” gun bill. Rep. Hansen was confronted in an email about his offensive language by House Rep. Rick Watrous, who replied, “Are you really using ‘vaginas’ as a crude catch-all for women?” However, Hansen’s apologies have been weak at best (he was “misinterpreted”!), and downright ignorant at worst. Also, what’s up with the apostrophe?
This comment is sexism at its purest form. Referring to women interchangeably with a reproductive bodypart has the connotation that women are only valued for sex. Even worse is that Rep. Hansen claims not to realize that his ridiculous comments are demeaning.
It’s time Hansen respects women as more than just vaginas — especially given that New Hampshire is a state with a female governor and an entirely female delegation to Congress.
Email me at Sarah.Gray@TheFrisky.com.