What do we think of when we hear “Michigan”? Vaginas

When I heard the news last week about Lisa Brown being silenced from speaking in the State Legislature, it seemed so preposterous that I first laughed, and only later became outraged. I still find it so hard to believe that it really happened. Today, hearing the followup story about Eve Ensler flying in to perform the Vagina Monologues on the Capitol steps, I finally understood. The only logical explanation is that they did this on purpose to draw attention to the plight of women in the state. Based on that understanding, I wrote the following thank you note to the leaders of the State of Michigan Legislature.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Patricia F Anderson
Date: Mon, Jun 18, 2012 at 1:10 PM
Subject: What do we think of when we hear “Michigan”? Vaginas
To: JamesBolger@house.mi.gov, JimStamas@house.mi.gov

Dear Mr. Bolger and Mr. Stamas,

Normally, I would not use such a provocative term in an email subject
line, but because of the decision to silence the voices of women
legislators in Michigan, basically by making a mountain out of a
molehill, this poor decision is being reflected in dramatic
international attention to the state. Thanks to this unfortunate
series of events, in the rest of the world’s minds, the main ideas
associated now with the word Michigan are “joblessness” and “vagina,”
closely followed by “abortion”.

A part of me suspects that deep down, somewhere in the subconscious,
this truly was the goal of the action to silence Lisa Brown — to draw
attention to the severe lack of personal control and resources legally
available to women in the state of Michigan. As a single mother of a
special needs child, I have been made intimately aware of this
overwhelming statutory bias against women here. Personally, I have
difficulty in seeing the humor or irony in the situation, and I am
grateful that you have been able to quickly and wittily garner such an
extraordinarily high level of awareness of the issues facing women in
this state.

Bravo! Well done!

With my sincere thanks,

Patricia Anderson


I’m evidently not the only one who feels this way.

“I personally want to thank the Republicans in the state House of
Michigan for banning two female Democrats last week for their temerity
to testify against the mega-bill trying to run abortion providers out
of the state.”
Michigan Legislators Demand Control of the Organ Which Must Not Be
Named: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/06/18/michigan_vagina_dust_up_underlines_the_ugliness_of_the_anti_choice_mega_bill_.html

“The scourge of women being allowed to speak the word vagina in a
legislative debate over what happens when women use their vaginas must
be stopped. And if women are not capable of regulating their own word
choice, the state should regulate it for them. To that end, we propose
that the Michigan House promptly enact HB-5711(b)—a bill to regulate
the use of the word vagina by females in mixed company.”
A Bill Seeking To Regulate Use of the Word “Vagina”
It’s time for the government to stop women from using anatomically
correct terms.:

“Unless Mr. Callton suffered some brief cerebral short-circuit at the
time of his speaking, he seems to be able to sincerely hold these
antique beliefs together. And for that he deserves a perverse kind of
The Most Offensive Word in Michigan: Vagina:

“The good news is that vaginas everywhere — and men who support the
“V’s” right to make their own medical decisions — are outraged.”
Warning to Women: Don’t Say Vagina And Don’t Sit at the Men-Only
Table: http://www.forbes.com/sites/annedoyle/2012/06/17/warning-to-womendont-say-vagina-in-the-michigan-house-and-dont-sit-at-men-only-table-in-philadelphias-union-league/

“Based on statements from the Republican leadership of the House, it
seems they were more offended by her use of the phrase “No means no,”
a fairly explicit comparison of their bill with sexual assault. That’s
unfortunate, because no matter how you feel about the accusation, it’s
the one that Republicans ought to be defending themselves against, and
not the more humorous, but less relevant, notion that they’re uptight
about vaginae. Rep. Brown’s Vagina Monologues stunt carries the
benefit of keeping the conversation going, but will it be the right
Cunning Stunt: Michigan Lawmaker To Read Vagina Monologues On Capitol
Steps: http://www.mediaite.com/online/cunning-stunt-michigan-lawmaker-to-read-vagina-monologues-on-capitol-steps/

“Rape isn’t about sex. It is about power. The abortion bill, which the
House passed, is not about a vagina. It is about power. The
Legislature wants to force women to have children, but not take
responsibility for the lives, which makes some legislators like
deadbeat dads.”
Rochelle Riley: An attack on women — and democracy:

“It is not acceptable for male legislators to silence women and tell
us that we can’t even speak about our own bodies. And it’s not
acceptable for House leaders to declare that an elected representative
no longer has the right to speak on behalf of her people.”
Op-ed column by Rep. Lisa Brown: Silenced on the House floor for using
correct body terms:

“This is the first time in memory that lawmakers have been formally
barred from participating in floor debates.”
Women Reps in Michigan barred from speaking, one for “vagina” mention:

“Just days after a state lawmaker was silenced for referring to her
vagina on the state House floor, she and other female state
legislators will join Tony Award-winning playwright Eve Ensler for a
special performance of her famed play “The Vagina Monologues” on
Monday on the Capitol steps in Lansing. State Rep. Lisa Brown, D-West
Bloomfield, and Sen. Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East
Lansing, will perform from 6-8 p.m. with Ensler along with seven other
state lawmakers and local actors.”
Silenced legislator to perform ‘Monologues’ on Capitol steps:

For some months now, there has been a movement to communicate a
concept related to the “no means no”, specifically, “If you can’t keep
your laws off my vagina, here, have one of your own to play with.” I
don’t know, but I suspect that if Michigan male legislators have not
already received their own vagina, it will probably be in the mail

Knit Your Congressman a Vagina: