Before I jump into this post with both big feet (note that I am allowed to label my feet), I want to offer an apology and a thanks to so many of my blogging friends. Thank-you, thank-you for the fantastic song suggestions for my photo montage for the class, and I apologize for seeming to ignore you all for a week. Unfortunately, just as I was about to put the finishing touches on the slideshow (including the songs “Walking on Sunshine” and “I Hope You Dance”), my brand spankin new MacBook Pro gave a gasp, froze up, and died on the spot. No slideshow for the last day, no pictures of the play, nothing. I’m in the process of gathering up the photos from various backup locations and classroom parents so that I can give it another try! So thank-you. And I’ve missed you!
Now to the purpose of today’s rant. This reaction has been bubbling around in my head since I first heard about the outrageous reaction by the Michigan House of Representatives to Rep. Lisa Brown, who dared to utter the accurate name for her, ahem, “lady parts”. Before I share my own disdain, though, I want to encourage you to read a more thoughtful and eloquent post by a wonderful writer named Trina Bartlett, who blogs at “Just So You Know.” Her latest post is called “Five Words I’d like to Ban From Any Political Discussion”. You really have to read it!
As for me, here is what struck me when I read about how “outraged” the Michigan House Leadership was to hear this word.
I remember becoming a Mother back in 1986. I read all the right books before my baby was born, of course, because I was determined to get it right! I was absolutely, positively going to be sure that MY baby was raised without a single neurotic hang up. This meant that I always listened to her when she argued, (“I know, honey, but Oreos are NOT ok for breakfast.”), I always explained my reasons when I denied her requests (“I can’t let you ride on the top of the car because that would be dangerous.”), and I always talked about her body in the anatomically correct terms.
This last one was a very big deal to my generation of parents! We had grown up thinking of ourselves with some shame, referring to our parts as “pee-pee” and “birdie” and “private parts” and “lady parts” and “man parts”. It was confusing and ridiculous! Going to the bathroom was referred to only numerically, never accurately, and don’t even get me started on how much I hated referring to my “friend” every month. My generation had no intention of using those vague, embarrassing, inaccurate words with OUR kids. Nope. We said “vagina” and “penis” and “poop”. If you’ve got ’em, you can name ’em.
Rep. Brown was born in 1967, so I am going to assume that her Mom and Dad were just as enlightened as I was, and that she grew up knowing the names and functions of her body parts. Given that I am 56 years old, I am going to assume that most of the Michigan Legislature is about my age or younger. Meaning, of course, that most of them already have HEARD the word “vagina”, and weren’t really falling into a swoon when Ms. Brown said it in her speech. If they really, truly were shocked senseless, and really, truly couldn’t tolerate the sound of the word, I want to see the little blackboard on the House floor where they have to sign out for the restroom by writing their initials followed by a “#1” or “#2” so that the leadership will know how long they’ll be gone.