Peter Hansen: NH Lawmaker Refers to Women As "Vaginas" in Email

Oops they did it again? It’s another day, another GOP gaffe, another condemnation stemming from all sides of the political spectrum, and yet another sexist remark that makes feminists everywhere want to claw eyes out in frustration.

New Hampshire state Rep. Peter Hansen (R) referred to women not as women, but by their genitals. That’s right — in an email response pertaining to the “Stand Your Ground” measure, a bill that allows fatal force to be used in cases of self-defense.

Hansen’s exact wording is as followed:

“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 reaction of state Rep. Rick Watrous (D) spoke volumes. “Are you really using 'vaginas' as a crude catch-all for women? Really? Please think before you send out such offensive language on the legislative listserve.” State Republican chair Jennifer Horn also criticized Hansen for his word choice.

NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire also had a message for Hansen, which can return to haunt him in the long run yet:

"We are shocked and disgusted by this derogatory comment. Representative Peter Hansen was elected to represent the citizens of his district and this state; referring to women as 'vaginas' is not in line with New Hampshire’s value of equality for all.

"Shame on Representative Hansen—we will do everything in our power to ensure voters in his district know about his demeaning rhetoric.”

And in the midst of clear offense, Hansen still had the guts to initially deny any wrong doing on his part:

“Having a fairly well educated mind I do not need self appointed wardens to A: try to put words in my mouth for political gain and B: Turn a well founded strategy in communication into an insulting accusation, and finally if you find the noun vagina insulting or in some way offensive then perhaps a better exercise might be for you to re-examine your psyche.”

Memo to Hansen: you can still be highly educated yet clouded by ignorance. Of course, with enough pressure, Hansen eventually gave into an apology, which is what he ought to have done in the first place.

“It was not, and is not, my intention to demean women at any time. It is apparent that the intent of my remarks has been misinterpreted, the true goal of the message lost and for that I apologize to those who took offense,” he said in a statement.

When will women be able to live in peace without their vaginas or other reproductive parts becoming a battleground for men to dominate and police with? And when will these political figures learn to stop shooting themselves in the foot?

 

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Zainab Akande

Born and raised in New York City, Zainab is a University of Delaware alum, currently working on obtaining her M.A. in journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in New York. http://zainabakande.com/

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