A Republican state legislator from New Hampshire is in scaldingly hot water after he used the word "vaginas" as a substitute for the word "women" in an official email sent to a colleague via the New Hampshire House internal email system.
State Rep. Peter Hansen (R-Amherst) was debating the recently passed HB 135 — a State House bill repealing parts of a Stand Your Ground law passed last year — with Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, also a Republican, who had argued in favor of retreating from a confrontation rather than resorting to the use of deadly force.
In an official email to Vaillancourt, Hansen wrote:
There were two critical ingredients missing in the illustrious stories purporting to demonstrate the practical side of retreat. Not that retreat may not be possible mind you. 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.
Other lawmakers were quick to express shock at Hansen's misogynist "play on words."
"Are you really using 'vaginas' as a crude catch-all for women? Really?" wrote back State Rep. Rick Watrous, a Democrat. "Please think before you send out such offensive language on the legislative listserve."
The Huffington Post notes that Hansen's remarks are particularly odd given that New Hampshire recently made history by becoming the first state to have an all-female delegation to Congress.
The state's governor, speaker of the State House, and chief justice of the state Supreme Court are all women as well.
But that proved inconsequential to Hansen as he continued to stand his ground. In response to Rep. Watrous' objection, Hansen wrote:
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.
It wasn't until Hansen was called out by State Republican chair Jennifer Horn — yes, also a woman — for his "disrespectful and shameful" comments that he finally backed down some.
Speaking yesterday, Hansen claimed he was attempting to "get into the mind of the perpetrator," and that the entire thing "has been totally blown out of proportion." In signature non-apology fashion he also apologized "to those who took offense."
[photo via Amherst Patch]