A Michigan Republican state lawmaker says Rep. Lisa Brown, who was banned from the House floor for saying “vagina,” and her colleague, Rep. Barb Byrum, also banned, were like children who needed a “time out.” Rep. Wayne Schmidt, speaking with a local radio station, said:
You know, as I said to someone up north here, it’s like giving the kid a time out for a day. Hey, time out, you went a comment too far, you spoke your piece, we’re gonna let these other people have their dissenting comments, and then we’ll get back to business. But unfortunately, business has become a sideshow.
Reps. Brown and Byrum were banned indefinitely from speaking on the House floor. Their bravery, and the Republicans’ anti-women, sexist actions, sparked fury — not only in Michigan, but across the nation. An estimated 5000 Michigan citizens flocked to the House steps on Monday to participate in a performance of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues.” Ensler herself attended.
Annie-Rose Strasser at Think Progress noted last week that the Michigan GOP Leader of the House, the day after he banned the two women lawmakers from speaking on the House floor, “simultaneously did not deny that the women were banned for saying ‘vagina’ and further accused the two of throwing ‘temper tantrums’.”
The letter reads:
Just to be clear, despite the misinformation being spread by Reps. Brown and Byrum, and Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, there are two representatives not being recognized on the House floor today because of their actions yesterday. It has nothing to do with their gender, their religion or the topic they were discussing. All day today, we have had representatives of both parties, both genders and several different religions passionately debating important issues that will significantly impact the future of Michigan. I would urge you not to become too distracted by temper tantrums designed to score political points.
The term ‘temper tantrum’ is not-so-subtly coded sexist language leveled at women to infantilize them and de-legitimize their points. In an attempt at clarification, the spokesman only reaffirmed that the Michigan House GOP’s position was not only against saying the word ‘vagina,’ but also against letting women talk seriously about political issues.
Today, Strasser, who posted the video below, and the quote, above, notes:
Progressives are pushing back against this sexism. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee has launched a petition demanding an apology from Michigan’s Republican legislature. The petition so far has garnered nearly 36,000 signatures.
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