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Pardon my French, but please keep your “shaming wand” out of my pantaloons

Post by Judy Hauser on March 13, 2012 at 3:14 pm with 3 Comments »
March 13, 2012 3:54 pm

“Au revoir, Mademoiselle.”
“Helloooo, Slut.”

Pardon my French, but that’s not me talking.  That’s me paraphrasing two men from a legion of men talking — some combusting — about women’s issues in recent weeks.

In February, France Prime Minister Francois Fillon declared his government was “no longer interested in the marital status of women” and ordered the removal of all such intrusive classifications– including “mademoiselle”– from official documents.

Hats off to the Frenchman!

Meanwhile, back in the states, talk radio’s Rush Limbaugh went on a three-hour barkfest of streaming trash talk about a young woman who dared to speak on the importance of affordable birth control for women.

In case you missed it, an all-male Congressional panel of clergy gathered in February to present testimony on women’s birth control under the narrow scope of, not medical science, but centuries-old religious doctrines.

“Where are the women?” demanded minority Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York.

In response, the committee chairman, having refused to seat the Democrats’ witness — a female law student — angrily argued that she was not a member of the clergy.   One wonders who’s better equipped to testify to women’s reproductive issues  — a 30-year-old woman who spent five years working for a nonprofit aiding victims of domestic violence or men who have their noses in scripture?

So, last Tuesday, House Democrats held their own “unofficial” hearing allowing the woman to testify to the importance of affordable and accessible contraception for woman.

On Wednesday, on the eve of International Women’s Day, unable to contain combustible gases created when “pontification” outweighs body mass, the talk-show host erupted in obscenities about the college coed, rationalizing that she must be a “slut “and a “prostitute” and demanded she post videos of her “sexual prowess” online so that he get his money back for evidently paying for her birth control.

These were not just “controversial comments.” This was English at its worst.  This was abusive language, what Ms. Fluke described correctly as, “historically, the kind of language used to silence women.”

By the time International Women’s Day arrived on Thursday, it seemed as if French and American women had woken up in parallel universes:  each other’s.

But, this isn’t a parallel universe.  We just weren’t paying attention when the latest assault on women’s reproductive rights began full-steam as the 2010 elections swept Republicans into office and leadership roles.

Since then, over 1100 pieces of legislation have been introduced across 50 states aimed at blocking women’s access to affordable healthcare that might be related to contraception, and in many cases, not at all.

Some lawmakers believe women’s “private parts” must be policed and monitored, by such draconian methods as mandatory trans-vaginal exams by what the latest Doonesbury series aptly calls the “10-inch shaming wand.”

Some states now allow a licensed pharmacist to refuse dispensing contraception. Never mind that some 25,000 women in the U.S. become pregnant each year as a result of sexual assault.

Some states allow physicians to withhold medical information from female patients, protecting the high-minded physician from legal repercussions.

After centuries of blatant sexism, the French finally decided it’s time to treat their women with respect.

It’s a strange day when the nation that brought us the word “chauvinism,” Dominique Strauss-Kahn and generations of pinching, groping and pervasive sexual harassment, takes a gallant step into modern times, while here at home, a crop of mostly men take it upon themselves to herd women back into the Dark Ages.

Ever so smug in our assumed equality to men with our noncommittal “Ms” having deposed “Miss” and “Mrs” decades ago, we American women wondered what took the French so long.

Was the battle of the sexes lost in translation?  When your language is bathed in romanticism, it might be hard to tell when you’re being insulted and when you are being wooed.

When a Frenchman breaks up with you, so disarming is the bouquet of his patois, that “Ce n’est pas vous, c’est moi,” may sound like a marriage proposal, when, in fact, it’s just that old go-to phrase of many a cad:
“It’s not you; it’s me.”

”With our stiff, Germanic language, there’s no tongue-curling accent, no flowery words that could be mistaken for a dozen roses. When Berger broke up with Carrie on a “Post-it Note,” Sex and the City fans fumed along with Ms. Bradshaw.  But, secretly?  We filed the sticky note under “sensible and safe methods of ending a relationship.”

A broken romance, we discovered, wouldn’t break us.  Men calling us names couldn’t silence us.  But, a handful of men changing our laws to keep us in check?  That’s alarming.

Auvoir, Mademoiselle.  Maybe, you weren’t so bad, after all.

Leave a comment Comments → 3
  1. DavidAnderson says:

    What are the federal judicial criteria for constitutional ‘equal protection under law’ related to our constitution – for the unborn? In 1973 the Supreme Court legalized abortion in all 50 states. “Supporters,” writes Daly of Focus on the Family, “heralded a new era of responsibility, where every child would be a wanted child. Tragically, over 48 million babies have now been aborted and the beauty of life has been cheapened as a result, while child abuse has skyrocketed.”

    That’s 48 with six zeroes after it, nearly one-million babies for every state in the union. Welcome to “modern times”.

  2. Pacman33 says:

    Judy shamelessly falsefies –
    “Since then, over 1100 pieces of legislation have been introduced across 50 states aimed at blocking women’s access to affordable healthcare that might be related to contraception, and in many cases, not at all.”

    Really? Maybe I’m just naive to assume some progressive activist pretending to be journalist, for the access to a platform, would embrace anything resembling a moral compass. It takes a special kind of person to be able to fan the flames of group hate as tenaciously as seen in this piece.
    I find myself stumped. I can’t decide if you didn’t bothered to fact check such a seditious statement or, if you in fact did …… and chose to misrepresent the figure, that at face value, was a farce meant for it’s inflammatory purposes anyway?

    With a quick search, I’m seeing other rabble-rousing websites that have either accurately presented the propaganda or have made it accurate, after correcting the divisive rhetoric. I’m reading this junk in the TNT, a major news publication, yet the likes of can get it right? As did Even the sleazy and the hapless Facebookers managed to show more integrity. This is the Dem. Underground’s take (w/ my emphasis) :

    “I heard a guest on the Diane Rehm show quote this statistic except she said they were anti-reproductive health bills, and immediately thought that couldn’t be true because that’d be an average of 22 bills per state. Googling around I see that same wording, or the even more misleading “anti-women”, used frequently on many, many high profile sites like Huffington Post.

    So it’s flat out incorrect to say these were all anti-reproductive rights bills, since Guttmacher is counting INDIVIDUAL PROVISIONS. Furthermore, even though the majority of these PROVISIONS were limiting access to, or funding for, ABORTION and contraceptive services, a large number dealt with OTHER issues. Some of these PROVISIONS expanded access for STI prevention and treatment, others expanded access to prenatal care, and eight states took steps to limit exposure to environmental toxins believed or shown to adversely impact reproductive health such as BPA or certain flame retardants.

    We really need to be careful when quoting statistics because often those statistics are worded in very precise ways. We don’t do ourselves any favors by misrepresenting or misquoting statistics.”

    In a nutshell, the centerpiece of your ‘declaration of gender war’ passed off as a blog piece, is a blatant, erroneous misrepresentation of facts. Simply intellectual indolence. It really doesn’t matter because the hate piece itself is mostly composed of contrived delusions. It’s assault on honesty and accuracy so perverted the vulgarity of the blog post becomes unnoticeable.

  3. SQRLSyChurchofSQRLScom says:

    Hi, it seems to me that RELIGIOUS FREEDOM could go a LONG way towards saving women from the “shaming wand”… Please go to and search for (towards the way bottom) “shaming wand”. Then also please see for specific and concrete examples on just HOW to use religious freedom to exempt yourselves from the “shaming wand”… As an entirely practical matter! Planned Parenthood web sites won’t tell me their email addresses, so I don’t know how to get the Good Word about Scienfoology “Out There”… Please help! Or at least, spread the Good Word! –

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