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Psychology Research...Unraveled


P.I.E. Blog


You're Such a Vagina!

Posted on April 17, 2013 at 11:02 PM
Some call them 'ladies,' while others call them 'women.' You may hear an immature man refer to them as 'chicks' or 'babes.' There's a new term to add to the list. According to Peter Hansen, a state legislator from New Hampshire, women are 'vaginas.' Yup, 'vaginas.' 

What prompted the legislator to call women 'vaginas?' Mr. Hansen (and the 'Mr.' is applied very loosely here) was responding to another legislator's speech. In that speech, an unnamed legislator mentioned that he was able to remove himself from a dangerous situation without using deadly force. 

Mr. Hansen, a proponent of the right to use guns for self defense, responded to that speech in email saying, "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 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."

Let's start with the superficial aspects of this situation. His argument is a simple one. It would be much easier for a man acting alone to get himself to safety as opposed to a man who may be protecting his family (hence the 'children and vaginas' comment). It's a shame that Mr. Hansen tries to use the English language in such a ridiculous way. It may be helpful for him to find ways of writing that are more relatable. In other words, Mr. Hansen, keep your words like your kisses...short and sweet.

Now to the deeper issue of his offensive and rude comment. According to the legislator, he was trying to get a rise out of people. Congratulations! You win! It's too bad that your parting gift is a fist full of shame and a call for resignation by NARAL-Pro Choice New Hampshire. Even the Republican Party Chairwoman from New Hampshire called him on his comment.

What Mr. Hansen fails to see is that this term diminishes all of the accomplishments that women have made and the qualities that they possess. Mr. Hansen, did you know what that women have brains and ideas? Women also come with compassion and empathy for others (although not for you at this moment). Women are persistent, motivated and industrious. Women create and run their own businesses every day. Yes, women are a lot of things, and his comment boils all women down to just one thing, their private parts.

His comments have demonstrated what psychologists call an implicit bias. In other words, although he didn't plainly express his sexist ideas (known as an explicit bias), he implied that women are nothing more than vaginas. One of the interesting things that we know about implicit biases is that they influence us just as much as the biases that we know about. 

You know how you say something and immediately realize that it was in poor taste? Too bad Mr. Hansen didn't have this experience. He actually defended his comments the next day pointing out that his words weren't offensive, and they were taken out of context. It wasn't until two days after his original comment that he conceded and apologized calling his comments ""blatantly offensive, insensitive, and frankly, stupid language." 

Wonder if Mr. Hansen realizes how much of a $%@! he's being by calling women vaginas?

Psychology IEverywhere!

Categories: Psychology & Politics

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