State Rep. Peter Hansen has joined the ranks of other US politicians, notably Republicans, who have opened their mouths and shot off their feet. Once again his remarks show a distinct lack of understanding off women and women's issues. His offensive comments were by way of an email communication.
Discussing the Florida Stand your Ground Law with fellow Rep. Steve Vaillancourt, Hansen wrote in an official email, "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".
Vaginas? Well as a woman I find that deeply offensive.
It seems others reading the communication were shocked. Politicians chimed in to express their concern over his use of words, or rather that one word. "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."
That response is not entirley reassuring. Does it mean that it would have been ok if the email was going to be read by a select few? Hansen was not deterred though and tried to shift the blame saying, "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".
Eventually he apologised to those who took offence which means he did not apologise but continued to shift the blame.
Sounds like an arrogant and ignorant man to me. He may be well educated but so often in this life that proves little.
A range of comments at Gawker show a mixed response. Some explain away his crude words as well meant or meaningful. If he is so well educated though he should be able to construct an email with meaning without resorting to such wording.