Bad Diction: Rep. Lisa Brown Barred From Speaking After Saying Word Vagina in Speech

Written by NY Press on . Posted in Sex & Relationships.


By Rebecca Hoffman

In such a liberal day and age where laws, marriage, and religion are in constant flux it’s amazing how prudish some people can still be about basic diction. Anatomical terms manage to send Republicans into a tailspin and many synonyms are deemed offensive. If taking our leaders seriously wasn’t challenging enough already, with all the scandals and affairs, their not being able to tolerate saying the word vagina makes it near impossible.

Instead of focusing on the issues we’re nitpicking at terminology. Democratic Representative Lisa Brown got barred from speaking because of saying the word vagina while talking about abortion policy. Whether the context of the word was professionally appropriate at the time or not her referencing female genitalia shouldn’t be enough to have her silenced. Speaking, unless it’s yelling fire in a crowded theater, shouldn’t ever be enough to have someone silenced.

Riding the subway it’s not uncommon to hear someone curse under his or her breath when jostled or stepped on. Middle schoolers’ use, more curse words than their grandparents did and many pop songs contain more ‘bad words’ than actual lyrics. However, our prisons aren’t flooded with children and pop stars nor are they being publically scolded.

‘Bad words’ seem to be integrating into daily dialect more and more. As a result the definition for a bad word is changing. If it’s controversial or uncomfortable it’s no longer acceptable. Curse words are fine, but words like: evolution, creationism, the God particle, Higgs Boson, gay, sex, vagina, and other common English words now stir up controversy. On the other hand, the once offensive ‘N word’ is now common slang.

Language is constantly changing and because of our first amendment we, the people, should be allowed to explore these changes and all of its possibilities. Speech allows us to communicate our ideas, ideals, and complaints, but more and more it’s becoming restricted. ‘Bad words’ are making it difficult to talk about anything, let alone to try and change things.

The government works on legislation for many controversial subjects whether it’s: birth control, marriage, or appropriate forms of protest. However, making many of these laws is becoming increasingly difficult because of how difficult it is to state things in a politically correct manner. How is anything supposed to get done if we have to spend all of our time focusing on how to say what needs to be said instead of simply saying it and moving on?

Words are powerful, written or spoken, and words are also legally binding. It’s important to read the fine print and think before you speak because what you say can and, often, is held against you. However, spending all our time figuring out how to precisely state something so as not to offend anyone is impossible, and a waste of time.

What we say shouldn’t be used to trap us and conversations and debates shouldn’t be complicated dance numbers. We, the people, have the right to free speech and the right to assemble and use this speech as we like. It is our job to use and defend these rights for others and ourselves. Whether we want to hear the word vagina in political speeches is a personal preference, but we should want everyone to have the right to use it if they want to.

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