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April 24, 2013

NH State Rep. Peter Hansen apologizes for calling women "vagina's"


(see below for the story if unfamiliar)


I’d like to sincerely apologize for my recent use of the word “vagina’s” to refer to women. It was thoughtless, crude, and offensive. My mother is probably turning over in her grave. “Little Petey,” she would say (she often called me that, or “Tiny Peter,” for some reason) “apostrophes signify the possessive, not the plural!” You’re right, Mom. You taught me better. I have a deep respect for the English language, and to abuse it in this way was unforgivable. If I could have referred to women as “women,” I wouldn’t have been tempted into this awful gaffe - because “women” doesn’t end with “s.” However, since it was part of a well-founded strategy in communication to refer to them by their most salient body part, that option wasn’t open to me. To my constituents, many of whose sensibilities were no doubt lacerated by the improper punctuation, I offer heartfelt regret. If I had it to do over again, I would think about the feelings of those who, like me, cringe when they encounter this kind of ignorance. I completely understand the uproar, and my own error of judgment.


Excerpts from a story about Hansen's gaffe:


Peter Hansen, New Hampshire Lawmaker, Calls Women 'Vaginas' In Email To Colleagues

Posted: 04/16/2013 6:05 pm EDT  |  Updated: 04/16/2013 8:07 pm EDT

A Republican New Hampshire lawmaker referred to women as "vaginas" in an email to colleagues on the official legislative electronic mailing list earlier this month, drawing outrage from his own party.

State Rep. Peter Hansen (R) made the comment, first reported by New Hampshire political blogger Susan the Bruce, in an April 1 email debate with colleagues about a "stand your ground" gun bill. Hansen's colleague, Rep. Steve Vaillancourt (R) had delivered a lengthy floor speech about the benefits of retreating instead of using deadly force, to which Hansen replied in an email:

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.


His initial response to the controversy was different. "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," Hansen wrote.