America is a great democracy that many countries seek to emulate, and the amount of freedom enjoyed by the American citizens makes it a great nation. However, an important question arises on the extent to which these freedoms are enjoyed in society and by whom. The June 2012 incidence in the House of Representatives, where the West Bloomfield representative, Lisa Brown and her colleague (Barb Byrum), were banned from speaking on the floor of the house is unfortunate.
The incidence also casts aspersion on the level of respect accorded to women at various levels in society. In the video clip of the debate, Representative Barb Byrum is seen struggling to get the House speaker’s attention by raising her hand and trying to shout. However, she is waved off “casually” by the House speaker, and she is visibly disappointed as she leaves the floor of the house.
Is it possible that the ban on Ms. Brown is as a result of the allegedly “vile” term used by Rep. Lisa Brown, or is it politically motivated? The ban is not politically motivated since male Democrats representatives were in the house, but are not interested in applauding her speech or defense against the stringent antiabortion bill. The few claps that follow her speech are from her female colleagues who share her sentiments about the issue and can relate. Does Lisa Brown, go to extreme lengths to explain her stance on the abortion? It is probable that Ms. Brown was annoyed with the legislation because she felt that the constitutional rights of women were at stake. However, the House speaker allegedly bans Ms. Brown after accusing her of throwing a tantrum on the House floor (Yarrow 2012).
Ms. Brown has all the right and reason to express herself and the views of the women she represents in West Bloomfield as their representative. Banning a female representative for talking about a woman’s private part in the House of Representatives is embarrassing to the efforts the nation has made in observing and protecting women’s rights. A man cannot understand what it feels like to be a woman. At the same time, a woman cannot understand what it feels like to be a man. A woman should be banned from talking about a man’s private parts on the House floor only when she does so without being a qualified medical practitioner. In such a case, her utterances could be rightly regarded as having sexual undertones. However, a woman talking about her own private parts can only be banned if she does so in the wrong context.
For instance, a woman representative talking about her private parts during a House of Representatives discussion on financial bills should be banned because the two issues are not directly related, and attempts to relate them are morally questionable. On the other hand, the relationship between a woman’s private parts and abortions are closely related. As Bard (2012) rightly notes, Ms. Brown’s remark was not meant to either an expletive or slang, but simply referred to a woman’s body part which would be directly affected by the proposed legislation. During birth complications, women bear the brunt of the pain, which is beyond the comprehension of men. Therefore, women should be given more liberty to express themselves on such issues. The decision by the House of Representatives’ speaker to ban Ms. Brown and Ms. Byrum shows how women representatives are still belittled, and their opinions insignificant, unless they appear vulgar or inflammatory.
Bard, M. (2012). Why republicans punishing a rep for saying “vagina” matters. Web.
Yarrow, A. (2012). Lawmaker banned from speaking after referring to her vagina in abortion debate. Web.