New Hampshire Lawmaker Calls All Women ‘Vaginas’

Written by Aviva Shen

New Hampshire State Rep. Peter Hansen (R) sparked a firestorm in the state house after he sent a recent email to an internal house listserv that referred to women as “vaginas.” Hansen was defending the state’s “stand your ground” bill, which one lawmaker had challenged with stories about how retreating from a confrontational situation is more effective than escalating it with weapons. Hansen managed to offend both sides of the aisle in a mangled argument claiming children and “vaginas” need to be able to defend themselves:

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. The presence of one or both ingredients demands that a potential totally different outcome might have prevailed and that is the factor which I believe was dismissed in the HB 135 debate and vote.

Hansen quickly raised the ire of his colleagues. State Rep. Rick Watrous (D-NH) incredulously replied, “Are you really using ‘vaginas’ as a crude catch-all for women? Really?” Later, State Republican chair Jennifer Horn released a strongly worded statement denouncing Hansen: “Representative Hansen’s comments are crude, offensive and have no place in public discourse. There is no excuse for anybody to use such disrespectful language — especially an elected official. I strongly condemn his disrespectful and shameful remarks.”

NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire also blasted the dismissive comment, saying “Women are more than their reproductive organs…We deserve more than being referenced by our body parts.”

Hansen is surrounded by clear evidence of this. This year, New Hampshire became the only state with an entirely female Congressional delegation and a female governor. Both the Speaker of the House and the New Hampshire Supreme Court’s chief justice are also women.

Despite the backlash from all sides, Hansen has barely apologized. In an another email responding to the outcry, Hansen wrote, “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.”

Later, he released a statement claiming he was taken out of context, saying “It was not, and is not, my intention to demean women at any time. It is apparent that the intent of my remarks has been misinterpreted, the true goal of the message lost and for that I apologize to those who took offense.”

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.



Kay M.
.3 years ago

Thank you for the article and thanks to all the over 500 comments, I enjoyed reading all of the conversations between members back and forth. Pro and Con over the way this stupid congress person spoke about woman. That state need to unseat this jerk and elect some one who has a brain and can speak properly.

Dale O.

James W, is as equally obsessed as is Rahman Q but on a different topic. As Mary B so succinctly put it: " we get it... you were abused .....probably by your apparently haven't dealt with it so ALL women must suffer in your eyes......Unless you are prepared to talk civilly or share something we can understand about you, stop leaving all the references....we are not where you are in life but we do empathize with you..."

Dale O.

Perhaps Rahman Q and James W could get together and discuss their dual angst and figure out how to deal with it. I don't wish to appear unkind, but many men have been abused and are not constantly posting in women's threads about how men have also been abused. It has not received the same amount of media/understanding but you are always posting off topic. Submit an article to Care2 if you are an activist on the subject. Maybe they will publish it and you can voice your opinions on topic.

Dale O.

Rahman Q, do you have a total obsession regarding Islam? Why is every article, no matter what the topic is about, turned into an anti-Islam hate fest with your comments? While I realize there are many aspects of the religion that are abysmally anti-women in the liberation sense...other religions at present or in the past had or have similar abuses of women. Some have become less oppressive while others remain more oppressive, however you are always on about Islam no matter what the topic is. This topic is about the inane comment a Republican made about women...but you have to bring up Islam...again.

Dale O.

pam w has it is a mania, an obsession and when you accuse any person of supporting the more sexist doctrine of Islam because we aren't all jumping up and down constantly denouncing Islam, you are simply being obtuse. One can still reject Islam's sexism and still denounce the more rabid anti-Islamic ramblings of someone with an axe to grind...endlessly. Or to be blunt, in this discussion/topic...we don't care. Find a religion thread and post there.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin3 years ago

Taken out of context? My a$$! Hansen is a chicken chit, a coward, a women hating bully, that needs to be sent back to school and educate himself and his defenders on what a woman is!

John Hablinski
John Hablinski3 years ago

@Ashley, you, of course, are correct, we do often use the words prick & dick when talking about men but the meaning is vastly different. These words are used to describe a behavioral character of some men. I think it was obvious this particular prick was denigrating women suggesting their vaginas constitute their sole purpose & worth in his mind.

Ashley D.
Ashley D.3 years ago

Though this is bad, nevertheless men can be called 'pr***s' by both men - and women.

Tom Tree
Tom Tree3 years ago

This is outrageous!

Bob P.
Bob P.3 years ago

its truely amazing how some people get voted in