Colorado’s 2013 Legislative Session is in the books, er, I mean binders. It was a doozy. Shit got done. Progress got made. And the women who make up 41% of the folks representing Coloradans at the Capitol were a huge reason why. We decided to take a look back at some of the highs and lows of the 2013 Colorado Leg Session through a lady lens.
You know what makes for a good dang day? When the opposing side makes your point for you….without even knowing it. There was this cool bill with a long ass title —Comprehensive Human Sexuality in K-12 Education. Basically, it meant that we’d teach our kids real sex ed (like how to refer to their body parts properly), not just made up shit that makes people feel bad about their hoo-hoos and pee-pees. And there was this one guy—you know how there’s always one guy—Senator Kevin Lundberg, who got up to talk about how terrible an idea this would be. Except, while he was talking about it, he kept trying to say vaginal…but being an old guy, that word just wouldn’t roll off the tongue quite right (pun totally intended), and he kept saying va-GINE-al. The awesome part is, he did it a few times during the committee hearing on the bill, and none of his colleagues bothered to correct him, so we got to hear about va-GINE-al intercourse in all its glory on the floor of the state Senate.
Dude, if there was ever a perfect example of someone who could use a little sex education, it would be you. PS. New rule, if you can’t pronounce it, you don’t get to legislate it.
2. Guns + Rape = WTF!
Take a debate about guns, mix in Teh Ridiculous, add a healthy dose of misogyny and what do you get? The hashtag #LiberalTips2AvoidRape, something the right-wing screwballs had trending nationally for a full day during the gun safety debate. Some real gems from this great moment in history:
Yup, classy stuff there right-wing. Women everywhere would like to say this to you:
3. Facts and Amy Stephens don’t mix well
Meet the Cruella De Vil of Colorado politics. This former “Youth Culture Specialist” (whatever the hell that is) at Focus on the Family seems to not understand the basics of breeding. It could be all the years spent writing drivel like this abstinence-only-before-marriage nonsense published by those FOTF overlords:
“The pillowcase, like a person who’s carrying an STD may on the outside appear clean and normal.”
We really wanna know what’s inside that pillowcase.
For those of us who actually get some, and want access to both quality sex ed and birth control options, Amy Stephens would like to lie and shame you into submission. You see, she’s argued that Plan B, aka The Morning After Pill, aka A Big Old Dose of Your Everyday Birth Control is, in fact, an A-B-O-R-T-I-O-N. She’s wrong, of course, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to scare the bejesus out of girls. I guess that’s what Youth Culture Specialists do at Focus on the Family.
4. Women in record numbers of leadership positions kicking ass, not getting credit
They say “behind every great man is a great woman”. This legislative session proved what that really means; “in front of every great woman is a dude getting all the credit.”
Best example: The above cover of the Colorado Statesman. Magically, it features all the big players of the session — all the ones with external plumbing that is. Somehow it managed to leave out ALL THE WOMENS, even though they made up 55% of leadership positions. So, while women worked with their male counterparts to get shit done, dudes were getting all the credit. Sounds familiar.
5. Righties and their goldfish brains
They say goldfish have no memory. I guess their lives are a lot like conservatives.
See, most of the planet remembers 2012 and how the right got their butts handed to them because women actually vote and don’t really like to be told what to do with their bodies, or when rape is legitimate. So, they shut that whole (right-wing) thing down. Did that keep them from coming back in 2013 and trying to ban ALL abortion? Nope. Did they lose again? Sure did!
6. Civil Unions Adorableness
These two women fought for years to get equal rights for them and their adorable son:
Fran and Anna Simon kissing after their civil union ceremony
So did these two:
Denver Nuggets Star Kenneth Faried and his moms Carol and Waudda
Here’s to equality for all gay and lesbian families and all the adorable cuteness it produces.
7. Representative Rhonda Fields AKA Wonder Woman
Look, Rhonda Fields is a badass. There’s just no other way to put it.
Your son gets murdered in a horrible tragic shooting and what do you do? You fight back. You get yourself elected to office. You put yourself forward as the leader on gun safety issues. You get some of the nastiest, most vile crap thrown at you day in and day out. You listen to racist threats and sexist threats and you stare it all down with a steely-eyed coolness that would make Clint Eastwood’s day. And then you pass gun safety legislation that everyone in America supports, but only a few are brave enough to vote for because the NRA owns everyone else. Yup, she’s Wonder Woman alright.
8. Women County Clerks have the ovaries the dudes don’t
You know who gets shit done? Women, thats who. Case in point: Colorado’s male Secretary of State is, hmmm, how should we say this…well, he’s a real jerk . He’s the guy who’s supposed to make sure everyone has the right to vote, yet he likes to quip such zingers as “How do you know if you’ve had a good election? Republicans win, of course.” Yeah, so that guy. Well, the county clerks from both parties, you know, those folks who ACTUALLY run the elections, wanted some changes to our election law. Little things like making it simpler to register to vote and giving everyone access to vote. No biggie. They came together and created a super cool bill to do just that (and we when say came together, we mean all the ladies got together and stood up and said “Yo fellas, we’re gonna get this shit done”). And they did, and now voting in Colorado totally kicks ass. Take that, Scott Gessler.
9. Sheriffs and Domestic Violence Victims
What’s the last thing you want to see after getting the shit kicked out of you by your boyfriend? The sheriff of your local ‘burg testifying in front of lawmakers that your douchebag ex-boyfriend deserves to get his gun back. Yeah, that’s some fine public safety work right there, and yet, that’s exactly what happened in Colorado. See, sheriffs are elected officials and that means playing nice with the NRA and Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, even if it means scaring the ever-loving shit out of the women you’re supposed to protect from douchebag abusive boyfriends. Not cool dudes, not cool.
10. Rape survivors no longer have to deal with the baby-sperm-daddy
Remember how in 2012 the right-wing went all “War on Women” on women? One of the lovely insights we gained out of that giant-ass conversation was that, in something like 31 states, it was totally legal for a rapist to continue his reign of terror over his victim and sue for parental rights if a child resulted from the rape. Sick! Gross! Barf! Yuck! Turns out Colorado was one of those states…until this year. Led by one cool-as-hell ginger, Senator Morgan Carroll, the elected women in Colorado made sure that rapists don’t get to be daddies as well.
11. Please, mansplain everything, so my tiny lady-brain will understand
You’ve heard of mansplaining, right? That giant, bubbling, oozing sore of a thing dudes do when they talk down to women like we’re stooopid, when in reality, they are just showing off how small their little brains are. It’s annoying. Women hate it. Yet we saw a lot of it this year at the Colorado Capitol. There was the time the dudes on the right thought it would be a big har har to give the bill to ban carrying concealed guns on college campuses the nickname the “Rapist Protection Act” because us stupid women just don’t understand that the only way to stop rape involves arming every person on a college campus. Seriously, you can’t make this shit up.
And then there was the time a male Senator told women that the bill that would have banned workplace discrimination was just a “unicorn bill created in a fanciful world of make believe.” Because, you know, as a white man, workplace discrimination must not exist because he’s never experienced it or anything. AWESOMEZ.
And then there was the time Secretary of State Gessler decided to roll up to a committee hearing on the voting bill and argue that all the female clerks who helped draft the bill were just too stupid to understand how elections actually work in Colorado. Apparently, the committee was just supposed to take his manly, butch word for it because, hey, he’s a dude!
And then there was the time….oh, whatever, you get it. Dudes generally like to mansplain things related to ladies, or lady parts, and have no idea how stooopid they look doing it. Here’s to you!
12. Equal Pay = Victimization of Women
What’s as bad as mansplaining? Ladies hating on ladies. It’s just the worst. I mean, seriously. There’s this Republican Senator, goes by the name of Vicki Marble, and see, there’s this day held down at the Capitol every year where women come together and lobby for Equal Pay for Equal Work. What a novel freakin’ concept. Anyway, on this day where women say “Hey, pay me the same as you do that dude doing the same work,” Senator Vicki Marble got up and blathered this ridiculous nonsense:
“I feel like we’ve outgrown the Equal Pay Act of 1963. This is 2013. And the women of today are stronger, and more capable and educated than ever. So I would say, we ought to celebrate that, and discontinue the victimization of women.”
We think Senator Marble has outgrown her time at the Capitol and should discontinue saying things about equal pay. Her comments deserve not just one, but TWO giant facepalms.
This post was co-authored by Jen Caltrider and Laura Reinsch.