Bill 468, something that the Louisiana state legislature has been working on, deals with strip clubs and will maintain the state’s current laws that regulate those clubs. It does, however, add a new regulation: All dancers must be at least 21 years of age if the club serves alcohol. Makes sense.
One lawmaker, however, saw that and just had to stick his own amendment in there that would also regulate the dancers’ weight. According to Rep. Kenny Havard (R), dancers between 21 and 28 should also weigh no more than 160 pounds.
Right, because regulating women’s weight is totally okay in a world where women are judged more on their appearance than on anything else. It’s also totally okay coming from a guy who claims he’s making a point about government overreach. Sure.
Havard claims he did this as a joke, much like the proposals in other states that would regulate how men get things like Viagra in protest of laws restricting access to birth control for women. After all, regulating any business, even strip clubs, is massive government overreach with the tiny-government crowd. Dear Kenny here made a very bad joke.
He also failed miserably to make his point – the bill itself passed 96-0, meaning it had broad, bipartisan support, and that Havard himself voted for it after pulling his own little “protest” amendment out of the bill. If he could vote for it without that amendment that was supposed to make a point, then he must actually not see it as government overreach.
The whole purpose of Havard’s amendment is this:
“Havard, who immediately pulled the amendment, [said] he doesn’t regret the ‘joke’ and called it satire — not sexism. He said he meant for the amendment to point out that the bill teeters on overregulation. Supporters of the bill say that they are trying to protect teens from human trafficking. It has won bipartisan support through the legislative process.”
Okay, so it’s sexist satire and a sexist joke. It doesn’t matter what Havard claims, he clearly doesn’t understand sexism at all. There is nothing non-sexist about suggesting that we should regulate women’s weight, even as a joke. Fortunately (or unfortunately for him) he brought the wrath of all his colleagues down onto himself, which is what caused him to pull the amendment. Can’t have everyone mad at you for being a raving, sexist hypocrite after all.
Exotic dancers actually further the sexual objectification of women, and for a man to say that these dancers, especially if they’re young, should be svelte and slender under law sounds more like he wants to enshrine in law that the only women who fit his ideal of sexy and beautiful are the ones who get to be exotic dancers. A joke, a piece of satire, can still be horribly sexist. That’s what Havard is and has done. He’s outed himself as a sexist pig.
Image By Jeffrey Schwartz. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons