It was an epic shaming they all deserved.
When Democrats introduced a bill to increase the age limit on exotic dancers from 18 to 21 in an effort to curb sex trafficking, a Republican proposed a sexist amendment that would regulate stripping so that only women “between twenty-one and twenty-eight years of age and no more than one hundred sixty pounds in weight” would be able to work as an exotic dancer.
Democratic state Rep. Walt Leger introduced House Bill 468 and it didn’t take long for a Republican colleague to demonstrate that lawmakers aren’t taking the issue seriously.
GOP state Rep. Sam Jones responded by asking if Leger wants to institute a maximum age as well as the House broke into laughter. Leger responded that he’s “open to suggestions” but doesn’t want to “comment on anybody’s tastes.”
That’s when GOP state Rep.Kenneth Havard chimed in by offering his amendment complete with an offensive sexist remark.
“In the spirit of this legislative session, I will offer up this amendment as a part of keeping the spirit alive of trimming the fat,” he said. Again, the male GOP lawmakers thought this was hilarious and an appropriate way for a government body to act.
Not everyone in the chamber was amused, however, as their female colleagues were quick to shame them and forced Havard to withdraw his amendment in humiliation.
“I’ve got to say, looking out over this body, I’ve never been more repulsed to be part of it,” GOP state Rep. Julie Stokes said during her condemnation of her sexist colleagues. “I’m going to tell you one thing, the disrespect — and I saw it in 2013 in committee, and I’ve never been so disgusted to be part of a committee as I was in 2013, somebody made comments, like, ‘What if it’s a classy strip club like Cheetah’s in Atlanta?’ That’s not the way we behave in this body.”
Becoming visibly more upset as she continued, Stokes slammed Havard for his amendment and told her colleagues to consider their own daughters.
“I don’t even know what Representative Havard was thinking. That’s a dangerous thing to do politically. It was a bad idea… I suggest that everybody in here look at their own bodies and their own daughters.
Stokes pointed out that these lawmakers are somehow completely fine with barring women under 21 from drinking and buying a lottery ticket but have no problem with 18-year-olds stripping in a men’s club.
By the time Stokes reached the end of her remarks, the floor was dead silent and she finished by expressing her disgust over their comments and expressed her wish that they show respect to Leger’s effort and to all the women present in the chamber.
“I refuse the spirit of everything that I heard. And I can’t even believe the behavior in here. I think we need to call an end to this. I hear derogatory comments about women in this place regularly. I hear and I see women get treated differently than men, and I’m going to tell you what, you gave me a perfect forum to talk about it right now. Because it has got to stop. That was utterly disrespectful and disgusting. I really don’t have anything left to say.”
Here’s the video:
House Bill 468 came about as Leger explained because “back in October Alcohol Tobacco Control did a sting where they found prostitution and drug dealing in at least 14 strip clubs” in the state.
Leger went on to explain that strip clubs become havens for trafficking where teen girls are preyed upon because many of them are stripping because they are desperate to earn a living. That’s why Leger and Democrats are trying to raise the age limit and that makes HB 468 a legitimate piece of legislation that is not a joking matter.
The sexist pigs of the Louisiana Republican Party should be ashamed of themselves.
Featured image via screencapture