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Sign on government building honoring Civil War general offends 'women's dignity,' lawmaker complains

A sign on the Massachusetts State House that honors Civil War Gen. Joseph Hooker of the Union Army reads "General Hooker Entrance" — and a state lawmaker said the wording offends "women's dignity." (Image source: WBZ-TV video screenshot)

It's anybody's guess how long the venerable sign on the Massachusetts State House has been the butt of jokes. However, it appears Democratic state Rep. Michelle DuBois has had enough of eyeballing its words: “General Hooker Entrance."

Thing is, the long-standing sign is not a reference to prostitution — in case you hadn't guessed — but instead honors Civil War Gen. Joseph Hooker. Still DuBois told WBZ-TV it's an affront to women, and she wants it removed or reworded to include his first name.

“Female staffers don’t use that entrance because the sign is offensive to them,” she added to the station.

DuBois tweeted a photo of the sign Wednesday, writing “#MeToo it’s not all about rape & harassment but also women’s dignity.”

In response to criticism of her tweet, DuBois shot back saying she's witnessed teen boys teasing teen girls about being "general hookers" while waiting in line at the entrance. But she added that while the sign "is out of context," changing it is "not a priority for me but I do think it should and will happen."

Image source: WBZ-TV video screenshot

DuBois said a statue of Hooker outside the State House should be left alone. Hooker was born in Massachusetts and served in the Union Army.

Image source: WBZ-TV video screenshot

What did the governor have to say about the 'General Hooker Entrance' sign?

“I think many people consider [General Hooker] to be part of the team that delivered freedom for slaves in this country,” Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker told WBZ. "But the name over the building itself obviously carries with it a connotation that, if the Legislature and others think is an appropriate thing to change, that’s certainly something we’d be willing to talk about.”

What other pushback did DuBois receive?

Jon Keller, a WBZ political analyst, wrote that while he respects the state rep's concern, he disagrees that rewording or taking down the sign are viable solutions.

"Shall we also change the name of a certain planet that has amused kids for years because it sounds like an intimate body part?" Keller wrote. "Shall we no longer invite an audience to clap because that’s also slang for a venereal disease?"

More from his piece:

There are all sorts of benign words in our language that sound like words unfit for polite company. And they offer us an opportunity to teach snickering kids about Civil War history or outer space – and about showing respect for others while avoiding making fools of ourselves.

We will never erase casual immaturity from our culture, but we can make it a trigger for knowledge and understanding, if we put down the erasers and take up the challenge.

(H/T: Reason)

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