Politics

Massachusetts Lawmaker Denounces Tribute to Civil War’s ‘General Hooker’ as Offensive to Women

Wikimedia Commons

A Massachusetts state lawmaker wants to remove a tribute to Civil War General Joe Hooker, arguing it might be offensive to women.

One of the entrances to the Massachusetts State House is designated the "General Hooker Entrance," a memorial to the Massachusetts-born Major General who served in the Army of the Potomac under Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.

But Democratic state Rep. Michelle DuBois wants the name changed, arguing that "Hooker"–also a slang term for a prostitute–is offensive to women.

"Female staffers don’t use that entrance because the sign is offensive to them," she told Boston CBS affiliate WBZ-TV.

In a tweet, she invoked the #MeToo movement empowering victims of rape and sexual harassment.

When Republican Gov. Charlie Baker was asked about the controversy, he expressed sympathy towards both Hooker and DuBois' campaign.

"I think many people consider [General Hooker] to be part of the team that delivered freedom for slaves in this country," he said. "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."

The slang term "hooker" has long been rumored to originate from Hooker and his men, who had a reputation for debauchery while stationed in Washington, D.C. Contrary to the rumor, the use of the word to refer to prostitutes predates the Civil War.