One of the words I hate most in the English language is the c-word: “cunt.”
I used to not understand why it was such a terrible word. I never really used it, but I still didn’t get it.
But it’s like the n-word — you simply don’t insult someone with the n-word. It’s crossing a line. That’s how derogatory it is.
Well, it’s similar when you call someone a cunt.
You really shouldn’t freaking do it.
I’m not trying to equate my experience as a woman (regardless that I’m a woman of colour) to that of the historical experience of black people. I know that’s going into another very intense issue. I’m just trying to point out that these are two words that have a lot attached to them, and yet I hear the c-word used in derogatory ways way more than I should.
I’m also not a huge fan of the word, “pussy.” My vagina is not a cat, thanks.
It is interesting to me that according to the Oxford English Dictionary, women were compared to cats with the word as far back as 1583… and that it was “coarse slang” for vagina as far back as 1699.
I know that in some places, like Britain and Ireland, the word “cunt” is just part of everyday language.
But I can’t help it — I just don’t like the c-word.
It is specifically used in a derogatory way, and is meant to be used that way. (And has been at least since Shakespeare’s time, to draw from my knowledge of theatre history.)
That’s the difference for me.
It doesn’t matter if the obscenity level of the c-word is on par with “asshole,” for you. The fact that it’s so normal for you to use that word is just another example of the fact that we don’t even realize we’re constantly bringing women down.
And that’s what it does.
The word “cunt” is literally used as an attempt to insult people by calling them a vagina.
“You’re such a cunt!” = “You’re such a vagina!”
I’m sorry, but… what? Yes, I have a vagina. Is this relevant somehow?
I didn’t know my vagina was a bad thing…?
And “pussy” seems to be another insult that also just means vagina. “Don’t be a pussy,” means “Don’t be a vagina.”
I like my vagina! It’s really not insulting to try and insult me with it. It’s the almighty powerful giver of life. (And pleasure… and pain… but I mean, it’s part of my body, am I really going to hate it?)
I mean, you wouldn’t insult someone by saying, “You’re such an arm!” or “What a foot!”
Looks like it’s another example of the gender bias in our society — anything feminine is demeaning.
That’s why “cunt” is so offensive, and why “pussy” is also a demeaning stab.
So the solution is obviously to stop using “cunt” as an insult, right?
Well, it seems like that to me.
Just the same as we should stop using “gay” in a derogatory way, i.e. “That’s so gay!” we should stop using “cunt” to insult people.
Because by doing so, we’re implying that vaginas are the worst thing anyone could ever be or have.
The problem is that people feel really passionate about the word!
I once heard someone say that they just like the sound of the c-word.
They like to say it because it’s fun to say it.
Sure. Not getting into phonetics here, but yes, sure, it kind of is a word that lends itself to enunciating power the same way that “fuck” does.
But the terribleness of that word doesn’t go away just because you like it.
You can’t just say you like the sound of saying the n-word and not give a shit about what it really means. You KNOW it’s an insult and that it’s beyond rude, but you’ll just go ahead and say it because you enjoy it?
Well. Aren’t you a dick. (See what I did there?)
But for real, when I stop and think about the words “pussy,” and “cunt,” and the way that they’re used in everyday conversation, I can’t believe they’re still used in everyday conversation. I do feel awkward and upset when people use them as insults around me. I can’t help it! I just stare and think, you just insulted them with a body part I have and you don’t, and when it’s a woman using the c-word, I want to say, don’t you realize you’re insulting yourself?!
And then I wonder, why isn’t “dick” taken as seriously?
It’s a word that refers to a particularly masculine body part, but no one is talking about how society is okay with using a male characteristic as an insult. Maybe not THE worst insult (because I mean, we have “cunt” for that) but it’s still an insult.
But why dislike “cunt” and “pussy” if “dick” is perfectly acceptable, even among those who have a dick?
Maybe it’s because men use it among themselves to actually refer to their penises.
Women don’t tend to refer to their vaginas as cunts or pussies nearly as often.
You hear “vajayjay” every so often, “vag” and even the dainty “lady parts,” but unless a woman is trying to be offensive on purpose, or make a point, I never even hear “pussy.”
Even more rarely do I hear a woman call her vagina her “cunt.”
But here’s the thing: if a woman wants to call it a cunt, it’s no longer derogatory.
It’s similar to a black person referring to their friends with the n-word.
It’s not derogatory for women to use “cunt” because they’re owning it.
So maybe that’s what needs to happen — women just need to reclaim the word.
Well, women have tried to reclaim it. Some women argue that it only gives the c-word more power to fear it and call it offensive.
Maybe it’s time that we realize that.
After all, it’s another stupid way that things are stacked against women — even the worst insults have to do with femininity.
So lady friends, let’s take back that word. And let’s make sure the men out there know why we use it!
Do you have any strong feelings about the c-word? If women need to reclaim it, is it okay for men to use it? Share your thoughts in a comment below!