The c-word

Cunt. There, I have said it. It is a powerful word, is it not? A powerful word for a powerful thing. Do you recoil from it? Or do you find the word itself erotic? I know a lot of women do have a negative reaction. It is not surprising, given how often the word is used as a term of abuse or an expression of anger. But women have also worked hard to redeem the word, to make it a positive expression of female sexuality. I have not read Inga Muscio’s Cunt: A Declaration of Independence, but maybe I should, judging from the enthusiastic responses of readers on Amazon. I guess everyone has heard of The Vagina Monologues, which also work to turn ‘cunt’ from a bad word into a good one.

So why do some women, even those who might call themselves feminists, still shudder when they hear the word? Maybe you can not undo five hundred years of history merely through good intentions. As far as I am concerned every woman has the right to call it what she wishes. Every woman except the one who is submissive to me. I will not let her use a euphemism. “Pussy” is a nice word. Something you would want to stroke. Something you would want to love. But it is a circumlocution all the same, one which tries to minimise the direct, in-your-face sexual force of “cunt”. If she is submissive to me I will not allow her to avoid the word “cunt”. If using the word brings a blush of shame to her cheek, I do not mind that at all. Pushing through her shame is a rewarding thing to do.

I like “cunt” precisely because it is unequivocal. The word refers just to what it refers to. It is not really the name of something else, used to mask what we are talking about. In that way it is quite different from all the words for penis. There is no male equivalent to cunt. Cock or dick or prick or whatever are all words whose primary meaning is something else. My sense is that it is the same in French too; “con” is cunt, quite simply, but the words for the penis are all metaphors. Is this the case in other languages? Anyone who knows German or Spanish or whatever, please chip in your two cents’ worth. Why this should be so, that the primary meaning of cunt is the vagina, while the primary meaning of all the slang words for penis is something else, I can not explain. (Interestingly, while we are on the subject, the French also use their word for pussy-cat, “chatte”, as a euphemism for cunt. Do other languages follow suit?)

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One Response to The c-word

  1. sarahmasters says:

    I have a blog post up on this very subject. I think I disliked the word when younger because I was conditioned to. You know, good girls don’t use that word. Well, I’m a good girl, but, like you, I like the word for the way it says it how it is.

    I came here via a link someone left on my post and I’m glad I did!

    Long live the cunt!

    Ah. That was liberating.

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