noun vulgar slang; a woman’s genitals.
• offensive; a woman.
ORIGIN Middle English : of Germanic origin; related to Norwegian and Swedish dialect kunta, and Middle Low German, Middle Dutch, and Danish dialect kunte.
If you ask any woman what the most offensive word someone can call her is, nine times out of ten she will tell you it’s “cunt.” I’m not going to lie—there was a time when I, too, found the “C” word offensive, but something happened when I became a grown-up. I finally learned the old adage that we were taught to repeat over and over as children—”Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!”—and over the years, I have at long last learned to embrace my “inner cunt.”
Don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating that you use words that you may personally find offensive, and I would definitely not recommend running up to someone and screaming the word “cunt.” It’s just not polite. My stance is that what you find offensive may not necessarily be offensive to someone else.
As I look around at the current condition of the world, I can’t help but believe that maybe, just maybe, we put too much emphasis on being offended by the wrong things. I, for one, am offended by lots of things—too many to list them all, in fact, but here’s a start: war, greed, American exceptionalism, racism, hypocrisy, politicians, the prison industrial complex, the war on drugs and the Kardashians.
Those things are at the top of my list because they actually do real physical harm to people and are responsible for subjugating human beings all over the world. Sure, being called a cunt may suck for a minute, but being blown up by a drone while on your way to a wedding will really fuck up your day.
If you’re offended by any word, in any language, it’s probably because your parents were unfit to raise a child.” ~ Doug Stanhope
Recently, while at my local hangout sporting one of my favorite tee shirts (a black form-fitter with the word “Cunt” written across the chest), a woman quickly approached as I came out of the bathroom. Rudely violating my personal space, she barked, “I bet you don’t have many women friends!” After my initial shock at her gall had passed, I asked how on earth she had drawn that conclusion, and then assured her that I had more than my share of friends with vaginas. I went on to ask her what she found so offensive about the word and if she knew the definition of “cunt.” She gave me a blank, lifeless stare and then asked if I would hold on while she looked it up on her cell phone. I respectfully declined and went back to my Weihenstephan at the bar. I found it amusing that while she just knew she should be offended by the lettering on my shirt, she could not articulate why without the dictionary app on her iPhone. I wanted to tell her that her actions and assumptions were completely “cunty,” but something told me the irony of the joke would be lost on her.
There is a school of thought among many women that owning the word takes the power out of it—it’s the same school of thought that a segment of black Americans has embraced for decades. When my mother was alive, we would endearingly refer to each other as “whore” and “tramp.” Recently, while telling the story on Facebook, I was scolded by someone who identified herself as a “feminist” for continuing the use of negative stereotypes. She went on to say that what we needed to do was to teach our children to be “respectful” of one another; and while I agree with that notion wholeheartedly, I had always thought it was a given. Of course we should teach our children to be kind, but we should also teach them that we are not defined by words or the perceptions of others.
Lets face it, if we were really interested in teaching our children to be respectful—not only of each other, but of ALL people around the globe—we would not have things like war, greed, American exceptionalism, racism, hypocrisy, politicians, the prison industrial complex, the war on drugs and the Kardashians. And maybe then, just maybe, I could learn to give a shit about the word “cunt” (although I doubt it).
Author: Cynthia Cone is a heavily tattooed Ex-Con with no college education and very bad punctuation. She currently lives on Long Island, NY where she pays extremely high taxes, likes to drink, rage against the machine and shop at the GAP.
Contact Cynthia at firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter: @BookingGoddess Read Cynthia’s Articles/Essays Here
Photo Credit: Matt Farrara