This Entry Comes With A Bad Language Warning…

…though it shouldn’t have to, because I regularly and freely will use the f-word in my blog. This post, anyway, is about the word ‘cunt’, which I will try to avoid using so as to not offend the sensibilities of my readers – an apology and avoidance I personally feel I shouldn’t have to make about this word. As a word, for what it describes – the vagina – it is perfectly descriptive, with those muscular consonants and soft yielding plosives and such – and please don’t put any feminist/post-feminist/blah construction on my use of hte word ‘yielding’, that would be just silly.

It also doesn’t have any of the negative connotations of any of its synonyms, as I’ve said a million times although not necessarily on here – even vagina means sword-sheath, and I shouldn’t have to go into any of the others (I mean, ‘pussy’? ‘gash’? Seriously?). Obviously like many of these words it is used offensively, but so are words like ‘cock’ and so on, so why should ‘cunt’ be any different?

How is it that like no other word it has kept its power to shock? ‘Fuck’ is a commonplace, now; and I have friends who will talk about being ‘so raped’ in a game of tennis or centurion or something, or ‘facebookraped’ by their friends. By definition we should be utterly appalled at such a lighthearted use of such a term, but instead most of us still get our knickers in a twist about the ‘dreaded c-word’. Why?

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20 Comments

Filed under Happenings, Life, Society, Thoughts, Women

20 responses to “This Entry Comes With A Bad Language Warning…

  1. Because there’s got to be something that’s still private. Society at present is such that getting your dick out is shocking but not too shocking, inappropriate or unwanted physical contact of any description is shocking but not too shocking. But this is something that is still private and not bandied about. It may be terribly un-chique of me to say so but I’m glad it’s still ‘dreaded’. Does that make sense?

  2. standingonthebrink

    Yes, that does make sense, but why it should be more inappropriate or shocking than ‘inappropriate or unwanted physical contact’ doesn’t logically make sense to me, although I know what you mean. Although getting your c*** out in public seems to be reasonably common if you are reasonably famous, skinny and drunk – if you ever so much as glance at your average women’s weekly *shudder*… .

  3. For me, it just sounds horrible as do most other words to describe the female anatomy.

  4. standingonthebrink

    I don’t know, personally I like a lot of words for the female anatomy. Mostly anatomically correct ones.

  5. I think it’s more about the intent behind the use of the word. Words only have the power we give them.

    Fuck used to be hugely powerful. It was graphic and descriptive and when someone said “fuck” in reference to actual sex, everyone else knew what that person meant. Now, fuck means everything. It can be used everywhere as any type of word. It is awesome.

    But cunt. People still say cunt for the shock, for the (supposed) graphic nature of what it describes. Because pussy just doesn’t do it any more (for this I blame Prince). For me, it’s all about intent. If someone calls me a cunt, it’s far more insulting somehow than being called a bitch or anything else. Which is because I gave it that power. If someone called me a cunt and I said, “Thanks!” it probably wouldn’t have the desired effect. Cunt is still powerful because the people who say it do so to hurt. Even this is fading, though.

  6. standingonthebrink

    I think words have the power they are given by the situation – my friend A and I will regularly use our entire battery of swearwords on each other only to say, ‘you can be such an idiot sometimes’, or ‘how silly of you’ and we don’t mean it in an insulting way. If he did mean it to hurt me, he could cold as flint call me nothing more hurtful than ‘cow’, and yet I’d still be very upset, if the intent was to hurt. Equally, he could call me a cunt and then give me a hug or ruffle my hair. That said, I think it’s easier to give the word ‘cunt’ that power than it is to give it to other words because you’re right, it does still have that weight.

  7. For me it sounds ugly. It’s an ugly, blunt word and it suits crude connotations in ways which pussy doesn’t. It also doesn’t lend itself to drunken cat/vagina puns; this may or may not be a bonus depending on your point of view. In the ugliness of the word it makes the user ugly, and the implication of laying that ugliness upon another makes it insulting.

    And I irrationally don’t like it. I don’t like gash either, mind. It’s similarly crude, but its a less ugly word which makes it marginally better.

    Having said that, I think fuck still has shock factor when it is used in anger. Tone says more than words with that kind of language.

  8. standingonthebrink

    Personally I like the word; yes, it’s blunt, but blunt in a good way. I definitely, definitely prefer it to ‘gash’, which sounds like having a vagina is in some way a mutilation, unnatural. Daft and feminist it may be but I can’t help having that gut reaction to the word. Gut in the sense that I don’t like it and I have those feelings about it even before my feminist-rant-mode kicks in. And it’s nicer than ‘vagina’ which just sounds horrible, sort of diseased. And I’ve never liked the word ‘pussy’ in any sense even for cats, except as a word for someone being too pussy to, say, jump into a pond and rescue ones own bloomin’ rugby ball.

  9. Lucy

    ‘Pussy’ I don’t like. ‘Gash’ I don’t like AT ALL. ‘Snatch’ I don’t like, and I even less like the fact that one of my male friend’s girlfriend gets referred to, in and out of her presence, as ‘R’s snatch’ or ‘R’s vagina’. Pretty offensive on any number of levels (although she doesn’t seem to mind).

    As a rule I agree with most of the above – ‘cunt’ is offensive because we expect it to be. But as a blog I once read pointed out, it’s mildly more offensive still that ‘cunt’ (with direct female connotations) is considered so make worse than ‘cock’ or similar.

  10. standingonthebrink

    Snatch? I’ve never heard that one before and it’s horrible. As for ‘R’s snatch/vagina’, well, words can’t express.

    It is definitely offensive that ‘cunt’ is so much worse than ‘cock’. It shouldn’t be, it really shouldn’t. Glad you agree πŸ™‚

  11. Adam

    * bearded clam
    * beaver
    * bush
    * camel toe
    * cunny obsolete
    * cunt
    * box
    * front bottom
    * fanny
    * gash
    * kebab
    * kitty rare
    * minge
    * muff
    * poontang
    * pussy
    * quim
    * slit
    * snapper
    * snatch
    * trim ???
    * twat
    * vertical smile

  12. Adam

    I like to think of their being a swearing hierarchy – and as such, certain words are reserved for certain occasions…

    For example – stubbing your toe gets “God Damn!!” Burning yourself with a soldering iron gets “Ahh!! Shit!” finally working your way up using the c-word…

    I don’t know why it’s got this power to shock – after all, it’s just a word. But perhaps it’s the fact that ‘c*nt’ is the last taboo word that’s kept it as such… people believing that if it is no longer a taboo, then all sense of decency and morality is apparently lost. Personally I think it’s all bollocks!!

  13. standingonthebrink

    Erm, thanks for that list? Or not. But they are ALL HORRIBLE WORDS. And in the most part, demeaning or humourous. Which about proves my point, really, which is why I allowed that list up there…

  14. Kebab? That’s an odd one…

  15. standingonthebrink

    yeah, it’s one I knew but had (thankfully) forgotten. Thank you Adam… but it is odd, and I don’t understand where it comes from.

  16. agletsandampersands

    Thirding the etymological query. & you’ve heard the one about how the lack of progress in the field of fluid dynamics is unacceptably chauvinist, right?

    I’ve not got much to add, really, other than that swearing is intimately connected to its host society’s taboos, & taboos are what you’re scared of. Which makes for interesting reflection, anyway…

  17. annadegenhardt

    Actually the lighthearted use of the word ‘rape’ shocks me more than the use of the word cunt. I do my best never to use the word ‘rape’ in a lighthearted, jokey context and something in me winces when someone else does. That said, as with most things, I can be as self-righteous as I like but sometimes you just end up saying it without thinking. And then I mentally kick myself.

    Cunt, actually, I quite like. It’s unpretentious. I dislike the sound of it (was going to say taste, in pretentious poetmode, then thought of the connotations. In my defence I’ve just been doing English revision so y’know…) but I utterly detest words like “gash” or “slit”. or “snatch” – what the hell?!

    And the weekend before my friend M was going to ask out his now-girlfriend R (when we all knew this was his plan) all the 16 year old boys hanging out with us kept going “M’s going to get him some gash”, as if this was perfectly acceptable, and a perfectly natural interpretaiton of a relationship. M just wants pussy, let him go and get it. Not, M wants R, or maybe even (god-forbid) R wants M…
    I’ve never really heard anyone refer to someone’s boyfriend as “So-and-so’s cock [insert other synonym]” – has anyone heard this, EVER?

    Urgh.

    i wish there were some pretty words for it. THere really aren’t. Although I like Cunny. Cunny makes me smile.

    Cxxx

  18. standingonthebrink

    I like cunny too. Incestuous lesbianism for hte win… or not.

    Otherwise, yes, good comment. I’m glad M and R are still together – I meant to ask about that the other day.

    now, veering a little off topic, I must head back to developmental biology. What a RAVE.

    xxx

  19. Adam

    Wow – I totally don’t know why that list is there… Strange…

  20. standingonthebrink

    Really? How very odd. Apparently it came from you…

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