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to think that calling anyone a cunt is always mysogynistic?

(58 Posts)
MrBloomsMarrow Wed 10-Apr-13 20:57:38

OK,I know this has been done before but it's really bugging me how anyone can believe that using the word cunt as an insult isn't misogynistic. I think it's really refreshing that swearing isn't moderated on MN so I've kind of let the liberal use of the C word wash over me but,taking some space to think about it, I do feel really uneasy about it.

Calling someone a cunt is generally considered to be the worst insult in the English language. Cunt is slang for female genitalia. therefore, the most despicable thing you can be described as is resembling female genitalia.

I have sometimes heard the "reclaiming" word used as justification. The way I understand reclaiming a word is the example of "queer" which was used for a long time as a term of abuse for gay people. Gay people then began to routinely describe themselves as queer (the biggest gay nightclub in the UK is called Queer Nation) which meant that the word then lost its power to hurt or offend. A black friend of mine has told me that there is a similar movement to "reclaim" the word Nigger ie by Black people calling themselves niggers, the word loses its power to hurt or offend.

The only time I ever see cunt used on MN is as an insult so I genuinely don't see how the "reclaimimg" argument can be used to justify equating female genitalia with being a vile person. The only argument I could possibly get is that, by using the word constantly, its shock power kind of gets diluted.

I am genuinely prepared to have my views corrected.

GlaikitFizzog Wed 10-Apr-13 21:50:22

Bats stepissue

Stepissue Wed 10-Apr-13 22:12:19

Oh for the fucking love of God!!!!!!!!!!!!! <twats self in head with said bat>

Thank you grin

AdmiralData Thu 11-Apr-13 11:51:12

Have to agree with a previous poster. I love the word. In fact it united me with someone who I hated when I first met them. It transpired that my friend and I both love the word and affectionately refer to each other as cunts, (for example, how's life treating you my lovely cunt? etc) ... she was best woman at my wedding and is now Godmother to my DS (1 month) :D

PeggyCarter Thu 11-Apr-13 12:00:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ComposHat Thu 11-Apr-13 12:26:38

Data Your daughter isn't called Fanny is she?

My favourite use of the word cunt was in the Thick of It, when Tucker comes across an uptight mealy mouthed US senator

Malcolm Tucker at his best

OTheHugeManatee Thu 11-Apr-13 12:28:13

Chris Moyles was pulled up by the BBC board of governors for saying 'that's so gay' as it was considered offensive to gay people, even though he insisted the two meanings had no connection to one another. IIRC there is general agreement on MN that 'that's so gay' is not ok and people generally say they'd pull their own DC up for saying it.

If that's the case, then the same should go for 'cunt'.

I don't buy the premise that the two meanings are unconnected. It's pretty clear to me that in using 'gay' to mean 'lame/rubbish' people are drawing an implicit connection between homosexuality and being contemptible. I think the same goes for 'cunt': by making it a swearword it's it's inviting you to infer that a cunt is something appalling. That's pretty misogynistic, in my book.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 11-Apr-13 12:29:00

No more so than the work wanker automatically being 'man hating'. Is there a word for that?

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 11-Apr-13 12:32:29

Etymologically, in English, 'cunt' and 'quaint' have the same root. In Chaucerian English, it's a bit like saying 'my little cute thing'. It does have strong positive connotations.

I agree that as an insult, it suggests female genitalia are horrible, but there's a group of lovely women I know who refer to each other and themselves as 'atrocious cunts' on here and I've got to admit it brings a smile to my face every time. So I do like to think it can be reclaimed.

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 11-Apr-13 12:33:13

clouds - but women wank too. confused

It's more dodgy to imply only men do ... women like orgasms too, not just in Hull.

redlac Thu 11-Apr-13 12:33:22

Term of endearment where I am from too (must be a scottish thing!)

"'Cunt' is not a bad word- it's the best word for a bad thing."

ComposHat Thu 11-Apr-13 12:39:13

But does that mean that dick, cock, nob, bellend, bawbag, scrote etc. are examples of misandry?

I'd argue that Cunt along with all the words above have passed into the category of generalised insults and largely gender blind in their application.

For example, I've complained about my sister being a 'right nob' about something and yelled 'twat' at a male motorist who nearly knocked me off my bike. If Cunt was a term used exclusively by males to denigrate females then you may have a point, but it isn' YABU.

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 11-Apr-13 12:44:51


No, I think there's too much history of gender relations behind the words for it to be easy to generalize from 'cunt' to 'dick' ... they don't have the same impact because of that history, and acting as if they're equivalent in connotations because they describe the analogous parts of the body doesn't change that.

FWIW, I also reckon no, because I don't think 'misandry' as such exists (and I don't think both could exist). I think they're dead sexist, obvs. And I don't think it is totally gender blind because I think people still find cunt more offensive than bellend or dick.

I don't see what use by males or by females has to do with it - if a woman says something like 'all single mothers are whores', that is still misogynistic, even though she's a woman saying it.

badtime Thu 11-Apr-13 12:49:28

The problem with 'cunt' is that it is misused in America - there it is generally directed at women, to mean 'you are nothing more than a vagina'. When directed at men, it usually implies wimpiness. I have seen this argument all over the internet, with Americans asserting that 'cunt' is always a gendered insult, and British people going, well, no, usages differ.

I have heard it suggested that the yanks brought this usage over during the war, and that influence is still seen in some places (although it has mostly died out among younger people).

ComposHat Thu 11-Apr-13 13:10:17

LRD Yes I was probably a bit sloppy in my use of misandry (for the record I don't think misandry exists in the same way that misogyny does at an institutional/societal level)

I guess my post was a reflection that a word used in a variety of ways, by different speakers, in different contexts doesn't always mean the same thing and isn't de facto misogynistic.

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 11-Apr-13 13:11:57

Yeah, I was just nit-picking. Entirely, in fact.

fromparistoberlin Thu 11-Apr-13 13:12:15

I think...yabu

there are a shit loads opf rude words sourced from everywhere (though genitals have a role!)

ComposHat Thu 11-Apr-13 13:13:49

No LRD you were right to pull me up on it!

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 11-Apr-13 13:17:01

You're very gracious.

I am being a massive pedant. I blame footnoting.

Going back to an earlier point ... I would bet Shakespeare did use 'cunt'. They just didn't print it.

There's a visual pun in The Tempest where Ariel sings a song beginning 'where the bee sucks, there suck I'. In early modern printing, you use an shape like the letter 'f' for the letter 's' at the beginning of words. He knew perfectly well how the text would look in print and how to get around the censor.

On stage I think they'd just have said 'cunt' instead of 'cut'.

hairtearing Thu 11-Apr-13 13:32:52


If someone is behaving like a c* I will tell them, that does not mean I hate the entire population and all women.

misogyny is so thrown around on here.

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 11-Apr-13 13:37:03

How do cunts behave, then?

Mine doesn't typically behave in a way that makes me reach for asterisks. I can't decide if that's bad or good.

MajaBiene Thu 11-Apr-13 13:43:33

I think holding cunt up as the most awful, terrible word that should never be spoken is misogynistic. Why should female genitals be awful, terrible?

It can be used in an insulting way, a funny way, a sexy way, a matter of fact way - just like fuck or cock. The more used it is the less power it has as female genitalia being something that must not be mentioned.

MikeOxardAndWellard Thu 11-Apr-13 13:47:48

Germaine Greer did a documentary about the word cunt and came to the opposite conclusion OP. Apparently it's feminist. To me, it's just a word. People can read whatever they want into it, but meh, we know what it means and it is used in the same way as cock etc. If people perceive it to be worse on the scale, I don't think this reflects any level of misogyny or feminism personally, I think that's reading into to it something that's not there. There are more worthy things to worry about!

ComposHat Thu 11-Apr-13 13:50:49

Oh I am a raging pedant - I think it comes with the territory! But you were right I was describing sexism not misandry and (I was trying to be a smart arse by using high faulting words)

I hadn't picked up on the cunt reference in The Tempest but do remember giggling when the word Quim was used in Othelo and doesn't Hamlet mention Country matters to Desdamona? Mind like a Welsh Railway line (one tracked and dirty) that Shakespeare.

LRDtheFeministDragon Thu 11-Apr-13 13:53:30


I do like quim as a word.

I would like to think Shakespeare was good in bed but the sad fact is he was probably one of those terribly irritating types who talk up a storm and are actually too busy posturing to find the time for a good shag.

ComposHat Thu 11-Apr-13 13:58:58

I can honestly say I have never given much serious thought to Shakespeare's prowess in the sack, but I did have a very earnest conversation about Karl Marx's abilities in the bedroom - peppered with me making infantile comments about Karl's worker rising up.

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