As I begin writing about sex in this blog, you will see me using the word “cunt” much more often than “pussy,” or even vagina/vulva. It is similar to my reclaiming the word “Dyke” instead of lesbian.
A lesbian is a woman who has sexual and emotional relationships with other women. A Dyke is the same… but only more so.
As a midwife, I needed to use proper terminology… it was the professional thing to do. Using the words “vagina” and “vulva” as often as the words “the” and “May I touch?” The vagina and vulva are two distinct areas of the woman’s anatomy. They are often used interchangeably, mainly by men, driving me bonkers. I correct them whenever the issue arises.
The Power of Words
Reclaiming (or Reappropriation) of words is culturally common, the words “nigger,” “fat, and “queer,” being but three examples.
“Reappropriation of ethnic and sexual slurs starts as an act of bravado by a few of the oppressed, then may become an empowering mechanism for a much wider community. It’s pleasingly ironic that those discriminated against have learned the Orwellian trick employed by the state and the establishment of hijacking everyday language (as in ‘doublespeak’) for their own nefarious purposes. Alternative discourse ousts and replaces the discourses of power.”
Arguments abound about who can, without judgment, use these reclaimed words. Said in the wrong crowd, one could get someone yelling in their face to shut the fuck up.
It is why I have reclaimed the word CUNT. To me, it is a woman’s genitals, only with more Power. Greater intensity. The cunt has explosive energy behind it. My cunt is in my control and only my control. As a rape survivor, any way I can grab and keep my body is awesome and a requirement for my emotional and physical safety. I give my cunt to the person/s of my choice; no one takes it from me without force.
In Boys on the Side, Mary-Louise Parker’s character, talking with Whoopi Goldberg’s character, struggles with the word “Cunt.” This exchange, while long, is worth the giggle.
— I don’t call it anything. I just wasn’t brought up to talk about a person’s anatomy.
— That’s probably because you don’t have a word for it.
— That’s just ridiculous. I do, too. It just doesn’t often come up.
— Okay. What is this, below the belly button?
— I’m not gonna say ‘pussy’ if that’s what you’re after, okay, I hate that.
— Okay. So, what do you call it?
— Down there.
— Oh, come on! ‘Down there!’
— Well, ‘vagina’ seems so formal.
— But you make it sound like a basement!
— Okay. Honestly?
— Fine. ‘Hoo-hoo’ or ‘cissy.’
— You’re kidding, right? A ‘hoo-hoo’ or a ‘cissy,’ what is that?
— Well, that’s what my mother called it. I had a ‘hoo-hoo’ or a ‘cissy’ and my brother had a ‘noodle’ or a ‘dingle.’
— And that’s what you still call it, huh?
— Well, it’s better than ‘pussy.’ Or ‘beaver.’ What’s that about? I never got that. Or worse…
— Worse? Did you say worse? Now, what could be worse? I have to hear you say it.
— Well, you know. I’m not gonna say it.
— Oh, come on! ‘C-U-N-T.’ Come on, please?
— I don’t think so.
— Please? It’ll free you. Try it!
— There’s a policeman within the sound of my voice.
— Give him a thrill.
— I don’t think so.
— I’m gonna wet you.
— No! You’re such a baby!
— Okay. Come on.
— All right. (whispered) ‘Cunt.’
— What? What was that?
— I said it!
— No, you breathed it! I want to hear you say it.
— All right! All right. All right. ‘C-U-N-T, cunt.’
— ‘Cunt.’ ‘Cunt.’ ‘CUNT!’
How about you?