I cringe when I hear this word spat out as a slur. I feel as if my very existence as a woman has been attacked and abused. Considered by Germaine Greer to be one of the few remaining words in the English language with the potential to shock, one wonders how the slang term for one of the most vulnerable parts of a woman’s body has attained such power to insult and attack. Such power, one needs to disguise it on the Internet so as to let it pass filters.
In Canada, where I grew up, it wasn’t often used; and if it was, never to insult a man. Rather it might be blurted out, one word in a stream of profanity. Here in the U.K. it’s spat out with the venom of a snake going for the kill. Men and women alike use it to insult men and women alike. And it’s used a lot, more than anywhere else I’ve lived. I’ve even heard the word used among professional colleagues during tea break at language schools. Upon reflection, if I think about when I’ve heard the word used as a profanity, other than coming from the mouths of teenagers, it’s been from the mouths of British men and women, rather than from the mouths of North Americans. It makes me wonder about the British way of thinking.
After almost two years in the U.K., I still haven’t gotten used to hearing c*nt spat with venom, and I doubt I ever will. Hearing it used like that feels like having a knife driven into my very essence. That word – c*nt – is slang for vagina, that most sacred part of my body. It’s a precious place, full of delicate nerve endings; it’s the entry to a woman’s uterus, where conception happens, and new life grows. Should that place not be revered and guarded?
Putting aside male use of the word as a vulgarism, why would a self-respecting woman choose to insult someone, most especially a man, with a slang term for her vagina? And should not labelling – by both men and women – someone with its name, bestow upon them love and reverence as from an adoring lover speaking about that body part?
Women, reclaim the power of c*nt. Don’t tolerate its use as a slur. Use the word as you would want your c*nt to be treated, and in so doing change the dynamic of the world. For as we speak, so shall we live. And as long as men and women use that word to describe the entry to our sexual selves in an aggressive, derogatory manner so shall women be treated on the planet.