How do you feel about the word cunt?
Is it any worse than calling someone a dick head or a cock head?
How do you feel about its deconstruction?
Check out my video response below:
The Old Simo YouTube video collection can be found here
New York 2008. It was my second trip to the United States and I was travelling with three friends. We had met some locals at a bar in Greenwich Village and struck up a conversation with them.
By 1am I was quite intoxicated. This was irrelevant to the language I was about to use. I say this word daily. “You’re all such sick cunts”. Dead silence. The Americans were looking at each other with shock. Finally one of them said “Oh no Simo, you can’t say that!” I suddenly realized I was in another context. “Oh yes I can, and let me tell you why” I responded.
Cunt has an older history than you might think. Its mostly considered to have Germanic origin: Kunta. Apparently, in Ancient Egypt an early form of the word was used as a neutral synonym for “woman”. Many centuries later Anglo Saxons used it as a term for female genitalia. It made its first appearance in the Oxford Dictionary in 1230.
It’s a word that has remained taboo and many consider it to be the height of insults, misogyny, and a reflection of gender inequality.
Feminist Germaine Greer said “For hundreds of years, men identified female sexual energy as a dangerous force. Unlike other words for female genitals, this one sounds powerful. It demands to be taken seriously.” The vilification of “cunt” doesn’t just cast female genitalia as something that should remain unspoken but it erects restrictive boundaries around expressions of female desire—remember that the more “polite” word, vagina, does not encompass the part of the cunt responsible for pleasure.”
Greer is right. It is powerful. It’s expressive and it has impact. I love using it and its a big part of my vocabulary. It has gone through a big deconstruction in the UK and especially Australia. Older generations may not be aware of this. The United States has not gone through this deconstruction which is why the word is still very taboo there.
We still use cunt as another word for vagina or pussy in Australia. We have been able to heavily reduce the negative impact of cunt by using it as it as another word for “person”. You may often hear an Australian saying “kent” which is cunt but deliberately misspelled and mispronounced as a code word substitute.
Context determines whether is being used in a positive, neutral or negative manner. It’s often assumed that people aim cunt at women only. That’s not the case in Australia. In fact, I’d say its more so aimed at men. I use it equally between the genders.
If you hear Australians calling/referring to each other with these terms you know that they are bestowing each other with grand compliments of the highest order:
Note: Sick and mad, (as slang), mean cool, the best, and brilliant in Australia.
Common neutral terms for people using cunt as a replacement
“Who are these cunts?”
“Cunts in Sydney don’t know how to drive”
“You can’t tell cunts what to do”
“Cunts love going to that club”
Generally it’s going to be negative when a negative word comes before cunt in a phrase. This is not always the case. You will often hear people cursing others out by saying “cunts!” or “he/she is a cunt”. Common insults in Australia using the term
I like the way Aussie culture has deconstructed the word. It can still have a negative connotation depending on context, but I believe we have been able to take away a lot of the taboo surrounding it by giving it variable meanings. These days, I don’t believe it’s any worse than calling someone a dick head or a cock head and it shouldn’t be.
By keeping it taboo we are only propelling its vilification. By forbidding it but freely allowing dick head or cock head we allow it to remain in a gender inequality prism.
We have been able to soften its impact by turning it into a term of endearment. You should be thrilled if you are ever called a “sick, mad or epic” cunt. You have been honored with a compliment.