One small word, so many problems

Cunt is my favorite curse word. Horrible, I know. I’m the absolute worst, but there it is. Cat’s out of the bag. Cunt is the superlative expletive. I love its decisiveness, its whoomp there it is. It’s the black tie-and-converse of all curse words, reserved for truly special occasions when you really want to own the spotlight.

And yet—there’s a yet!—I can’t abide men using it. You know that look they get on their faces when they lock and load it: eyes tight and angry, lips sneering like a starving dog chained to a fence. It’s never “cunt.” It’s always you fucking cunt and it’s the meanest.

Bear with me for some admittedly tenuous logic: When I use the word cunt, it’s a colorful swear word, the sharp-tongued matriarch of a circus family of curse words that includes shitshow, asshat, dumbass, bitchface, fuckwad. But when a man says cunt, it’s a verbal pistol whipping. It’s meant to sting for a good long while, leave a nasty gash, remind its recipient that she’s literally nothing more than her parts. A hole. Worse yet, a reluctant hole, one who needs visceral reminding of her place in the natural order of things: her raison d’etre is to be fucked. Live through that, you fucking cunt. That’s why men aren’t allowed to use it.

But a lot how we’re referred to by men is just as reductive, even if they’re meant to be complimentary: They all pinpoint our ranking on the fuckability index. MILF, cougar, yummy mummy—women who defy conventional norms of desirability (they’re old! they’re moms!) and yet remain attractive enough to have sex with; whore and slut—a woman who is just too damn accommodating with her fucks; bitch—she who resists a fuck. Even motherfucker, while rarely used to describe a woman, makes a passive victim of poor old mom. She’s got to lie there and take it.

I think it’s high time women reclaimed the pantheon of curse words so that they’re less about men fucking us and more about, oh I don’t know, US.




  1. Kate L says:

    So, here is a joke I do in my stand-up. For reasons that require somewhat lengthy set-up, I call a dolphin an “ostentations cunt.” Blah, blah blah, and then I say, “… and I apologize if I offended anyone just now by using that word… ostentatious. Because I know sometimes people are like, ‘I don’t know what that means. Speak American.’ It means cunty, basically, in this context.” Big laughs. La di da. I was told by a booker I couldn’t do that joke because of the C-word. Same guy did his own five minutes, which he spent telling a woman in the front row that his dick was big enough to slap her in the face with it from the stage. But thank god he didn’t offend any dolphins with bad language.

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