Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Etymology and Vaginas

Someone called me a cunt today. It is the first time, to my knowledge, that I've been called such a thing; it's certainly the first time anyone's had the cojones to do it to my face. However, considering that I was in my car and the entitled, pretty-boy asshat (popped collar on his polo shirt, hair carefully combed into a state of messy emo/jock/Queer Eye fabulousness...you know the kind--he'd be metrosexual if he weren't on the football team) who yelled it was on the other side of my car, on the street, perhaps he was suffering some hypogonadism after all...what was I going to do, get out of the car and explain to him exactly how using female anatomical terms in a derogatory way has a long and shitty history and is still used as a tool of subjugation, so just cut it the hell out, please? Also, newsflash to planet Hollister--I had the right of way. There isn't a crosswalk there. You know what that means? That means that your jaywalking ass is breaking the law, and if you get a dent in my car when your head hits it (because obviously your head is hard enough to do so) you're going to be 1) paying for it with your trust fund or 2) sucking the dent out yourself with a funnel, a hose, and your own pair of lungs until you pass out or I tell you to stop.
Truth be told, the word itself doesn't bother me that much--perhaps because I'm such a fan of Inga Muscio's book by the same name. What does bother me is the implication that femininity, specifically feminine sexuality, is all up in the house of what one might say is the 'worst' insult we have at our disposal. Bitch? Eh, we've reclaimed it some. Pussy? It's two syllables, and that softens the blow a little bit, plus it ends in a vowel (ish), and that tones down the impact as well. But 'cunt.' That there is a word you can throw through a window like a brick. Powerful word. Not to be used lightly--sort of like not taking the Lord's name in vain. And, according to The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, it's not just a slang term (like, say, 'cock' or 'prick') but a word with history. It shares a common Indo-European root with such noble words as country, kin and cunning--loyalty, shrewd intelligence and a sense of belonging all wrapped up in those four explosive little letters. So, asshat on the Plaza, I'll let you get by with it this time. But next time you wanna play, I'll indulge you, and we'll see whose balls are bigger. Hint: the person driving the car usually wins.

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