Just to let you know I won’t be considering the derogatory nature of using a Middle English word for a vulva as an insult. Plus, I think the philosophy and history of that has been well covered by more educated and knowing feminists than myself.
Recently on my Ask.fm questions I received a statement. This statement, though not in the intended spirit of Ask, was succinct. The statement was “ur a cunt” (sic). Ask.fm promptly deleted this message, as it does with all words that might be associated with cyber bullying, but they wasn’t as prompt as I was with a response. I simply replied “Cheers” before it was gone. It was anonymous and whoever it was may have had a genuine grievance. Who knows? Anyway, it got me thinking about whether I was a cunt, or not, and what cunt actually meant to me.
I did not hear the word very much in my house whilst growing up, mainly due to my mother having a distinct dislike for the word (her father never ever swore or cursed in front of a woman apparently), yet I decided at some point that it was a rather harmless word of ancient origin. I can only assume this happened some time in the mid-90’s. Probably a concerted reactive effort to validate my use of bad language to those who I saw as being offended due to their mental tethering to a modern dogmatic convention. Nevertheless, I can’t remember it being much of a big deal even as a child. I don’t remember cunt being distinct from any of the other words that might inspire giggling amongst my prepubescent peers. The one exception to those giggle vittles relates to the now seemingly defunct synonym ‘pratt’. I suppose this was particularly specific to the history students of my own historic brand of 1989 East London history classes. In other words, I had a history teacher called Miss Pratt, which amongst my jovial juvenile piss-taking fellowship made her Miss Vagina, Miss Vag, Miss Twat, Miss Pussy, Miss Snatch, Miss Fanny, Miss Minge, and or course Miss Cunt. Oh! Just for clarification to any Americanised readers ‘fanny’ means… err… I think you can work it out.
Anyway, cunt was pretty meaningless to all of us sexless children beyond being a ‘naughty’ word and an anatomical orientated determiner of Christmas presents. Whether I received a toy gun, or a Barbie was determined by the presence or absence of a cunt. Gladly things seem to be changing regarding that dissimilitude, unfortunately the fact we give consumerist exploitative Barbie and militaristic toy guns to children seems to not to, but I digress. Cunt was only an abstract idea for those young boys of my youth. Any tangible sexual connotation was as distant as Narnia was to our wardrobes. Our cognitive dissonances allowed our mothers, grandmothers, aunts and sisters to be devoid of anything resembling what we saw in those sticky titty mags we found in the bushes during our childish adventures. Censorship and waiting to explain never works. The problems with objectification, detachment, and division are still very apparent among my locality’s generation of boys, and their children; though that is for another blog post.
Only much later did I hear cunt used as a term of extreme derogation. This wasn’t any man, but my sister. She started using the word with vitriol, and that was the first time I started to have any acknowledged dislike for the word. This wasn’t so much due to the common derogatory definition of “an unpleasant person”, but more through its association with my sister becoming an angry, hateful, and unhappy person (this was a number of years ago, and she’s fine now). Consequently, cunt became a word associated with the person saying ‘cunt’ being angry and hateful and unhappy. I know this is only a conception and can be easily linked to the same mental tethers that I intentionally offended in my young adulthood. I ascribe no importance to that conception, though the spectre of my sister’s unhappiness does maintain this conception in my consciousness.
I have witnessed and experienced ‘cunt’ in other ways that contrast that negative anger, hate, and unhappiness. Many years ago I went on holiday with an old friend of mine and his parents. This was the first time I had spent outside of my own familial interaction. It was an eye opener. His parents called him cunt and arsehole with astounding regularity. I said nothing and only observed. They interacted with each other in much the same way as I interacted with my own family, except where I was called ‘Dave’ he was called ‘Cunt’. Over the years I saw that cunt was a term of endearment. If he wasn’t being called ‘Cunt’ then there was something wrong and, apparent to me at least, an overt sadness. Even now, years later, when we as two old friends nearing middle age reminisce, I feel the sadness in him that his father is no longer alive to call him ‘Cunt’.
I too have felt the endearment from being called a cunt. Though, this is somewhat negated by the fact the woman who called me cunt actually enjoys the word on a purely phonetic level; which has maybe resulted in its overuse and undermines its significance. Regardless, in moments of happy facetiousness and poor jokes I was made warm inside when called a cunt. To hear that in her voice and with her accompanying laugh is like medicine for the soul. Even the memory raises a warming nostalgic smile. But, like I said she enjoyed the word and its usage is contextual. She has also called me cunt in its derogative. Admittedly I was being contentious, and although it wasn’t directed towards her, I was clumsy and lacked awareness to things happening in her life which resulted in me hurting her. I never wanted to hurt her, and in that moment I was the unpleasant cunt.
So, am I a cunt? I am a contentious individual. I purposefully challenge how people think, and consequently antagonise people. I challenge conceptions of society, human nature, dogma, indoctrination, consumption, power, and cognitive limitations. If their is no dialogue between us then there is the possibility of antagonism. Whether that antagonism is valid, or not. I cannot deny that I might be perceived as unpleasant to that person, and so must in some cases be a cunt to some people. Sometimes I am a cunt because I do not fit into a narrative. I cannot do anything to satisfy those people without evolving some kind of sophisticated mind reading ability and a compulsion to ingratiate myself to those who have a narrative for me to comply with. Ultimately, I am only a cunt to those who want to perceive a cunt. I don’t think I’m a cunt. Of all the things I have been called throughout my life, cunt is a rarity. Cunt is an anomaly. I am inevitably going to be a cunt to someone sometimes. Though without complicity or consensus, the cunt only exists in their head.
It might be worth mentioning, for no other reason other than for the sake of the afterthought, that I cannot recollect having ever heard a woman refer to her own genitals as a cunt within a sexual setting… Make of that what you will.