Sunday, April 26, 2015

A term of abuse, when it should be celebrated

I'm not keen on Ricky Gervais. The novelty of his dad dance in The Office wore off long ago, and I've never found him funny since. However, his Twitter attacks on big game hunters who kill for "sport", showing the hunters' sickening photos, posing with their trophies, have highlighted an issue that needs highlighting. Whether it'll make any difference is debatable.

I didn't like one of his messages, however, because I hate the use of the word "cunt" as a term of abuse.
I agree with Elisabeth:
The Oxford dictionaries define cunt as "vulgar slang" and a noun meaning -

1     A woman’s genitals.
1.1  An unpleasant or stupid person.

What has the first to do with the second? Nothing, except that it's a symptom of the misogyny that associates female anatomy with nastiness. For centuries, male religious extremists have regarded women's genitals as foul or dirty, a necessary evil if progeny are desired. Women were kept hidden from society while menstruating and after childbirth, because they were considered unclean. It still happens in backward patriarchal societies. Nowadays it's a favourite term of abuse for women by male Twitter trolls, like the idiot who attacked the classicist Mary Beard online. Mary's commented:
"When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out. If you went into a bar and a load of guys started saying, 'Look at that old slag. I bet her cunt smells like cabbage,' you would say, 'Look, guys, cut it out.' Same on Twitter!
So please Ricky Gervais, choose your terms of abuse carefully. I don't care for those that indirectly insult women.

See what Wikipedia says about the term.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Margaret,

Having read some of your witty blog may I, as a mere male (sic!) be permitted to comment on the views expressed therein on expletives and feminism.

I don’t believe that the ‘c’-word necessarily reflects a misogynist attitude any more than the word ‘p...k’ represents a misandrist one in modern day use. Like the neutral gender word ‘F..k’ they are simply used as unthinking abuse. As a spotty teenager, I first used these words to show what a rebel I was against conventional society—their etymological origins were of little consequence.

As for ‘feminism’, feminists quite rightly identify the disadvantages suffered by women but are sometimes inclined to resort to the very thing they purport to oppose; namely crude prejudice against the opposite gender. This can culminate in examples such as Andrea Dworkin’s well-known statement, “I want to see a man beaten to a bloody pulp with a high-heel shoved in his mouth, like an apple in the mouth of a pig”.

Rarely is an attempt made to analyse the nature of society and why such traits are prevalent in our world. Take for example Equal Pay legislation which has been on the Statute Book for over forty-years—and has still to be achieved.

The reason for this is rather more to do with the economic laws within a market economy rather than the inherent beastly nature of the male sex. If women’s wages/salaries are raised to equal those of men who will pay for the increase? I haven’t noticed female employers rushing to the aid of the sisterhood! If male pay was 10% higher than that of women then to retain present profit levels, men’s pay would have to drop by 5% to match a similar percentage rise for women. (All things being equal) This would result in the vast majority of women being no better off.

I am in no way attempting to justify existing pay discrepancies but merely to highlight some of the simplistic arguments some people use to justify their views.

Best wishes!

Richard (Species, Homo sapiens sapiens. Gender, Male)

Margaret Nelson said...

Sadly, Richard, it's evident that you know little about what feminism means. I'll repond at length later, in a new post. Meanwhile, consider the following:

"Rarely is an attempt made to analyse the nature of society and why such traits are prevalent in our world. Take for example Equal Pay legislation which has been on the Statute Book for over forty-years—and has still to be achieved.

"The reason for this is rather more to do with the economic laws within a market economy rather than the inherent beastly nature of the female sex. If men’s wages/salaries are raised to equal those of women who will pay for the increase? I haven’t noticed male employers rushing to the aid of the brotherhood! If female pay was 10% higher than that of men then to retain present profit levels, women’s pay would have to drop by 5% to match a similar percentage rise for men. (All things being equal) This would result in the vast majority of men being no better off."