The Word Cunt, and Why Women Should Be Reclaiming It


Throughout the years, the word cunt has been twisted into an aggressive negative and offensive term. Its original meaning is the female body part, the vagina! So why has it developed such a negative connotation?

Being the relentless feminist that I am, I have become more aware of the institutionalized misogyny that surrounds us all in day to day life. Growing up I was always taught swearing is bad, of course. But as I got older, some words would slip into my vocabulary and would not be questioned. Shit, fuck, the occasional bastard. But never cunt. That was the one word my mum would never allow to be said.

I never questioned this, I just accepted it. Having two older brothers though, one with especially colorful language, exposed me to this and being the curious person I am, I naturally wanted to know what all these swear words meant. Learning that fuck had many meanings, I wanted to know what cunt meant too.

To my surprise! I found out it meant vagina… weird right?! Why would you call someone a vagina to insult them? What’s wrong with a vagina?

My first google search, on just the word itself, here is the dictionaries meanings. Firstly, a woman’s genitals. Yes, correct. Then… an unpleasant or stupid person… This just says it all.

cunt definition

Moving forward a few years, I found feminism. Unfortunately, feminism isn’t something taught to young girls, as sexism is institutionalized similarly to racism, it isn’t questioned by children, as they know no different. So unfortunately it took me quite some time to find feminism. But better late than never right?!

Having a word that is so “taboo” that it isn’t used on TV must have some strong connotations. The first time it was aired was in 1970, and this caused much controversy. For women, hearing people call others a cunt as a form of insult is oppressive. It teaches them that something they biologically have is the worst thing to be called. Misogyny at its finest.

This is similar to when people (men especially – although unfortunately I have heard many women use this term which makes me sad) call others “girls” to insult them. “Oh don’t be such a girl”. So we’ve met a phrase that outright teaches women that being a woman is negative. No one wants to be called a girl, it has such negative meanings behind it.

Why is this?

Many feminists today, have created a movement to reclaim this word and use it in a positive, or neutral matter of fact way. After all, it is only society (the patriarchy) which has turned this word into a negative one. As women we need to use it as much as possible, have it desensitized and enforced into everyday vocabulary (within reason). Stop calling people a cunt in a negative term. It reduces women to just their body parts, and should be used appropriately, such as in terms of a vagina!

My girlfriends and I try to use this term as much as possible, it shocks people. It will. Because there is such a stigma attached to it, it will take some time to shake! But together, we can do it!!





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