by Dan Savage
on Fri, May 10, 2013 at 4:38 PM
I'm a late twenty something male. I was out at a house party last night celebrating the end of the semester with fellow grad student friends when I was scolded by a peer for using the word "cunt." I had exclaimed the word when a fellow partygoer struck the top of my friend's beer bottle with hers so that my friend's beer would overflow. The actual prankster didn't even seem to hear me, and continued past us without comment, but a lady classmate of mine who overheard my offhand exclamation made it clear she was horrified.
I was apologetic in the moment but am not sure I should have been. My intent was to contrast using a nuclear-level insult with the relatively benign crime of causing my buddy's beer to overflow. (And aren't jokes just SO FUNNY when they're explained?) I would have tried to argue, if I had my wits about me, that the c-word occupies two rolesin our culture that are related, but also still distinct: 1) the word is acknowledged as the "worst" thing you can call someone, making it the insult that is therefore best suited for use in hyperbole; and 2) it is a word infused with gender negativity, the insult of last resort to be used against a woman when one wants to communicate utter disrespect for her. I think increasingly the word is used in a type (1) way that does not lean heavily on negativity towards women and instead is the kind of ultimate taboo word that can nevertheless be used among friends for hyperbole value. My scolder seemed to subscribe to the inseparability of (1) and (2), or maybe to the non-existence of (1).
Where are you on the use of "cunt" casually and among friends?
Patriarchy Reinforced In A Painful Interaction Sorrowfully Mortifying
My response—and it's not much of one—after the jump.
Where am I on the use of cunt?
Um... you know what, PRIAPISM? I could go on—I could craft a proper response—but it's a lovely day here in Seattle and I want to get out of the office. So I'm gonna toss your question to the commenters on Slog and let them have a crack at it. (If you're reading the SLLOTD on the app, click here to read or leave comments for PRIAPISM.)
What do you think of PRIAPISM's use of the word "cunt," gang? Not much, I suspect. And "lady classmate"? Any thoughts about that?