Lazy Blogging Against Sexism

Yeah, yeah. It’s 11-something on International Women’s Day, and I haven’t posted anything today. Not that it would get read, what with the latest megathread going on, in which too-clever-by-half boys huffily deny that there’s any sort of threat whatsoever in dropping hints that you know what Jill’s wearing or in posting that you want to lick the sweat off a student at Yale, after you’ve encouraged your buddies to take photos of her at the gym. Oh, no. No threat there at all. No exclusion. No forcing women out of the public sphere.

I’ve actually been holed up in my office until quite recently, finishing a memo I should have had done much earlier in the day, and would have, but for the fact that the law in Alaska on the particular point I was researching is a little thin. But had I finished, I had a post I planned to write on the continuing insistence by quite a number of “progressive” men that “cunt,” among other things, is a particularly non-offensive term despite its history of being hurled as the most rank abuse against the possessors of said cunts, and while it has no meaning whatsoever — none! not a whit! — these men will fight to the death to preserve their right to say this important — nay, vital! — yet somehow meaningless and unoffensive word against the forces of Humorless Feminists the net over.

Fortunately, you will all be spared this post. Because Ilyka’s already gone and written it, and a hundred times better than I could.

A cursory read of the comments at alicublog makes it pretty plain that the commenters are reading Roy as agreeing with their position that it’s totally okay to use “cunt” whenever you want to, because the problem always lies with the silly-ass cunts who get offended when you do so; just like the problem with “nigger” isn’t its oppressive usage history, but rather the rampant-running PC Police who stir up those temperamental black folk to raise a needless fuss about it. This, for example, is fairly typical:

Here’s another way to look at it: The staggering diversity of opinion on what cunt means just on this thread makes its intent cloudy no? Could mean a lot of things — thus, like in MOST THINGS, context matters. And the context of nigger does too — obviously.

But that doesn’t even address the fact that blacks can choose all by themselves what they consider offensive, just as everyone else can.

The “staggering diversity of opinion on what cunt means,” it will not surprise you to learn, is achieved almost entirely from members of the class who have traditionally used the term, and scarcely at all from members of the class against whom it has been used. Pardon my incivility, but fuck your fake diversity, you bubbling leg-dribbles of choleric shit.

So what’m I getting out of this? Chiefly, that there are more ostensible progressives out there than I thought who want to have it both ways. On the one hand, they want to dissociate themselves from assholes like these, feign shock and horror that similar-such behavior could be occuring in our most elite halls of learning, and congratulate themselves on not being one bit like that themselves* because they appreciate and understand context, see.

On the other hand, they want to throw a motherfucking neverending tantrum, weeping and wailing and gnashing teeth all over the internet, anytime someone points out that their understanding of the context is incomplete due to the unavoidable limitations of their own lived experiences–a point which should be obvious, and which any of these jackboot-licking nerds could easily prove or disprove merely by walking up to any large man of African-American descent and explaining to him why he shouldn’t choose to find the n-word offensive. But these whiny-ass tittybabies aren’t going to do that, because deep down they know that’s going to end in an ass-kicking, with the probability of the ass getting kicked being theirs approaching 1.

So let’s take swipes at the dumb cunt feminazis, instead. What can they possibly do about it?

Here’s a hint to those performing mental gymnastics to justify their use of “cunt” as an insult, or floor wax, or dessert topping: when you start to sound like Ann Coulter trying to pass off “faggot” as nothing more than a schoolyard taunt and nothing at all sexual, it’s time to throw in the towel.


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122 comments for “Lazy Blogging Against Sexism

  1. Roy
    March 9, 2007 at 12:12 am

    It must really get frustrating to have to point out what, really, ought to be obvious.

    Is there a memo that can be sent out? I mean, it’d be short, sure, but maybe that’s what it’d take?

    1. Treat all people like people.
    2. Don’t be an asshat.
    3. If you’re considering using sexist/homophobic/racist slurs, see 1 and 2.

    Also: I’m glad that Ilyka linked the other Roy’s name- someone mentioned something about “Roy said such-and-such” and I had a moment of “Wait… what? No I didn’t.”

  2. Tara
    March 9, 2007 at 12:26 am

    1. Treat all people like people.
    2. Don’t be an asshat.

    These are great. Using this word, when you know that others find it offensive and when it is so fractious, cannot not be done apolitically. Its use is even more intentional: to solidify one’s status as a man and also to injure someone. The speaker knows it hurts but knows he’s protected by male privilege (and, furthermore, that he can explain it away as not actually being offensive). I lose complete respect for someone when they defend and continue to engage in unjust practices; it becomes so clear they’re on the other side (wanting to maintain oppression).

  3. March 9, 2007 at 12:49 am

    ur 2 good 2 me, zuzu.

    That pigheaded defense of slurs as a vital part of our language–the motherfucking King’s English, people!–that drives you nuts? I think it’s driven all of us a little nuts, but it has provided some pretty delicious irony: Whatever else you want to say about Neff Foldstein, the man will at least come right out (well, not right out–it takes him about 15,000 words) and state that he’s going to say whatever he wants to because liberty, full stop.

    I can cope with that (by not reading him). I can’t cope with “Gee, it sure would be nice if our society weren’t so sexist/racist/whatever, and because I feel that way, and I say so all the time, and I am your valuable ally (whom you do not want to anger) in the fight against oppression, I have special dispensation to say hateful things.” The hell you say!

    No, no, no, guys. Put on your wingnut caps and go sit in the corner and think about it some more, my sweet poppets.

  4. Laurie
    March 9, 2007 at 12:49 am

    Actually, cunt is one of the very few words that I find so offensive that I have a hard time saying it. The last time I heard it used was by a couple of jackasses hurling it at striking secretaries.

    Nope, nothing offense there. Just Humorless Women. Feh!

  5. March 9, 2007 at 1:43 am

    It’s worth mentioning that the word “cunt” is only that offensive in American English. In British English it’s a run of the mill insult, on a par with “arsehole.”

  6. March 9, 2007 at 1:56 am

    Not really, Alon, because someone, invariably male, points that out every single time this comes up. You know? We get it. Enough. This is not the UK.

  7. March 9, 2007 at 2:01 am

    That was actually a pretty clever use of US-guilting to try to get the silly cunts to shut up. You ladies don’t want to be provincial do you? If you only stopped thinking of America as the center of the universe, you wouldn’t be upset at the c-word!

  8. prairielily
    March 9, 2007 at 2:09 am

    I know it’s not bad in Britain, because I’ve had some British friends that used it, and it freaked me out a little.

    But you know what? I told them I found the word upsetting, and I told them why, and they stopped saying it around me. Incredible, isn’t it? It’s like they actually gave a fuck about my feelings and didn’t want me to be uncomfortable!

    My boyfriend thought it was just a regular word, too. I told him that I’ve only ever heard it spat at me by guys who looked like they wanted to hit me, but knew that they would go down for assault if they did. You know, when I did cunty uppity bitch things like politely turn down advances or express my opinion on something. Amazingly, he never used it again either.

    It’s like they thought I was a real person and that my feelings and opinions had merit.

  9. March 9, 2007 at 3:01 am

    Worth mentioning: In the UK, they drive on the LEFT side of the road, whereas we drive on the RIGHT. As a result of this, their steering wheels are all fucked up.

    FACT

  10. March 9, 2007 at 3:12 am

    No, ilyka, this is a FACT: In Englad, Chuck Norris drives an ice cream truck covered with human skulls–on the left side of the road.

  11. March 9, 2007 at 3:49 am

    I’ve actually been holed up in my office until quite recently, finishing a memo I should have had done much earlier in the day, and would have, but for the fact that the law in Alaska on the particular point I was researching is a little thin.

    Why do you hate Alaskans, zuzu?

  12. March 9, 2007 at 4:32 am

    Did you know in some countries Chuck Norris is without honor or recognition or even a toothbrush.

    FACT

  13. zuzu
    March 9, 2007 at 8:48 am

    Count me as another one who’s sick of the “But it’s not so bad in the UK!” defense. Well, that’s lovely. However, if you’re not from the UK, you don’t get to raise that as a defense.

    In addition, if you aren’t from a Commonwealth country and you have an aversion to z’s and an overfondness for u’s in your spelling, you are a pretentious prat.

  14. Spicy
    March 9, 2007 at 8:59 am

    It’s worth mentioning that the word “cunt” is only that offensive in American English. In British English it’s a run of the mill insult, on a par with “arsehole.”

    Rubbish.

    I am from the UK – whilst it may be used more than in the US it is still not run of the mill and certainly not on a par with arsehole.

  15. March 9, 2007 at 9:30 am

    Heraclitus (Jeff): Are you implying that Chuck Norris has to follow traffic rules? In England, Chuck Norris drives an ice cream truck covered with human skulls–on whichever side of the road he wants to drive.

  16. Nomie
    March 9, 2007 at 9:47 am

    Chuck Norris doesn’t drive. Chuck Norris makes the road carry him according to his will.

  17. Kim
    March 9, 2007 at 9:52 am

    Y’know, I don’t get why this is an issue at all with some people. If someone says “Hey… that word makes me uncomfortable, could you not use it around me?” what kind of an ass says no?

    And fuck the UK argument. They also drive on the left side of the road: give that a try over here sometime and see how far it gets you.

  18. soullite
    March 9, 2007 at 9:56 am

    Christ, it never ceases to amaze me how totally fucking clueless a bunch of white women whining about a word that really just means “you’re a bad person” can be.

    Just like “bitch” (on which the grounds for objection in the english language is actually stronger), the word Cunt isn’t really anything different than “asshole”. No matter how hard you try to make it so. At it’s heart, it will always just be an accusation of bad behavior, even when used when that behavior is absent. No matter how much women try to turn “cunt” into “nigger” it will never be the same.

    “Cunt”, at it’s heart, will always just mean “A mean-spirited, malicious woman who doesn’t care about anything but herself”. No matter if people spit at you when they say it, even when used to try and shut down conversation, the definition never magically changes, it just becomes a word misused. Those people who spit at you DID choose that word because women find it offensive, and because it’s gender specific. That’s not enough to make it rise to the level of a racial slur, nor is it enough to make it the word “faggot”, which essentially operates as a racial slur. I’ll explain this to all of you, even though I know you’ll never accept the difference because you don’t want to.
    Look at the word “nigger”. It’s not possible not to use it in this conversation. It’s America’s premier slur, the one that gives most of the others their power. Nigger will always mean “You’re not even worthy of being called human”. It can’t be used in any other way. It’s not an accusation of behavior, it’s a label that means “subhuman”. Its a word that can’t be misused, because it has no real meaning beyond it’s use as a racist symbol. “Cunt” may be a symbol of misogyny, but it is also a word that means everything from “you’re a stupid valley dweller” to “female genitalia”. Try and come up with someone “Nigger” or “faggot” or “wetback” to mean other than “You’re not worthy of being called human”.

    I really try explaining this till I’m blue in the face. But you’ll never accept that because you never accept that it takes more for something to be a slur than for it to be used in hatred, or even by hateful people. It requires a history, a stripping away of the word of every other meaning. I’ve heard plenty of women use the word “cunt” to mean an inconsiderate and spiteful woman. They all swear up and down that they hate the word, even as they use it’s classical meaning. I’ve only heard the most self-hating of black folks use the term “nigger” to mean “you fucking animal”.

  19. Frumious B
    March 9, 2007 at 10:01 am

    The word “cunt” has no special connotations for me. Nobody used it when I was growing up. I knew what it meant, in an anatomical sense, but since nobody used it, there was no context associated with it. I’ve also never been called a cunt. If somebody were to call me a cunt, I wouldn’t be much more upset than if they had called me a bitch.

    However. I read others’ descriptions of how it is used, and I read others’ experiences with being called cunt, and I get it. And I will never call a woman a cunt.

    If I can get it, why can’t these dudes get it? Is it the ovaries?

  20. Ugly in Pink
    March 9, 2007 at 10:12 am

    This once came up in a discussion with my husband, where he said that he’d always thought using “cunt” to mean specifically female genitalia (“my cunt is gushing blood today, so i’m not in a great mood”) was just somewhat rude on the level of “fuck”, but using it to refer to a woman (“you cunt”) was an unforgivable sin, and probably cause for immediate violence done to the speaker. I agree with him, but if I told him I found it upsetting in any context, you can damn well bet he’d never use it again.

    Why is simple decency so hard to find?

  21. Ugly in Pink
    March 9, 2007 at 10:16 am

    Btw, translation of soullite: Women don’t get to complain about being degraded! You uppity cunts just don’t get it.

    Sorry, but the primary meaning of cunt when used to address a woman (faggot also means a bundle of sticks or a cigarette, you know) is that she’s just a mechanism to carry around her vagina, which is the only part of her with any worth and the only part worth mentioning or addressing. That is absolutely on the same level as fag, wetback, kike, and nigger.

  22. Laurie
    March 9, 2007 at 10:21 am

    There is something particularly dehumanizing about being reduced to a body part, and especially a body part that people tend to think of as dirty and *shameful*. (You’ll note that even assholes are not considered *shameful*, just dirty.) There is also something to be said when a word is used consistently to degrade and oppress another human being. Not everywhere, no, and not by everyone (I also did not hear it in use when I was growing up), but consistently it is used to beat women down, to remind us of our “place” with regards to men. The women who use it pejoratively are just buying into that whole patriarchal mindset — they are the same ones who use “bitch” to mean a woman they can’t control. The women who are trying to reclaim it as a neutral slang word for a body part have a long, long road ahead of them.

    No, I put “cunt” in the same category as nigger and faggot — words that I can hardly get out of my mouth because they taste so bad.

  23. zuzu
    March 9, 2007 at 10:29 am

    Those people who spit at you DID choose that word because women find it offensive, and because it’s gender specific.

    It’s gendered, but you shouldn’t be offended because it’s gendered, because really, it’s just like asshole that way.

    Do you have to take Dramamine before you think these things up, Soullite?

  24. exangelena
    March 9, 2007 at 10:40 am

    About the whole “But it’s ok in the UK!” business, I think it was in this book (Children of the Troubles) where I read a chilling story. It’s nonfiction set in Northern Ireland (arguably part of Britain, and definitely the British Isles), and there was a description of several British men brutally beating an Irish man, and when they left him to die, they called him an “Irish c—“. Somehow, I don’t think that you could interchange “asshole” into that event.
    And even if it does hold true, that c— is not as offensive in Britain as it is here, and I wish some of the UK feminist bloggers would comment on this, that’s why we have different dialects of English.

  25. March 9, 2007 at 11:25 am

    The etymology of the word “cunt,” as I’m sure you know soullite, is “vulva” or “vagina.” We live in a culture where one of worst insults for a man is to tell him he’s like a woman. “Pussy” = weak, because it relies on the notion that women are weak, whereas men are not. Other insults lofted at men that work only because they mean “you’re like a woman”: effeminate, “stop acting like a girl,” “you throw/run like a girl,” “ladies, “sissy” (which derives from the diminutive of “sister”), etc.

    The only reason those are considered insults is because men equate being a woman with something negative. Something “less than” being male. Therefore, any insult which relies on female characteristics automatically carries with it the connotation of “you are less than a man,” i.e., “you are inferior.”

    Further, our culture considers female sexuality as something inherently degrading and shameful, whereas male sexuality is considered powerful. Therefore, any insult that relies on a female sexual characteristic has the double whammy of “inferior” and “degrading and shameful.”

    Lastly, we live in a world where women are constantly being portrayed as hyper-sexualized. Women are figuratively and literally told “you’re only good for one thing, bitch.” Therefore, any insult that relies on “vagina” as its root gets a triple whammy – “inferior,” “degrading and shameful,” and “the only thing you’re good for anyway.”

    Men don’t feel the last two connotations the way women do, because they never internalize them. I know it’s nice to pretend the context in which the insult works doesn’t exist, but it does. However, even if you don’t get it, the fact that pretty much 50% of the population tells you how offensive it is to them should give you pause. Something along the lines of “Well, I can’t say I understand their point, but since it’s a lot easier for me to just use a different word than they say it is for them to hear the word, perhaps I should at least pretend I give a damn about what they have to say and use a different word.”

    You’d think it was such a huge, monstrous imposition just to use a different insult. Well, it’s not. It’s the kind of thing we do for people we respect all the time. When you know a certain individual you respect finds something particularly upsetting for whatever reason, you just don’t bring it up when they’re around. When you’re unwilling to do that most people will take one of two things away from that: (1) you’re an incredibly self-centered asshole or (2) you don’t really respect them. Possibly both.

    I’m not even going to examine why “bitch” connotes “less than human,” since it derives from the term for “female dog.” ‘Nough said.

  26. Ruth
    March 9, 2007 at 11:31 am

    “faggot also means a bundle of sticks or a cigarette, you know”

    Actually, it doesn’t mean a cigarette. You’re thinking of ‘fag’, which IS UK slang for cigarette, and is never used in the UK to refer to a homosexual.

  27. March 9, 2007 at 11:42 am

    It’s worth mentioning that the word “cunt” is only that offensive in American English. In British English it’s a run of the mill insult, on a par with “arsehole.”

    Even if that were quite true, and as Spicy points out, it’s not precisely, so what? As an American who has spent a lot of time in London, I know there’s a certain hand gesture which is thoroughly non-offensive in the U.S., but is considered offensive in the U.K. Therefore, I make sure not to use that hand gesture when I’m in the U.K. Part of that whole “Why do something you know offends someone else when you can very easily not do it” thing.

  28. ACS
    March 9, 2007 at 11:53 am

    Not really, Alon, because someone, invariably male, points that out every single time this comes up. You know? We get it. Enough. This is not the UK.

    This may be compulsive anti-UScentrism, but it’s not the United States, either. It’s the Internet.

    — ACS

  29. March 9, 2007 at 11:56 am

    Soul Lite indeed. None of the calories, and none of the substance.

  30. Sniper
    March 9, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    I really try explaining this till I’m blue in the face…

    Please stop. Also, go fuck yourself.

  31. Kali
    March 9, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    UK English isn’t monolithic; there are different dialects. And anywhere I’ve lived in the UK and Ireland, the c-word was definitely definitely not on a par with “asshole.” I don’t think it packs the same misogynistic punch as it does in the USA, and it does get more commonly directed at men, but it is, for example, the only swear word that consistently gets bleeped out of late night broadcasts. It is the most offensive swear word you can use. (There was a weird moment in the recent world-famous, diplomatic incident provoking, racist edition of Celebrity Big Brother, when a recording of a particularly unpleasant contestant calling an Indian actress a bleeped-out word appeared on YouTube. People contended he’d called her a Paki. Channel 4 defended him by saying he’d actually called her a c*nt. My brain melted trying to unpack the implications.)
    Anyway, I believe the word is commonly thrown around in Glasgow. Although no doubt a Glaswegian would be able to refine this observation; I’m sure there’s a class element too. Did people get this whole misconception from Trainspotting?
    Anyway, the point is: I don’t know, from my own experience, what being called that word means to American women. So I listen to them when they tell me. Why is that so hard?
    Also, zuzu, Ireland is not a Commonwealth country and we use “British” spellings.

  32. zuzu
    March 9, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    Also, zuzu, Ireland is not a Commonwealth country and we use “British” spellings.

    Point taken. Amend that to “not from or educated in an English-speaking country that is not the US or one of its possessions or territories.”

    I’m mostly trying to include the Americans who took one trip to London or watched Trainspotting and fancy themselves Brits.

  33. Kali
    March 9, 2007 at 12:31 pm

    Argh, I got caught in the modbot anyway, I hoped the asterisks would help me escape. And I just re-read my comment and I want to say that the reason I asterisked the c-word but not the P-word is not because I think the P-word less offensive, but because I thought it probably wouldn’t trigger the modbot of an American site. (Maybe I was wrong; maybe this racial slur is used in the US, or maybe, somewhat ironically, I was caught by the word a**hole. )

  34. zuzu
    March 9, 2007 at 12:35 pm

    Honestly, it could be anything. We’ve had to add some very pedestrian words to our modbot list to get around the rather creative pr0n spammers.

  35. Mnemosyne
    March 9, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    I don’t think it packs the same misogynistic punch as it does in the USA, and it does get more commonly directed at men, but it is, for example, the only swear word that consistently gets bleeped out of late night broadcasts. It is the most offensive swear word you can use.

    I saw an article in one of the big British music magazines a few years ago that used the word “Fuck” in a headline but censored the c-word.

    So, yeah, all the protestations that it’s no big deal in Britain are not quite correct, though I’m sure it makes a nice talking point for people who have heard rumors on the internet along those lines.

    And, yes, I love how a specifically feminine insult isn’t a real insult to Soullite. It’s the troll version of, “Why aren’t you feminists talking about the important issues — you know, the ones that affect me?

  36. March 9, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    Both sides of this argument seem pretty convinced that they’re obviously right and that the other side is being deliberately obtuse. I don’t think that’s true, and I wish both parties would be less attached to their positions.

    Yes, it’s true that people should generally refrain from using words that offend others, all things being equal. This isn’t always the case, however; we have a right to our language, and we should be skeptical of claims that insulting Israel is anti-semitic, or that equating Intelligent Design with Creationism makes the baby Jesus cry. Words are important, and they mean something, and useful words should not be banned simply because they hurt someone’s feelings. But I’m not sure that “cunt” is as politically useful as its defenders seem to think, and perhaps they ought to consider putting a lid on it if it makes so many people so angry. Don’t be assholes needlessly.

    I disagree with soullite about “nigger” and “cunt” being categorically different from each other. There are, contrary to your experience, many black Americans who employ “nigger” to refer to other black people who fail to meet the speaker’s standards of civility. It has, in my experience, bittersweet connotations to many black Americans; it is used to denote both disapproval and affection for certain aspects of black culture, in much the same way “redneck” is used by good old boys or “geek” is used by socially ostracized intellectuals. In all these cases, the word conjures up bitter asociations with marginalization and persecution, but it is also a marker of affection for the idiosyncracies of the speaker’s culture. “Man, you are such a [nigger/geek/redneck]” is not an uncommon expression of affectionate faux-condemnation within these groups. And by the same token, “Don’t be such a [nigger/geek/redneck]” is used as a shaming mechanism within the same groups, in a way that would be unacceptable if employed by someone outside the group. I agree that “nigger” conjures up more extreme feelings than the other expressions in most cases, but this is a difference of degree, not of kind.

    The only new idea I can think to contribute to this debate is to stress the importance of context, and to suggest that people should be sensitive both to a speaker’s right to his or her language and to the listener’s associations with certain words. If you think a specific person, in a specific context, is being overly sensitive or overly insensitive, then we have a problem. But this should always be viewed in context: a British man calling a group of his male friends “cunts” affectionately, at a party, is just not the same situation as an American man calling a woman a “stupid cunt” because she won’t respond to his sexual harassment.

    One question which I’m surprised not to have seen discussed here (maybe I missed it): what do we think about calling men “dicks”?

  37. March 9, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    Therese Norén, that’s brilliant!

  38. sophonisba
    March 9, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    what do we think about calling men “dicks”?

    I think we never ever call women dicks. Or pricks. Ever.

    Men, on the other hand, are called “cunts” or “pussies” or “bitches” quite frequently (as has just been discussed, “cunt” is used for men in the UK in a way not entirely dissimilar to “pussy” in the US.) We do not say of a woman we wish to dominate, that we intend to “make her our dick.” Or our our bull, or our stag. We do not tell a woman who is being cowardly that she should “stop being such a prick.”

    That is why it’s different. That’s why cunt and pussy are not analogous to dick and prick, and why it is impossible to argue in good faith that they are.

  39. March 9, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    what do we think about calling men “dicks”?

    I will tell you what I think. I don’t do that any longer, because it is a gendered insult (also because it’s a common nickname for those named Richard, and, well, all guys named “Dick” don’t deserve to be insulted). However, I don’t think it’s quite comparable to the word “cunt.”

    The primary reason I think that is something I mentioned in my first comment. Male sexuality is considered powerful. So while “dick” is an insult, it’s an insult that connotes power, not inferiority. As such, behaving like a proverbial “dick” is often rewarded. Now, that may be hard to believe, but I work in corporate America. Beyond that, I work in financial services. It is not uncommon for men to cultivate “dickish” behavior in order to progress up the ranks. In that environment, this behavior is quite handsomely rewarded with both power and money.

    FYI, I separate “dick” from either “dickbrain” or “dickhead,” because IMO those also connote stupidity in addition to unpleasantness. Stupidity is not handsomely rewarded. Unpleasantness is. The ability to act unpleasantly is a sign of power. “I can behave this way, and you can’t stop me, because I am more powerful than you.” As I laid out, “cunt” implies inferiority. “Dick” does not. Therein, IMO, lies the difference.

  40. March 9, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    Dammit, now I’ll have to think of some other investigative sobriquet if and when a wee lassie gets glassed.

  41. sophonisba
    March 9, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    That is to say, without getting too too lit-critty about it, generally speaking, we call men dicks or pricks when we consider them to possess to much of those qualities which are popularly held to inhere in the penis: pride, self-confidence, self-love, selfishness, brashness: in a word, “masculinity.” Just enough of it, and a guy is fine; too much, he’s too full of himself, he’s a jerk. Or a prick. Too cocky, as it were.

    The connotations of ‘cunt’ and ‘ pussy’ have been exhaustively catalogued here and elsewhere. Suffice it to say, they are not the same.

    I am both white and a woman, but while I would be disgusted and angry were I to be called a cunt, if you called me a honky or a cracker, I really wouldn’t give a shit. I might laugh. Insults are not all equivalent.

    It would make sense to equate ‘prick’ and ‘cunt’ if we lived in a society that considered men and women to be more or less equal in all things. But, you know, we don’t.

  42. C.Exile
    March 9, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    Soullite,
    What makes you think it’s all white women “whining” on this board? Do you think no women of color have ever been offended by a word?

  43. Kali
    March 9, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    as has just been discussed, “cunt” is used for men in the UK in a way not entirely dissimilar to “pussy” in the US.

    Actually it’s not similar at all; it doesn’t connote “femininity.” What it most often means IME is “bad person.” LIke, someone who’s done something really horrible, made the speaker seriously angry. Or generally treats everyone around them like shit. It is a word that tends to be loaded with rage, though, as I said, not necessarily misogynistic rage. I could say to (some) friends “you’re such a dick” or “stop being a bitch”. but I could never call them “cunt.”

    Actually, now I’m wondering: do Americans use “twat” as an insult? Is it only women who get that? Here it’s gender-neutral, not very powerful, you’re just basically calling someone a fool. In fact I can’t really think of any female-specific insults other than “bitch” and “cow” (which I think in the US implies fatness, but here doesn’t necessarily.) But dick, prick, wanker, knob, et al, are all aimed almost exclusively at men. I have no idea what this means but suddenly I’m fascinated. Hope I’m not derailing!

  44. werty
    March 9, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    Kali- ‘Twat’ actually means the same thing as ‘cunt’.
    I used it for years thinking it was a mild insult not and not having any idea, so I think a lot of people don’t think of it like that. (I’m British, by the way.)

  45. Kali
    March 9, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    I know it literally means the same thing; I meant it gets directed at both men and women, and it is generally perceived as a mild insult, not as strong as, say, prick. I was thinking that if Americans reserved the female-genitalia insults for women only, and on this side of the Atlantic we don’t, that might mean something. Though I don’t know what.

  46. Kali
    March 9, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    In fact I can’t really think of any female-specific insults other than “bitch” and “cow”

    Sigh. I knew there was something wrong with that statement; I left out all the insults such as slut, skank, dog, minger, that are used to insult women’s sexuality/sexual attractiveness in particular. Probably because I have good radar for the kind of person who uses those, and never hang out with them. Maybe it’s just a case of: men get insulted for their personalities; women not being real people, get insulted for their sexuality alone, and language reflects this. Whatevs.

  47. tzs
    March 9, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    people who think that the word “cunt” is acceptable have shown how totally, mindlessly lazy they are with their insults:

    “Cunt!”

    *yawn* “Can’t you do better than that? Call me a virago, a hydra-headed harpy, an unholy incestuous combination of Scylla and Charybdis…and I may even admire you for your creativity. Cunt? The mewling regurgitations of a feeble-minded bigot too stupid to even open the dictionary. Feh!”

  48. tzs
    March 9, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    P.S. by the way, if anyone wants some good insults, try Edmund’s harangue in King Lear.

  49. ACS
    March 9, 2007 at 4:01 pm

    That is to say, without getting too too lit-critty about it, generally speaking, we call men dicks or pricks when we consider them to possess to much of those qualities which are popularly held to inhere in the penis: pride, self-confidence, self-love, selfishness, brashness: in a word, “masculinity.” Just enough of it, and a guy is fine; too much, he’s too full of himself, he’s a jerk. Or a prick. Too cocky, as it were.

    The connotations of ‘cunt’ and ‘ pussy’ have been exhaustively catalogued here and elsewhere. Suffice it to say, they are not the same.

    I’m not quite sure that’s the case. “Cunt”, in particular, seems to correspond essentially in meaning with “prick” and “asshole,” but with the added quality of “uppityness.” As in: a “prick” is essentially filling a prescribed role, though to a greater degree. A “cunt” is stepping outside the prescribed feminine role to engage in the behavior that is deemed “cunty.”

    — ACS

  50. Inverarity
    March 9, 2007 at 4:26 pm

    You’re taking the wrong approach by arguing with Soullite and his ilk, because you’re starting from the premise that he’s somehow confused or ignorant and really believes the sophistry he’s spouting. He’s not. He understands perfectly well why “cunt” is not “a malicious, spiteful woman” and a term that only “whiny white women” get upset about. He understands everything you’re saying and knows exactly what impact the word has and why, despite his innocent batting of the eyelashes and much-put-upon sighs.

    These guys know what they’re doing. They understand context and cultural freight as well as anyone else. They’re 100% disingenuous, and by engaging with them as if they’re just stupid or clueless and an adequately rational explanation will somehow make them see the light, you only entertain them.

  51. zuzu
    March 9, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    I don’t think that’s the case at all; I think we all understand that soullite knows the arguments but still feels compelled to spin them (hence my Dramamine comment).

    He won’t see reasoned arguments, but the ones who are not quite so in love with claiming progressive cred but still saying naughty words because teh feminists disapprove might be persuaded.

  52. Frumious B
    March 9, 2007 at 4:44 pm

    “Cunt”, in particular, seems to correspond essentially in meaning with “prick” and “asshole,”

    ah, so calling a guy a prick reduces him to his genitalia and reminds him that he is just a life support system for a penis which should be available 24-7 to service sexual needs. noted.

  53. Mnemosyne
    March 9, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    Actually, now I’m wondering: do Americans use “twat” as an insult?

    Only after watching a lot of BBC America. ;-)

  54. Inverarity
    March 9, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    Guys will laugh or take pride in being called a “dick” or an “asshole.” Some men even use it as a badge of honor: “Yeah, I can be a real dick at times.” It does not translate the same as “cunt.”

  55. March 9, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    The etymology of the word “cunt,” as I’m sure you know soullite, is “vulva” or “vagina.” We live in a culture where one of worst insults for a man is to tell him he’s like a woman.

    The problem with etymologies is that they can get debased. The word “asshole” originally referred to gay bottoms, not to excretion; however, now it’s considered a lot closer to “shithead” or “piece of shit” than to “pussy.” Brits use the word “bloody,” which originally had a very specific religious connotation hardly anyone in today’s UK knows about or cares for.

    Even if that were quite true, and as Spicy points out, it’s not precisely, so what?

    Because it shows how shaky it is to declare a word magically off limits. I mean, you can talk about it empirically and note how it actively perpetuates a sexist system, but that’s not what the post Zuzu’s quoting is doing. It basically does something that could be done to any word or phrase, regardless of validity.

  56. zuzu
    March 9, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    Oh, and now we have TRex in the mod queue, thinking that he’s the only one who’s ever used the word “cunt” as an insult, and that MUST be what we’re reacting to. Because we’re obsessive fangirls like that over here.

    Though, honestly, he spends a lot more time over here than I do over there.

  57. zuzu
    March 9, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    The word “asshole” originally referred to gay bottoms, not to excretion;

    You got a source for that? Because that sounds apocryphal.

  58. March 9, 2007 at 5:21 pm

    Whoa. Just to be clear: I didn’t claim that “dick” and “cunt” were equivalent. What I asked was: how do we feel about the use of “dick”? I thought it might clarify why we find one more objectionable than the other, and what they have in common, and what they don’t.

    Inverarity, zuzu: I may be a little naive here, but I really think you’re wrong in your last comments. I don’t think this issue is as black and white as you seem to. I think some people are quite reasonably skeptical about attempts to declare parts of the English language out-of-bounds on political grounds that they find logically flawed. I also think that lots of people are assholes, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that everyone who questions your position on this issue is some kind of patriarchal prick. As it were.

    Kali and others have corrected the mistaken equation of “cunt” with “pussy” as a label applied to men in the UK. So what’s going on here? If a male “twat” is a loser, and a male “cunt” is a jerk, and a male “pussy” is a wimp, where does that leave us? If an American were to call me a “cunt”, I would assume it was an insult, but I honestly wouldn’t be sure what he meant. If he called me a “testicle”, ditto. We don’t like to be equated with taboo bits of the body, male or female. Rectum. Armpit. Crotch. Clitoris. What do these mean as insults? I honestly don’t know. They haven’t had any significance attached to them, other than a general evocation of bodily shame.

    By the same token, I don’t know what “cunt” means applied to a man in the US. Applied to a woman, it means the same thing as “bitch”, in my experience, although it is somewhat more harsh. “Dick” has an indeterminate meaning applied to a woman; applied to a man, it seems at first to be a much milder form of “cunt” as applied to a woman. What gives?

    I’m not convinced, as some here seem to be, that a word for male genitalia, applied to a man, and meaning “insensitive power-hungry jerk”, has a cultural significance so completely different from a word for female genitalia, applied to women, with the same meaning. I’m not saying the social consequences of using the two words is equivalent, but again, I think it’s a difference of degree, not of kind. Which could be said, after all, about all kinds of things done to a woman versus a man. I think sophonisba is right about this: the words have different consequences only because we live in a society where women and men are, in fact, treated differently. But this gets into very tricky questions of equality to which I’m afraid the current polarized debate is not giving its due.

    What do we tell kids about this? “It’s okay for girls to call boys “dicks”, but it’s not okay for boys to call girls “cunts”, because men are more socially privileged than women”? That sounds like a prescription for internalizing patriarchy. But it’s exactly what we do when we perpetuate this seeming double standard. I certainly do it: I call men dicks all the time, but I don’t call women cunts. No one here has given me a good explanation for why this is okay. But I’m very attached to this use of “dick”, as I’m sure most members of this forum are. Why is this okay?

    Lesley seems to say that it’s not okay. But of course, a cursory survey of the feminist blogosphere turns up plenty of references to various men as “dicks” or “pricks”. I don’t intuitively find this to be a problem, and I suspect that Lesley is exceptional in this regard. I’m just having trouble understanding why I seem to accept this double standard, and none of the arguments here is, frankly, very convincing.

    I disagree with Lesley that “cunt” does not carry the same connotations as “dick” or “prick”. I certainly know women who use “cunt” as a signifier of ego, power, assertiveness, just as many women have come to use “bitch”. “Cunt” is obviously more loaded with its use as a tool for keeping women in line, but you use what you’ve got.

    This is not willful ignorance on my part, I promise. I’m not feigning lack of understanding to protect my patriarchal attitudes. So I’d appreciate it if respondents could give me the benefit of the doubt that I’m arguing in good faith.

  59. March 9, 2007 at 5:22 pm

    OED sez:

    4. Special Combinations. asshole, (a) = arse-hole s.v. ARSE n. 3; (b) someone or something foolish or contemptible; an uncompromising term of abuse…

    1935 DYLAN THOMAS Let. July (1966) 159 The best socialists suck all they can from the jaundiced *ass-hole of an anti-socialist state. 1948 Amer. Speech XXIII. 319 Ass hole buddy, comrade-in-arms. 1962 J. BALDWIN Another Country I. ii. 111 Of course, he’s an asshole too. 1977 J. D. MACDONALD Condominium xxiv. 208 ‘What did you call me?’ McGinnity demanded. Branhammer studied him and said distinctly, ‘I called you an ass hole, you ass hole! I don’t trust one of you overeducated ass holes sitting there in a goddam row.’ 1981 R. SCHOENSTEIN et al. I-Hate-Preppies Handbk. 20 Two distinct kinds of Nerds are indigenous to America today: the asshole with a high IQ and the asshole with a low one.

    Etymonline.com doesn’t have a separate entry for asshole, so here’s the one for ass:

    slang for “backside,” first attested 1860 in nautical slang, in popular use from 1930; from Amer.Eng. pronunciation of arse (q.v.). The loss of -r- before -s- attested in several other words (e.g. burst/bust, curse/cuss, horse/hoss, barse/bass). Indirect evidence of the change from arse to ass can be traced to 1785 (in euphemistic avoidance of ass “donkey” by polite speakers) and perhaps to Shakespeare, if Nick Bottom transformed into a donkey in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (1594) is the word-play some think it is. Meaning “woman regarded as a sexual object” is from 1942. Asshole first attested 1935.

    Neither of which seem to mention anything about gay bottoms, unless I’m misreading.

  60. March 9, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    The problem with etymologies is that they can get debased. The word “asshole” originally referred to gay bottoms, not to excretion; however, now it’s considered a lot closer to “shithead” or “piece of shit” than to “pussy.” Brits use the word “bloody,” which originally had a very specific religious connotation hardly anyone in today’s UK knows about or cares for.

    I pointed out the etymology in order to bolster the rest of the comment. Not as a stand-alone argument that the etymology automatically renders the word offensive, and certainly never as an argument that etymology in general automatically renders a word offensive. I am familiar with the concept of words changing in meaning over time. In this case, that hasn’t happened. If it had, you might have a relevant point to *this* discussion. If you really want to take a sentence out of context, feel free, but what’s the point of it?

    Because it shows how shaky it is to declare a word magically off limits. I mean, you can talk about it empirically and note how it actively perpetuates a sexist system, but that’s not what the post Zuzu’s quoting is doing. It basically does something that could be done to any word or phrase, regardless of validity.

    Except no one was declaring it “magically off limits.” I’ll grant you that the quote from Ilyka wasn’t a detailed empirical analysis of the word. It was, however, explaining that pretty much 50% of the population finds it quite offensive, so perhaps the 50% that doesn’t because they don’t have the same experiences might want to consider that before airily dismissing the offense as “Sigh, those damn over-sensitive wimmin just can’t understand the importance of ‘context.'” And I’m quite sure that’s what zuzu was getting at in quoting it in her post.

    There’s nothing “magical” about that. It’s not like anyone argued “Gosh, that word just shouldn’t be used. No particular reason why; it just shouldn’t.” Granted, there was an assumption that the people reading the post have some grounding in theory and so would understand the context in which the post was written. Meaning they would understand terms like “lived experience” and how a woman’s might differ from a man’s in a sexist society. No magic involved.

  61. zuzu
    March 9, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    Inverarity, zuzu: I may be a little naive here, but I really think you’re wrong in your last comments. I don’t think this issue is as black and white as you seem to. I think some people are quite reasonably skeptical about attempts to declare parts of the English language out-of-bounds on political grounds that they find logically flawed. I also think that lots of people are assholes, but I don’t think it’s fair to say that everyone who questions your position on this issue is some kind of patriarchal prick. As it were.

    Matt, I really have to wonder whether you’ve read the justifications of soullite and others as to why they’ve just GOTTA use “cunt.” Because you seem to think that they’re making good-faith arguments and we just disagree somehow.

    Moreover, I really have to question your claim that you’re not being willfully ignorant, since you’re under the delusion that Ilyka or I or anyone else is trying to “declare” the word “off-limits.”

  62. March 9, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    I certainly know women who use “cunt” as a signifier of ego, power, assertiveness, just as many women have come to use “bitch”.

    Yeah, but that’s getting at reclamation of the word. The non-privileged can use a derogatory term in a reclamatory sense. The privileged cannot. In our culture, no man can use the word “cunt” that way, any more than a white person can use the word “nigger” that way. If the term ever gets fully reclaimed, the way “gay” has, then you can use it without fear of being classed a sexist jerk. But until then? No. Unfair? Oh well.

    “Cunt” is obviously more loaded with its use as a tool for keeping women in line, but you use what you’ve got.

    To what end are you using it, if you know it’s a tool for keeping women in line?

    Look, I already laid out in my first comment why “cunt” connotes inferiority, not just “you’re unpleasant.” I’m not going to do so again. I assume you’re disagreeing with my argument. I’m just not clear on what basis you’re disagreeing.

  63. Mnemosyne
    March 9, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    I certainly know women who use “cunt” as a signifier of ego, power, assertiveness, just as many women have come to use “bitch”.

    Do we really have to go over the difference between reclaiming a word and using a word as an insult yet again?

    Tell you what. Walk into your closest gay bar and call the first guy you see in there a queer. Despite “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” I guarantee you that you will get punched. Do you have the slightest idea why, or do we need to go over it again for the millionth goddamned time?

  64. ilyka
    March 9, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    but that’s not what the post Zuzu’s quoting is doing. It basically does something that could be done to any word or phrase, regardless of validity.

    And another variant of the “aw, you’re just arbitrarily declaring words off-limits to be mean, you PC fascist” argument surfaces.

    I am always being told that I should cut you a break because you are young, Alon, but this isn’t a youth problem. This is a reading comprehension problem. I am not “doing” anything to helpless, innocent words, and what I am talking about cannot in fact be applied to “any word or phrase.”

    The youth part comes into it in that you’re currently at that stage where anything that can’t be shown to you by mathematical formula is suspect. Perhaps you will grow out of that in time. Until then, regarding your objection that I do not “talk about it empirically,” that is because I am more inclined to “talk about it personally,” possibly because I am not a think tank.

    Please note that “personal” and “magical” are not synonyms.

    As for all the cunt-is-a-word-with-many-varied-origins-and-shades-of-meaning nonsense going on upthread, read any random result from this search to see how the word is used commonly in the United States. Then, pat yourself on the back for sharing a deep and abiding love of women with a dead Georgia cracker, and also for being not one bit like those nasty wingnuts. No, not one bit.

  65. March 9, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    Tell you what. Walk into your closest gay bar and call the first guy you see in there a queer. Despite “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” I guarantee you that you will get punched. Do you have the slightest idea why, or do we need to go over it again for the millionth goddamned time?

    Quotes like this are why I refer to the exclusion of “cunt” here as magical. Lived experience, exemplified by “I guarantee you that you will get punched,” reduces oppression to bad feeling. Bad feeling exists everywhere; if you walk into a synagogue in Connecticut and declare that Israel is an apartheid state, you’ll probably not fare much better than a person who walks into a gay bar and calls people queers, except insofar as bars are more frequent sites of physical violence than houses of worship.

    That’s what underlies my point, “you can talk about it empirically and note how it actively perpetuates a sexist system.” Obviously, to call a black person a nigger is not in the same category as to tell a Jew that Israel is an apartheid state. But that’s not because of how they would describe that experience, but because the word “nigger” was the linguistic pinnacle of segregation in very specific manners, while calling Israel an apartheid state has never been associated with real anti-Semitism outside the Jerusalem Post’s editorial staff’s collective imagination.

  66. zuzu
    March 9, 2007 at 6:00 pm

    Alon, it’s nice that you want to talk about empiricism, but language isn’t used that way. And you can’t just airily dismiss lived experience.

  67. March 9, 2007 at 6:05 pm

    Now who’s not getting that “context matters.” Alon, seriously, we’re all discussing this in a certain context that we believe is understood by the vast majority of readers. You’ve been reading these blogs long enough to get that context., which includes that empirical analysis you’re so hot on. We don’t particularly feel the need to constantly reiterate it every damn time, because this isn’t Feminism 101 or Racism 101 or Homophobia 101.

    Honestly, it’s rather insulting that you don’t think we all understand the difference contexts in which “queer” and “Israel is an apartheid state” work. There’s no damn “magic” involved here, other than your apparently impressive ability to project “magical thinking” on the rest of us.

  68. Ismone
    March 9, 2007 at 6:44 pm

    The difference is that some offensive utterings (like those about politics) contain ideas and are meant to rudely challenge people’s assumptions. Some offensive utterings (like “cunt”) don’t have any informational content. Do we all get mad and say really awful things sometimes? Sure. But I don’t think I could ever get mad enough at a person to justify calling them the n-word. Why is it okay to get so mad at a woman that you call her a cunt?

  69. Kali
    March 9, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    Well, to be honest, if I was Jewish, and as soon as someone learned I was Jewish, they immediately declared “Israel is an apartheid state!” I’d totally think it was anti-Semitic. Ditto with the example of walking into a synagogue and shouting it. In those cases, I would definitely take the meaning to be “I don’t like Jews” rather than “The fate of the Palestinians concerns me.”
    Now, of course there are many many contexts in which it is perfectly acceptable to express concern for the fate of the Palestinians, but “you are Jewish” is not that context.
    Is there any meanng to calling someone a cunt (in the US, natch) outside of the context of “you are female”?

  70. March 9, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    I think some people are quite reasonably skeptical about attempts to declare parts of the English language out-of-bounds on political grounds that they find logically flawed.

    OK, I need to question this. Since when are we having an argument about logic? Are you questioning whether our conclusions flow from our premises? Or are you questioning, as I believe you are, whether our premises are valid? It is quite possible to construct a logical argument from false premises. I have seen no indication that we’re discussing anything other than whether the premises are valid, so can we keep logic out of this? I know it’s appealing to fall back on “You’re being illogical,” because it casts your opponent in an emotional light, which we tend to consider as inferior to logical in discussions. But unless you’re actually making an argument grounded in logic yourself, it’s an unfair cast.

    If I’m mistaken, and you are actually arguing that our conclusions don’t follow from our premises, please explain how.

  71. Mnemosyne
    March 9, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    Quotes like this are why I refer to the exclusion of “cunt” here as magical. Lived experience, exemplified by “I guarantee you that you will get punched,” reduces oppression to bad feeling.

    Gosh, Alon, thanks for taking what I said completely out of context and creating your own meaning for it.

    Let me explain this to you in small words: People who belong to a particular group are allowed to use words that outsiders are not. Women can affectionate refer to one another as “cunts.” Black people can refer to one another as “niggas.” Gay people can call each other “queers.” That doesn’t mean that outsiders are allowed to do it.

    I really don’t know any other way to explain it to you, especially since you seem to love to take my words and twist them into saying something I wasn’t even trying to say.

  72. ACS
    March 9, 2007 at 7:56 pm

    ah, so calling a guy a prick reduces him to his genitalia and reminds him that he is just a life support system for a penis which should be available 24-7 to service sexual needs. noted.

    Well, no. What I mean is that that is the role assigned to women, and — unlike “bitch”, which is frequently used as an all-encompassing term for all women, “cunt” is used specifically for women seen to be intruding on male roles. “Cunt” is dehumanizing in that it implies that a woman is not just reduced to a genital role, but that she is a walking genital pretending to be a man.

    — ACS

  73. wren
    March 9, 2007 at 8:04 pm

    I don’t understand the argument here from those dear guests unable to refrain from calling women cunts.

    Say, for example, you have a man named Robert. His friend Dave insists on calling Robert “Bob.”

    Dave: “But I call all men named Robert Bob!”

    Robert: “Still not my name, rather you didn’t.”

    If Dave insisted on it, he’d be a pretty lousy friend. That doesn’t mean the name “Bob” is somehow off-limits, it’s just off-limits to refer to anyone whose name it is not. Make sense?

    Granted, insults are not usually a result of civil relationships. That’s not the point. The point is, the person who is offended gets to decide what’s offensive, not the offender.

    If I walk up and punch you on the arm, and you say “Stop doing that, it hurts!”, would it be legit for me to say “Oh, it shouldn’t hurt, what’s wrong with you?”

  74. March 9, 2007 at 8:09 pm

    Regarding “magical,” and the implication that the reaction to “cunt” could be provoked by “any word or phrase”–these reactions, these complaints, again, are not arbitrary. You don’t need a linear regression analysis or formal geometric proof to see that; or at least, Kai doesn’t:

    Underlying every complaint of “PC” is the absurd notion that members of dominant mainstream society have been victimized by an arbitrarily hypersensitive prohibition against linguistic and cultural constructions that are considered historical manifestations of bigotry. It’s no coincidence that “PC”-snivelers are for the most part white men who are essentially saying, “Who the hell do these marginalized groups think they are to tell me how I should or shouldn’t portray them? I’m not going to say ‘mentally challenged’ when it’s my right to say ‘retard’, goshdarnit there’s only so much abuse I’ll take!”

    We can certainly talk about logic, though. We can start by ceasing to pretend that there is a logical argument in favor of calling people “cunts” that does not reduce, neatly and without absurdity, to the one above.

  75. wren
    March 9, 2007 at 8:10 pm

    I am not, of course, attempting to say that there are some women who are “named” cunt, in that it is the proper way to refer to them.

  76. ahunt
    March 9, 2007 at 9:31 pm

    Late Baby Boomer here, and my first real job was working fabrication in a GM plant. As the only woman in the department, please believe I heard it all.

    It was a rugged and vulgar environment and I can tell you the word was simply off limits, way back when.

    Recently watched “The Departed” with the BH, and he was semi-surprised at the way “cunt” was thrown around as if it were commonplace language. Seeing my distress, Laconic Boy actually uttered three sentences. “Not in my department. Not in my crew. Not in my earshot.”

    I know BH was trying to reassure me, and that this was just a movie, but damn, all I could think is that the first time I hear it, I’m going off.

    Guys, I’m damn near 50 years old, and I can count on one hand the times I’ve heard “cunt” used, always by men towards other men, and always having bad consequences.

    My question is…is the term that prevalent? Is it really entering common usage, as the movie suggests?

  77. March 9, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    Ilyka, not that I don’t appreciate ageism, but I think your comment is somewhat off the mark. When you look just at oppressed groups, you’ll clearly find that lived experience correlates with real oppression. No problem there. But then talking as if lived experience has any validity is analogous to saying politicians are trustworthy by deliberately only examining the statements they make that check out.

    Lived experience is a tricky thing. Every group that isn’t oppressed but would like to believe it is has its own narrative of oppression: Western Jews, American conservatives, MRAs everywhere, Western Christians, Middle Eastern Muslims. Once you think you’re oppressed, you can then interpret any word to be hostile and any natural limitation on your power to be enslaving. When you talk about misogyny in the same terms David Horowitz talks about liberalism in the academia, there’s a very good chance you’re wrong.

  78. March 9, 2007 at 9:49 pm

    Not so long ago I ran across a woman using the word “cunt” and claiming that she was part of the movement to “reclaim” the word. The usual babble, same as our friend Roy used…
    The phrase that I objected to. “Stupid cunt”. Yep, way to “reclaim” the word.
    Is idiocy catching, like the flu?
    Also, Alon, you are incorrect about the use of the word in British English. The fact that the word is used frequently does not mean that it has in any way lost it’s sting. Trust me, I’ve been on the receiving end and the intent is exactly the same as it is here. The only reason it may appear different is that the Brits just swear more in general. The average British pub conversation sounds like a sailors convention.

  79. March 9, 2007 at 10:06 pm

    “Anyway, I believe the word is commonly thrown around in Glasgow. Although no doubt a Glaswegian would be able to refine this observation; I’m sure there’s a class element too. Did people get this whole misconception from Trainspotting?”
    OK, British feminist blogger chiming in as requested…
    The word is commonly thrown around in Glasgow, and in the UK as whole, and it is applied to men for precisely the reason people here call men “pussy”, except it’s actually even more hostile. It’s reflexive, unquestioned, internalised sexism to the core. Some British men do use it casually, but that is because they are sexist asshats. There does seem to be a class element, though – I went to ye olde hoity toity boarding school and I never heard anyone there use the word “cunt”.
    Also, not to nitpick, but Trainspotting is set in Edinburgh. The street they run down in the scene everyone remembers is Princes Street, the one you can see across the park from Edinburgh Castle. If it was set in Glasgow then even other Brits would have needed subtitles (and I love Glasgow, spent the best part of my teens there, but one has to admit that the accent is challenging for outsiders).

  80. zuzu
    March 9, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    Alon, please do explain how women are not an oppressed class and that therefore their lived experience is not worthy of consideration.

    And please do not resort to calling me irrational for not agreeing with you.

  81. ACS
    March 9, 2007 at 10:33 pm
  82. Kali
    March 9, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    and it is applied to men for precisely the reason people here call men “pussy”,
    You’ve heard it used to mean effeminate wimp? I have literally never encountered that. Variations in usage must be very regionalised.
    My bad re Trainspotting. My predominant association is actually of the dialect-prose of the book, which I think is what made me think Glasgow: written accents always seem so intense.

  83. March 9, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    Alon, please do explain how women are not an oppressed class and that therefore their lived experience is not worthy of consideration.

    I’m not sure why you’re asking me to explain something I’ve never said or implied. I’m fairly certain I made it clear that lived experience is not worthy of consideration, period, regardless of oppression status, precisely because it can’t be used to discern oppression status.

    And on a more cynical note, nobody seems to actually care about lived experience, except where it conforms to prior political bias, so why not go straight to the source of the political bias (in this case, real sexism)? After all, if you really considered those expressions a lived experience signifying sexism, you’d by the same token tell Ilyka to take her ageism and shove it up her ass.

  84. zuzu
    March 9, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    No, I think I’ll just tell you to take your bloodless “logic” and shove it up your ass.

  85. March 9, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    Glasgow is it’s own little language-world, this is true.

    Outsider on the UK usage chiming in: The only person I ever heard use it during my 18-months of living in Edinburgh precursed it specifically with “She is, and I never, ever, ever use this word because it is so offensive, but she is a f**king c**t.”

    He felt that saying the first part excused the second.

    But UK usage again isn’t really the point.

    The word is offensive. Be smarter. Heck, call me a stupid-head, that’s what I do when talking about them.

  86. March 9, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    Ayn Rand has a point, zuzu. I can get a little cranky at times.

  87. Kali
    March 9, 2007 at 11:15 pm

    lived experience is not worthy of consideration, period, regardless of oppression status, precisely because it can’t be used to discern oppression status

    I am so confused by thia objection. How is a bunch of women speaking up and saying how being called a “cunt” affected them NOT empirically showing how it perpetuates sexism? OK, yes, it isn’t going to convince someone who doesn’t already believe sexism exists. But this is a feminist blog. People here already know sexism exists.

    Anyway, aren’t you just being a (subtle) Priority Troll here? Why are you all talking about your feelings? Your feelings aren’t important. You should be producing a game-theoretic analysis of why liberal men sometimes want to use the word cunt that demonstrates how using misogynist insults is a negative equlibrium for liberals as a whole (or whatever your “empirical analysis” would consist of; actually the game theory one would be kind of fun, but that doesn’t make THIS thread invalid. You’ve got your own blog. Why not do the empirical analysis there? That would have been an interesting complement to this thread.

  88. zuzu
    March 9, 2007 at 11:22 pm

    Oh, if you follow the link in #78, you can see that he did write about it on his own blog. Well, he sniffled about how mean and irrational Ilyka was when he was only trying to enlighten her.

  89. March 9, 2007 at 11:36 pm

    I’m not sure why you’re asking me to explain something I’ve never said or implied. I’m fairly certain I made it clear that lived experience is not worthy of consideration, period, regardless of oppression status, precisely because it can’t be used to discern oppression status.

    Do you really not realize that these two sentences completely contradict one another? That paragraph says, “I never said that lived experience is not worthy of consideration … but lived experience is not worthy of consideration.”

    You’d probably be getting a better response if you weren’t contradicting yourself with every sentence and misrepresenting what other people are saying to you.

  90. Random Observer
    March 10, 2007 at 12:08 am

    I find it amusing that calling someone a ‘cunt’ is not acceptable but this sort of thing is:

    Like all the idiot white dudes who identify with the Duke lacrosse players–they don’t even comprehend that unless they’re just as wealthy and elite, which you know 95% of them aren’t, the fucking lacrosse players would SPIT on them

    Let me point out that I am neither for calling people cunts nor for spewing ignorant, obviously false hateful invective.

    All this talk about how being PC is just being decent to people, how it isn’t just the words but the ideas being expressed – appears to be hollow talk and nothing more.

    Another tired iteration of what I say is ok, what you say isn’t.

  91. zuzu
    March 10, 2007 at 12:12 am

    Oh, god, not the fucking lacrosse defenders again.

  92. March 10, 2007 at 12:17 am

    But of course the lacrosse defenders again. What fucking wormhole did this blog get sucked into, anyway? It never used to be like this!

    Oh, who am I kidding. It has always been like this. That’s why I love it.

    RO, I was saying the lacrosse players probably wouldn’t hang out with or respect Joe Sixpack. That’s all.

  93. March 10, 2007 at 12:27 am

    This entire thread makes me wish that marijuana were not just legal, but mandatory.

  94. Random Observer
    March 10, 2007 at 12:34 am

    zuzu, I’ve read about four different blog postings now about offensive language and the offensive ideas behind them, and these postings agree that just because someone else is a liberal or a feminist you can and should call them out when they act like maroons.

    This isn’t about about being a “lacrosse defender” any more than objecting to calling Coulter a tranny makes you a Coulter defender. How quickly you leap at the chance to label me! I’m just one of those huffy lacrosse defenders!!! Ignore me ’cause we’re all exactly the same!

    I was saying the lacrosse players probably wouldn’t hang out with or respect Joe Sixpack. That’s all.

    Why didn’t you just say that then?

    The meaning of what I quoted in this post is just *slightly* different from the one I quoted above, don’t you think?

    “When I called Ann Coulter a cunt I meant she was ignorant.” Isn’t the whole point here that we reject that logic? If you think someone is ignorant, call them ignorant, not a cunt. If you think what you wrote just now, why didn’t you write it at the time?

    If you are willing to believe that hateful-sounding statements are ok because the intent behind them is benign then apply that across the board, not just to what *you* say.

  95. Random Observer
    March 10, 2007 at 12:37 am

    By the way nobody minded my “lacrosse defender” ways when I helped explain copyright law, dug up incriminating statements and generally tried to be helpful in the AutoAdmit thread.

    This doesn’t have to be a battle of lacrosse defenders vs. lacrosse haters.

    You are so quick to categorize, label and dismiss people – it is truly impressive.

  96. March 10, 2007 at 12:41 am

    If you think someone is ignorant, call them ignorant, not a cunt.

    I called the lacrosse players cunts? I called the people who defended them cunts? I slipped in the kitchen, fell, whacked my head on the floor, and am just now coming around to find myself in an alternate universe in which someone has played musical chairs with the meaning of words in English? Up is down? Left is right? Britney Spears is Audra Lindley? Could someone please tell me what the hell’s going on here?

    Bruce may pass the bong now. Quit bogarting, Bruce!

  97. March 10, 2007 at 12:52 am

    The meaning of what I quoted in this post is just *slightly* different from the one I quoted above, don’t you think?

    Um, no. The one you quoted above uses the f-word, but the substance is the same: the lacrosse players that guys on the internet spend all of their time defending wouldn’t even give those defenders the time of day, because the defenders are not from the right social class. Is it the swearing that’s confusing you? Or are you thinking that “idiot” is an epithet on the level of “cunt” or “faggot”?

  98. Random Observer
    March 10, 2007 at 12:53 am

    Nice straw man.

    I’ll say it again, we reject the logic that you can say something nasty and then come back with “well what I *really* meant was something far less offensive!”

    It isn’t about you calling the lacrosse players cunts. It’s about applying a reasonable standard that *you* argued for across the board.

    Let me make it 100% clear what I was saying:

    If you think someone is ignorant, call them ignorant, not a cunt.
    If you think someone is not going to hang with joe sixpack,say that, not the invective you let loose instead.

    I’ll ask you again, if you meant that, why didn’t you just say that? And why can’t anyone else use that same excuse?

    At this point why doesn’t Alon come back and say “hey, when I say cunt I mean ‘annoying person’ so we’re good!”?

  99. Random Observer
    March 10, 2007 at 1:08 am

    Mnemosyne you really think those two statements are equivalent?

    Let me list how they are different if I must:
    1. In the first statement the players SPIT on others. In the second they merely don’t respect them.(All caps NOT added)

    2. In the first statement it is at 95% (how scientifically chosen!), in the second it is downgraded to “Joe Six Pack.”

    3. The first statement not only insults the lacrosse players, it insults anyone who identifies with them. So if you’ve been accused of a crime you didn’t commit and hence identify with these guys you are now an idiot.

    So the second statement downgrades the reaction of the lacrosse players, downgrades the frequency of that response, and downgrades being an idiot for identifying with them to simply that the lacrosse players don’t share that indentification.

    If you are *very* generous and you read it as ranting hyperbole that you shouldn’t take very seriously then you can charitably say they are roughly equivalent.

    But in that case you can also read “so and so is a cunt” and bend over backwards to read that as “so and so is a meanie” instead.

    In fact, that is exactly what the people who use cunt do.

    They say they didn’t mean anything by it, just as ilkya didn’t mean anything with her ‘idiot white dudes’ comment.

    I reject that logic across the board. Logical consistency requires that.

    *Everyone* can rationalize away what *they* say and what *they* agree with. Applying a standard only to things that personally offend *you* isn’t a brave position to take.

  100. March 10, 2007 at 1:35 am

    They say they didn’t mean anything by it, just as ilkya didn’t mean anything with her ‘idiot white dudes’ comment.

    Calling someone an “idiot white dude” is not an implicit threat against them.

    Calling someone a cunt is. If you don’t think it is, you’ve never had a drunk guy scream it in your face while his friends try to steer him away.

    If you want to complain about the poor innocent lacrosse players — who are, incidentally, still facing some charges — that’s fine. If you wanted to make a point about how the sensationalistic media blew the story up really big before it had been fully investigated, fine.

    But 95% (that horrible number again!) of the guys who come onto this board to defend the lacrosse players say, “See, this proves that women constantly lie about being raped, so you can’t believe a woman who says that she was raped.”

    So pardon us if we’re a little sensitive now to people who defend the poor innocent lacrosse players, because so far, they’ve all had an ulterior motive of using the case to “prove” that most rape accusations are false.

  101. March 10, 2007 at 2:24 am

    Bruce may pass the bong now. Quit bogarting, Bruce!

    On the left-hand side!

  102. Random Observer
    March 10, 2007 at 2:27 am

    I can assue you that the dopes at S,N are not threatening anyone by calling them a cunt. I’m not going to tell you it doesn’t sound threatening to you, I can only say that is rarely meant to be taken that way at least when used in a casual context like ‘Ann Coulter that dumb cunt!”

    And I’m not arguing that calling someone a cunt is a good thing, or even an ok thing!

    But 95% (that horrible number again!) of the guys who come onto this board to defend the lacrosse players say, “See, this proves that women constantly lie about being raped, so you can’t believe a woman who says that she was raped.”

    I’m not 95% of the people that come here. And while that may be good gamblin’ odds I don’t see why anyone *has* to assume anything. I didn’t say women constantly lie about being raped, I didn’t imply it, and I didn’t think it!

    Now I do identify with the lacrosse players to some degree, because I know what it feels like to be accused of something you didn’t do. That makes me an idiot? And I’m fairly certain I could grab a beer with those guys without them spitting on me.

    When people go on a tirade about “idiot white dudes” and the “fucking lacrosse players” they identify with (who are only being singled out because they were falsely accused – other than that they are no different from the football players at UCLA or more generally white male college students!) that doesn’t square with the talk that Political Correctness really means treating people respectfully and being decent.

    If treating people respectfully is the way to go let’s do that.

    Again, asking that other people be respectful while being exempt from that same standard isn’t very compelling. If the argument is just “I can say whatever I want, but you aren’t allowed to offend me” then we’re back to square one.

    I know calling people cunts really bothers some people, which is why I don’t do it. I’m fairly certain ilkya knows that blasting ‘idiot white guys’ and college age white guys (who have already gone through plenty of shit) really bothers some people, and she keeps right on.

    I had a friend in college who was basically accused of rape. Although it never went to the police, it did destroy his reputation among a certain crowd. That shit sucks, so yeah I identify with people who have gone through that. I don’t appreciate being called an idiot for that. (And no, again that is not to say that lying about rape is a common occurrence)

    If being respectful is so awesome let’s do that already instead of talking about it.

  103. Raging Moderate
    March 10, 2007 at 3:31 am

    Cunt is nasty. It’s the only word that makes me cringe every time I hear it. I never use it. But I don’t call people who disagree with me names, as is common around here, either. Just the way my Momma raised me.

    3. The first statement not only insults the lacrosse players, it insults anyone who identifies with them. So if you’ve been accused of a crime you didn’t commit and hence identify with these guys you are now an idiot.

    Just an idiot? You were lucky. I was called a rape apologist.

    Just curious: are those who disbelieved Paula Jones as evil as those who disbelieve the Duke accuser?

    Logical consistency requires that.

    I find the lack of logical consistency to be the biggest similarity on both left-leaning and right-leaning blogs. A sign of the times, I guess.

  104. March 10, 2007 at 4:26 am

    Kali – I meant reason as in intention to insult by comparing to female genitalia rather than exact meaning. In those terms it would be more like a really, really strong “bastard”. And yep, the UK has ridiculously regionalised dialects all right. A lot of what people think of as slang in Scotland is actually words derived from Gaelic, which is why they make no sense to anyone else.
    If you thought that Trainspotting accents were strong you’d barely recognise Glasgow as English at all. I’m a Scot and it took some getting used to even for me.
    Anna – not that the disclaimer excuses the word, but the fact that the person felt the need to issue a disclaimer says a lot about how offensive it is. No one apologises for calling someone a wanker or a fuckwit.

  105. March 10, 2007 at 7:10 am

    I know it’s been commented on already but:

    Could people who aren’t British please stop spouting ignorant bollocks every time the word ‘cunt’ is mentioned. We’re not a monolithic people, but I have never known it used as an equivalent to ‘arsehole’, and it is completely and utterly meaningless to extrapolate to 60 million people on the basis of one film about drug addiction.

    So no, Alon, it’s not worth mentioning. It’s a load of bollocks.

  106. March 10, 2007 at 8:16 am

    I’m fairly certain I made it clear that lived experience is not worthy of consideration, period, regardless of oppression status, precisely because it can’t be used to discern oppression status.

    So if you have other means by which to discern oppression status, you should still ignore lived experience? You reject arguments that rely on dependencies?

    FFS. Since logic seems to be so all-fire important here, let me diagram this out.

    1. Women are an oppressed group (premise that can be validated through empirical means).

    2. Lived experience is an important consideration when discussing the oppression of an already known oppressed group (premise that cannot be validated through empirical means).

    3. Therefore, the lived experience of women is an important consideration when discussion the oppression of women (conclusion that follows from its premises).

    To state that more broadly, replace “women” with “X.” In order for the conclusion to be true (not logical, but true), “X” would have to be an oppressed group, something that could be validated through empirical means. Since you’re not challenging the truth of the premise that “women are an oppressed group,” you’re obviously challenging the truth of the second premise. Please explain why in terms that invalidate the actual premise, not one that claims we’re relying on lived experience to discern oppression status. That’s an independent variable.

    BTW, Ilyka twice explicitly rejected the notion that lived experience could discern oppression status, although not in those words. She rejected it when she said that her analysis could not be applied to any word or phrase.

    And on a more cynical note, nobody seems to actually care about lived experience, except where it conforms to prior political bias, so why not go straight to the source of the political bias (in this case, real sexism)? After all, if you really considered those expressions a lived experience signifying sexism, you’d by the same token tell Ilyka to take her ageism and shove it up her ass.

    In order for your tu quoque to make sense, you’d have to assume that people of your age group are an oppressed class. Are you, in fact, making that claim and, if so, on what basis? Because, again, our argument has never been that any expression of lived experience is indicative of oppression. You’re misstating our premises.

    Do you really not realize that these two sentences completely contradict one another? That paragraph says, “I never said that lived experience is not worthy of consideration … but lived experience is not worthy of consideration.”

    Mnemosyne, while the paragraph you critique might not make its references as clear as might be desired, what Alon meant is he never said or implied that women are not an oppressed group.

  107. exangelena
    March 10, 2007 at 10:27 am

    Andrew, I think a lot of the people who rehash that argument are not even British. As Zuzu said at comment 32: “Americans who took one trip to London or watched Trainspotting and fancy themselves Brits.”

  108. Gwen
    March 10, 2007 at 10:59 am

    lived experience is not worthy of consideration, period, regardless of oppression status, precisely because it can’t be used to discern oppression status

    What? OK, what I think you’re arguing there is that people’s own account of their own oppression is not trustworthy because anyone can interpret their experience into a narrative of oppression? Including MRAs, conservatives, and other groups which are not usually considered to be oppressed groups?

    If I’m reading that right, I don’t understand what that has to do with the post. The post is not about proving the basic premise of feminism, the general history of women’s oppression. The post is about men who ostensibly accept that premise – liberal men, “allies” – but still refuse to follow though on its obvious corollary: given the context that women are a historically oppressed group, it is a good idea to listen to women’s own account of what that oppression means to them. You can’t claim that, one, misogyny exists and is a bad thing, but, two, this thing that you do, this word which is yours, is not misogynist – despite the fact that the usual victims of misogyny are telling you that it absolutely is. No one’s citing anecdotal evidence for women’s oppression. No one needs to – a glance at the history of law and politics and social institutions will prove that to you. What the “anecdotal evidence” – i.e. the lived experiences of women – contributes is an understanding of how misogyny affects them in day-to-day life and in things like the use of “cunt” as an insult. There’s no other form of evidence possible – we can’t understand the subjective experience of women except, you know, by asking them. Whether you think that “counts” as evidence or not depends on whether you think the subjective experience of women matters. If you don’t, you’re not a feminist or a feminist ally and the topic at hand isn’t addressing you.

    Also, another British person weighing in to say that where I live the word cunt is pretty offensive, at least as applied to women – ‘arsehole’ is much milder, and so are other gendered insults like ‘bitch’.

  109. amanda w
    March 10, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    “Ageism”? For serious?

  110. March 10, 2007 at 7:59 pm

    I’m interested, in a sort of cultural anthropological way, that in at least parts of the UK “cunt” is an insult thrown at men, but you wouldn’t really say that to a man in the US.

    I’m sure it means something, but since its spring break now I refuse to apply my brain in any sort of analytical sense. Wooo! Some one bring me an XBox!!!

    But seriously, its kind of interesting. I wonder what Sapir would think.

  111. zuzu
    March 10, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    Now I do identify with the lacrosse players to some degree, because I know what it feels like to be accused of something you didn’t do.

    Like lie about being raped?

    That makes me an idiot? And I’m fairly certain I could grab a beer with those guys without them spitting on me.

    Is this why you’re so tweaked by Ilyka’s post?

  112. March 10, 2007 at 9:36 pm

    Hey! Floorwax and desert topping! Nice SNL reference.

    The rest is sad, though. Balls.

  113. Random Observer
    March 10, 2007 at 10:29 pm

    I’m tweaked by Ilyka’s post because her advocation of decent talk only extends to other people.

    I don’t get where you are going with your line “Like lie about being raped?” Seriously I don’t even understand what that means. If someone is falsely accused of lying about rape then yes, I can identify with them too to some degree. I’m not sure what that really has to do with anything.

    The point here, I *thought*, was that we should be decent and also that it’s ok to call other people out when they aren’t even if they are ostensibly your allies. So now that I’ve applied this same logic to the person making the argument I’m in the wrong?

    Ilkya is fairly good at hurling invective, so for her to make numerous posts about how we should treat each other with decency and respect is a bit disingenuous.

    Why am I so tweaked an Ilkya’s post? Why are you so tweaked at people using the word ‘cunt’?

    When Mnemosyne says she hears cunt as a threat and it really offends her that’s good enough for me. Although I don’t think the people using cunt always mean it that way I’ll not use it out of deference to her and people like her.

    When I say that talking about idiot white dudes and the fucking Lacrosse players that SPIT on them is an insult to me (in a piece that was incredibly condescending in general) you don’t care at all.

    Had Ilkya actually written “the lacrosse players don’t identify with Joe Sixpack” that would have been fine. But that isn’t what she wrote, and it is silly to pretend the meanings are the same.

    If you are going to play this game of “well what I said isn’t really what I meant, I meant something far more agreeable and benign” then you are doing the exact same thing as people who claim that calling someone a ‘cunt’ is the same as calling them a meanie.

    It’s really kind of silly to pretend that what Ilkya first wrote and what she revised it to in this thread are somehow interchangable.

  114. zuzu
    March 10, 2007 at 11:16 pm

    I don’t get where you are going with your line “Like lie about being raped?” Seriously I don’t even understand what that means. If someone is falsely accused of lying about rape then yes, I can identify with them too to some degree. I’m not sure what that really has to do with anything.

    Because the idiot white dudes defending the lacrosse players always say that the accuser wasn’t raped and is lying about that. The possibility that she could be telling the truth about having been raped and also have mis-identified the attackers never seems to cross their minds.

    And why does this bother me? This isn’t Feminism 101 here. If you can’t figure it out, you need to do a little more research. I’m not here to educate you.

    When I say that talking about idiot white dudes and the fucking Lacrosse players that SPIT on them is an insult to me (in a piece that was incredibly condescending in general) you don’t care at all.

    No, RO. I don’t. Because I’m sick to death of the idiot white dudes who over-identify with the Duke lacrosse players and bring them into random discussions like this one.

    It’s really kind of silly to pretend that what Ilkya first wrote and what she revised it to in this thread are somehow interchangable.

    I understood her meaning perfectly, and did not require the translation from fuckese you seem to have required.

    In any event, the post you’re upset about is not the post I quoted. If you have a problem with what Ilyka wrote in that other post I have not quoted here, go take it up with Ilyka at her blog. Otherwise, kindly shut up about it here, as it’s off-topic to this post. Failure to follow these instructions will lead to being bounced. Clear?

  115. Random Observer
    March 11, 2007 at 12:00 am

    I don’t see how it is off-topic to point out that you can do this:

    A cursory read of the comments at Ilyka/Feministe makes it pretty plain that the commenters are reading Ilyka as agreeing with their position that it’s totally okay to use “idiot white dudes” whenever you want to, because the problem always lies with the silly-ass idiot white dudes who get offended when you do so;

    On the other hand, they want to throw a motherfucking neverending tantrum, weeping and wailing and gnashing teeth all over the internet, anytime someone points out that their understanding of the context is incomplete due to the unavoidable limitations of their own lived experiences–a point which should be obvious, and which any of these jackboot-licking nerds could easily prove or disprove merely by walking up to any large man of white guy descent and explaining to him why he shouldn’t choose to find ‘idiot white dude’ offensive.

    It’s the exact same argument. I’m agreeing with the point of the post, or I thought I did, apparently the post *only* applies to calling people cunts and niggers and not to anything else more generally.

    You think calling people idiot white dudes is ok but calling someone a cunt is wrong. The S,N guys think calling people an idiot white dude is wrong but cunt is ok. (Or whatever they believe) Neither side has any use for logical consistency. I don’t expect people who continuously call others cunts to make much progress with the whole “don’t call us idiot white dudes” argument, and I don’t expect people who continuoulsy call others “idiot white dudes” to make much headway with the “don’t call us cunts” argument.

    Christ it isn’t off-topic to say “hey, I agree with your argument so let’s apply that not just to people who use ‘cunt’ a lot but more generally to people who spew invective, including ourselves sometimes.

    I guess I misread the post. The only point is that “cunt is bad” and anything beyond that wasn’t meant to be taken seriously? I’m off-topic only if most of the post, which argued for treating people based on how they want to be treated, isn’t grounds for discussion.

    Instead of being a “whiny-ass tittybaby” and bouncing me (your words, not mine, or rather the words of the excerpted post up top) why don’t you try engaging me on some level or at least allowing someone like Mnemosyne to do that?

    I really don’t think it is that bad to say “I’m down with not calling you a cunt, now can you stop calling me an idiot?”

  116. zuzu
    March 11, 2007 at 12:10 am

    You think calling people idiot white dudes is ok but calling someone a cunt is wrong.

    Sweetie, go back and read Ilyka’s post. She’s talking about a specific group of white dudes who are acting idiotically. I’m sorry if you identify with the 95% rather than the 5%, but them’s the breaks. Calling idiotic behavior idiotic is not a denial of humanity like calling a woman a cunt is. It’s calling idiotic behavior idiotic behavior. Trying to pretend it’s not is just playing gotcha, and I’m really fucking tired of that.

    I don’t know how else to explain it to you, and I’m not inclined to try, because you’ve decided to ignore my request to leave it alone or take it up with the person who wrote the post you want to discuss, a post that was not under discussion here and which I have no responsibility to endorse or distance myself from.

    And just for the ad-hom of WATB, you’re out.

  117. March 11, 2007 at 2:58 am

    go take it up with Ilyka at her blog

    They never want to do this. I don’t get it.

  118. zuzu
    March 11, 2007 at 9:27 am

    Because then they might have to engage the author on the substantive points raised instead of playing gotcha with someone who didn’t write it.

  119. Sniper
    March 11, 2007 at 10:50 pm

    Because then they might have to engage the author on the substantive points raised instead of playing gotcha with someone who didn’t write it.

    Even worse, they might have to stop calling people cunts or at least actually consider the feelings of those who object to the word.

  120. JM
    March 12, 2007 at 1:04 am

    I’ve been called a cunt and an idiot and an asshole, and, amazingly, the only one that actually ruined my day was cunt. I’ve never been called a honky either, but honestly, I think I’d survive. Somehow. It would be tough, but I’d try to soldier on somehow. It’d be rough, though.

    Call me crazy, RO, but I doubt ilyka was calling for civility in the sense of being offended by bad words or insults and we all have to love each other, but maybe along the lines of preferring to be insulted by something a little less dehumanizing than an extremely hostile and gerally somewhat threatening gender (or racial) specific slur. Fancy that. Sure, we could all vow to love each other and never disagree and speak only of puppies and the flowers. WE might not be able to keep that vow, though. We should, however, be able to agree to refrain from using dehumanizing slurs. And you’d think that we could agree that “idiot” is less egregious than, say, the n-word, but context seems to be a hard concept for some to grasp. (Hey! It’s a double standard! You only have problems with words that apply to you, not to me! And since, as a white guy, there are no actual impactful insults to use against me, well….)

    There’s also the little matter of not wanting to be political allies with people who pull out the cunt card at the first opportunity. If you think I’m something less than human, I’m less likely to want to play on your team, you know?

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