Is 'The C Word' Sexist?

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If somebody's a cunt, which means vagina, calling someone a dick, which means penis, would have to be sexist, too. We can't have double-standards.

The word cunt has long been established as a gender neutral pejorative in these parts and apparently it's the same case in Australia. The impression seems to be that word carries much more weighty connotations in the States and while I think a few American posters have been a tad misled about how common the usage of it is here, I will say that I think over time it's basically been watered down to the point where it's really just a stronger variant of calling someone an asshole/prick/bitch. Context is everything of course, but in most cases I wouldn't think twice about someone referring to a guy they find objectionable as a cunt, so I don't see why an exception should be made for women. To me it should be more about why they're using the word, not the word itself.

In that it discriminates based on sex? Yes. Is it negatively sexist? Depends on the usage.

I personally defend the use of any word. We all have words we don't like. Cunt, mansplaining, moist, antiquing... But to force them out of use is impractical, unnecessary and kind of a dick move.

Favorite word, uses are endless.

I don't think it's sexist, but it certainly is a more serious insult when directed at a woman. Kind of like how calling a man a whore is less serious than calling a woman a whore.

Regardless, I find it odd that the word "cunt" is somehow cruder-sounding than the word "fuck". When I was growing up, it seemed like "fuck" was the be-all-end-all of swears. Maybe I'm just getting old.

OhJohnNo:
Not in Britain.

I once participated in a 67-post Facebook discussion about how much of a cunt Jeremy Kyle is. The word came up in basically every post.

Yeah, not exactly a big deal.

It's true, it really isn't a big deal here. I know people who don't like hearing the word, but I've never heard anyone call it sexist. People use it really casually around here.
Like people have said, I don't see how it's any different from calling a guy a dick.
Me? I like the word, to be honest.

Is it sexist? No. It's a word.

Can it be used in a sexist way? Yes.

Grey Carter:
Is it sexist? No. It's a word.

Can it be used in a sexist way? Yes.

This is the equivalent of saying we need the sun to survive but it's not a good idea to stare at it: it's that bleeding obvious. A lot of things can be used for terrible purposes, that doesn't necessarily make it bad, and I think on this we agree. Cunt is not an evil/sexist word, but it can be used as such, same as the various versions of 'cocksucker' like cockmunch, cockbite, or my personal favorite - cockgobbler.

TehCookie:
Is nigger racist if you call a white guy that?

Dick and Cunt aren't the same level of insulting, a more equal feminine slur would be pussy.

That's not true.

When you call someone a pussy, you are saying they're scared. As scared as a woman. That is it's actual meaning, whether you consciously mean it to have sexist intention or not. The same can not be said for Cunt. It has no direct connotation referring cunt = woman.

Cunt may seem more offensive, but pussy is far more sexist.

Is the word "Chinaman" racist?

You could make pretty good logical arguments that it technically shouldn't be ay more racist than "Englishman" and "Frenchman", yet you also know very well what kind of people are still using that word instead of "Chinese", and you know very well what you will communicate about yourself if you use it.

So why argue about it? How about just using the words that are the least likely to misrepresent your intentions?

Maybe "cunt" shouldn't be inherently sexist, but there are also a bunch of perfectly serviceable insults that are less likely to offend innocent bystanders by implying to them that you are a bigot.

Use those.

I'm English, I call people cunts. Both sexes, all sorts of ages.

I don't swear often. Mainly because me having a conversation of that kind of intensity doesn't come around more than once in a blue moon and only when the weather is right. But I've done it.

I'm always in stitches when my American friends give me 'the look' when I'm loosing in a Game and the C word gets dropped casually. Get over it ya ninnies (also a word for the same thing).

If you call people dicks. You can call people cunts.

Failing to do so is more sexist to me. (WHAT LADY PRIVATE PARTS ARE TOO TABOO FOR YOU HUH?)

Bug MuIdoon:

TehCookie:
Is nigger racist if you call a white guy that?

Dick and Cunt aren't the same level of insulting, a more equal feminine slur would be pussy.

That's not true.

When you call someone a pussy, you are saying they're scared. As scared as a woman. That is it's actual meaning, whether you consciously mean it to have sexist intention or not. The same can not be said for Cunt. It has no direct connotation referring cunt = woman.

Cunt may seem more offensive, but pussy is far more sexist.

First of all, yeah I said cunt is more offensive. That was the point when people were comparing calling someone a cunt to calling someone a dick since they're both genitalia slurs but are on different levels of insulting.

You do know that cunt does have a direct connotation to vagina and is used to say that's the only important part of a woman. That's more sexist than saying women are more scared than men.

Bug MuIdoon:

TehCookie:
Is nigger racist if you call a white guy that?

Dick and Cunt aren't the same level of insulting, a more equal feminine slur would be pussy.

That's not true.

When you call someone a pussy, you are saying they're scared. As scared as a woman. That is it's actual meaning, whether you consciously mean it to have sexist intention or not. The same can not be said for Cunt. It has no direct connotation referring cunt = woman.

Cunt may seem more offensive, but pussy is far more sexist.

Actually, you're wrong. The word pussy originates from the Latin term Pusillanimous which means to show cowardice.

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pusillanimous

So, no, the term pussy is NOT sexist.

Shia-Neko-Chan:
You have to be fair if you want to call it sexist.

If the word "dick" isn't sexist to you, then the "c-word" shouldn't be to you, either, for instance.

Well, words don't exist in a vacuum, and if they did, I'd be inclined to agree with you. As it is, however, calling a guy a term for a penis is Western society doesn't have the pejorative, demeaning, demoralizing connotations that calling a woman a term for a vagina has. Guys being "dicks" while insulting, still admits that they have agency, still admits their power in society. Women being "cunts" implies a wannabe status, presuming to have more agency than they actually do, or attempting to exercise more power than they have a right to. Calling someone a "pussy" implies that either they don't have agency, or they don't exercise it. I can't even think of another word synonymous with "penis" that one can throw out as an insult to a man.

Cpt. Lozan:

Bug MuIdoon:

TehCookie:
Is nigger racist if you call a white guy that?

Dick and Cunt aren't the same level of insulting, a more equal feminine slur would be pussy.

That's not true.

When you call someone a pussy, you are saying they're scared. As scared as a woman. That is it's actual meaning, whether you consciously mean it to have sexist intention or not. The same can not be said for Cunt. It has no direct connotation referring cunt = woman.

Cunt may seem more offensive, but pussy is far more sexist.

Actually, you're wrong. The word pussy originates from the Latin term Pusillanimous which means to show cowardice.

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pusillanimous

So, no, the term pussy is NOT sexist.

Well, when the term pussy is used interchangeably for being a coward and for vagina, it kind of acquires a sexist bent, at least a little bit.

EDIT: Not in origin, but in current usage, is what I'm saying.

Apparently the English language is considered the hardest to learn by some due to many English words meaning completely different things

They're, Their and There. (Identical sounding)
To, Too and Two (Identical sounding)
What and Watt (Identical sounding)
Saw, saw and Sore (Identical sounding and spelling)
Right, Right and Right. Left and Left (Identical spelling)
Sorry is even used as an apology and a sympathetic term (Many languages have different "sorry's" for these) which apparently confuses many sometimes.
Identical/similar spelling doesn't help

Pussy(Coward) and pussy(vagina) for example are different. Just because they're the same word doesn't mean when I say sorry for someone losing their family I'm secretly admitting I slaughtered all of them myself and wish to apologise... because you know... I wouldn't do that!

In America, "dick" is used the same way the British use the other word. Really, I think of it as calling the person a fuck-up. Of course, "cunt" has its stigma because it's only culturally recently that it was okay to swear at women in public.

a cunt is a part of a vagina.No,vaginas are not sexist.Being sexist is hating someone because of their sex.So if you call somebody a cunt because of their sex then you are sexist.And on the topic of racism,it isn't racist to call a black guy a black guy.HOLY LOGIC BATMAN!

Here in New Zealand it's used just as much as a compliment (example: "Thanks for the beer! you sir are a good cunt!") as it is as an insult (example: "Hey shit for brains, stop drunk dialing me you cunt!").

The true nature of the word (example: "Ohh yeah, keep putting that sex sword in my cunt!") is hardly evoked, thus bringing me to the conclusion that, no; it is not seen as a sexist word here, downunder...the cunt of the world some would say.. ;)

TehCookie:

You do know that cunt does have a direct connotation to vagina and is used to say that's the only important part of a woman. That's more sexist than saying women are more scared than men.

It doesn't, that's just conjecture. See Harker067's and my posts on the previous page.

Cpt. Lozan:

The word pussy originates from the Latin term Pusillanimous which means to show cowardice.

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pusillanimous

So, no, the term pussy is NOT sexist.

Awesome, thank you :]

neither cunt nor pussy is sexist in origin. I still find it funny that vagina is!

Maybe not sexist, no, but it is INCREDIBLY vulgar.

Muspelheim:
...I do use cocksucker as one of my top tier swears, and I certainly don't think there's anything wrong with that activity whatsoever. I might be slightly hypocritical on that point.

*SNIP*

But as the "cocksucker"-example above shows, I've still got some ironing out to do...

No, this isn't hypocritical, and here's why: only a female has a vagina, and only a male has a penis, but both have a mouth and are fully capable of performing the sexual act that "cocksucker" references. Accordingly, it isn't sexist. Rude (though that is the point) but not sexist.

This is the reason why cunt is sexist. If both men and women had vaginas it would be only offensive generally, not sexist. But, since this is an insult that is only valid against one gender, it is sexist.

That said, I do feel like this is all missing the point somewhat. You are already insulting the person in question. Aside from being very rude in general, Cunt shouldn't be "banned" because being sexist is both a mark against the user, and a further, additional layer of insult against the target. Thus, usage of Cunt should be reserved for those you hate so badly that you are willing to damage your own reputation with those within earshot if it means damaging the reputation of your target even further.

Now that I've analyzed this to death...sleep...yes, at noon...

Bug MuIdoon:

Harker067:

If you go looking at both official dictionaries (and even informal ones like urban dic) you repeatedly see cunt as referring both to female genitals but also just "a woman". As it's been popular enough to make it into the dictionary I'd call it fair to say cunt=women is another definition.

Oxford English Dictionary:

cunt
noun
vulgar slang

1. A woman's genitals.
2. An unpleasant or stupid person.

Nothing untoward there in regards to being a female.

I read a few other 'unofficial' dictionaries too, and yes some of them pointed towards: Usually disparaging & obscene : woman

I don't really see where it's set in stone as Cunt = Woman. So jumping on that theory and defending it skin and teeth seems a little odd to me. I'm sure people believe that definition, and some unofficial sources may state that, but that's just different people opinions on the word. Which kind of leads me back to the argument of many other posters, The word is only sexist to people who feel it's sexist, and the way the word is used.

Harker067:
Far too often I see cunt used on a woman to get her to shut up or on a man similar to pussy for doing something "unmanly". Maybe you have a distinctly different experience with the usage of the word but that's what I've seen.

Ah, I see. I'm not sure where you're from, but (from my experiences) in the U.K I've never heard it said to mean the same thing as pussy, It's just an insult towards someone you find unpleasant. It has no gender specific connotation.

So, if it doesn't have an official origin towards sexism, and over here in the U.K it has no gender attachment but over in the U.S (Sorry, I'm just guessing you're from the U.S?) it does, then which is correct? Surely it just falls back to the argument that it depends on where and how it's used.

One thing I did find quite interesting that I wasn't aware of, which maybe most feminists are (I don't know), is the origin of Vagina.

While Cunt (Cunnus, Coynte, Kunta, kunte, con, coņo, cona) was just a name given to the entire female genitalia with no further meaning, Vagina actually means 'Sword-sheath'! I find it weird that the far less "offensive" word is surely the far sexist.

Please poke me if none of this makes any sense, It's very late and I'm tired, ha ha

Obviously nothing is set in stone with language it is always changing. I don't know that I'd call say Merriam-Webster unofficial (urban dic sure though) which includes woman as a definition. I should maybe clarify I'm speaking solely to using it as an insult or a term of disparagement. I also have no problem with the term being used in some situations (consensual kink scenes for example).

I haven't heard it used exactly like pussy but with similar intent (I'm Canadian). Actually the problem with pussy is not its origins or even directly with being scared but more broadly that it is often used by men to admonish men for not being "Manly" enough. That is really very sexist.

Unfortunately for you and other Brits it has a strong gender to a lot of English speakers. If you want to get along well in an international environment like the internet other people can have different backgrounds and some of them can actually be hurt by the words you choose to use (ex people who've lived through abusive relationships). I had a girl friend who could be literally moved to tears from just hearing the word "cunt"*. You and everyone else here are free to use these words no one is forcing you not to but myself and others aren't going to think very well of you for it.

I'm sorry this is late I honestly have very little tolerance for these discussions and spread my participation farther out.

* if someone says/thinks well that's her problem it doesn't affect me that's a really callous attitude

chuckdm:

Muspelheim:
...I do use cocksucker as one of my top tier swears, and I certainly don't think there's anything wrong with that activity whatsoever. I might be slightly hypocritical on that point.

*SNIP*

But as the "cocksucker"-example above shows, I've still got some ironing out to do...

No, this isn't hypocritical, and here's why: only a female has a vagina, and only a male has a penis, but both have a mouth and are fully capable of performing the sexual act that "cocksucker" references. Accordingly, it isn't sexist. Rude (though that is the point) but not sexist.

I'm really not sure someone can juggle this really isn't an insulting action in my mind but I'm going to use it as an insult. But cocksucker usually more of a homophobic insult.

If you're using an insult there's an unstated premise that what ever you are saying is an undesirable action, object, state etc. When it comes to cocksucker it mean you think sucking cocks is insulting, demeaning or generally bad thing. When used on a man there's an certain implication that he is not acting masculine enough or a general questioning of his masculinity. This is because a lot of society and male voices have decreed being sexually interested in women to be an important part of being "manly/masculine". You could probably continue with an argument that men valuing the appearence of being "masculine" over "feminine" there's a value judgement in there that is also sexist.

Bug MuIdoon:

TehCookie:

You do know that cunt does have a direct connotation to vagina and is used to say that's the only important part of a woman. That's more sexist than saying women are more scared than men.

It doesn't, that's just conjecture. See Harker067's and my posts on the previous page.

Cpt. Lozan:

The word pussy originates from the Latin term Pusillanimous which means to show cowardice.

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pusillanimous

So, no, the term pussy is NOT sexist.

Awesome, thank you :]

neither cunt nor pussy is sexist in origin. I still find it funny that vagina is!

And a faggot is a bundle of sticks and gay means happy.

TehCookie:

And a faggot is a bundle of sticks and gay means happy.

I've been aware of that for about 20 years, but thank you all the same!

TehCookie:

Bug MuIdoon:

TehCookie:

You do know that cunt does have a direct connotation to vagina and is used to say that's the only important part of a woman. That's more sexist than saying women are more scared than men.

It doesn't, that's just conjecture. See Harker067's and my posts on the previous page.

Cpt. Lozan:

The word pussy originates from the Latin term Pusillanimous which means to show cowardice.

http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/pusillanimous

So, no, the term pussy is NOT sexist.

Awesome, thank you :]

neither cunt nor pussy is sexist in origin. I still find it funny that vagina is!

And a faggot is a bundle of sticks and gay means happy.

Don't forget cigarettes!

I would assume vagina would also have to be sexist as well.

In Britain "cunt" is gender neutral, in fact, in general, the only swears that are considered sexist are ones relating to prostitution, mainly because unless you are using a swear in a situation that the gender is an intrinsic part of the swear (eg, whore), the fact that you're swearing in anger implies that the anger is directed at the subject of the swear, and not at anything else. (and ones related to sexual organs are usually used in jest)

put simply, it's the intent that holds the offense, not the word itself, if it's being used in a friendly way, it isn't sexist in any way, if it's due to anger, the fact you swore in anger is the real offense, if you use it specifically because it relates to a body part, yes, it's sexist, because you're using it to BE sexist.

Comrade Richard:

Grey Carter:
Is it sexist? No. It's a word.

Can it be used in a sexist way? Yes.

This is the equivalent of saying we need the sun to survive but it's not a good idea to stare at it: it's that bleeding obvious. A lot of things can be used for terrible purposes, that doesn't necessarily make it bad, and I think on this we agree. Cunt is not an evil/sexist word, but it can be used as such, same as the various versions of 'cocksucker' like cockmunch, cockbite, or my personal favorite - cockgobbler.

Besides making us reminisce about some other good C words, you just re-iterated Grey's point in a less eloquent way.

Bug MuIdoon:

I read a few other 'unofficial' dictionaries too, and yes some of them pointed towards: Usually disparaging & obscene : woman

Using unofficial dictionaries like urban dictionary, is kinda like using a forum post as a refference. Might as well not use a refference at all.

-----------------------------------

It's nice to read how the word has a different cultural meaning in UK / Australia vs. the USA.

I'm glad that I didn't read anyone saying they find the word itself inherently sexist, because those people are all cunts.

dunam:

Using unofficial dictionaries like urban dictionary, is kinda like using a forum post as a refference. Might as well not use a refference at all.

Yeah, If you read the rest of my post, or even one sentence below the one you quoted you would see that was my point exactly.

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