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Is The C Word Still Offensive?

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Tiger

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Okay, so I know on the main forum, we can't say cunt. I think we can on our blogs? Anyway, the other day, this dude called these women cunts on another board. They didn't even seem offended. The took the word, cunt, as a compliment. What the fuck? My uncle once tossed his son out of a god damn window for calling his mom that. Is this word even considered offensive anymore, or have the Aussies corrupted the rest of the English-speaking world. https://www.buzzfeed.com/bradesposito/outrageous-words-that-are-said-every-day-in-australia?utm_term=.xq74qR2bm1#.hxnD90KrOn

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Oh, for clarification, he was not being nice when he said it. I just wanted that to be understood. 

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Young girls in Hungary are calling each other bitches is English and they are happy about it. At the same time I don't think they would be happy to be called that from others than their friends or pretty much the same word in Hungarian "szuka". I don't understand the world.

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I don't either. The Millennials seem to have differing opinions about how abhorrent the word is. I'm not really sure why. Even when clearly meant as an insult, it doesn't seem to have the same shock value it once did here in the US. I'm Gen Y, and even my understanding is like, "Cunt is a compliment? Since when?" I mean, calling someone a bitch has often been taken as a compliment, but the C word has, been considered a taboo, at least here. It's not something you call a woman over 40 for sure. However, why younger women are okay with the epithet is beyond me.  

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The word is off-limits in North America, and should be. Let the commonwealth nations keep it, is my opinion.    

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I find the "take an insult as a compliment" mentality fairly common in my generation. Also, swearing doesn't seem like as big of a deal with young people. Then there is the internet which makes being exposed to other ways of speaking (ex. Aussies) easier... That's my best guest.

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IRL I don't curse all that much at all, I have a swear jar to break the habit. I was so worried that the Kids' first words were going to be one of those no no words.. :P

 

I think a lot of them have lost their meaning... although here people are still pretty reserved about expanding their vocabulary. I find it funny and a little endearing for an older guy to say a curse word in front of me, then notice that I was there and then get all red-faced and say, "pardon my language miss.." :D I'm like... aww.. lol.

 

I'll personally never accept the C word though.. it is just too ugly of a word.. ugly sounding.. used in context is pretty awful too. Even in a jokingly manner.. I wouldn't appreciate it. I just don't like the word so I don't really want to hear it and I definitely don't want to be called one.. :D

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The Oxford English Dictionary gives the first recorded us of the word as occurring in a street name: 'Grope Cunt Lane' but in my experience it is usually used as a swear word, though occasionally heterosexual men use the word to refer to the relevant part of the female anatomy.

 

It is one of the words it is unwise to use in the hearing of people one doesn't know well, which suggests not using it in a semi-public forum such as most parts of this site.

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The Oxford English Dictionary gives the first recorded us of the word as occurring in a street name: 'Grope Cunt Lane' but in my experience it is usually used as a swear word, though occasionally heterosexual men use the word to refer to the relevant part of the female anatomy.

 

It is one of the words it is unwise to use in the hearing of people one doesn't know well, which suggests not using it in a semi-public forum such as most parts of this site.

 

it seems many Gropecunt Lanes appeared in various English towns in the 1200s when it was common for trades to be grouped together in the same street. And prostitution being the oldest trade was no different :P - the word was simply descriptive of the female genital area, and had no offensive meaning. It's only since the 1500s that use and meaning of the word changed. All those streets were then renamed :funny: In the UK it is still the most shocking word.

 

Which is a good thing.

 

We need words that have the power to shock. In the UK these words are, for most people, the last resort. Much better to exchange a shocking word in a moment of anger than a bullet.

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I use this word (and worse) all the time.  Censorship is a vile practice.  "Clean" words can be used far more hatefully and to much more effect than any "curse" word.

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I use this word (and worse) all the time.  Censorship is a vile practice.  "Clean" words can be used far more hatefully and to much more effect than any "curse" word.

I'm not big on censorship, but if a word is meant to be vulgar and offensive, then it should be treated as a vulgar and offensive word, especially if it's being used in this context. In American English, this is how cunt is defined. It shouldn't lose its meaning by becoming less offensive, whether it is censored or not. It should be understood to be a disrespectful word, whether referring to a woman or her genitals or having coitus with a woman. 

 

Definition of cunt
  1. 1usually obscene :  the female genital organs; also :  sexual intercourse with a woman

  2. 2usually disparaging & obscene :  woman 1a

 

 

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You probably wouldn't have enjoyed Bob the Drag Queen's first appearance on Rupaul's Drag Race.  She had on this little white body suit that had "unt" across her tummy in black letters and one sleeve in black.  When she put her hand on her hip...  Then there's the "Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent" mantra they've been repeating for over 110 episodes. 

 

"Cunt" has been part of the "reclamation movement" for a while now.  Inga Musico published Cunt: A Declaration of Independence back in 1998 (dude, it was right next to the bookstore register and had "cunt" in big letters, of course I bought it), and she was more a sign of the times than a harbinger.  Of course, it's still highly taboo for those not in possession of a "cunt" to use the word (much like the n-word, fag, faggot, etc is taboo for those outside of those particular groups), and it's even fairly taboo and problematic for those within that group.  However, it has been one way to remove the negative and hateful associations tied to that word.  And it has worked.  Yes, "cunt" and "bitch" are still used as epithets, but they've lost their bite. 

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I use this word (and worse) all the time.  Censorship is a vile practice.  "Clean" words can be used far more hatefully and to much more effect than any "curse" word.

So, every time someone says something abusive, disrespectful and demeaning I not only have to tolerate but actually accept it, because otherwise I would censor them? IMO this is an overly simplistic understanding of the problem. 

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You probably wouldn't have enjoyed Bob the Drag Queen's first appearance on Rupaul's Drag Race.  She had on this little white body suit that had "unt" across her tummy in black letters and one sleeve in black.  When she put her hand on her hip...  Then there's the "Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve, and Talent" mantra they've been repeating for over 110 episodes. 

 

"Cunt" has been part of the "reclamation movement" for a while now.  Inga Musico published Cunt: A Declaration of Independence back in 1998 (dude, it was right next to the bookstore register and had "cunt" in big letters, of course I bought it), and she was more a sign of the times than a harbinger.  Of course, it's still highly taboo for those not in possession of a "cunt" to use the word (much like the n-word, fag, faggot, etc is taboo for those outside of those particular groups), and it's even fairly taboo and problematic for those within that group.  However, it has been one way to remove the negative and hateful associations tied to that word.  And it has worked.  Yes, "cunt" and "bitch" are still used as epithets, but they've lost their bite. 

 

Clearly, they have lost their bite, but is this really a good thing? Moreover, I think it's a double-edged sword in which people can use disrespectful words and get away with it. Racism, sexism, and heterosexism are still major problems, and by "reclaiming" these words, we give people permission to use words like cunt, faggot, nigger, and honkey as if they're saying puppy. These are not innocent words. They are filthy words, meant to disparage based on gender, sexual orientation, and race. I'm all for Freedom of Speech, but Freedom of Speech ends when it infringes upon the civil liberties of others. Offending them is fine. Slander and/or inciting violence against a group of people through words like these (and yes, they're still strong enough) is still a way to infringe upon the rights of others in this way.

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      FIDGEN: So far, so problematic. But what about people who say they’re neither male nor female, or perhaps they’re both. If Rocky Horror Show writer Richard O’Brien committed a crime, where would he be imprisoned?
      O’BRIEN: It’s my belief that the human being is on a continuum. There are people who are hardwired male and there are people who are hardwired female, but most of us are on that continuum and I believe myself probably to be about 70% male, 30% female. I was six and a half when I said to my big brother that I wanted to be the fairy princess when I grew up. And the look of disdain, it made me pull down the shutters. I knew that I should never ever say that out loud again.
      FIDGEN: Richard kept the secret for half a century, but now the shutters have been well and truly flung up!
      O’BRIEN: I have been on oestrogen for about ten years. For the first time in my life, I’ve started to put on a little bit of weight, which I like, and I’m getting little tits and things like that. It takes the edge off the masculine side of me, the testosterone driven side of me. I think I’ve become a nicer person in some ways, slightly softer. Anton Rogers, the actor, he described me as “the third … the middle sex,” he said. “You’re the third sex.” And I thought that’s quite nice. I quite like that position really. I don’t know, I just feel … (sighs) I don’t have to be a man anymore. Do you know what I mean? I feel I don’t have to pretend anymore. Being a man is very tiring. All the pretence. You’ve got to talk about cars and you’ve got to do this and do that. It’s just … It’s so boring. It is terribly boring being a man.
      FIDGEN: Richard O’Brien doesn’t want to have surgery, but to find a happy medium between maleness and femaleness. And he has scientific backing for his belief that we are on a gender spectrum. Cambridge psychology professor, Melissa Hines, believes he’s right - there aren’t just two distinct sexes.
      HINES: I think that the research in this field suggests just the opposite - that there is not a gender binary; that there’s a range of gender, and there are many dimensions of gender and an individual person can be in a different position in terms of how masculine or feminine they are on each of these dimensions. I think the source of people’s inability to really incorporate this idea into their thinking has to do with the human minds wanting things to be simple. They want things to be yes/no, male/female, black/white, and that’s not the nature of the world.
      FIDGEN: But this poses problems for psychiatrists at the sharp end. James Barrett of the UK’s main gender identity clinic.
      BARRETT: People who live in a rather ambiguous gender role, those patients are thought about really carefully. The concern is that one doesn’t want to do anything that’s drastic and irreversible and then have them in a position where they’re not happy and can’t get out of the situation that they’re in. Most of the people who I end up dealing with in clinical practice do not see themselves as on any kind of a spectrum. They see themselves as unremarkably male or unremarkably female. Now it may well be on biological findings that in fact everybody’s on a spectrum, it’s just that the way society works most people don’t think of themselves as on any kind of a spectrum at all. The same is probably true of sexual orientation. Most people don’t describe their own sexual orientation as being on a spectrum, although actually, practically speaking, it very much is.
      FIDGEN: Maybe we’ll all soon be defining our gender identity in percentage terms just like Richard O’Brien. If you think this is fanciful and that it’s hard enough to get your head around the new territory policymakers have led us onto, then brace yourself - this may be where we’re heading next. Trans campaigner Ruth Pearce:
      PEARCE: I think a massive battle still needs to be fought legally and that’s for trans people who don’t identify as female or as male - trans people who might describe themselves for instance as gender queer, as androgyne, as bi-gender or as gender fluid, to use just some terms that people use to describe themselves. And I think the big legal battle at the moment is moving beyond binary gender to a place where people can move through the world legally without having to say that they’re female or male.
      FIDGEN: Change is coming. Law professor Stephen Whittle:
      WHITTLE: What’s been happening to the law over the last twenty years is that we have been de-gendering the law. So take, for example, the Sexual Offences Act. Rape is rape whether it’s done by a man or a woman. Similarly, the Road Traffic Act used to require you to declare whether you were a man or a woman. Well you don’t have to declare that any longer. In Australia you’re no longer required to have M or F on your passport. You can choose to have an X.
      FIDGEN: What difference would it really make if the state stopped taking an interest in our sex or gender identity? Women and men before long will be collecting their pensions at the same time; same sex marriage is likely to get the nod. Penning a law won’t change society overnight - but cultural attitudes do tend to catch up.
      WHITTLE: I remember when we had twin babies. Sarah was feeding one and I had the other with a bottle. And our two other children, Gabriel and Eleanor, were sat at the dinner table with us. And Gabriel, who was about three and a half, turned to us and said, “How do you know that they’re girls?” And I looked at Sarah, my wife, who went, “Well Gabriel, we don’t know whether they’re girls. We know that most people born with vaginas will grow up to be girls and we know that most people born with penises will grow up to be boys. Sometimes that’s wrong. So if we’ve got it wrong with the twins … We’ve made a guess, but if we’ve got it wrong, when they’re big enough and old enough, they’ll tell us and then we can sort it out then.” That was a perfectly good answer for them both.
      FIDGEN: Who, then, decides if I’m a woman? I do. Scientists and policy makers agree on that. This quiet revolution has taken place without many of us noticing - maybe because we thought it concerned only a small minority of the population - but it affects all of us and the way we organise society. If we can accept that sex and gender are a personal choice - with a whole range of possibilities between the extremes of male and female, man and woman - the battle of the sexes as we know it will be over. What comes next? Perhaps, a new model of society where we negotiate relationships with each other and the state on our own, individual, terms.
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