To hell with the word "pussy"
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To hell with the word “pussy”

18 Oct To hell with the word “pussy”

Anyone who knows me may have heard me utter a curse word occasionally. Ok that’s an understatement – I curse on a daily basis. I always have since I was 10 (sorry Mom and Dad, I know you raised me better). I’ve always loved how cuss words would roll off the tongues of adults, really driving home the point of the statement that they were trying to make be it excitement or disgust, adding the “je ne sais quois” flavour to the English language. I love it. 

Recently, I’ve decided to reacquaint myself Caribbean literature exploring the heart wrenching writings of Marlon James, the poetic stylings of Olive Senior and the bewitching worlds of Sharon Maas. It really dawned on me while reading A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James just how much of our cuss words in the Caribbean degrade women and their body parts. Raising my awareness to yet another way in which women are degraded continuously by our culture.  The book is laden with cuss words which men use to insult each other. You know what they are – I don’t need to repeat them.

Gendered insults are rude and vulgar. However, over the course of Caribbean history, they have become normalised. People use these words always flippantly not seeming to really understand the meaning or the weight these words carry. There is a special meaning to female gendered insults which penetrates the culture of hostility to women and for reasons both historical and sociological are well entrenched in Caribbean culture.

Gendered insults are rude and vulgar.

Generally speaking, when you refer to a woman by ‘cunt’ or ‘twat’ or ‘bitch’ you are reducing her to the parts of her body that men have found to be the most useful. And we all know that the worst thing a man could ever be to the people in his life is a pussy, in other words, he is weak. In fact, I think I may have called an ex or two in the past a pussy in a very heated discussion just to hit them where it hurt the most (My apologies to my exes out there).

Let’s look at another word. Cunt. A cunt, another slur which refers to the vagina is an even worse insult than being an asshole. Calling a man by these names not only insults him, but women use these words as well, acknowledging that there is a power differential between the sexes. Follow me here. It ultimately insults men because by calling him these words, you are putting him in a lower class and it insults women by labeling them the lower class.

Generally speaking, when you refer to a woman by ‘cunt’ or ‘twat’ or ‘bitch’ you are reducing her to the parts of her body that men have found to be the most useful.

While male gendered insults such as ‘dick’ may also be deemed vulgar, they do not carry any of the historic and political baggage that female gendered insults do. No one is offended by being lumped with the ‘ruling class’ and as such I don’t they carry a heavier weighting to any other cuss word out there.

Is this just another feminist rant? Am I being over sensitive?

I don’t think so.

I can’t guarantee that I wouldn’t be cursing going forward but I declare that going forward I wouldn’t be using any derogatory words which degrade women and their bodies.

If you ever hear me use those words again, feel free to call me out. Breaking into new habits are tough.

Here’s to raised self awareness on the journey.

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