Cuntism: Cunts, Cuntiness, and All Things Cuntery in Pop Culture

Illustration for article titled Cuntism: Cunts, Cuntiness, and All Things Cuntery in Pop Culture
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Cunt. It’s a powerful, beautiful, valuable thing: a fabulous pun and “the source of all life and pleasure and beauty”…Or so it was until it made it to our American shores.

On this week’s episode of DirtCast, co-hosts Madeleine and Megan take a stroll down Gropecunt Lane to figure out why the word is so taboo in U.S. culture, and why Sam Bee calling a feckless cunt a feckless cunt is such a crime. They’re joined by Jo Livingstone, culture writer at The New Republic, who wrote about the etymology of the word (“What’s So Bad About the C-Word?”) in response to Cuntgate.

Join these mad cunts on a journey through history, college lit class, and pop culture to get to the heart—or cunt—of the matter. While this may be cunt’s shining moment, there’s been no shortage of cuntery in our culture these past few years: Tina Fey wrote a 30 Rock episode about it and John McCain is rumored to have called his wife one in front of a bunch of reporters (but is Cindy McCain too dead inside to have that kind of life?). Roseanne Barr, meanwhile, is definitely a cunt, and a racist to boot.


The rudest thing about Cuntgate, says Jo, isn’t the word itself—it’s the transparent attempt to cheapen the word by an administration and support base that are comfortable with nonconsensual cunt-groping but pretend to be upset when “cunt” is used as an insult on a late night talkshow. “It takes this really rich and evocative word, beloved by cunts and those who love cunts, [that] carries so much intangible culture and interesting politics inside it, to exploit some completely fake sense of its meaning for such hollow, hollow, hollow purposes.”

DirtCast can be found on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play, NPR One and iHeart Media.

Thanks to Jo Livingstone. This episode was produced by Levi Sharpe and Rachel Withers. Mandana Mofidi is our Executive Director of Audio. Our theme music is by Stuart Wood. This episode was mixed by Jamie Collazzo.

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The problematic nature of this word can’t be laid at the feet of this administration (even though the breathless pearl-clutching and hypocrisy of the administration in general is worth mocking).

It’s still very much a gendered slur, and while I get while some folks want to try and reclaim it and that in the UK it’s considered “not that bad” (it’s still a gendered insult) I hate it and refuse to use it and will side eye anyone I see or hear using it.

In short, I’ll accept it’s a positive thing the minute it becomes uncoupled from the sexist demeaning baggage that it still carries with it.

We’re not there yet and may never be. Going on about how awesome a word it is doesn’t remove the fact it’s still a gendered slur.