Review: Cunt by Inga Muscio
Author: Inga Muscio
Published: 2002 by Seal Press
First line: “On the choice occasions popes and politicians directly refer to female genitalia, the term ‘vagina’ is discreetly engaged.”
Rating: 4 out of 5 reappropriated feminist cunts
Recommended if you like: If you, like, have a cunt or know someone who has a cunt and you like her (or her cunt) well enough
So I was standing in my kitchen, barefoot and pregnant and turning out pie after pie while this nice man patted my head and tried to explain something mathy or sciencey to me (I don’t know which, it’s all SO CONFUSING!) when I had this thought: I should go reread Cunt! I had to take some Ibuprofen first, because ZOMG THINKING HURTS, and I also took some Motrin because chances are good that I’m PMS-ing, but after that, I did pick up the book.
In my early twenties, I first read Muscio’s earnest, slightly ranty Cunt, which is a celebration of the snatch if I’ve ever read one, and I loved it. It was positively transformative. That word, that dirtiest of swear words, was actually a good thing? Oh yes, people, yes. It is.
My early twenties was the perfect time for me to read this book, because Muscio’s tone matches up so well with that whole finding myself, going-against-cultural-norms period that happened at that point in my life. Her exploration of issues that directly affect women, by virtue of having a cunt, lends itself to a kind of feminist war cry against cunt crimes and for embracing all the wonderment that is being a liberated woman. It is that wincingly-heartfelt protest mentality that makes this text both so good and so bad; reading it now, at thirty, I find it to be a little too much at times, but it was so important to 22-year-old-Laura that I’ll never be able to toss it aside. Beneath Muscio’s (perhaps too) repetitious mantra “cunts are awesome and amazing” lies the fundamental truth that cunts ARE awesome and amazing; Muscio discusses a pretty complete range of what women go through in regards to their ladyparts, from the amazing (ahem, sex) to the awful (rape), but always ends on a fist-raising note.
Perhaps my favorite concept of the entire book is the re-appropriation of the word “cunt.” The “c-word” has become the dirtiest swear word one person can toss a woman’s way, but actually has its roots in a very wholesome–dare I say American–concept: country. Unity. Cunt-try. See what I did there? That’s actually true. Muscio delves into the idea that women, people really, should take back that word and put it to good use, remember its roots, and basically venerate the vagina. Praise the pussy. Fete the fancy bits. Treasure the twat. Love the lady jane. (I could do this all day.)
Not everyone can do that, though. Let’s look to a random person, like, say…Mitch, the famous Mitch, Mitch the Bitch (y’all I had to, because RHYMES) who thought he would really be making some loud women with opinions who dare to share those on a free, public forum cry into their oven mitts, which they constantly wear because they don’t ever leave the kitchen. Dude, I might have been offended if you had insulted my literary integrity or even taste, but calling me a cunt? Nope. It led to one of the most hilarious nights of Twitter and Facebook talking with my fellow Bookslutscunts and some of our readers EVER, which led to a weekend of me telling this story to my friends and sharing many many laughs, and now I get to write this review and try to see what I’m typing through all the laugh-tears. But I’m not thanking you for it, Mitch; I think we all would have dismissed your comment out of hand had we not had that series of ridiculous CUNTVERSATIONS, so thanks, fellow cunts, because I otherwise would have probably been trying to do something stupid like trying to work the remote by myself all that night.
Because the thing is, kids, some of us HAVE REACHED THE APPROPRIATION STATION and give zero fucks about being called cunts.
So, probably what we should all do now is go read Cunt in public and take little breaks to scribble away in the Cunt Coloring Book and also call me on the fucking phone and we can have a very loud conversation about how we’re reading Cunt and have cunts and love cunts or whatever. I, for one, cannot stop saying “cunt,” and I’ve got no plans for stopping. If you haven’t, you should say “cunt” out loud. It feels truly powerful and amazing.
Oh, and Mitch dear? Please send me a copy of Vampiers Versus Wearwolfs, whatever the fuck that is, and I’ll review it for you IF I can stop being on my period or baking or walking into doors because I can’t figure out doorknobs (TECHNOLOGY, am I right?).