About three years ago, I was maliciously called a “cunt” by a man. The scenario is as follows: my boyfriend and his older brother got into a serious altercation, and as a result, the brother, in a fit of rage, sent out an angry exclamation on a social media site that I was a “liberal hipster cunt, the kind of person ruining everyone’s lives.” Why he pulled me into this situation, I have no idea, seeing as I had absolutely nothing to do with their fight, nor was I even there to witness it. The only reasoning I can see is that his frustration and emotions were being shot out at basically anyone he did not like, and it was true that we did not like each other. He was the kind of person who used his height (6+ feet) and weight (250+ pounds), and overall pushy, rude, and patriarchal demeanor to take command over situations and conversations, which is something which made our personalities immediately clash. Every time he would state something irrational, I would very simply combat it with an easy “but why?” or “that doesn’t make sense.” He hated that I questioned his authority. In his group of friends, he was the oldest, and the only one with a car, so in his eyes he was the leader. One time in conversation, I don’t recall about what, he called me a feminist. I asked him why he would call me that, and his response was “I don’t know.” So I responded: “Well, I don’t understand why every woman ISN’T a feminist.” He didn’t anything else after that. Obviously this guy is not the brightest bulb in the box, and many times it was obvious he has a few disturbing emotional handicaps, as well as negative feelings towards women in general.
The first thing I did when I saw that he had called me a cunt was tell my mother. At the time I was 20 and he was 23 or 24, so immediately my mom wanted to go to the police and see about filing a suit. According to her, in the eyes of the law I was still a minor, and since he was over 21 he could be sued for public verbal slander. The next thing I did was call his mother. We had known each other for about 4 years and had an alright relationship, and I knew from my boyfriend that she hated any kind of vulgar words aimed at women, especially cunt. She was upset, to say the least, particularly about my parents’ intentions of seeking legal council. About an hour after speaking to her, I received a surprising phone call, from the slanderer. “Claudia, it wasn’t about you!” He had thought that by not naming me, but by saying YOU instead of my name that he was free to call me a “liberal hipster cunt,” as if I wouldn’t know it was about me. I calmly questioned him, “Who is it about then?” He was so daft, he couldn’t even come up with an excuse. “Don’t worry about it” was all he said. I could hear in his voice that he was smiling. I paused for a second, in disbelief. I quickly realized my confidence in myself, and replied, “Oh really? That’s all you have to say to me? Goodbye” and hung up while he was still talking.
I was recently reminded of this moment in my life because of an article I’ve just read about how the word cunt and its derivatives have been officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary. I started thinking about how I used to view the word as disgusting and highly offensive, and would even cringe when I heard it. That feeling has evolved over these past three years, however, and I have allowed the word to take on a kind of power; it is now something that I use casually, but yet it still retains its significance in being the only word that always delivers a fantastic shock value.
Fast-forward about a year after the cunt debacle: I became close friends with a girl from work, and we ended up hanging out together about once a week. It was during a few of these hangouts that I realized her (and her roommate’s) repetitive use of the word cunt. Cunt this, cunt that, and “you’ve got to be cunting me.” Every time they said it I would feel a slight pain in my heart and cringe a little. That word had made me feel dirty, low, and crushed. It had made me feel vulnerable, and I knew he had only called me a cunt because I am woman, so it would hurt in a special kind of way. That fiasco had also destroyed the relationship I had with my boyfriend’s parents, whom I still haven’t seen in the three years since. Now, with this girl, I was hearing cunt thrown around everywhere. Finally one day I asked her: “Why do you say cunt so much? Don’t you find it offensive at all?” Her response was something like “No way! It’s the best word! Everyone gets so upset when they hear it!” And that was that. As time went on, I grew fonder of the word, and began using it more and more. The first time I referred to a person derogatorily as a cunt, it was not a woman. I have never referred to a woman as a cunt, and I never will. It is just blatantly disrespectful. However, I will absolutely call myself a cunt. Because I am one. I am the one calling the shots in my life, and I am controlling my future. In doing that, in being in control, I am powerful. I am a cunt.
Eventually my mom and I went to the police station to see about filing any kind of suit against him, but the officer there told me that nothing could be done unless he had threatened me. When he asked me what I did to warrant being called that I told him the truth, “absolutely nothing.” The officer gave me a sly smile “Come on, what did you do?” “Nothing!” His smile made me nervously laugh and blurt out “I’m an angel!” At this, he smiled even wider, and replied, “There are no angels, honey.” What a surprise – another guy in an authoritative position using his words to belittle me. He did not try to hide what he meant by “there are no angels.” He meant “young women are sluts.” So in the end, nothing productive came out of that situation. I stopped going to my boyfriend’s house and haven’t seen any of his family members since. But I did learn a couple of things for myself: how to deal with anxiety inducing situations, how to brush off unwanted verbal abuse, and how to defend myself without my mommy.
If I could go back in time, to that moment when he called me, right after he said “Don’t worry about it,” I would reply “It’s okay. I AM a cunt. But I am the cunt who is and will always be a better person than you. You will never do anything important in your life. You are nothing. But I am the greatest cunt alive.”
P.s.- Here are the definitions now officially in the Oxford English Dictionary:
“Cunty- highly objectionable or unpleasant.”
“Cuntish- an objectionable person or behavior.”
“Cunted- is slang for being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“Cunting- an intensifier that means “very much.”
Author: Claudia Racos