I failed today. Just now, in the office.
I overheard a conversation and I didn’t step in to say how inappropriate and offensive it was. So, I’m going to take a lower risk maneuver and write it here.
Overheard at work:
Man one: Thinking about it makes me so mad again. There’s a four letter word for someone like her. It rhymes with bundt.
Man two: I wonder what that could be.
Man one: Yeah, but I typically call women muffins instead, so I don’t have to cuss.
Man two: But why muffin?
Man one: Well,…
…and so forth.
I know many women have reclaimed the word cunt. Thanks in part to the book of the same name and to the Vagina Monologues, cunt’s use is similar to my use of ‘queer’ to describe myself and my friends who also identify with the term. But still, there is a way to use the word for empowerment and respect and a way to use the word as a demeaning insult. To use it intentionally with malice.
The fact of this conversation–even though they never even said the word–open, loud, in the middle of an office, and around women, is more infuriating than the use or discussion of ‘cunt’ being used.
Along similar lines, I’ve tried to take the word “dick” as an expletive out of my vocabulary–I say jerk instead; it’s more accurate to what I mean.
And, it hasn’t been lost on me that ‘dick’ is more commonly-accepted, a “lighter” word to use than ‘cunt’ in similar instances. Is this because it’s more offensive to be a nasty woman? Since women, after all, are supposed to be sweet and men are supposed to be jerks.