Various bits of flotsam that washed up on our computers, before we moved to a better blog system in November 2004. Now a repository for YouTube videos and testing new tools. Go to for more recent content.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

In celebration of Cunt

Words, words, words. Anyway, the President of the University of Colorado is currently furiously backpedaling because, in court testimony, she claimed that the word cunt used to describe Katie Hnida is a term of endearment.
She almost has a point, but only if you ignore modern usage of the word....

Destructive Word Bombs:
"Cunt, however, doesn't even sound like a swear word - it's far too full and luscious sounding, like 'succulent' or 'fecund'.

The origins of the word are in 'cunnus' a Latin word from which comes - coneus (wedge shaped; canabulum (cradle, being place, place where something was nurtured); cunctus (all); cuniculus (rabbit hole or underground passage); and also from the Old Norse words 'kunta' and 'kunte'.

From 'cuniculus' come the words 'coney' and 'cunny' that were used in England from about the 1100's for - a rabbit and for the vulva. The New Shorter Oxford Dictionary tells us that coney was originally a term of endearment for a woman and that the pronunciation was as in 'honey', until the 19th century when it became coney as in 'phoney'. The dictionary proposed that the pronunciation may have changed because of its association with the female genitals.

'Cunte' was used as a slang word, but not a 'bad' word, in England up until the 1600's, but by the 1700's it had become an obscene word and it was illegal to print it. In a dictionary of 1785 compiled by one Frances Grose it was euphemistically called the 'monosyllable' and printed as 'c__t'. Grose's definition - "a nasty word for a nasty thing". Obviously this is the mind-set from which our current usage of 'cunt' comes.

Other words that have the same origins are country, kin (which also meant a cleft or crevice) cunning, ken (knowledge or insight) and the rarely used cunctipotent (all powerful). There was a Roman goddess called Cunina, who protected babies in their cradles, and in India children conceived out of wedlock were called 'kundas' and regarded as blessed gifts from the goddess Kunda. Obviously the older perceptions of the word cunt were far from insulting or shameful.

To continue using the word cunt as a 'dirty' word, when in the past it was so far from that definition, means we continue to support those cultural beliefs that first distorted the meaning from endearment to insult. If we go along with the belief that 'cunt' is the 'worst swear word', shameful, embarrassing, disgusting, then we are going along with the bigots who tell us that women's genitals are dirty, smelly, impure, ugly, revolting and all the rest of the subtle and not so subtle messages that pervade our western society.

And a big hello to Vaginarts vistors! Welcome, stay, browse around.


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