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In which the author yells at books and they do not respond

In which the author yells at books and they do not respond published on 2 Comments on In which the author yells at books and they do not respond

Hey kids! Are you ready for your daily dose of outrage?

You are? Well let’s get crackin’!

I just read Cunt: A Declaration of Independence by Inga Muscio. More precisely, I tried to read it, but ended up throwing it against the wall in disgust about 50 pages in.

Ostensibly, the book is a feminist reclamation of the word “cunt,” which apparently amounts to a long discussion of how wonderful uteruses, Fallopian tubes, ovaries, eggs, menstruation and all associated hydraulics are. I don’t object to the concept — we need more appreciation of these long-devalued body parts — but I object strenuously to the execution.

Muscio insists that all women have cunts. Yes, she actually writes that. I promptly yelled at the book, “NO THEY DON’T!!!!!!!” but this did not alter her erroneous assumption. Apparently all the women I know who don’t have cunts aren’t women??!?!?!?!?!?!? Keep your essentialist claptrap to yourself, Muscio.

In one of the book’s early chapters, Muscio talks about her childhood in which she was shamed and characterized as unclean for menstruating. She then recounts her reacquaintance with her reproductive system, her determination of her own reproductive schedule and her switch from “feminine hygiene products” to sea sponges and rags. There is also a huge tangent about the ocean and the moon and how this somehow relates to fertility [hint: it doesn’t]. Yay hooray, she liberated her reproductive system, and she feels good about it.

The problem arises when Muscio prescribes her reproductive liberation program for all women. First of all, as I mentioned before, not all women have the same biology. Second, even if they do have the aforementioned long-devalued body parts, they don’t all menstruate. Third, if they do menstruate, they don’t necessarily do it on a regular schedule the way that Muscio apparently does. [“Fun” experiment: try figuring out your menstrual “schedule” if you have PCOS!] Fourth, the ocean and the moon have nothing whatsoever to do with menstruation. Fifth, some of us have slightly more complex relationships to our bodies than “Ick, I’m disgusting; the patriarchy has oppressed me!” then transforming into “My womanhood is wonderful!” However, Muscio presents her experience as the sole option, thereby foreclosing on the full and varied range of experiences that a full and varied range of women have in their bodies.

This is not feminism. This is simplistic, biologically reductionist bilge in complete denial of multiple axes of oppression.


Ugh, that grosses me out. :C

Oh hey Jerkauthor, here’s a testimony from a woman who does happen to have a cunt but doesn’t agree with you that that’s a Womanhood Universal. I have a vague awareness of certain patterns my body gets into, but as to when they happen, that’s it’s thing, not mine… it’s just whenever the hell it feels like at a rate of roughly X days/month (or more if it feels peevish). I feel a certain affinity with the moon but that has fuck-all to do with my vulva or anything behind it.

At any rate I feel like worshipping my fertility as some form of feminine healing is useless. The idea of being pregnant horrifies me on a deep level and I actively strive to suppress that particular function, and yes while I am far from pleased at anyone who finds menstruation ikky or unclean or gross, that doesn’t change the fact that cleaning up after it, especially when it’s as excessive as mine used to be, is frankly inconvenient, and not something I am inclined to think of as a blessing when it’s a signal for a function that, again, I’d be horrified to fulfill. I love it to a ridiculous extent that my IUD reduces my bleeding to almost nil. It’s a big part of why I ultimately chose to get another IUD instead of having sterilization surgery.

Basically, the take-home PRO TIP here is: telling any woman what body parts she has to have, and what she ought to think of them or do with them, is inherently the opposite of feminism. Ahem.

Case in point! It’s one thing to say, “Our bodies are awesome and powerful, but we are often disconnected from our awesome power because of sexism, among other oppressions,” and another thing to say, “All women have stupendous cunts argle bargle bargle moon ocean blood blah blah and the amazing sacred mystery of monthly courses blahdy bloo WE CAN MAKE BABEEZ!”

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