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Cunt: A Declaration of Independence

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Author: Inga Muscio

Published: October 15th 2002 by Seal Press (first published 1998)

Format: Paperback , 373 pages

Isbn: 9781580050753

Language: English


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An ancient title of respect for women, the word cunt long ago veered off this noble path. Inga Muscio traces the road from honor to expletive, giving women the motivation and tools to claim cunt as a positive and powerful force in their lives. In this fully revised edition, she explores, with candidness and humor, such traditional feminist issues as birth control, sexualit An ancient title of respect for women, the word cunt long ago veered off this noble path. Inga Muscio traces the road from honor to expletive, giving women the motivation and tools to claim cunt as a positive and powerful force in their lives. In this fully revised edition, she explores, with candidness and humor, such traditional feminist issues as birth control, sexuality, jealousy between women, and prostitution with a fresh attitude for a new generation of women. Sending out a call for every woman to be the Cunt lovin Ruler of Her Sexual Universe, Muscio stands convention on its head by embracing all things cunt-related. This edition is fully revised with updated resources, a new foreword from sexual pioneer Betty Dodson, and a new afterword by the author.

30 review for Cunt: A Declaration of Independence

  1. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    i was reading this book and a middle-aged woman, accompanied by her husband, on the subway, asked me (timidly) what I was reading. I smiled and shrugged and flashed her the cover. She giggled. "I saw the title of the chapter," she said. I flipped back a few pages to see what the title of the chapter was. In big, bold print I saw it: "Blood and Cunts." I giggled. The middle aged woman giggled. Together, we giggled. For the sake of interactions like this, everyone should read this book in public, i was reading this book and a middle-aged woman, accompanied by her husband, on the subway, asked me (timidly) what I was reading. I smiled and shrugged and flashed her the cover. She giggled. "I saw the title of the chapter," she said. I flipped back a few pages to see what the title of the chapter was. In big, bold print I saw it: "Blood and Cunts." I giggled. The middle aged woman giggled. Together, we giggled. For the sake of interactions like this, everyone should read this book in public, all the time.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Taryn

    Upon finishing Cunt: A Declaration of Independence, I've arrived at a surprising conclusion: I've been a feminist for years and I was quite possibly the last one to know about it. This book to me was just a big pleasant surprise. Probably the most interesting result of reading it was coming to the realization that I clearly had a pretty limited picture of what feminism was really about. I viewed feminists in general as people who were very aggressive, pretty anti-male all around, and who were alw Upon finishing Cunt: A Declaration of Independence, I've arrived at a surprising conclusion: I've been a feminist for years and I was quite possibly the last one to know about it. This book to me was just a big pleasant surprise. Probably the most interesting result of reading it was coming to the realization that I clearly had a pretty limited picture of what feminism was really about. I viewed feminists in general as people who were very aggressive, pretty anti-male all around, and who were always running their mouths about something we probably could all do without hearing. I attribute this attitude partially to growing up and living in the area that I do. I say this because I've grown up thinking this. I've grown up with people rolling their eyes at any female that dared to "mouth off" in public, or even in private for that matter. I've had friends deliberately stifle themselves because they didn't want to come off as anything resembling a feminist. It's largely viewed as women who have nothing better to do with their lives than whine and complain about something and draw attention to themselves. As I read this book I noticed that yes, the aggressiveness is indeed part of it. Yes, being against a male dominated society is a part of it. And yes, complaining about something and drawing attention to a situation is part of it as well. But in the bigger picture, it's about standing up for yourself. It's about having enough love and respect for yourself to stand up for yourself. It's a very powerful and very positive thing. It's about being active in your beliefs and helping to support others that need support. It's about keeping your eyes open, your mind sharp, and being aware of your surroundings, locally and globally. It's about finding your voice and speaking up and drawing attention to issues that need to be dealt with rather than swept under the rug. This book deals with women's issues, from the female anatomy, menstruation, orgasms, abortion, rape, power struggles and more. It sheds some light on issues that I was just totally complacent about and/or unaware of until I read the author's take, such as the taboo of menstruation and how we're taught it's some unnatural, unsanitary thing that we're not supposed to discuss openly for fear of making the opposite gender the slightest bit uncomfortable. Maybe it wouldn't be such an issue if men were taught more about women from the start. Such as, say, including both genders in the sex ed. classes instead of separating them into 'boys' and 'girls' groups. I have no idea how sex education is approached now days, but for me we were split into the two groups under the premise of 'it's more comfortable for the students'. Maybe it is. But the more I think about it now, the more I think that type of thing does a disservice to both genders. It seems to help along the 'ew, gross' attitude guys grow up with when it comes to certain aspects of the female body. The book also has an interesting take on a word that many are either uncomfortable with or totally opposed to. For the record, this word has never bothered me as much as a lot of other people. After reading more about it, it bothers me even less. I personally think everyone should read this book, and yes, that includes the men of the world. Be forewarned, there are a couple of chapters that will likely make you uncomfortable, but it'd be good for you to learn more about what it's like for us. I also think it should be mandatory for every woman around to read this book. I had trouble reading the abortion section because that's such a touchy subject with me, but I read it anyway and I'm glad I did. If you let it, this book will bring a tremendous amount of enlightenment, empowerment, and freedom into your life, and hopefully a new sense of understanding and empathy towards women and what we have to deal with. It's certainly opened my eyes and aroused my curiosity on a whole new interest.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    I wanted to like this. I really did. And it started out so great. The blurb talked about how the c word used to be a powerful word for women, so I guess I assumed that the whole book would be analysing the evolution of such a powerful word into one of the worst curse word known. And, well, there's only one chapter on that. One tiny little 5 page chapter. The rest is a misandry-filled rant (I'm sorry, but that really is what it is). Look, Inga and I just have super different views on what feminism m I wanted to like this. I really did. And it started out so great. The blurb talked about how the c word used to be a powerful word for women, so I guess I assumed that the whole book would be analysing the evolution of such a powerful word into one of the worst curse word known. And, well, there's only one chapter on that. One tiny little 5 page chapter. The rest is a misandry-filled rant (I'm sorry, but that really is what it is). Look, Inga and I just have super different views on what feminism means. For Inga, it means completely avoiding everything that males have created, even if it beneficial for women. Take the Pill for example. Inga is firmly against it because males created it and males market the product towards women (she goes by this logic for abortions and tampons/pads/ibuprofen as well) . She says it isn't empowering for women to take the Pill (and poison your uterus, apparently), but it's exactly the opposite: that by taking the Pill, you're relinquishing all your power, giving it to The Men. I dunno, this is the kind of radical feminism I can't get behind. Sure, women haven't had a chance to rise up and make a name for themselves because of the systematic oppression of women, but that doesn't mean one must avoid everything literally man-made in order to fight that. But I guess I believe this because I see feminism as raising women's power to be equal to that of men, whereas it seems that Inga wants women to rule the world. Honestly? I would hate to live in a matriarchy. Hate hate hate. Because it would make us no better than men and their patriarchy. My perfect world is one where women and men live together as equals. It just... It pisses me off how much misandry is in this book. It is literally just full on misandry. And I feel that this book is problematic. If a newbie at feminism picked this book up, looking to learn something about feminism, they would come away with the stereotype of the angry man-hating feminist in their mind. Feminists, even the tame ones like me, who simply want equality, already have a bad name and image. We're seen as angry women who hate men and want women to rule the world, and we're so angry, and we hate men a little bit more, and ARGH, MEN ARE SO YUCK. That's literally what happens in this book. I don't think I would recommend this book to someone new at feminism, someone who doesn't know what it's all about. Perhaps this would be more geared towards the more radical feminists. Also, fun parts that made me rage super hard: - Inga doesn't believe in medicine or doctors. She believes that Doctors don't actually do anything, and the only way to heal anything is to will it. If you will it hard enough, anything can happen. (Apparently that's how she gave herself an abortion: by willing it to happen. No, it wasn't the herbal supplements that did it, never. It was willing it super hard.) TW: RAPE -Ditto with getting raped. If you're in a situation where you might be raped, just will yourself to beat up the rapist and not be raped, and it should work. You don't need self-defence classes, they don't really do anything if you don't have the will to not be raped. I guess this means that if you got raped, or died of some incurable illness (or even curable), then you mustn't have willed hard enough, so you must have wanted to be raped/die of illness. *sigh* - "The sole reason I am negatively disposed towards the use of barrier methods is that the industry that creates them is not run by women" With the exception of condoms, because men wear condoms. But, ARGHHH. She has the same negative view on hormonal birth control. - Her three suggested forms of birth control are: - Abstinence (but she claims this is unhealthy, so don't do this) - Masturbation (Um... as a form of birth control? Isn't that the same as abstinence?) - Becoming a lesbian. (I won't even touch on how offensive it is for her to say this. Um, not everyone has the pleasure to be a lesbian. Changing sexualities isn't quite as easy as that.) So yeah, her three forms of birth control are great stuff. If you're a heterosexual woman, you're shit outta luck. So yeah, you can see why this book just wasn't for me.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    This book is appallingly bad. I bought it for a couple of reasons. First, I am about to teach Lady Chatterly's Lover for the first time, and I thought any book that makes the case for widespread use of "cunt" was an important bit of prep for D.H. Lawrence's infamous classic. Second, I was under the impression that the book delivered an overview of the etymology of "cunt." Third and last, I read Betty Dodson's introduction and was led to believe that Cunt A Declaration of Independence was the kin This book is appallingly bad. I bought it for a couple of reasons. First, I am about to teach Lady Chatterly's Lover for the first time, and I thought any book that makes the case for widespread use of "cunt" was an important bit of prep for D.H. Lawrence's infamous classic. Second, I was under the impression that the book delivered an overview of the etymology of "cunt." Third and last, I read Betty Dodson's introduction and was led to believe that Cunt A Declaration of Independence was the kind of book I could one day pass on to my daughters, a gift that would show them the existence of a community as comfortable and proud of their menstruation, sexuality and "cunts" as I hope my daughters will one day be. Instead, there was nothing in Cunt that I could use in my class, an unreliable and disappointingly skeletal etymology, and little for my daughters that wasn't written by someone other than Inga Muscio. In fact, most of the interesting bits of Inga Muscio's book were from much better writers and thinkers (Ursula K. LeGuin, Cristien Storm, Nina Hartley, Audre Lorde, etc., etc.). Muscio's own work was illogical, poorly argued, continuously fallacious, and often full of hate. She did offer a couple of inspired ideas -- such as her call for menarche parties to celebrate a woman's first menstruation and the need to remove shame from masturbation -- but these moments were too few to mitigate the overall shabbiness of her work. And that shabbiness was heightened by Muscio's voice. She shifts from pirate to gangbanger to urban artist to pretentious author without any textually supported reason. It's obvious that she adopts this potluck style for effect; it's a voice used to make her cool and accessible, but she would have done better to spend her energy fully developing her ideas of how to make "cuntlove" universal and rid us all of "cunthate" than to waste time offering up piratical dialogue like, "We be powerful people when we bleed." Arrrrrr! Avast matey! This book wasn't anywhere near good enough, and it could have been amazing in the hands of someone with the skills to propose an idea, sustain an argument, deliver the proofs, and avoid digressions. Hell...I wanted it to be amazing. But Cunt is pop drivel of the worst kind. I am going back to Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick to cleanse my feminist tastebuds. As for Cunt A Declaration of Independence...I want my money back; instead, I suppose I will just have to use it as kindling come summertime.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Iz

    I wrote this review exactly 6 years ago and posted it on my then-blog. Here's part of it: I don't even know where to begin bitching about this book, so I'll just summarize it chapter by chapter: She advocates that all women should talk to the moon and worship the goddess, as if all feminists are into wishy-washy Wicca rituals (from what I've noticed every 4th word on this book is goddess). She also recommends only reading books written by women and only talking to women and only watching women-ma I wrote this review exactly 6 years ago and posted it on my then-blog. Here's part of it: I don't even know where to begin bitching about this book, so I'll just summarize it chapter by chapter: She advocates that all women should talk to the moon and worship the goddess, as if all feminists are into wishy-washy Wicca rituals (from what I've noticed every 4th word on this book is goddess). She also recommends only reading books written by women and only talking to women and only watching women-made films and only using women-invented appliances for at least one year of your life. She is against abortion (even though she's had 3) AND contraception. She believes that things like the pill and the diaphragm are evil because they were made by men and not by women or the goddess. She believes that when you're in tune with your body, with the moon, and with the goddess, you won't get pregnant if you don't want to, and if you do get pregnant you can have a goddess-induced abortion, taking herbs made by the goddess, getting massages by your goddess-worshipping friends, and thinking really hard about the goddess and your body, so your fetus will miraculously plop out of your body. And if you take the pill (which messes up with your holy goddess hormones) and get "vacuum cleaner" abortions, you're a powerless woman who is under control of men. However, she's ok with condoms, because they were designed by men for men. Huh? She says that women will never have any power or respect in society until we treat whores with the respect that they deserve, because they are the priestesses of the goddess and they have the most important job in the world. That being said, she also thinks that Aileen Wuornos didn't deserve to be in jail. She thinks that women's cunts are the most important part of their bodies. Not only their bodies, but their entire lives. Women's lives should be cunt-centred, all the time, and everything you do should revolve around your cunt - because women's power comes from the cunt and the cunt only, and if we don't use them, we are powerless wimps. So, a woman who is, say, a mathematician, whose life doesn't revolve around sexuality, isn't really empowered. (and apparently she wrote a song after getting very inspired by a man who was asked for a quarter by her friend and he responded, "you don't need a quarter, you got a goldmine between your legs") So, women's lives should revolve around their sexuality. And that's because, she says, women's sexuality is superior to men's sexuality (and no, I'm not misquoting). Because the male sex organ is limited in size, men's sexuality is also limited, and incomparable to the powerful, intricate, goddess-made vulva-vagina-clitoris-uterus-and-everything-else combo. Men's orgasms are consequently inferior to women's orgasms. The above statement is the one and only reason for patriarchy in the world. Men are scared of women's sexuality because it's the most powerful goddess-like thing in the world, and they're so scared they try to dominate it, underplay it, and teach little girls to hate their cunts. She complains that Valerie Solana's SCUM Manifesto is exactly what Aristotle thought about women centuries ago, but Aristotle is admired in society today, while Solanas died homeless... completely disregarding, of course, that Aristotle is from B.C. and we happen to admire people from back then who brought ideas to the world that brought good changes to society, even though they believed in things that are proven to be very silly today. Valerie Solanas lived in the 20th century AD and brought nothing other than SCUM to the world. Needless to say, Inga Muscio admires Valerie Solanas. Once a woman rocker was murdered in Seattle and nobody mentioned she was raped. One year later, Inga found out that the woman was indeed raped. Therefore, every time a woman is murdered now, she will assume that she was also raped, unless she sees the coroner's report herself. Her logic here is precious. She believes it's wrong to make movies about rape that have rape scenes in them, because we don't need to see it. She says that we should cause a ruckus if we want to be heard, so if there's a movie with a rape scene in it, you should buy the ticket with 10 female friends, then start screaming when the rape scene starts, storm out of the theatre, scream some more, and demand your money back. She thinks that men shouldn't be allowed to participate in feminist demonstrations, and they have to understand that. She says that only women can understand the horrors of rape, and if a man acts indignant about a rape, it's only because he's trying to show women what a good non-rapist he is. I could go on, but that's more than enough. In the 2nd edition afterword she acknowledges that transgender and transsexuals deserve respect too, because someone wrote her a letter reminding her that not all women have cunts - which was pretty positive, after recent news of a trans guy being refused entry into a rape crisis counselling centre. Other than that the book was no more than the crap listed above. I've realized that I'm a feminist because I don't like to feel gendered. There are a lot of people the world that make me feel that way, like the most important aspect of my being is the fact that I'm a woman. It seems they just scream at me, gender, gender, GENDER. Everything about you is related to your gender! And that, to me, is utterly annoying. I like to be around people who make me feel like I am a human being. I don't need to feel superior or more powerful than an entire group of human beings just to affirm my identity. Shouldn't this be what feminism is about? Equality, not superiority. Until we collectively admit that this book is pure garbage, feminists will still be seen as man-hating lesbians. I don't want that.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    Want to know about vaginas? This is your book. After reading this book, I would often brag to girl friends of mine that I probably knew more about their vaginas than they did. I would then proceed to WOW them with my vag-tastic knowledge. I think though, that in the 4 years since I have read this book, there has been quite an adjustment to the learning curves of women interested in their own crotches. Or, maybe I have been hanging out with girls who are more and more vagina-savvy. Whenever I was Want to know about vaginas? This is your book. After reading this book, I would often brag to girl friends of mine that I probably knew more about their vaginas than they did. I would then proceed to WOW them with my vag-tastic knowledge. I think though, that in the 4 years since I have read this book, there has been quite an adjustment to the learning curves of women interested in their own crotches. Or, maybe I have been hanging out with girls who are more and more vagina-savvy. Whenever I was reading this book in public, complete strangers would approach me and ask what the book was about. When I told them that it was about exactly what the title said it was, and that it was a work of non-fiction, they often had trouble believing me. Alas, the majority of subject matter in this book is actually about tha vajayjay... This may sound boring, but the entire book is actually quite intriguing. Inga Muscio also has a very unique sense of humor that had me laughing quite often. As some of the material in this book is coming closer to common knowledge for more informed females of this century, it may be more important for males to read this book, although there are definitely tidbits that females will be surprised by. Want to be entertained through a unique and thorough view of a extremely common subject, look no further than your lap... where this exciting book by Inga Muscio should be...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ari North

    Fundamentally, I think this author and I agree on many things, and she has some really good messages about body acceptance, empowerment, and sisterhood. However, what kept me from truly enjoying this book and recommending it as a good feminist read is that it is written with such vitriol and in such inflammatory language that it became hard to relate with many times. I recall when I read Muscio's near exaltation of Aileen Wuornos as a kind of feminist folk hero, I truly balked. While I think the Fundamentally, I think this author and I agree on many things, and she has some really good messages about body acceptance, empowerment, and sisterhood. However, what kept me from truly enjoying this book and recommending it as a good feminist read is that it is written with such vitriol and in such inflammatory language that it became hard to relate with many times. I recall when I read Muscio's near exaltation of Aileen Wuornos as a kind of feminist folk hero, I truly balked. While I think the intensity and rage at a patriarchal system resonates with a lot of women (including me), the extremism of this book really put me off and distracted me from all of the valid points that Muscio makes. I was also put off by Muscio's views on birth control pills and the fact that she asserts her opinions as hard and true facts. Reading some of the reviews on this site, I see that this book has lead some people to discover/identify their own feminism, and that's great. I, however, just could not relate to the undercurrent of extremism and separatism, it did not mesh well with me.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Amberly

    I certainly appreciate Inga's passion and her motivation behind this book. And I love the title. However, I don't agree with a few of her thoughts; her view that we should only support businesses owned and operated by women, that we should live in fear and constantly suspect leering men of rape, her flippant view of abortion, and her credo to band together as women, and support each other no matter how much you might not personally like some chick. Well foo on that. There are plenty of corrupt a I certainly appreciate Inga's passion and her motivation behind this book. And I love the title. However, I don't agree with a few of her thoughts; her view that we should only support businesses owned and operated by women, that we should live in fear and constantly suspect leering men of rape, her flippant view of abortion, and her credo to band together as women, and support each other no matter how much you might not personally like some chick. Well foo on that. There are plenty of corrupt and horrible women (some I've even worked for), who do not deserve anyone's support. I laughed at anyone who told me they would vote for Hillary simply because she's a woman - that's the same as some uneducated male voting for some prick simply because he has one. When I was young I saw on the evening news, a woman, some jogger in New York Central Park, was accosted, and they interviewed her from her hospital bed. The attacker had a knife, she was cut up pretty good, but they were all defensive wounds - she fought her attacker off. I'll never forget what she said. "He thought he was going to rape me!!?" It was her demeanor and attitude that struck me. She was more pissed off that anyone would assume they could get the better of her, than the knife wounds and many bandages. She ruled. That made an impression on my young mind, far, far more than seeing all the females in my life putting rocks into their pockets before they go for a bike ride ever could. I would have also loved if Inga did some hardcore research into the word 'cunt' (with some cited references), and gave us a more thorough linguistic history, instead of the general listing of bygone cultures.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    (2011) why do people like this book? it's irredeemably flaky, prescriptive, and essentialist. maybe I would have liked it if I'd read it as a younger person? I don't know. also the history/etymology is just terrible. -- November, 2013: Someone had this book out on the coffee table, so I flicked through to see what I thought of it now. I came across this charming paragraph: When I was twenty, my mother told me she had been raped. Five years passed before I found the courage to write about it. It is (2011) why do people like this book? it's irredeemably flaky, prescriptive, and essentialist. maybe I would have liked it if I'd read it as a younger person? I don't know. also the history/etymology is just terrible. -- November, 2013: Someone had this book out on the coffee table, so I flicked through to see what I thought of it now. I came across this charming paragraph: When I was twenty, my mother told me she had been raped. Five years passed before I found the courage to write about it. It is highly distressing to learn the sacred, holy place where you lived during your first nine months on this planet was ruthlessly pillaged long before you were conceived. This attitude -- that the rape of other women, sorry, "places", is dreadful primarily in how it affects Inga Muscio -- permeates the book. Nauseating. I'm actually enraged. I feel like it's widely understood that a man who sees the rape of his mother, lover, daughter etc as primarily a violation of his rights is not an ally to feminists or women in general. Why's it any better when it's a woman? Look, a lot of women I know, including my female relatives, have had some fucking full-on experiences that have definitely impacted the way I see the world and my sense of personal safety. But that doesn't mean that it's okay to talk about them in a way that centres only my feelings and renders the woman who actually experienced that violence a cipher -- a metaphor, a "holy place", not even a person. if I ever, ever write a paragraph like the one above, take away my keyboard for good.

  10. 5 out of 5

    sydney

    I just re-read Cunt because I was feeling sorry about the lack of (conscious) feminism in my life lately. This book was a great kickstart. Muscio's book deals with both the word "cunt" and the body part it has come to represent. She spends a short time explaining some of the word's origins and how it came to be so reviled, then launches into multiple chapters on cunts themselves: what they are, how they work, how they have been abused, and what women can do to ensure their respect. I would have I just re-read Cunt because I was feeling sorry about the lack of (conscious) feminism in my life lately. This book was a great kickstart. Muscio's book deals with both the word "cunt" and the body part it has come to represent. She spends a short time explaining some of the word's origins and how it came to be so reviled, then launches into multiple chapters on cunts themselves: what they are, how they work, how they have been abused, and what women can do to ensure their respect. I would have liked to learn more from this book about cunt's etymology and how it came to be considered one of the filthiest words in the English language. However, the second section of the book, "The Anatomical Jewel," is amazing and inspiring. Muscio's style is very personal; she uses her own experiences to open doors onto various topics (menstruation, rape, abortion), and it's hard not to be drawn in by that narrative style (as opposed to a more clinical treatment of the subject). It also means this book is incredibly subjective, but Muscio is open about that. She admits that her ideas won't work for everyone and is careful to warn readers that she is not authorized to give medical advice. But one of her main points is that women's bodies have become too reliant on a male medical system. Muscio wants women to be educated about their own bodies and options so we can make informed choices instead of blindly funding corporations who claim to know what's best for our bodies. She uses her own body to illustrate how that rejection of status quo worked for one woman. Her chapters on menstruation and rape were especially inspiring to me. I often find myself cursing menstruation, and I know I'm not the only one. But how earth-shaking could it be if women stopped being ashamed and angry at our bodies every time we bled? What kind of difference could we make in girls' self-esteem if we refused to buy into the idea that women's bodies are inherently dirty and suspect? And Muscio's chapter on rape is real, heartbreaking, and infuriating. She moves from stories about women she knows being raped into railing against Hollywood movies that glamorize rape, and she closes the chapter with her ideas for how women can band together and fight rape and rape culture in America. Muscio's voice irritated me at times, because it seemed too "tricked-out;" I just wanted her to write without trying to make it sound like she was my best friend or adding font flourishes. Sometimes the way she wrote felt gimmicky. But I get the sense that that's just how she is-- she's big and colorful and unapologetic, and that can be abrasive and polarizing. Overall, though, this book is inspiring. It makes me want to join or form feminist groups, boycott movies and companies, learn more about myself, teach other people, and re-read more great books. And it makes me want to write my own "womanifesto" and start taking control of my life in a more conscious way. I want you to read this book so you feel inspired (or at least shaken up in some way), too.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    I should have been an easy audience for this book; after all, I accepted the blurb's premise almost a year before I picked up a copy. I'm a cunt; I've got a cunt; the etymological root of vagina means sheath for a sword; I don't define women by men. Sure, I'm there. I've been there for years. But by Curie's irradiated notebook am I sick of spirituality and togetherness being woman's domain. We can absolutely talk about sea-sponges instead of tampons but lets not pretend that our half of the cultu I should have been an easy audience for this book; after all, I accepted the blurb's premise almost a year before I picked up a copy. I'm a cunt; I've got a cunt; the etymological root of vagina means sheath for a sword; I don't define women by men. Sure, I'm there. I've been there for years. But by Curie's irradiated notebook am I sick of spirituality and togetherness being woman's domain. We can absolutely talk about sea-sponges instead of tampons but lets not pretend that our half of the culture isn't just as naturally inclined to the throwaway mentality as the menfolk are. Western medicine may have problems ingrained in patriarchy, but it has also doubled the average lifespan, so before we go back to herbs and massages, lets talk about a public option, please. That's where my cuntloving feminism resides. Muscio brings up Marjorie Post as a CEO who ran her corporation like a man would, saying that as women we should do things differently. Frankly, I think women in general--being people--are just as prone to exploiting others for profit margins as any other demographic group. The doublethink required to call women out to become predators instead of victims and then turn around and talk about the groovy, all encompassing goddess-hood of who-in-the-where-now really turned me off. Also, while I hope it does not affect my rational judgment of the argument presented, it is difficult for me to read a book so--artfully phrased. "Words be powerful," Muscio says early on in the book. She clearly chooses the sentence structure because the rhythm trips the reader and makes one focus on the point. Except it makes me focus on trying not to write an essay on the importance of verb tense instead of reviewing her book. In conclusion, too many apostrophes and ashrams, not enough etymology.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gaijinmama

    I can't even type the title because I don't want this review or my blog to be labeled as Adult. Suffice it to say, it's a four-letter word, beginning with C, referring to a body part belonging to half the human race. Interesting, ain't it, that a body part is just about the most offensive word in the English language? I even got yelled at for mentioning the book in public...oh well, guess I shouldn't have brought up the subject in playgroup, LOL! Luckily I live in Japan, so nobody fussed at me w I can't even type the title because I don't want this review or my blog to be labeled as Adult. Suffice it to say, it's a four-letter word, beginning with C, referring to a body part belonging to half the human race. Interesting, ain't it, that a body part is just about the most offensive word in the English language? I even got yelled at for mentioning the book in public...oh well, guess I shouldn't have brought up the subject in playgroup, LOL! Luckily I live in Japan, so nobody fussed at me when I read it in Starbucks. But seriously, folks...the V word, which is the medical and socially acceptable term for said Anatomical Jewel, originally meant "a sheath for a sword". Ask yourselves, my fellow beings with Double X chromosomes....is that how we want to define ourselves? As Muscio would say, I ain't no sheath. C*** is a comprehensive analysis and meditation upon both the word that offends people so much, and what the author calls "The Anatomical Jewel". It's hard to put down, although sometimes I wanted to--Muscio covers some uncomfortable topics such as abortion, rape, prostitution, and menstruation in graphic detail. Even though I don't agree with her on all topics, she made me think and made me laugh, occasionally grossed me out , and definitely kept my attention. Not least because the author gives a shout-out to the extremely cool Samuel Jackson, yeah it's kind of a 90's reference but I still think he rocks. Written in a direct, conversational tone, this book made me laugh out loud, get pretty angry a few times, and once or twice come close to tears. I highly recommend C...but if you plan to read it in public you might want to get or make a book cover for it!

  13. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    I have a story about this book: When I was in college I worked at Barnes and Noble and I happened to be working in receiving when this book arrived. I pulled a stack of Cunts out of the box and asked the older, more conservative gentleman that I was working alongside a question about...where the book went or something, I can't remember exactly. He promptly gathered the Cunts up and said "This is what we do with books like this" and dumped them in a box of books to be returned to the publisher. He I have a story about this book: When I was in college I worked at Barnes and Noble and I happened to be working in receiving when this book arrived. I pulled a stack of Cunts out of the box and asked the older, more conservative gentleman that I was working alongside a question about...where the book went or something, I can't remember exactly. He promptly gathered the Cunts up and said "This is what we do with books like this" and dumped them in a box of books to be returned to the publisher. He said they were inappropriate, we couldn't shelve them. I decided to raise hell. I gave my manager a talking to about censorship then I shortlisted 10 more of them and put them on the staff rec shelf next to the Vagina Monologues. They stayed there until a customer complained. Having said that all that, I actually only read part of this book, I thought it was a little lame and I'm tired of people trying to "reclaim" words.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    Warning: This book is pretty vulgar. I suppose the title could have tipped you off. Oddly, I expected a more academic book. A look at the word its history and its affect on our society. Muscio is anything but academic. She is an artist, and the book is filled with personal anecdotes and her thoughts on life. There is no stuffy distance between her and her writing. Her approbation of menstrual blood made me uncomfortable (she enjoys watching it splash to the floor). Her retelling of her 3 abortio Warning: This book is pretty vulgar. I suppose the title could have tipped you off. Oddly, I expected a more academic book. A look at the word its history and its affect on our society. Muscio is anything but academic. She is an artist, and the book is filled with personal anecdotes and her thoughts on life. There is no stuffy distance between her and her writing. Her approbation of menstrual blood made me uncomfortable (she enjoys watching it splash to the floor). Her retelling of her 3 abortions, the last of which was a supposed triumph of the power of positive thinking and sisterhood, made me really glad I teach about condom use and birth control on a daily basis. But eventually, around the chapter on rape, she kind of won me over. Women come in all different shapes, sizes and colors. Some smart, some not. Some weak, others extremely strong. All of us are affected by the extremely violent subjugation that is rape. It limits our freedom, our security and our collective sense of self. I’m willing to bet every woman in America has had some experience with rape. Either personal, or a friend, family member or news story has shaken them. What are almost worse than the act itself are the silence and the shame that go with it. The most obvious counter attack, she explains, is noise. As a united front we need to put our foot down. If a rapist is known, gather 30 women on his front lawn and tell him straight out that his action will not be tolerated. Let everyone at his workplace know what he’s done. Same for spousal abuse, or any act of violence against women. If all women united in this, who would be hiding in shame? I never really thought of myself as a feminist. We are all equal. This book helped me see some of the sexism that still lingers in our society. It showed me that there is work yet to be done in order to obtain our god given equality. That’s enough for me to overlook the sloppy writing style.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    Check out this review on my blog, Textual Orientation. Cunt provokes. Cunt is hard to swallow. Cunt requires an open mind. The marketing language is true: if you have a cunt, you should read it. I’ve read some scathing reviews of the book, and I’d be interested in getting a better sense of how it was initially received when it was released. This is the type of book you need to sit with for a while rather than pounce on, because Muscio’s positions are not easy to digest. She ignorantly claims that Check out this review on my blog, Textual Orientation. Cunt provokes. Cunt is hard to swallow. Cunt requires an open mind. The marketing language is true: if you have a cunt, you should read it. I’ve read some scathing reviews of the book, and I’d be interested in getting a better sense of how it was initially received when it was released. This is the type of book you need to sit with for a while rather than pounce on, because Muscio’s positions are not easy to digest. She ignorantly claims that women should avoid all western medicine because most of it was invented by men. She advocates for the public humiliation of all men who have been accused of rape, sometimes based on hearsay alone. For me, the forehead-smacking climax happened when Muscio describes her self-induced abortion using pennyroyal, blue cohosh root, and a lot of meditation — without mentioning that the pennyroyal dose required for an abortion can be fatal or cause kidney and liver damage. True story. So it may come as a surprise when I say I loved the book. But I didn’t enjoy it because I agree with all of Muscio’s views. I liked it because it provides me with language to express my own feminist beliefs, which are in a state of perpetual development. Radical feminism may have a bad reputation, but I’m a strong believer in its important role in advancing gender equality. And oh my, does it ever rub my cunt the wrong way when people, women especially, tell me there is no longer a place in society for radical feminism. Yes, there is. Where Cunt succeeds is in its core message: women should re-focus on forming a united front. Prior to women having as many rights as we do now, first and second waves of feminism demanded a rock-solid bond among large female groups to succeed in gaining equality. (Not saying all camps were united, but still.) Now, among a new generation of women who have more basic human rights, the term “feminism” has somehow been tainted; I think links between women have been fractured as a result. This is why I’m happy to see initiatives like Duke University’s Who Needs Feminism? project, which strives to correct misconceptions that modern-day feminism is somehow unnecessary or negative. Cunt‘s chapter on rape is especially enlightening. I’m paraphrasing here, but some of the most poignant lines in the book describe how a man can rape a woman and sacrifice a coffee break, yet when a woman is raped, several generations of women are affected. If a mother is raped, she raises her child in an environment where that has happened. There is something very, very wrong about that distribution of power, and I see that imbalance spilling over into other areas of women’s lives. Whether severely damaging or relatively benign, I don’t think it’s far-fetched to state that every woman has at one point felt powerless at the hands of a man/men, whether it be in the workplace, walking down the street, in a marriage, or as mothers relying on expensive daycare so they can work outside the home. When I think of all the ways women still struggle for equality, I can’t argue against Cunt‘s solid position on essential feminist reading lists. If you have a cunt, read this book. If you don’t have a cunt, read this book to gain a better understanding of your friends, relatives, and lovers who have cunts. I look forward to reading Muscio’s latest, Rose: Love in Violent Times, which was released last year. In it, Muscio explores how rape and the destruction of the earth are interconnected, a basic principle of the ecofeminist movement. I’m a total newbie to this theory, and I look forward to Muscio’s work ushering me into the sphere. Expect a review later in the year.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alyse

    I read Cunt at the suggestion of my sister. We are both feminists and have a lot in common, so when she told me that this book changed her life I had the highest of expectations. Unfortunately, Cunt is without a doubt the most infuriating book I have ever read. I actually stopped reading it for a while because I was practically foaming at the mouth, and it was putting me in an especially bad mood. I forced myself to finish just to say I did. I think it's worth noting that I was prepared to love C I read Cunt at the suggestion of my sister. We are both feminists and have a lot in common, so when she told me that this book changed her life I had the highest of expectations. Unfortunately, Cunt is without a doubt the most infuriating book I have ever read. I actually stopped reading it for a while because I was practically foaming at the mouth, and it was putting me in an especially bad mood. I forced myself to finish just to say I did. I think it's worth noting that I was prepared to love Cunt. As an outspoken feminist, I figured this would be just the thing to read for inspiration. Instead, I was appalled by almost everything Inga Muscio said. After careful consideration, I narrowed down my dislike for this book into three categories: Muscio's harmful and misleading pseudoscientific claims, her hatred of men, and her writing style. So let's break it down. By far the most frustrating thing about this book is Muscio's harmful mistrust of modern medicine. I thought I was into some hippie-dippie stuff, but this is some completely next-level crap. I myself occasionally mistrust doctors and the like, and I subscribe to the general notion that if something can be taken care of naturally then that's how it should be done. I don't follow fads or miracle cures. That being said, I go to the doctor when I'm really sick. I get vaccinated, take antibiotics, etc. I don't think the scary doctors are out to get me with their evil Western medicines. Although I've never been pregnant or had an abortion, this extends to this realm as well. Should I ever become pregnant, I will see a specialist. And while I am at a point in my life where I am confident I'll never need an abortion, if I ever did I would, again, see the lovely people at Planned Parenthood, who I imagine know what they're doing. Muscio, on the other hand - and I seriously wish I was kidding about this - suggests that, should you become pregnant and not want the child, you should think about it really, really hard until the fetus goes away. You can't make this stuff up. She says, "When I was pregnant, I vividly, consistently... imagined the walls of my uterus gently shedding. Eight days passed from when I started inducing miscarriage to the morning my embryo plopped onto the bathroom floor" (49). What!? Muscio goes on to suggest this to all ladies who find themselves unfortunately preggo. Just think about it really hard, ladies, and all your problems are solved. She even claims to have successfully performed this little mental ritual and in so doing cured a "bump on [her] labia" (49). I fail to see how this in any way helps women. Women who find themselves in such a position should get real help. They should use the resources that so many other courageous women have fought for. I am personally enraged that Muscio would encourage such a distrust of true advancement in medicine in favor of a brand of pseudoscience even cavemen probably wouldn't consider. The imagery of a happy little embryo plopping on a floor followed by Muscio's ecstatic assertion that this is nothing less than the magic of her inner goddess doesn't help matters. Second on the list of reasons why I don't like this book is Muscio's hatred of men. I know that if she was reading this, she would scream that she doesn't hate men. In fact, I'm pretty sure she makes that assertion in the book. And, to be honest, I actually hate that I'm even writing this. When actresses like Shailene Woodley come out and say that they aren't feminists because they love men, it shows a complete misunderstanding of what feminism is about, and I want to make it clear that I know this. Feminists don't hate men. That is the worst lie possibly ever told about feminism. But, when I read Cunt, I suddenly understood where some of that lie might come from. There is no doubt in my mind that Muscio looks down on men. She blames them for practically all of her problems in the book, and actively encourages women to ignore them for portions of their lives. She suggests we never spend another cent on anything a man ever makes, be it tampons or novels. Her distrust of anything man-made runs rampant throughout the book. At the risk of sounding like another of these uneducated celebrities for whom I harbor so much disdain, I also love men. I love them and their products. I don't believe they're all in league with those scary Western-medicine-wielding doctors. I married myself a feminist man. I feel like I have to remind Muscio, like Woodley, that feminism is not about hating men. My final reason is more nit-picky, but no less valid. I absolutely cannot stand Muscio's writing style. It attempts to be conversational and humorous, but comes off as annoying and occasionally even confusing in its complete lack of regard for grammar and spelling conventions whenever the author finds it convenient. At the risk of letting my English-teacher self loose, I want to remind Muscio that these conventions are here for clarity of thought in writing. You can break them when it's appropriate or when you are an artistic genius. Neither of these seemed valid here. Overall, there's no way I would recommend this book. I love feminism. I love women. I love equality. I love my body from my head to my cunt. But, I don't love Cunt.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    I read the first edition in high school and it was a complete paradigm shift for me -- it completely opened my eyes to looking at the world through a more critical lens in regards to socialization, power structures as they relate to historical context, and the harsh reality of women (as well as the privileges I had enjoyed up to that point in my life being male, gay or not). During high school, this book's impact was nothing less than a foundational block of my worldview. This expanded and update I read the first edition in high school and it was a complete paradigm shift for me -- it completely opened my eyes to looking at the world through a more critical lens in regards to socialization, power structures as they relate to historical context, and the harsh reality of women (as well as the privileges I had enjoyed up to that point in my life being male, gay or not). During high school, this book's impact was nothing less than a foundational block of my worldview. This expanded and updated second edition primarily has an addendum: an afterword where Muscio addresses how her thinking on the subject has expanded, especially as she received questions from admirers of her book about the position (or lack therof) of transwomen in her womanifesto. Having her delve into the issue of transpeople and gender nonconformity, especially after I've befriended many transpeople after high school, was very refreshing. In fact, even though this time around for me I was more dubious of several parts of the original text, I enjoyed the book more entirely because of the issues she addresses in the afterword. Her inclusivity of more people on the margins (or on the margins of the margins) as well as many added comments on the need for alternative news sources and an examination of the widespread nature of abuse in American society mirrors my own evolution of thought and experience. The original text is still a good read, and even though some of it is not always logical or sometimes ventures into impractical ideals veering astray into lost woods, it still contains many important nuggets for everyone to consider about themselves and their relation to our society. I almost wish she could revise the original work and introduce the new thoughts in the afterword into the appropriate places, but it's still a good addition.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Heatherblakely

    I wanted to like this. I expected to like this. And there were parts of it I thought were great and empowering and powerful. But mostly, it made me roll my eyes or sigh or get annoyed and throw it on the floor. Muscio says more than once that she's a white woman who grew up middle class and is aware of her privilege, but she tells it to you more than she shows it. The language is very informal, which is fine, but there's a lot of words that are used informally that sound either southern (which M I wanted to like this. I expected to like this. And there were parts of it I thought were great and empowering and powerful. But mostly, it made me roll my eyes or sigh or get annoyed and throw it on the floor. Muscio says more than once that she's a white woman who grew up middle class and is aware of her privilege, but she tells it to you more than she shows it. The language is very informal, which is fine, but there's a lot of words that are used informally that sound either southern (which Muscio is not) or somewhat like ebonics (which is not a style Muscio should be writing in, since she's white). That kind of stuff bothers me a lot, because while I am all for marginalized groups borrowing from each other as long as there's an acknowledgement of it being done (Eddie on Fresh Off the Boat listening to rap, for example), I am not for white people taking language and phrases and assuming everything is just THEIRS, especially when the person in question is a white woman claiming to be all for intersectional feminism. Dear white people: not everything is yours. Muscio also claims that she realizes she's writing from one perspective, but she's very, very shamey. She claims we all have to overthrow the patriarchy (which I'm all for), but also doesn't like capitalism or western medicine. And the thing is, it's great if you want to support businesses run by women, but you cannot act as if men don't exist. Because yes, you're saying women should get together and learn to do things themselves and make money themselves. But. If you go to a female-owned and operated bakery as a way to be like "fuck the man!" and you're yelling loudly that this is why you're doing it, I need you to do some research. Women are running the show, but who made the the little plastic containers people are taking pastries home in? Who made the disposable cups you're serving coffee in? Where did the flour you use come from? Are all of your plastic products and produce and grains coming from places that are also owned and operated solely by women? Probably not. You, unfortunately, cannot operate in this world without some kind of male influence. As for overthrowing capitalism: that's never going to happen. I like capitalism. I think it's bullshit the way this country runs, but at its core, I like supply and demand and earning money to spend it and all of that. And I think it's bullshit that some other woman is telling me that I'm not allowed to like it. Listen, lady, just because you don't have a 9 to 5 doesn't mean we all don't. Which is another thing that bothered me: she seemed to shame those of us who have to fucking work for a living and don't have a ton of extra time to dedicate to overthrowing capitalism. She talks about how she managed to induce an abortion with thoughts and herbs and whatever, and says that we all have a responsibility to do things like that as not to give the pharmaceutical companies more money or whatever. Which, if you can do that, great. But most women cannot spend 75% of their day thinking about how they'd like their body to get rid of the fetus growing inside them. The 16-year-old who works 10 hour shifts at a fast food place can't just be like look, I need a few days off to let my body get rid of this fetus. The mom who has a kid or two or three can't say look, kids, I don't want another one of you, so leave me alone for a bit while I take care of this. The woman who works 80 hours a week at a law firm to make partner, or the woman who works 80 hours a week on a film set, or the woman who works 80 hours a week as a nurse, cannot take the time to do what Muscio insists we do. Not being able to do that, or not wanting to stop using birth control or tampons, does not mean we cannot be good feminists. Saying that getting the right to vote and having birth control be legal and all of those things are not big deals because we've been mistreated for hundreds of years is a slap in the face to all of the women who came before you. And a lot of what was in here is a outdated. "Transgendered" and "tranny" were used a lot, and we've come a long way in the past thirteen years. Oh, also, she talks about how she doesn't own a "teevee" (people who write it like that are fucking snobs who look down on people who do watch tv), and I am firmly on the side of appreciating media and its impact on culture, and I love how much queer representation has popped up over the last decade. We have a long way to go, but fuck, don't discount everything that's happened. Honestly, if you want a feminist book about what it takes to be a strong woman in America, read Shonda Rhimes's book. You'll learn more, you'll appreciate being a woman more, and hey, it's written by a woman of color.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Re-visiting this one as a few young women I know are headed off for college. I read it in the early aughts and it is now required reading in most Women's Studies programs/classes. It is still perfect reading for the 18-24 year old humorless feminist stage in life. Inga is at her strongest and most convincing when she explores rape and its consequences. More importantly, I had forgotten how * fantastic * the reading lists are in Cunt. I would argue that the lists are the best part of the book. The Re-visiting this one as a few young women I know are headed off for college. I read it in the early aughts and it is now required reading in most Women's Studies programs/classes. It is still perfect reading for the 18-24 year old humorless feminist stage in life. Inga is at her strongest and most convincing when she explores rape and its consequences. More importantly, I had forgotten how * fantastic * the reading lists are in Cunt. I would argue that the lists are the best part of the book. The fact that Inga led me to start reading Francesca Lia Block and Jeanette Winterson, PLUS I Shock Myself: The Autobiography of Beatrice Wood and Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner's Daughter makes me forgive some of the clunky prose and vitriolic rants.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Leilani

    I know a lot of people who loved this book, so maybe I just missed something. I hated reading it because the chick wrote in a way that made it seem like she was the first person to ever come up with any of the points that she made. It was very boring.

  21. 5 out of 5

    G.R. Reader

    I more or less went down on my knees and begged Inga not to do it, but some people are inherently self-destructive.

  22. 4 out of 5

    silchi

    The way I felt about Cunt while reading wasn't always completely consistent. While I mostly always enjoyed reading the book itself, I more often than not found myself shaking my head or pursing my lips and sitting there and really thinking about what point Muscio brought up and offered to readers, and where I stood on it (quite often, I couldn't have been further from complete agreement with her). Which, really, I think was the whole point of the book in the first place. It might be that, in fact The way I felt about Cunt while reading wasn't always completely consistent. While I mostly always enjoyed reading the book itself, I more often than not found myself shaking my head or pursing my lips and sitting there and really thinking about what point Muscio brought up and offered to readers, and where I stood on it (quite often, I couldn't have been further from complete agreement with her). Which, really, I think was the whole point of the book in the first place. It might be that, in fact, Muscio was more intent on getting readers to stop and think than she was in recruiting people to her cause. Also, I was often surprised at how severe her beliefs were. (Which, I think, may have been what made it so hard for me to agree with what she was talking about - she usually had me, until the moment when she took things beyond what I was nodding my head at moments before) For example, when she discusses how she thinks women should deal with rapists or sexual assailants. The actions she suggests, to me, seem to put those women doing them on the same level as the person who raped or assaulted one of them in the first place. If anything, it's just perpetuating the cycle; it's just one kid throwing a rock at another kid who threw a rock at them first, which, in all reality, just encourages that first kid to toss another rock. Muscio seems intent on women doing absolutely everything for themselves, and completely excluding men from their goings-on. I have no problem with women being very independent, but I think that completely shutting the other sex off isn't the way to go. I think cooperation is what's going to improve everything Muscio was dissatisfied with in Cunt. All in all, it was still a very enjoyable read. It made me think: something that, unfortunately, many of the books on the market today lack.

  23. 5 out of 5

    HeavyReader

    A wo-manifesto for the 3rd wave (and 4th?) or feminism. I haven't read the new edition. I wrote this review of Cunt for the Winter 1999/Spring 2000 issue of The MSRRT Newsletter. This was the last issue of The MSRRT Newsletter that I wrote for, possible the last issue of The MSRRT Newsletter that was ever produced. Reading this book is a lot like listening to the righteous rants of your best girlfriend or beloved older sister. The author preaches and teaches a girl power that has little to do with A wo-manifesto for the 3rd wave (and 4th?) or feminism. I haven't read the new edition. I wrote this review of Cunt for the Winter 1999/Spring 2000 issue of The MSRRT Newsletter. This was the last issue of The MSRRT Newsletter that I wrote for, possible the last issue of The MSRRT Newsletter that was ever produced. Reading this book is a lot like listening to the righteous rants of your best girlfriend or beloved older sister. The author preaches and teaches a girl power that has little to do with pop songs, tight skirts, or makeup. She proposes that women and girls love, support, cherish, and honor all females of every age, whether they are freinds, family, or strangers. In dealing with topics ranging from self-defense to rape, from menstruation to sex, birth control, abortion, and motherhood, Muscio is all for taking care of ourselves and each other. Among other radical ideas, she encourages women to support eacher other with the power of their money and to storm out of movies with "violently eroticized" rape scenes and demand a refund. This work is highly personal; it is one young writer's book length "womanifesto." (The front cover boldly pronounces it "a declaration of independence.") The book's most positive aspect is that Muscio encourages every female to compose her own "womanifesto," be it written, spoken, painted, sung, danced, sewn, or otherwise stated. To many women, most of the ideas asserted here are nothing new. It is a rejuvenating refresher course for those of us who feel as if we've heard it all before. For women young, old, or in-between who are just discovering feminism, this discourse will be an invigorating awakening.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Blair

    I have the habit of giving my sister books I think she should read instead of whatever she's actually asked for on normal present-giving holidays. This started with "The Perks of Being a Wallflower", but crossed into more intimate territory with Cunt. I wrote her a note in the cover and gave it to her. She loved it. She wrote a note in the cover and gave it to her friend. I hope the book keeps passing from hand to hand this way. I hope a copy finds you. I've watched the moon daily since reading t I have the habit of giving my sister books I think she should read instead of whatever she's actually asked for on normal present-giving holidays. This started with "The Perks of Being a Wallflower", but crossed into more intimate territory with Cunt. I wrote her a note in the cover and gave it to her. She loved it. She wrote a note in the cover and gave it to her friend. I hope the book keeps passing from hand to hand this way. I hope a copy finds you. I've watched the moon daily since reading this book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amber manning-harris

    i think everybody in the world should read this book. a straightforward look at how women have been treated through the ages, and how we live our lives in the present day. it opened my mind to issues i am immersed in everyday but continue to take for granted. this book helped me love myself just a little bit more, respect my sisters successes and failures, and to finally come to terms with my mothers raising. if only we could all live in world with more cuntlove in our hearts. a book for anyone i think everybody in the world should read this book. a straightforward look at how women have been treated through the ages, and how we live our lives in the present day. it opened my mind to issues i am immersed in everyday but continue to take for granted. this book helped me love myself just a little bit more, respect my sisters successes and failures, and to finally come to terms with my mothers raising. if only we could all live in world with more cuntlove in our hearts. a book for anyone with a mother, grandmother, sister, girlfriend, or daughter. a work of masterpiece.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Emaline Lapinski

    *sigh* I was ALL ABOUT this book when I first put it on my "to-read" shelf. Reclaiming the word "cunt?" Yes! De-stigmatising menstruation, masturbation, rape, and abortion? Yes, yes, yes, yes! A possible etymology of the word "cunt" and how it's been used to oppress women who dare to speak up against systems that oppress us? A resounding YES! The first chapter held this potential. Muscio examined the word, as promised. But once I got to the second chapter and I noticed words and phrases like "the *sigh* I was ALL ABOUT this book when I first put it on my "to-read" shelf. Reclaiming the word "cunt?" Yes! De-stigmatising menstruation, masturbation, rape, and abortion? Yes, yes, yes, yes! A possible etymology of the word "cunt" and how it's been used to oppress women who dare to speak up against systems that oppress us? A resounding YES! The first chapter held this potential. Muscio examined the word, as promised. But once I got to the second chapter and I noticed words and phrases like "the anatomical jewel," "Goddess," and "womanifesto," and discussing her friends who had names like "Panacea," I knew this was going to be one of Those Books. Muscio doesn't believe in doctors or medicine. She believes in the all-powerful nature of "visualizing" yourself being healed. As long as you think REALLY HARD about changing something regarding your body, it will happen (in that case, I should be a 6'0", 110 pound supermodel by now). She compares her first two abortions (which happened in clinics like Planned Parenthood) to beef slaughterhouses, but completely extols the "natural" abortion she had through massage and various herbs, disregarding the fact that a lot of women don't have "cuntlovin'" friends who can come over and massage their vulvas until their unborn fetuses magically come out of them on to the bathroom floor. I feel like this author was the inspiration behind Futurama's "eco-feministas" characters. Muscio believes birth control should be one of three things: 1. Abstinence, 2. Masturbation, and 3. Only having sex with women. Again, the tone of the book becomes "Well, it works for me so EVERYONE should do it!" She opposes using anything made by a man or a male-dominated company, and encourages her readers to support women-only businesses. It wasn't lost on me that this is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT in a modern capitalist if you don't have the time, money, or energy to pursue this line of protest. Muscio's opinion if you don't have said time, money, or energy? "Well you aren't a true feminist." Muscio also completely forgets about transwomen in the first edition of her book - she tacks the issue of transgender identity and gender fluidity in the afterword of her second edition, which almost sounds to me like "Oops! I forgot about you because you don't have cunts, and, after all, all women have cunts! Teehee! Silly me!" Seriously. She said she literally "forgot" to add them to her second book. Uh huh. This book had potential. It had lots of potential. But the message was lost under Muscio's eco-feminist agenda. I am a feminist. I've read nearly all the books, and I religiously follow feminist bloggers and writers on the Internet. But I feel like Muscio doesn't understand that not all women can live the life she does. It would be interesting to see a newer edition of this book that takes on the Kardashians, social media, and 21st century capitalist feminism, but I probably wouldn't pick it up if I knew it was going to be written in Muscio's smug, holier-than-thou voice. It's upsetting to see a good idea go to waste.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jaded

    At first glance, an uneducated person would scream about the "vulgar title" and avoid this book at all costs. The term "cunt" was never a negative term until it got hijacked by the male dominated bigots of society. It's origin is actually one of power and beauty. Do your homework judgmental America. Sadly, this knee jerk reaction keeps many people from opening their minds and learning. This is a book of empowerment. This is a battle cry for all women, and men had better pay damn close attention. At first glance, an uneducated person would scream about the "vulgar title" and avoid this book at all costs. The term "cunt" was never a negative term until it got hijacked by the male dominated bigots of society. It's origin is actually one of power and beauty. Do your homework judgmental America. Sadly, this knee jerk reaction keeps many people from opening their minds and learning. This is a book of empowerment. This is a battle cry for all women, and men had better pay damn close attention. This is a very powerful book for me to read as a male. I can only imagine the intensity a woman feels when she heeds its wisdom. This will be a mandatory gift for every woman and young woman in my life. As an interfaith pastor, I have counseled so many women damaged by the antiquated sexist mindset of the male species. If only they had this book growing up....things may not be different for society and its sexist ways, but at least these women would ave had a chance at being liberated from the psychological shackles that men have applied over the centuries. As a woman, please get past the title, absorb it and take it back, and bathe in the wisdom and liberation offered here. Inga Muscio uses blunt humour to make her point, but her left of centre humour and wit coupled with the in your face directness of the reality of the situation is refreshing in today's politically correct and thin skinned society. This is your call to arms as women. If this book doesn't make you feel proud, make you feel more in control, give you hope, give you encouragement, liberate you, etc., you need to read it again or have it read to you. This broken society of domestic violence, rape, sexism, inequality, and ignorance has got to heal and grow. Maturity of all of the citizens is in order. We need to teach our boys to grow into men who respect each and every human being, no matter of their race, creed, or genital package. We need to re-educate men who treat women as property and disposable squishy things that they can pump their seed into and then ignore them and move on. How many children out there are a result of this sad behaviour? How many women work 2 to 3 jobs to support the child that the sperm donor has walked away from again? Women please use this empowerment to reward and praise the good men out there. We aren't all crotch scratching, NASCAR junkies, who swig beer and treat you like crap. It is you that are the source of life...share your maternal skills with the universe. Raise young women into proud adults that respect themselves and see their value as equal in all eyes. This can happen, but it takes knowledge, respect, and power. If it takes a book called Cunt to light the spark...than so be it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    penny

    I finished 'Cunt' a while back, but I wanted to take the time to let the content sink in before I reviewed it. 'Cunt' was quite the struggle to read through. Most of the content was interesting and although I didn't always agree with the author, it raised a lot of questions within me. Muscio's writing style however was less to my tastes. On several occasions I groaned at her way of wording things and her usage of words such as "lordisa" and "fucken ayyy" were annoying. What becomes really obviou I finished 'Cunt' a while back, but I wanted to take the time to let the content sink in before I reviewed it. 'Cunt' was quite the struggle to read through. Most of the content was interesting and although I didn't always agree with the author, it raised a lot of questions within me. Muscio's writing style however was less to my tastes. On several occasions I groaned at her way of wording things and her usage of words such as "lordisa" and "fucken ayyy" were annoying. What becomes really obvious when reading 'Cunt' is that is a book written by a woman for other women. I don't think Muscio tries to hide that the audience she tries to reach is the biologically female. If you are a guy, you have no business reading this book. Sure, you can, but her intention was not to educate men on the matter of the 'cunt' as well. Her main motive was to turn other women into 'cunt-loving women' too. Another thing that really bothered me was that in one of the first chapters she goes as far as to say that the one thing all women have in common is that they have a 'cunt'. But gender is not that easily defined and by saying this she forgets to mention just about all transgendered people who identify as women. She "fixes" this however in one of the added chapters at the end of the book's second edition. Despite the added chapter, I'm still not quite pleased with how she addressed this problem. I have a lot more issues with her book, but her need to seperate the male from the female and vice versa was the one thing that irked me the most. I don't believe in a feminism that excludes men. On the other hand, the book's not all bad. Believe it or not, but I learned a lot about the female genitalia school did not teach me and thanks to Muscio I stopped using the term 'vagina' and am instead using 'cunt' and I might even start keeping track of the lunar calendar. I still think it was an interesting book to read and I don't regret reading it, because although I did not agree with her on everything it did allow me to disagree and come to my own conclusions.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Maura

    What I appreciated most about this book was the afterward, updated several years after the initial publication, and reflecting much maturity. For me it was by far the best part of the book, and we see how the author has broadened her scopes and become less reliant on unnecessary crutches (excessive use of 'cuntified' vernacular, cutesy segues...) My biggest complaint with this book is what I felt was a dismissive presentation of 'whoredom' (class and societal pressures that inform the decision to What I appreciated most about this book was the afterward, updated several years after the initial publication, and reflecting much maturity. For me it was by far the best part of the book, and we see how the author has broadened her scopes and become less reliant on unnecessary crutches (excessive use of 'cuntified' vernacular, cutesy segues...) My biggest complaint with this book is what I felt was a dismissive presentation of 'whoredom' (class and societal pressures that inform the decision to enter into sexual prostitution). I felt the primacy she gave towards the sex-goddess slant was unbalanced and immature. All that said, it was a book that prompted thought, discussion and action, and continues to do so, and that is always good.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Hayley

    Inga Muscio is not concerned with being your friend. She is also not concerned with grammar, punctuation, or seeming academic. She is, however, concerned with righting the world’s wrongs and ending sexism by embracing the word ‘cunt.’ As a Women’s Studies/Creative Writing double major, I spend much of my time reading, writing, and critiquing feminist literature. Oftentimes, the academic can be too dry. ‘Cunt’ is many things, but dry it is not. The personal is always political, and Muscio’s manife Inga Muscio is not concerned with being your friend. She is also not concerned with grammar, punctuation, or seeming academic. She is, however, concerned with righting the world’s wrongs and ending sexism by embracing the word ‘cunt.’ As a Women’s Studies/Creative Writing double major, I spend much of my time reading, writing, and critiquing feminist literature. Oftentimes, the academic can be too dry. ‘Cunt’ is many things, but dry it is not. The personal is always political, and Muscio’s manifesto is framed around her own personal stories. She speaks about inducing her own abortion in one of the most powerful pieces on reproductive rights that I have ever read. Personalizing her stories drove home her point in a way that academia would have lost on its reader. However, I found her stigmatizing and inconsistent. She often contradicted opinions that she had very forcibly stated not five pages before. She attempts to take back the word cunt by reveling in the history, the power, and the literal meaning of the word. I enjoyed the way that she defended the power of the word, reappropriating the positive connotations that the patriarchal society twisted to hold negative, anti-woman denotations. She states, “moving from phonetics to etymology, ‘vagina’ originates from a word meaning sheath for a sword. Ain’t got no vagina.” As somebody who wishes to write similarly personal creative nonfiction pieces, the way Muscio deconstructs even words is significant. It makes me realize that any critical essays I write must examine not merely the effects of a superstructure, but the superstructure itself. While her radical politics vary from mine, her writing style is unique and she certainly has something important to say.

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