Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cunt by Inga Muscio

cunt: a declaration of independence

Randa warned that our language rating would bump up to "R" if I wrote about this book. Bring it on.

So I found this little gem in the "Women's Studies" section of my local Barnes & Noble. I read it in less than 24 hrs (with an 8hr nap halfway through). I was hooked.

cunt is a sort of manifesto from Muscio on the meaning of being a woman and how to be a woman and a feminist and how those things depend on learning to love oneself--every little bit, even the ones with naughty sounding names. It's written in three sections, as follows.

The Word
A short prelude discussing the history of the word "cunt". It wasn't always one of the words you can't say on television. It used to be a positive word. It still ought. Its time to take it back. Own it.

The Anatomical Jewel
Everything you ever wanted to know about your anatomy. And some things you may not have wanted to know. And some things you didn't even know you could know. This section is the bulk of the book, it covers everything from the biology to the politics to spirituality, then moves on to the sociology of western men and women, the perception of sexually active women and the culture of rape in the US and the west. All quite smoothly and brilliantly.

How to reclaim women's rightful place in the world. Not Hillary at the top of the food chain, not legislated equal rights, but truly equal representation, equal respect. Everywhere. Period. And ways to be a vigilante about it and against violence.

Throughout the book Muscio threads some of her own story, her experiences and her family's, as well as including a lot of work from other writers. The whole book is really inspiring, moving. At one point I actually burst into tears, I sobbed for probably 5 minutes. Just as the title says, it feels like independence, freedom. Now as the glow wears off, I'm not sure I'm ready to jump into all the suggestions headfirst, but I want to try a bit. One thing Muscio suggests is spending a year in woman-world, abstaining from all media, art and literature produced by men. This would essentially mean shutting off the tv, skipping the movies, reading the news exclusively on women-run websites and reading only books and magazines by female authors.

I'm not ready to go that far (lets face it, I'm already invested in Heroes) but I think I am going to dedicate myself to female literature for the rest of the year. I'm counting cunt as number one and I purchased Spin Sisters by Myrna Blyth. I'll have to shelf about 6 books I recently purchased by male authors, but they'll be just as readible in 2010.

I strongly recommend this book to all women and men as well. If only as an eye-opener its a compelling read and a book that makes you think. After blowing through this in less than a day, I'm already considering re-reading it because there was so much to take in that I don't want to lose.


miranda. said...

I didn't really mean it as warning, because I don't think an R rating is a bad thing. And I just checked, and we totally have an R rating.


Abby-Wan Kenobi said...

I like that the words cointributing to our rating were: cunt (9x), death (3x), zombie (2x) and dangerous (1x).

I particularly like that the zombie references are all about Pride and Prejudice. Our offensive language is not what I expected.