@98: "Dick" is all about gender. It's aggressive, selfish, meatheady, entitled, all the things we expect to see from men at their worst. "Cunt" is what we expect from women at their worst: fake, manipulative, willfully dumb, entitled in a different way. That's how I use those words, and I'm going to keep using them that way, for men and women respectively.
@100: 'clueless brodude' seems insulting enough.
I wouldn't want to fit that description.
Is the letter writer Irish? Anyway, starting at 0:55 this tells you everything you need to know:…
@72 Ah, crap, you're right, I missed it. Dammit.

Yeah, sounds he threw the word at a woman he (presumably) didn't know well, and got called on it. If you're going to use offensive humor, you have to know your audience, and/or be ready to take some heat. Nothing wrong with the latter, either - being a jerk at a party and then drunkenly defending your position until 3am is one of the joys of life.
@102: 'Dick' isn't about gender norms. Being "aggressive, selfish, meatheady, entitled" aren't outside male gender norms. But it is interesting that you assign "fake, manipulative, willfully dumb, entitled" as your definition of 'cunt' when your definition of 'dick' would have served better. I do have to wonder how objective you are in this discussion when you equate the validity of the terms but when your first three parts for the definition of an insult for women describes how a 'cunt' falls into the seductress trope where she uses her power to manipulate and control men. If you still don't see the misogynist undertones in this word, I think you need to sit down and reflect for a while on how you see women.
@106 I am female (let's hope you are too, otherwise you've got some mansplainin to do about your mansplainin), and I stand by what I said.
I recommend against using this word unless you're talking dirty during a sex act with someone who doesn't mind its usage in that context, or possibly among close friends when there is no one else within earshot. All other usages are generally considered highly offensive and should be avoided at all cost. We have so many good words in the English language. Surely an educated guy like you can come up with something a little more creative.
@102: Gender norms are too too limiting. Men can be cunts; women can be dicks. Words are flexible.
I was dating an English punk musician back in the late 1970s, come to New York to make it big.

Pressed up a lot of sample 45s, and named his company "Cunt Records", although I tried to talk him out of it.

Predicted that every record company secretary who opened the envelope would throw his demo in the trash before any A&R guy got to see it (and yes, the A&R guys were all guys then, and the secretaries women.)

He wouldn't listen, and after zero response slunk back to England unrecognized.

There's a lesson in there somewhere.
@109 That's true, but where I live I see a lot more women and men conforming to received ideas about gender and a lot fewer subverting them than you might in Seattle, if that's where you are.

Brits are weaklings
I think slurs like bitch, cunt and whore perpetuate a terrible tradition of shaming women, and I refrain from using them because I don't want to participate in that tradition. I also think the language we use to insult people in particular says more about us than it does about the object of our derision. If someone annoys me and I feel like lashing out, I'll focus on the aggravating behavior of the person in question, rather than focusing on gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. Nobody can really tell you how to use language though. You have to figure it out for yourself. Good luck.

Thank you, DJ Riz!

@ PrettyBetsy - Woman or not, you may still need to reflect on how you see women.

My grandma always said that people who use slurs are people who lack imagination ... but that a loud FUCK when you stub your toe is necessary! I think she's right.

Ultimately, I guess I just agree with KDru: I just don't want to be that person!
It doesn't matter how smart you are, there are just some arguments that can never be won. Cunt is one of them. At least that's the way it is in a world full of cunts.
Ricky Gervais: Asking "Are jokes about (insert controversial subject here) funny?" Is the same as asking "Are Jokes funny?" IT DEPENDS ON THE JOKE!
@111: Any refutation that starts out, " That's true, but...", is inherently weak.
I don't trust "ironic" uses of sexist/racist/homophobic slurs. I have the impression there is often actual homophobia etc. hiding behind this so-called "irony".
Briton here -- yes, we use "cunt" more freely, but it's a largely gender-neutral insult that's if anything, more likely to be aimed at a man. This doesn't mean there's no misogyny in it but it isn't Bitch Plus the way it seems to be over there. So yeah, don't say it to women, don't use us as a reason why you should.
Thank you!

"Cunt" is my favourite English word for female genitals, far superior to pussy which is a major turn-off (slit and gash are the worst).
But as an insult it is not ironic nor funny. It's just offensive.
I hate the word cunt. I think it's an ugly word with an ugly history of usage. The way it is used in non-American countries is irrelevant to its usage by Americans, as I see it. If you are likely to be overheard by strangers, you should not use it. If you among friends who you KNOW FOR A FACT are not offended by your ironic usage of it, then you can use it with them.
Dan. Why choose a letter u don't care about and toss it to us. Boring.
Try fuckwit instead.
Call 'em all "ankles." That's three feet below a cunt OR a dick.
Although I like "fuckwit," too, for its nonsensicality. If that's a word.
A Guide To When It Is Appropriate To Call A Female A Cunt:

1. You're a smoker at a restaurant that doesn't allow smoking.
2. The restaurant that doesn't allow smoking has a sign at the front door saying, "Smoking not allowed inside of near the entry of this restaurant."
3. Wanting a cigarette but not wanting to violate the restaurant's policy, you walk five rows deep in the parking lot, or about 120 feet from the restaurant, where there are no cars parked, where the sun is baking the desert you live in with 111 degree temperature and you light up.
4. An old lady, perhaps in her 80s, emerges from the restaurant with her elderly daughter. The old lady sees you standing 5 rows deep in the parking lot and 120 feet from the entry of the restaurant where there are no cars or people in the baking 111 degree heat smoking your cigarette.
5. The old lady walks the 120 feet from the entry into the baking heat where you are standing completely alone having your cigarette and says to you, "You shouldn't smoke."
6. Under these circumstances, and ONLY these circumstance, are you allowed to respond to the female with the word "cunt".

Alternately, you should get in your car and drive out to the rural area adjacent to Los Angeles to have your cigarette, taking care not to ignite the abundant shrubbery and start a wildfire. However, be aware that you may risk being attacked by four apparently feral pit bulls, depending upon the rural area you choose.

You're welcome.
But cunts are lovely things! Really, we should be using that word as a compliment.

"Look what Sally got to cheer me up."
"Aww, she's such a cunt!"
"I know, what a sweetie!"

Likewise, it's always confused me that cock-owners would use the word "cocksucker" as an insult. Shouldn't it mean "person who's done something really nice for you"?

"Thanks for the lift, Jim. You're a real cocksucker."
"No problem, dude."

...No, I'm not expecting either usage to come into common parlance. More's the pity.
Oh - silly of me to forget one marginally misogynistic usage the utility of which might legitimize it. (joking)

It may be pronounced with a cedilla by closeted men in dangerous situations; the only people who will know what they are saying will have seen The Boys in the Band.
I gotta say, I don't get the problem with cunt. I somehow missed the part of my childhood where you learn to categorize the word with racial slurs, because it does nothing to me. In what objective way is it different from dick?
However cultural taboos have little of the rational, so I accept that society has the right to decide on an arbitrary basis that I've just missed the boat on this one. But this is one woman who can't bring herself to feel outrage about the word.
I try to use the word cunt as much as possible. And I am female and a feminist. I feel a one-woman-mission to reclaim cunt, to co-opt the word, to diffuse it, and make it so commonplace and banal that it has none of its "scary powers".

While I believe the author meant well, "lady classmate" was really worse. I wouldn't have called my male colleagues in grad school gentleman classmates, so why must my gender get the modifier?

PS I also adore calling men bitches, when relevant and important.
Dick... Cunt... Ass... all works.
While the mechanics of the joke that the letter-writer constructed are quite good, it is not for a male person to say when "cunt" becomes funny, just as it is not for a white person to say when the n-word becomes funny. The sexism and coercive domination in that word was never directed at him or anyone like him (YES, even when men call each other "cunt" they are making fun of women and not men).

The issue here is whether the discrimination and negativity associated with the c-word have as yet diluted to the point where calling someone a cunt no longer means calling her a worthless vagina fit for servicing male users and nothing else. Only then could the joke be funny.

So I'd say it's not nearly as bad as the n-word, but we're not there yet, and this man's companions were right to be offended and he was right to apologize (assuming he did apologize rather than just "feel apologetic"). A few more seasons of Game of Thrones should dilute it a bit more, though.
@82: "A woman just disagreed with me--she's a cunt."

I totally get how you're an ironic hipster and totally were not going for that traditional usage at all. It was just establishing your Aussie hipster cred.
These words aren't necessarily gendered to me, but they embody in my mind a certain sort of irritating behavior.

Dick: the person who wants in on our coffee at work (we bring our own fancy and take turns buying) but contributes Folgers "Its the Black Silk, it's really good" Dick

Asshole: someone who shoots their mouth off, saying stupid and inappropriate things, or gets disproportionally mad at silly things

Bitch: whiny, entitled behavior, or thoughtlessness

Cunt: the person who cuts me off in traffic, or purposefully screws over other people to gain even the slightest benefit to themselves.

The woman who hit the beer bottle was being a bitch, of the thoughtless entitled variety. She probably thought she was being cool or something, wasting a perfectly good beer.
@129 Lynx-- It's because "dick" means "sexual organ" but "cunt" means "worthless sexual organ." Calling someone "cunt" means "your only use is to service other people sexually." (Using the n-rhymes-with-trigger or f-rhymes-with-maggot is a little different. It means "you're bad because you're black/gay.")

Think about it. When you call someone a "dick," you mean that he or she is selfish, with a slight ha-ha-of-course-dicks-want-sex-all-the-time. It's had a boys-will-be-boys feel to it for decades. "Cunt" is loaded with a lot more negativity. To call a person a cunt is to say "there is nothing to you except your vagina" with an undertone of "come over here and use it!"

Now, this is more what this word meant in 1960 and 1980 than what it means today, but these undertones have not faded entirely. Language changes over time (and place, as many Brit-visitors have pointed out) and "cunt" is slowly becoming a less intense swear word, but right now it still has a lot of sexist and coercive connotation to it. Can it be reclaimed? Sure. I heard its etymology even involves a Roman goddess of babies and childbirth. But right now, it's still degrading.
Ugh. Such a delightful example of intellectual prowess (/sarcasm), where the LW establishes his defence for uttering the C-bomb (using "hyperbole" twice) - but he was too lazy to tailor his objection (which did NOT have to be in the form of an insult to denote intent) to the situation.

The appropriate C-word could have been "clumsy" ... but there's no derision implied in calling someone that. And LW is far too pompous to favour appropriate responses when an outrageous one will do, subsequently allowing him to hector any "lady" classmates. And wasn't he ever so eager to leap to his friend's defence, when his friend didn't appear to be bothered. Ah, what a little shit!
The definitions of words develop over time and through contexts based on the history of the word, the people using the word, the people hearing the word, the culture of these people, etc.

That being said: the word "cunt" (and every other word) has way more than two meanings. Thus, when using it around acquaintances, or even very close friends, you run the risk of communicating with one meaning but having an alternate meaning heard. The best way to defend yourself is to explain your perspective. If people can't understand that not everyone agrees with their life view they are being immature.

As far as "cunt" specifically: it is one of my favorite words. You should read the book cunt, it goes over the history of the word and how it has gone from "the most degrading thing you can call a woman" to being reclaimed as a sarcastic slang term. You should also look up its use in The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler. If you don't want to research much Wikipedia it for some strong talking points the next time you are scolded. But for me it has been reclaimed and individuals continuing to view it as taboo is the only thing that can give words that kind of power.
So, if cunt is out, what is a good "I hate you so much right now I urgently hope you die cold and alone with all of your hopes, dreams, and aspirations either brutally shattered or hideously perverted, while writhing in a pool of your own filth screaming to a God that either does not exist or has forsaken you" word for women? I use dick with a particular emphasis which conveys the point pretty well for men, but nothing for women.
@138: why does it have to be gendered?

If your intent is to convey consuming hatred, how about "shitbag"? Or "shitrag" if you want to add a bit of a growl in there.
I think I might be the only one out of all the women I know who absolutely loves the word "cunt". Most avoid the word like the plague. And some use it only to describe the vilest of the ville. When I hear the word, I can't help but think of the movie Boys on the Side and the scene where Jane (played by Whoopi Goldberg) and Robin (played by Mary-Louise Parker) are discussing Robin's names for body parts. It ends with a happy dance of Robin singing and shooting out CUNT. I'm sorry, but the word now makes me smile.

That aside, it's generally bad form to use the word, especially in mixed company. Chances are very good that someone will be very offended. If this is a word commonly used with this particular female friend in a good-natured way, he should reserve the use for more private venues.
For chrissakes, all you Larry Davids, give it a rest.
Dear God, why do people care? Guess what? MAYBE THAT CUNT SHOULD MIND HER OWN BUSINESS.
is "cunny" ok? "cunnilingus" certainly is.

cunt is a really old word. first in a dictionary in 1230. cunnus is latin. kunta is old norse.

cunt has 2 hard consonants in 1 syllable - to me it's vastly preferable to vagina ("sheath" in latin), which is all soft consonants and 3 long syllables. or pussy, which carries almost as much baggage (but everybody likes kitties).

cunt sounds more powerful, like cock.

too bad we can't say it.
Honestly, I don't understand why it is so devastating to be compared to one of the most delightful parts of a woman, and to me it feels that getting so wound up over it grants the user of those words too much power. But here is the thing; I don't have to understand why a word is devastating or emotionally weighty. I just have to realize that it is. And once I do, I avoid that word. My life works fine without calling anyone a cunt, and I don't have to worry about the nuances of how someone feel vs should feel. I accept that for whatever reason, the word is out of bounds and move on.

The only time I have used "cunt" is with a lover who suggested it as her most preferred term for her genitals. Again, didn't quite understand, but happy to oblige her preferences. Especially because the reward was to eat her delightful cunt.
"I am female and a feminist. I feel a one-woman-mission to reclaim cunt,"

Trust me, you already own it.
β€œIt's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so fucking what.”

― Stephen Fry
"Stick and Stones..." Some people (women) freak when this word is used. Although it's known as particularly harsh, it's still just a word.
I'm with "Dougsf" on this one: the girl was probably trying to flirt with your friend in an extremely lame way. Now, if it had been YOUR beer, and the chick was ugly...well, all bets are off, then ;)
β€œIt's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so fucking what.”

― Stephen Fry
Hey, Pinksoda? research backs up your grandma. Turns out that letting out a loud swear when you don't usually use them reduces stress and undermines pain.

I hear a lot of people defending cunt because they want to call vaginas that. I agree. Let's reclaim it for that purpose. But calling a PERSON that is still likely to make them feel very small. Maybe someday it won't, but for now, it does. If that's your intention, then I guess that's your intention. But if it's not don't say we didn't warn you.

A bajillion comments later I suspect Dan knew we'd tear this guy up.
"I'm not a cunt. Don't use that word"

I'm pretty sure in order to be a cunt you can't know you're a cunt.

"cunt sounds more powerful, like cock. too bad we can't say it."

Yes you can but only around cunts.
It is just a word. Get over it.

When my former boss first got a smart phone, she gave all her employees a little photo profile.
She called, explaining this and said "you're a beach" (BC I surf?).

My "well, you're a coont" response was not well received.
Sounds like the sort of person who enjoys "not being PC" and wants to drop n-bombs because ITZAFREEKUNTRY and something something first amendment something.
Pinksoda @114 Wow. No, I'm not interested in being told how to be a feminist or think about my gender. Step off.
To be fair, that stupid bartender trick to spill a beer can be a cunty thing to do. I say this both as a girl and as someone who has had their beer spilled, as if this somehow validates my statement.
His awkward justification of why he called her cunt (because comedy guys! is funny, no?) just made me cringe. I'm not saying this because he called a girl a cunt, but because of how he felt the need to dissect his statement and rationalize why he thought it was funny. This wasn't an instance of hyperbole=funny. The whole thing was just stupid.
I try not to use body parts as insults. I do screw up on occasion with "asshole" and "dick," because I grew up hearing those particular swear words more than others. I use the word cunt when referring to my own body, but I reserve the right of a woman to use it in whatever damn way she wants. I never say "nigger" or "faggot," because the use of those derogatory terms should be reserved for members of those groups and bigots. And yes, I swear all the fucking time.

My favorite insult is "douche" because a douche is bad for a vagina, but for some reason they're still being sold at drug stores all over the country. I will accept "bitch" as a swear word because it is one of the oldest insults out there (all over the place in Greek literature) and it is used so often that I would drive myself crazy worrying about it. I suppose if my peers used the word "cunt" more frequently, I'd give up on being upset about it. As things are now, I'll do my part to avoid saying it.

The letter writer has nothing to complain about. If you have to explain why your joke is funny and not offensive, then it was clearly offensive and not funny, at least to the crowd to which the joke was delivered.
I am pro-"cunt", and find the analogy with "nigger" and "faggot" to be specious. Those words, especially the former, are freighted with six hundred years of cultural baggage. "Cunt" is not.

Most of the offensiveness of that word derives not from thoughtful feminist sensibilities but from the American, specifically the middle-class American, horror of mentioning ladyparts or lady-functions. The two are often confused in college dormitories (and Slog discussions).

The whole point of the word is to be offensive, intentionally offensive, deliberately offensive as possible, so you go for not just a body part but the delicate flower in the delicate flower of young womanhood, the most sacred object in the reliquary of middle-class American piety.

And you use the most magnificently explosive word imaginable, snapping open and shut at both ends with expressive force. Spoken properly "cunt" is sounded as severely on the t as it is on the c. It really is a great word, one of the great ones in the English language.

Cunt is a far better word than the unspeakably horrible "vagina", which is used incorrectly by millions of adamant feminists and other people who want to show how forthright they are. But they're almost never talking about the vagina when they use it. That's much more offensive in my view.
@ PrettyBetsy - I'm just pointing out that your assertion that "you are a woman" doesn't mean you shouldn't look at how you see women but, of course, you're right: your feminism is no less valid than mine.

It sounded cursory, and it was quick. No offense meant, just a different way of looking at it.
@157 for once fnarf isn't acting like a total cunt.
My guess is that this guy will read through a few dozen comments then continue to agree with himself.
My other guess is that Prettybetsy is very young.
Comment # 27 "What he thinks is irrelevant. The woman was offended and made it known. Since he is not a woman, he doesn't get much say in whether or not she should be offended or not."

What he does control is his response. He can apologize, sincerely or not. He can walk away. He can laugh off their outrage as inappropriate and out of proportion. How he thinks, feels, and responds is as much his choice as the other person's thoughts, feelings, and responses.
If someone made me spill my drink as some kind of depraved joke, damn tootin' I'd call them a cunt.
As a Scottish lady I feel the need to chime in. Here in Glasgow the word cunt is used to replace the word "person".

See the work of scottish stand up comedian Scott Agnew who relates a story of trying to alight a bus whilst a group of passengers tried to get on through the same driver adjacent door. The driver told the passengers attempting to get on "hey! There's cunts trying tae get off here" Scott and his fellow bus departing travellers reaction was a natrual "aye. You're quite right driver". It wasn't until 10 minutes later he realised that the driver had called him a cunt and maybe he should have taken offence? It can be used as a compliment "aye, she's a good cunt". As an insult you can still use cunt, but best to prefix with a specific insult opener such as "mental" or "daft".

I find it hard to take offence to the word cunt. Or twat. Or fanny (which means vagina here too). We're all cunts togeter fellow humans. Get over it, ya awesome cunts!

Come to Glasgow, Scotland uk and we will show you how casual swearing is done at a professional level.
How and why does the word serve as the "worst thing you can call someone?" For the same reason that being gay is such a terrible thing in our society. It compares a worthy human male being to a lowly female thing. How insulting.

Now that you know how the word gets its power, what do you think about its appropriateness?

Or, how about this. For the men who got to decide that women were lesser, got to encode it in law and in culture, got to load up words like cunt and bitch to be hurtful, why should THEY get to tell women how to feel about the word now? Why is it that men get things their way always and women need to just put up with that shit? Why do you need to tell a woman that she is wrong to feel strongly about a word that was DESIGNED to be maximally insulting to her?

Because you are just a stand up dude, I guess. So kind and considerate. Why, you are willing to even acknowledge that this word is often very offensive to women and you understand why that is.

But why can't you say it anyhow? I guess you just want to. And that is reason enough. Fuck all those people who were oppressed in the name of giving you this oh so satisfying name to call people. Small price for us all to pay so you can have the visceral satisfaction of calling someone "the worst thing ever" for such a MAJOR offense.

I'd call you the worst thing you can call a man, but guess what? That would require insulting women.
@163. Don't worry, you're not a cunt. You're a pussy.
There are three things I find alarming about priapism:
1) his patronizing attitude that the woman's reaction to "cunt" was inappropriate, not his initial use of the word
2) his myopia in failing to simply ask a few women what they think about the word, and instead deferring to another man for the final answer (albeit an egalitarian one)
3) fuck you. You don't get to use "cunt" until you know how it feels to be called one. As you are a man, that's simply impossible for you. So don't ever use it again, especially not in the public sphere.
@ 162, Americans have been kiddy-league swearers forever. My dad told me of an essay by H. L. Mencken about how lame we are, how much better Italians do it, and he was writing 80 years ago.

I need to read it sometime. It sounded as funny as it was insightful.
The word "cunt" should only be used in reference to Ann Coulter.
"You don't get to use "cunt" until you know how it feels to be called one."

It's not supposed to 'feel' good, you stupid cunt.
"So don't ever use it again"

@165 Re; FembotsUnite

You're the reason the word "cunt" was invented.
Even born with a vagina, I don't use that word. The first definition is a myth this guy heard somewhere. It's always offensive, even when women use it to describe a particularly unacceptible female/behavior.
...and they say hardcore, radical American feminists aren't joyless, humourless cunts.
@106 delirian--"Being "aggressive, selfish, meatheady, entitled" aren't outside male gender norms"? Ha! Many well-meaning feminists will earnestly insist that feminism is not about pathologizing male behavior. Thanks for undermining that polite little falsehood. Let's hear it for straight talk! I'm all for calling a cunt a cunt.

Although I notice that, in your opinion, asshole behavior from a man is contemptible--and expected. But when a woman is being an asshole (fake, manipulative, willfully dumb) that's being POWERFUL! Rawr!

Ya, PrettyBetsy really needs to re-examine her biases. She's not objective at all.
Is this an American thing? I don't bat an eye at the "c-word" at all.
@156: I understand why twat/cunt are different than "nigger" and enjoy them in silly contexts, but agree with 165 that the person's lack of giving-a-shit and whiny entitlements make their usage more analogous. I doubt you'd use them in the same contexts as the OP would. Some vague amount of consciousness means worlds.
I think people are too goddamn sensitive and when a "friend" chastises me for using a certain word in jest at a party I think they deserve to be told to fuck off.
@175. Agreed. I would never use 'cunt' in front of polite company or a lady. Luckily, though, there are very few of either in Seattle.
My advice is move to England. You can call everyone you meet there a cunt and no one will mind a bit. Although I do think that words only have meaning that we attach to them and part of that is in the context. If someone calls me a cunt I like to believe I could tell from the context and their tone if they meant it in an offensive way or not. I don't think anyone should be offended by words alone only by the context of their usage.
Please people need to seriously grow up the only thing that is offensive is how people compare the word faggot and Nigger to the word Cunt. Sometimes guys act like Cunts sometimes girls act like Cunts all those offended should just keep there fake outrage to themselves. If someone tried to scold me for using the word Cunt. Like your palm and mush their face with it. Just becuz someone could be offended by the word doesn't mean it's not an awesome word. Fuck all these types it's a funny word use it. Everyone calls everybody a Dick, y bcuz it's harsh and funny. It's the same fucking thing all these Clams need to get over themselves already.
@156. Win
Holy comments, Batman.

Basically what @6 said. I use the word when I'm among friends, but wouldn't use it in a place someone might take offence. Same with words like fag/faggot and nigger. My friends can call me a faggot in private, but in company I'll chew them out because I don't want anyone listening to think my friends are homophobic, nor do I want people to think I approve of homophobia (which is a startling accusation to make of a gay man).

Also, I skimmed the comments and saw a lot of "go to England, they all say it" and I have to wonder how many of you have actually been to England. I live in Portsmouth, where everyone swears like a sailor because most of us are, and I've heard plenty of people object to the use of the word cunt. Most of them were female, but a lot of guys don't like it either. I didn't like it much for a few years.
If you have to ask, you're a sexist a*hole and you should never use the word "cunt" again for the rest of your life.

Obviously, you're just trying to justify yourself rather than just accepting some people are offended by it, learning from it, and moving on.
At 50 years old and having grown up in the city of Chicago ( definitely not the burbs!), the use of the word cunt means absolutely nothing. In the late 70s, the worse thing you could call a woman was a stupid bitch. Many times did I get into faces saying, "I may be a bitch BUT I am not stupid!". My point of view is that all words are a combination of sounds that have a collective agreement to their meaning. Some cringe at pussy and some cringe at darn. All perspective my dear. You did or said nothing wrong. Language is powerful but it is the other person that gives it that power. And besides, cunt can be an acronym for Can't Understand Normal Thinking. But then again, I have never truly understood what political correctness is because it seems to change every week. I just cannot be bothered. Remember, it is just a sound and could mean the same thing as spaghetti!

If anyone wants to take this to the mattresses, my name is Caroline...
There's no cure for bein' a cunt.
If you can't express your curses w/o using gender, race, and sexual orientation insults, it just shows how limited your lingual abilities are. I mean, wouldn't "head stuffed anal pore" have tripped off your lips?

Obviously local usage creates emphasis & severity of an insulting word or term. I was told once upon a time that in China "turtle eggs" was a grievous curse. Go figure.

Someone caused your friend's beer to overflow (maybe deliberately, maybe by accident, and your insult of choice was c-u-next-Tuesday? Do you really need to level a "nuclear-level insult" at someone who committed the relatively minor offense of causing your friend's beer to overflow?

I really hate, hate, hate it when people use the word "cunt" as an insult, as it smacks of misogyny. It *is* the worst insult you can level at someone. I don't give a flying fuck that it's acceptable and common in Britain; it isn't here. If you want to call people "cunt" with impunity, move to fucking England. Otherwise, find a better insult.
Eh, whatever. It's fine in that context. I don't use it (I'm a straight woman), but I wouldn't be offended in that sort of casual use.
This word is creepy. Creeps use it. That is all. - A Woman
@185 Thank you!

Is this how we show others how cool and open minded and laid back we are? By bragging about how much we love this word and how difficult it is to offend us?

"You're offended by the word 'cunt'? What's the matter with you? They say it all the time in England! And Australia! Get with the times and take that stick out of your ass."

Well, you know what? Screw you. Maybe it's okay in England and Australia, but here it's used by abusive men who want to show their dominance over a woman by reminding her that - at least in his eyes and, implicitly, society at large - she's nothing more than a walking vagina, there to be used. And it sucks. Maybe someday we'll "reclaim it" but, for now, that's what it means in the US of A. And if you insist that there's nothing wrong with the word and that we should just get used to it, then that just tells me that you're not considerate about the challenges and experiences of the women around you. Or maybe that you're self-centered and only have concern for yourself. It's okay if you want to keep saying the word all the time. Maybe you just like the reaction and attention. I'm just telling you that you're also broadcasting to the world what kind of person you are.

This mostly applies to men - I'm a man myself - but even if you're a woman who likes to use that word, *in a negative context*, as opposed to neutrally, you're still showing that you're a calloused jerk, and maybe you're the type who could give a damn about other women and the struggle that has been waged to secure the rights you enjoy today.
How about, "Don't thump my beer and cause it to spill all over the fucking floor, and I won't call anybody anything at all, you moron?"
@MikeHunt (170), I think you misunderstand my comment. I never said it felt good. And if you don't like my attitude, don't take it so personally.
@MikeHunt (168), I think you misunderstand my comment. I never said it felt good. And if you don't like my attitude, don't take it so personally.
Keep calling women "cunts" and it's likely that you'll never find your cock on one again. Douch.
Keep calling women cunts and its likely your cock will ever find its way into another one. Douche.
Next time, don't open your yap, get a replacement beer, go find the perpetrator, and spill it on her. Clearly she likes that sort of thing.
".My intent was to contrast using a nuclear-level insult with the relatively benign crime of causing my buddy's beer to overflow"

American feminists don't do "subtle". It's why so many are cunts.
I'm a proper lady, mind you, and I've called a few people cunts. They totally deserved it though. They were being total dicks.
I'm reminded of the conversation I had with a relative over the holidays last year where he argued that the N-word was actually okay to use because, to him, "N***** doesn't mean a black person... you can be black but not be a n***** or even be not black but still act like a n*****. It means more of a lazy, good-for-nothing person, and to me it doesn't really have to do with race."

I had a frustrating time trying to convince this (white) relative that maybe that's the definition he's constructed in his head... but he definitely can't count on anyone around him having the same definition.
@162 I love the usage. Just love it!
I have no problem with the use of "cunt" in itself. A clever and perceptive speaker can make good use of it without actually offending anyone.

The OP isn't especially clever or perceptive. His use of "lady classmate" is telling also. To answer Dan's second question, beware of men who can't bring themselves to use the word "woman."
slow to the riot, but here i go...
@17: the "cool, non-squicky word that referred to female junk" you are searching for is 'quim'. it's an old word, well used in some english speaking countries/ circles, and should be used more. :-)

on the cunt topic - in my corner of the earth, it is increasingly a 'reclaimed word', and quite a few women use it both as the preferred term for female genitalia, and as an insult when an inferred nod of respect is required. to explain: if someone is a dick, that infers some small mindedness, or pathetic-ness; a bitch is malicious, cruel, or vindictive; an arsehole is outright obnoxious, with no apologies or consideration of others; a cunt, however horrible they may have been, has some hard-headedness, or some style, something somewhere that requires admiration.
different insults are required for different personas / situations. cunt is one of the best.

to use it as a gendered weapon is a whole different thing. not all that common in my experience, but obviously "a thing" in the states to judge by the comments...
As an English person who has lived in England her whole life, I too would invite 'Anglophiles' who like to call women 'cunts' to come to England - and see how long it takes them to get their heads kicked in.

I don't know where this idea that 'cunt' is perfectly ok in England comes from. It's not. It's the most offensive swear word that you can use - more offensive than 'fuck'. You very rarely hear it used as a direct insult on TV or the radio exactly because it is so insulting. Among friends it may be used jokingly and affectionately as a way of subverting it, but that only works because it's considered such a nasty word. Nothing funny about using a mildly-offensive word as a term of affection, is there? It's not a trick you try and pull on anyone who you don't know well - everyone who uses it this way among friends knows that it's a horrible insult outside their group.

The one difference is that 'cunt' in England is usually directed at men, not women. It's very rare to hear a woman called a cunt, in the same way that it's unusual to hear a woman called a bastard. As a result, it doesn't have such an obviously mysogynistic connotation, and you will find fewer women who immediately object to it on that grounds. Again, using 'bastard' as an analogy - everyone knows that its origin is a word for illegitimate birth, but no-one whose parents are not married gets offended when it is used as an insult.

That doesn't mean that it's not an insult to call someone a bastard - even though it too can be used affectionately among friends. It's all about context and tone.

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