The Language of Hate

Published March 30, 2010 by Fat Heffalump
*Warning: Post contains profanities that may cause distress or be an emotional trigger.  I will be using offensive terms spoken by another person in this post.

I’ve had one of those days today.  You know the days, the ones where you feel like you’re trying to empty an Olympic sized swimming pool with a drinking straw while it’s bucketing down with rain.  Where I feel like what I do around fat acceptance and feminism is just a tiny grain of sand against a huge ocean.

It all stemmed from late last night when I read on Twitter a man I chat to referring to a politician and saying “get on a bike you fat cunt”.

Now I am not ashamed of the fact that I swear, in fact I’m quite proud of my blunt language.  As Billy Connolly says, “Oh I know about 147 words, but none of them are as good as fuck.”

But to hear the term “fat cunt” used in reference to anyone, even a politician that I actually really dislike, makes my blood boil.  Because it’s not the swearing, it’s what the actual statement implies.

The word cunt is something I hate with a passion.  Because it is only ever related negatively to the female genitalia, and is about the most violent and derogative word to swear with.  It never has a positive meaning, and is so derogatory of women, as though female genitalia are disgusting, dirty, low things that the ultimate insult is to call someone a cunt.

And what really bothers me is that there is no male equivalent.  Oh yes, dick and prick are there, but can you honestly say they are as derogatory and offensive as the word cunt?

Add to that the other ultimate insult word of our society these days, “fat”, and you just take the insult to another level.

When will we be able to get through to men that this term to describe anyone is just not acceptable?  That it paints both women and the fat as the lowest of the low.

There are other hate words, to refer to people of various skin tones and ethnicities/cultures, to gay people, to people of different faiths of course.  The difference I notice is that when you hear someone utter those hate words, and protest about it, there’s pretty much always someone else who will stand up and say “I can’t believe that they thought that was acceptable.”  There is no ambiguity about them being hateful, bigoted and derogatory.

However when I protested this man using the term “fat cunt” last night, I was attacked with “Lighten up” and “somebody is cranky” and variations of dismissive attitudes towards my anger and dissent at someone using what I see as a highly offensive term.  Some of this was from women.

I honestly can’t fathom  how a woman could ever find that acceptable.  It literally boggles my brain to try to understand what would be going through a woman’s mind to think that it’s ok to refer to someone that way.

But it’s the dismissive attitudes that really got me riled up.  As though I was being petty or whinging because someone used a term that is deeply offensive to ALL women.  It opens up the old issue of the difference between when a man and a woman makes a complaint about something.  Men complain, women whinge.  Men are angry, women are cranky.  Or as my friend David said:

“Bad things annoy men, but women are cranky. I understand this is because they have wombs.”

As I said, he’s on to something there, but I think it’s more likely the vaginas that are the problem than the wombs.  There is such a hatred around the vagina as part of a woman that it has become this horrible hate word “cunt”.

So long as we accept being referred to in such abhorrent terms, women are always going to be seen as less than, lower than men, and fat women even less/lower than that.

More than anything I’m angry that despite my making it clear over many, many months that terms like this are not acceptable and that referring to women, and fat women in particular in such hateful terms is bigotry, it seems to have just flown over the head of so many people.

How do you combat such blatant displays of misogynistic, hateful attitudes?  Do you ever feel worn down by the dismissive attitudes of others?

19 comments on “The Language of Hate

  • Very righteous rant!

    I am having very mixed feelings about my husband after that. I’ve been furious at him because he’s been angry and dismissive of my decision not to fly anymore after the institution of full body scanners, because I believe it violates such fundamental rights of religious people, trans people, sexual assault victims, and women generally who are ogled and body shamed constantly. But …

    There is no man I know other than him who has never uttered a sex-specific insult or swear word. It would never occur to him to call a woman a “bitch” or worse. She would be a “jerk” or an “asshole” or “steaming pile of turd”. He wouldn’t even use secondarily sex-linked terms like “scumbag” or “douche”.

    So thanks a lot for taking the edge off my good burn, there. Jeesh!

  • I’m sure if you called a guy a cunt, he would be unpleasantly surprised. Also, I have found that the words “Pansy” “pussy” “panty waste” and “queen” often piss men off, royally so. Notice how all those terms defy a man’s own manhood, and notice how they are all related to hate of women.

    I’ve never called anyone a cunt, but sometimes I feel like it because it seems to be the only term that gets a rise out of anyone. I’m sure this guy just wanted to get a rise as well. I’m not by any means dismissing your rage, because I completely understand why this would make you angry. And I agree with how messed up it is how people told you to lighten up. Society has become way too tolerant and careless about things like this. Someone has to stand up against it, so I applaud you for that.

    • It’s the gender loathing of it that I have a problem with Ashley. Why is the “nastiest” term that is guaranteed to offend another word for vagina? As though the vagina is the lowest, dirtiest, nastiest thing in the world.

    • That is not true. If so, why did you censor yourself and not just say cunt? Words are not “just words” until we are offended by them, they are offensive because the person using them INTENDS to offend.

  • I hope that you will trust that I’m not trying to wind you up, but I simply refuse to see cunt, a good old word that goes way back-I think originally it was not even a swear word- in such a bad light.

    I certainly prefer it to the asine sounding( and meaning) vagina, it sounds great and has impact, it packs a punch. I think that’s appropriate.

    There is something just a little bit defensive about making it the sweariest of swears. They doth protest too much. They made a film about how some guy’s ahem, make do with substitutes if they can’t get it. It was a worldwide smash.

    They’ve yet to make American Banana/Gherkin, why do wehink that is?

    I simply cannot and will not be insulted/offended by my own parts, however, I do agree that men should leave off the term in general unless they are using it for what it is, another word for vagina, (a term of which I’m not fond).

    We should not be dictated to by anyone about the offensiveness or not of our bodies, in any way, people should take a look at their own before they try to make that decision.

    • Wriggles it’s not so much in it’s origin of the word cunt, but in the intention of the person using it. The person using it is the one making it the sweariest of swears, you know? It’s the lowest thing they can think to utter, so they use it to full effect.

  • Honestly ‘cunt’ is one of those words that seems dirty and shameful to me. And if someone called me one I’d either want to hit them or cry.

    And of course women are always cranky to men. Whenever I get mad and some guy realizes it he says “Are you on your period?” or “PMS much?” or something like that. Heck I’ve even had some women do it to me.

  • When I was in college a friend and I tried to take back the word “cunt.” She had called me “gynocentric” and we decided to shorten that to “cunt proud” and spent a very long road trip saying that loudly to each other. Still, it’s not a word I use on a regular basis, though I do have a copy of the book “Cunt: A Declaration of Independence” by Inga Muscio.

    I think it depends on the context. Most of the time “cunt” is a very demeaning word because the person saying it is being demeaning. And it’s a very hard, Anglo-Saxon word with no soft edges. But perhaps it can be reclaimed.

    • I would love for it to be reclaimed. A positive word for vagina. Somehow, I don’t think it’s going to happen.

  • I tend to call only my vagina a cunt, not people or things because that tends to be derogatory. But I only don’t like a word unless it’s used in a hateful way. I call myself fat and fatty and I use all kinds of words for my vagina.

    I take much more offense to someone calling someone a pussy. I always end up going “Oh… because pussy’s a bad thing? Women are scared, hm?” I’ve gotten my dad to stop saying it and now he sticks to “wuss” which isn’t the best, but it’s much better than “pussy.”

    In this case, however, the man was wrong and I would have hoped that the women would have realized the connotations of that statement and gave him a good verbal beating for it. I’m glad you’re standing up for what’s right. ^_^

  • I just realised that I hadn’t responded to the comments on this post. I couldn’t open it at work due to the profanity and this is the first chance I’ve sat down on my computer at home.

    Sorry folks!

  • I also object to the term “bitch slapped.” How this has come to be taken as part of everyday conversation for some is beyond me.

  • I used to object to these words much more than I do now. Then I realized:
    1) Most of the time, it isn’t the word, it’s the music, i.e.m how it’s meant. You can call me “fat” as much as you like, as long as it’s clear you mean it as a compliment.
    2) There are some potty-mouthed people who are otherwise fine human beings, and really obnoxious people who never all.

  • In a verbal altercation with my neighbour over the noise coming from their apartment, he called me a fat cunt. I honestly don’t know how his wife sleeps with him (she was there and heard) and I feel sorry for his daughter, there was such hatrid in his eyes that I should come to his door and dare speak to him. Sad thing is I am not even that chunky – 5’7″ & 145 lbs, and I think his wife is anorexic (They are vegans, devout vegans, and so is their dog). I don’t even know where to begin with the misogyny, I hope she figures out what a woman hater he really is.

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