“Somehow every indignity the female suffers ultimately comes to be symbolized in a sexuality that is held to be her responsibility, her shame […] It can be summarized in one four-letter word. And the word is not fuck, it’s cunt. Our self-contempt originates in this: in knowing we are cunt” – Kate Millett
“The vagina, according to many feminist writers, is so taboo as to be virtually invisible in Western culture” (Lynn Holden, 2000). This misrepresentation and hiding heightens the fear or disgust of the organ, and of femininity. We can trace this way of thinking back to the original sin of Eve that introduced this fear of feminine sexuality. Of the thousands of paintings of Adam affected by the betrayal of his promise to God, many dramatically show his immortal death. His falling into the temptation of Eve is moralized by depicting an actual death, and the iconography embedded in the image with Adam points to Eve as the party at fault. This line of thought continues in the contemporary with women still being considered the seducing party and men falling prey to this archetype. By still marking the word as offensive, we are trapped in the cycle of negatively viewing female sexuality and equating it with shame. By giving this word “a gutteral, ghastly, nasty” (Pete Woods, 2007) label, we allow it to connect the female sexual organ with these definitions or opinions of the word cunt.
Other companies like The Tit Store, who sell t-shirts with tits on them, are actively critiquing society’s fear of femininity. Desensitization and normalization of the things that fear people the most work towards the end of taboos and the ridiculous fears and disgusts that surround a lot of the feminine gendered words or images. Repetition of cunt works to undermine the negative power of the word and instead is reclaiming the word under a new meaning.