Hayley's Reviews > Cunt: A Declaration of Independence

Cunt by Inga Muscio
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's review
Nov 15, 2011

really liked it

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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