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View Diary: Pussies, Twats and Bitches (401 comments)

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  •  'Prick' and 'pussy' are both sexist (4.00)
    What is important is not the etymology of "pussy," but how this term and related words are used and understood today.

    Calling a person by a word meaning vagina normally evokes a particular understanding of sex, in which intercourse is something done to women by men (and to vaginas by penises), in which the woman (and vagina) is passive, or even a victim.  Consider the following dialog from Team America: World Police:

    "We're dicks! We're reckless, arrogant, stupid dicks. And the Film Actors Guild are pussies. And Kim Jong Il is an asshole. Pussies don't like dicks, because pussies get fucked by dicks. But dicks also fuck assholes: assholes that just want to shit on everything. Pussies may think they can deal with assholes their way. But the only thing that can fuck an asshole is a dick, with some balls. The problem with dicks is: they fuck too much or fuck when it isn't appropriate - and it takes a pussy to show them that. But sometimes, pussies can be so full of shit that they become assholes themselves... because pussies are an inch and half away from ass holes. I don't know much about this crazy crazy world, but I do know this: If you don't let us fuck this asshole, we're going to have our dicks and pussies all covered in shit!"

    How does a speaker of American English immediately make sense of this speech?  Not by thinking of cats or pussy willows.  Rather, this speech assumes and evokes the pervasive understanding of sex as an act of aggression or domination.  

    Even if we consciously reject the understanding of sex as domination, we have this idea in our minds, and this is part of what gives the words "fuck," "prick," "pussy," etc. their power.  When we use these words (not only "pussy," etc., but also "dick," "fucker," etc.) as insults, we use the power of the sex-as-domination idea, but we also reinforce it.  

    •  I don't get it (none)
      Calling a person by a word meaning vagina normally evokes a particular understanding of sex, in which intercourse is something done to women by men (and to vaginas by penises), in which the woman (and vagina) is passive, or even a victim.

      Wow.  If sex to you is little more than rape, you have BIG problems.  Sex really requires effort from both people, whether it's the man on top thrusting his penis into a woman and she has to be wet for it to go in, or if the woman is on top of the man and he has to be willing to let her do what she wants, or any of the other ways.  Sex really can be a great equalizer, where men and women both have to perform, and both are putting themselves in a delicate position with the other person.  Your definition is way off base, at least from my own experiences.

      Also, you have to ignore Team America World Police because, in fact, it was meant to be a PARODY.  It was not to be taken seriously.

      I also have to ask you a question.  Is calling someone an "asshole" a form of sexual harassment as well?  Does that mean that since the anus is often used in homosexual sex, that it is discriminating against gays every time someone calls another person an asshole?

      •  sex frames (none)
        Thanks for letting me clarify my point.  The sex as domination and violence frame is one way we think about sex, but we have many others: sex is an expression of love, sex is a pleasurable activity, sex is (properly) a means of procreation, etc.  If I say something like, "I'm going to fuck you up!" or "We are totally screwed," I am not invoking the idea of sex as love, or pleasure, or anything else good; rather, I'm invoking the idea of sex as violence.  Similarly, when we use "prick" or "dick" to mean "aggressor," and "pussy" to mean "victim," we are invoking the sex as domination/violence frame.  

        I understand that the "Team America" quotation is a humorous and creative use of language; however, if you immediately understood this speech when you first heard it, you probably already shared the sex as domination/violence frame.  The speech did make some claims that were new to me--e.g., I had never thought of assholes as people who need to be fucked--but I understood this statement right away in terms of the sex as domination/violence frame.

        I do agree with what you say about sex itself; I don't think that all sex is rape, but I would also not claim that the idea of sex as domination is completely wrong--ideas of power are an important part of most people's (everyone's?) sexuality.  Problems arise when people think that the man must always be dominant, and when they extend this male dominance from sex play to other spheres of life.  

        As for your question, I don't think that asshole is understood as an anti-gay slur, because we use this word to mean "jerk," not "passive victim."

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