I have mixed feelings about the content of Muscio's book. It is divided into 4 sections. The first section titled "The Word" (meaning the word cunt) was exhilarating and informative. Muscio writes in a conversational style that I found refreshing and not at all academic or clinical. She urges women to "take back" the word, which has been transformed from a word of power for women to a disgraceful, derogatory word. This was my favorite section!
The second section is titled "The Anatomical Jewel" and contains lots of information about the physical aspects of being a woman--menstruation and women's issues are discussed--without the slightest bit of blushing or hesitation. I found Muscio's experiences and proclamations fun and unusual.
The third section, titled "Reconciliation" was nothing more than militant feminism. While interesting, I felt uncomfortable with some of the ideas presented.
The last section is actually the expansion for the second edition. Muscio talks about her experiences after the first edition was released. She expands her call for women's power to lesbians and transgendered people as well. Rape is a topic examined to the nth degree.
The book contains many resources for women--and the same links and resources can be found on the author's website.
Fabulous Fabulous Fabulous! I LOVE this book. I aquired two copies somehow, or I would never part with it. I dutifully read this book once a year. I laugh and I cry -- I finish it feeling empowered as a woman!
Best book by a feminist author that I have ever read! I love that the author includes so many links at the back of her book. I like her writing style. I love how she treats serious subjects. It's a book that I wouldn't hesitate to give to a kid who just entered puberty. It does deal with serious themes, and has vulgar language ... but, frankly, I wish someone had given me this book when I was 13. It would have made navigating the whole high school, hormonal, first sexual experiences so much less confusing. I may have even made better decisions had I read this book first.
Cunt: a declaration of independence reads like a personal rant. The blurb and reviewer quotes seem to suggest that the history of the word cunt would be explored, but we only have the authors word that she did this research. Instead, in informal language—with ample use of apostrophes to abbreviate words and coined terms such as Lordisa and jilling off—Inga Muscio argues why it is important to value this anatomical jewel that unites all women (What about transgendered women?) in the face of oppression by the patriarchy.
It was difficult to maintain a neutral reading stance in light of Muscios inflammatory language. While I think she had some good points about taking control of ones health, wellness, and safety, especially in the context of opposing rape culture, hers is an angry, judgmental, and vengeful feminism. For example, she calls western medicine that smelly deaf dog who farts across the house and that we just dont have the heart to put out of its misery (p. 58) while advocating massage and herbs to induce abortion lest the rhythm method fails. She gets some factual details on reproduction wrong and does not talk about the pros and cons of the methods she advocates. She claims You can tell Adolph Hitler and George Washington were dickheads just by looking at them (p. 91), and advocates pelting alleged rapists with bloody tampons. Finally, she delights in the opportunity to pound male instructors in a self-protection class, without recognizing that such men most likely respect women and want to help them learn how to protect themselves.
I cannot say that Inga Muscio speaks for me. This was one of those rare books where I took notes to document points where I disagreed with the author in order to make sure I was representing her argument correctly.
I loved this book. It reminded me of the only thing I liked about grad school: my friends. The women in my grad program were very tight knit. Every one of them were terrifyingly intelligent and radical thinkers. They were also snarky, irreverent, and had speech patterns very reminiscent of 'Buffy.' Reading this book was like talking to them. It's full of interesting, intelligent ideas (which is not to say that I agreed with everything, but it's all worth reading and thinking about), but the tone is about as far from academic as you can get. Which is a good thing, as far as I'm concerned.
At its heart, this book tries to show women how to start developing an appreciation of their own bodies, minds, and other women; it's something that's desperately needed in this day and age.
I <3 "Inga la Gringa" (as she calls herself on her website). I even dedicated my M day in the A to Z Blog Challenge to Ms. Muscio. (Check it out here: http://buttontapper.com/2012/04/14/a-to-z-challenge-inga-muscio/)
This book, if it isn't already considered required reading for all women and girls, should be on all Feminist Studies syllabi throughout the world. It's an excellent combination of historical facts and personal essays, just the way "history" ought to be taught to interested students. Nothing dry and boring here. It's all relevant. Don't be alarmed by the flower on the cover. Don't be alarmed by the "dirty word" in the title. Read it and see why the ladies love Inga. You will too!
An ancient title of respect for women, the word 'cunt' long ago veered off this noble path. Inga Muscio traces the road from honor to expletive, giving women the motivation and tools to claim 'cunt' as a positive and powerful force in their lives. With humor and candor, she shares her own history as she explores the cultural forces that influence women's relationships with their bodies.
Read the original version shortly after it was released and remember loving it so much. Traded that version in when this expanded/upgraded version came out and re-read it, again loving it. Somewhere between then and now, my views changed. As I re-read it now, I find myself cringing. Yes, it's still relevant because not much has changed (and is getting even worse than when it was written), but I much prefer a more academic study than this, which is highly personal and mostly opinion based on personal experiences (none of which I have experienced). The author seems to contradict herself often which makes me question her p.o.v. on just about everything (which I didn't pick up on the first few readings). I'm pro-choice, but 3 abortions with the same boyfriend because you are afraid of taking pills (while wishing only the worst on men who don't respect you by wearing condoms) is plain ignorance and irresponsibility. Identifying as a lesbian since age early grade school but, given the above and the desire to sleep with other men, maybe "queer" or "bi" would make the p.o.v. clearer. If the power of thought could cause an abortion, why couldn't it prevent a pregnancy? If you hate rape scenes in movies, refuse to watch, and advocate staging walk-outs, why in the world would you read books and watch movies with brutal rape scenes (written by a man) and then encourage a friend to watch the movie without a warning about the rape scenes (which apparently you knew would be a trigger)? Lastly, the statement, "We all have cunts, and it does not matter if they are biological, surgical or metaphorical" made me pause, especially in hindsight, because the vast majority of the topics deal with biological cunts with little-to-no mention of surgical ones and absolutely no mention of metaphorical.