Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The C-Word

And now for something completely different:

I can’t think of another word in the English language that draws more ire from the female population then the “C-word” (rhymes with hunt and from this point on, for my own safety, shall be referred to as the C-word). What is it that makes this word so reviled? I mean, there must be 100 euphemisms for the female genitalia, many not very flattering, yet none elicit the response the C-word does. I’ve tried to delve somewhat into the etymology of the word but have come up with nothing definitive. For all I know the word could have ended up being pop, dog, hung, or lint. But it didn’t. So why does this word carry so much more weight? I sometimes think it’s the short, hard sound of the word that just sounds ugly. I can’t think of an uglier sounding word. Maybe it just sounds ugly cause it sounds like the word it is and had the word been say, dog, maybe that would then sound ugly…hmmm. Hell, in England, among certain groups it can be a term of endearment (Trainspotting anyone?) Let’s leave it at this. I don’t think it’s the word or the body part but referring to a person, particularly a female, as a C-word is saying you think she is the lowest of the low. Lower then “bitch”, “slut”, or “whore” for sure. In fact, used sparingly, it can be a very powerful statement (think Richard Gere telling Lynette what she was in An Officer and a Gentleman). No matter how you slice it, other then maybe the N-word (which has no place even being part of the vocabulary in my opinion) there is no word you are likely to hear uttered that will elicit such an almost uniform negative response.

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