It’s OK to say ‘cunt’.

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‘I was shocked by his words. And it looked like this.’

I learned something today;  There’s a right way and a wrong way to object to someone referring to women’s ‘pussies’.

Man, am I glad I tuned in to the ABC this morning.

Apparently, the statement; “I don’t want anyone to talk about my daughter or mother as pussies”, is something that men say to defend the honour of women. It suggests ownership – that (in this case) Trump is somehow sullying a possession that isn’t his. This is the equivalent of a man saying; it’s MY pussy, not yours!  Back off!

In case you’re wondering, the correct way to deal with challenging pussy situations is to demand that women be spoken to with respect because they are women, not because they are the putative possession of a man.

Less clear is what to do if you already happen to be a  woman, but still object to the idea of your mother or daughter being called a pussy. Feminism’s removed that particular protest – see above. It’s only for men, cos you know, they own us.

This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Yeah, I get that men have a proprietary relationship with women in western culture. It exists, to greater or lesser degrees. But I don’t really think attacking men for defending women automatically suggests patriarchal ownership, no more so than any other exchange or utterance they might make about women.

And as far as Trump is concerned I think claiming his disrespect as something uniquely targeted at women comes straight out of the Hilary playbook. It’s just her PR machine getting the 17th estate (click-bait vox-pop feminism) to call Trump a tumescent fool.

Here’s the thing; this isn’t news. Donald Trump’s disrespect isn’t limited to women. He’s an arsehole to minorities, poor people, Mexicans – in fact, unless you’re a white, super-hot wanna be model with a penchant for friendship bracelets and vampire movies, he pretty much hates you.

The idea that Trump thinks poorly of women shouldn’t come as a shock. The only women he allows himself to be seen in company of are poorly upholstered sex toys. He obviously thinks this makes him look like a powerful man (rather than a desperate pervert rubbing himself in the Judy Blume section of the public library). This should tell us everything we need to know. Quite some time ago.

So why do I have to listen to three thirty-somethings on the ABC, earnestly squirming through a ‘respectful’ conversation about Trump’s misogyny?

Maybe I’m getting old, but I’m growing increasingly tired of this brand of manufactured squabbling within feminism.  It damages the cause in two ways. First, it detracts attention from more important debates we need to have about gender roles in modern life. I want to talk about work, and money and household labour and children and reproductive rights and childcare and children’s rights. These are all important feminist issues.

But it also has a more insidious effect; this kind of nit-picking destabilises and alienates those who would otherwise be engaged in this discussion. Men and women are cagey about engaging in feminist conversations for fear of falling foul of an increasingly rarified elite set of cultural mores. Self-censorship floats on top of a bubbling brew of resentment and dissent.

So as a feminist woman, I’m going to say a few things;

It’s OK for you to use the word cunt. I won’t get mortally offended if you assume I’m ‘just a mother’ or assume I don’t pay tax or can’t back a trailer. If we’re in a meeting I’ll make you a coffee but only if I’m making one for myself (I’m also a lazy feminist).I will take your sexism in good faith – I won’t automatically assume you’re being an arsehole on purpose. Of course, if you talk to me like an extremely sexist, boorish old man (this happens from time to time) I’ll make fun of you in a cruel and unfair way. (This also happens).

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