In the tide of irrational hatred that men have felt and expressed towards women, we find the deepest insights in the unseen undercurrents. In the violent disgust underlying the perception of physiological difference.
Even beyond the suppression of representations of the female genitals (curiously not quite as stringent as the censorship of male genitals, though) cunts are often mysterious to men. They are folded and soft, the pleasure centre is concealed, and they are openings. The cock is a dry display of protrusion. The cunt is a concealment of depth and self-generated wetness.
The cunt is denigrated through language. Although "dick" and "cock" can be used as insults, they are almost frivolous, gaining venom only through intonation. But "cunt" is an insult surrounded by the greatest taboo: for men, because it feels so vicious; for women, obviously, because the viciousness that patriarchal society has imbued this word with cuttingly reminds them of the strength of the hatred which this society feels for their sex. And "pussy", almost invariably used as an insult by men on men, equates femininity with the most negative forms of passivity and weakness. I use "cunt" habitually now; having learned its linguistic origins in words denoting ‘wisdom’ and ‘knowledge’, I want to reclaim it. A gradual shift of perspective has led to it becoming a word that can be used affectionately, lustfully, and lovingly to refer to the female genitals. And its use as an insult becomes, to me, more and more an unwitting admission on the user’s part to crassness and misogyny. They are offensive now, not the word. And there’s no call for ‘Political Correctness’ here. More repression is no answer.
But most importantly, the cunt is denigrated through associational folklore. The two most common myths of disgust are the idea of teeth lining the vaginal walls (Vagina Dentata), and the idea that the cunt is something filthy. Both are seen condensed together in the perversions of medieval Christian theology, where the Mouth of Hell (lined with teeth) is often graphically depicted to resemble female genitals; and Satan’s realm is seen to be one of shit, filth and ‘uncleanliness’.
There may be whole library shelves full of psychoanalytical analyses of these distortions, but here I only need one Freudian tool—the concept of psychological projection—to unearth what I think is a key model for the two ‘myths of disgust’.
What is the cunt? It is an orifice. What are the two major orifices in men? The mouth and the arse. As far as genital sexuality goes, an opening is feminine, and this is what men most fear. Being open… being vulnerable… being penetrable… Yet they can never be completely closed-off—they have two other orifices to remind them. It seems it is men’s fear of their own openings, and their sexual associations in the unconscious, which is projected onto women, into the cunt. The arse leads to: "It’s filthy down there!" The mouth leads to: "There are teeth in there!". The subliminal idea that cunts are dirty may persist beyond experience of them, centuries of misogyny subtly conditioning perception of the rich musky scents and tastes. Even vagina dentata may survive beyond the actual sensation of warm, slippery snugness.
So this runs deep. Men, if you’re afraid of or repelled by the cunt… look into your own depths, realize and come to terms with your own openings and vulnerabilities.