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Cunt: A Declaration of Independence Expanded and Updated Second Edition [Paperback]

Inga Muscio , Ph.D. Betty Dodson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 15, 2002
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. In this fully revised edition, she explores, with candidness and humor, such traditional feminist issues as birth control, sexuality, jealousy between women, and prostitution with a fresh attitude for a new generation of women. Sending out a call for every woman to be the Cuntlovin’ Ruler of Her Sexual Universe, Muscio stands convention on its head by embracing all things cunt-related. This edition is fully revised with updated resources, a new foreword from sexual pioneer Betty Dodson, and a new afterword by the author. “Bright, sharp, empowering, long-lasting, useful, sexy....”—San Francisco Chronicle “... Cunt provides fertile ground for psychological growth.”—San Francisco Bay Guardian “Cunt does for feminism what smoothies did for high-fiber diets—it reinvents the oft-indigestible into something sweet and delicious.”—Bust Magazine

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Somewhere between Valerie Solanas's bitter SCUM Manifesto and Eve Ensler's fanciful The Vagina Monologues lies this self-indulgent exercise in feminist reclamation. Striving to remove the negative connotations from a word usually used as a scathing insult, Muscio traces the history of the term "cunt" and asserts that it was once a term of respect before the patriarchy turned it into a profane, misogynistic epithet. This transformation, she insists, occurred as part of a conspiracy to make women feel a sense of self-loathing and uncleanness; only by reconnecting with love for their genitalia can women achieve personal and political power. Muscio muddles her work with rambling digressions, including those about utilizing sea sponges instead of tampons during menstruation, using herbal tea and visualization in order to miscarry an unwanted fetus and identifying with Imelda Marcos. What insights the book does provide must be discerned beneath Musico's jarring prose, which fluctuates between the academic and the colloquial, sometimes in the same paragraph. On responses to her manuscript, she writes, "Reactions to a book called Cunt always lead to an intense grilling. Ain't never encountered ambivalence." Although this work may constitute a move toward women's acceptance of themselves and their bodies, it is a very small step. Agent, Leigh Feldman.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press; 2nd edition (October 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580050751
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580050753
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (123 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
150 of 171 people found the following review helpful
By Juniper
I felt ashamed to read this book as a very vocal and active feminist. I'm radical, pro-choice, and pro-woman, but this stuff is so awful that it reads like satire. She whines for an entire chapter about how horribly oppressed she is because she has to buy menstrual products. She recommends that her readers refuse to read books written by men. She says that birth control is a tool of the patriarchal machine, so she refuses to use it-- and ends up having three abortions, which she actually has the audacity to brag about. I'm very, very pro-choice, but it's grotesquely irresponsible to repeatedly refuse to use effective birth control as some kind of political statement, and to then have abortions one after the other as if each one is a new piercing or something. It also really disturbs me to think that some impressionable young women might follow her terrible advice to avoid birth control, and she recounts her self-performed (DANGEROUS) abortion as if it was some kind of fun adventure that everyone should try. Then she goes on to recommend lesbianism as a form of birth control, which really offends me as a queer woman because it implies that being gay is a choice. The writing is redundant and crude and her attitude is self-congratulatory and arrogant. I do NOT recommend this book to anyone.
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surpassed all my expectations September 2, 2000
Sick of academic feminism, I really thought this book was going to be a slipshod piece of etymological scholarship. I picked it up to laugh at it. Imagine my shock when it turned out to be a smart, feisty, personable, positive, constructive, angry, liberating book - oh yeah, and fun. The sheer pleasure Musico finds in life and words is exhilarating. Reading her book is like talking to your best friend - she's stubborn, kind of crazy, and I still don't agree with all her politics, but it's damned hard not to like her or to respect where she's coming from. Also, she has some sound, specific, and clearly stated advice on how to keep from being raped/mugged - that alone is probably enough to make the book worth reading.

I do think the majority of college-educated, pro-choice American women will get a kick out of this, if they can get past the embarassing cover (buying this book felt very much like buying a box of tampons - this is fallout from the author's relentlessly sex-positive attitudes). However, extreme feminists will probably find it overly personal, insufficiently rigorous, and too focused on the lives of women of the demographic I mentioned above.
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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars something else December 24, 1999
This book is from a kickass school: it's not preoccupied with men, it's not loose and theoretical. It's about coming to terms: with your own body, with language, with the culture at large. It's about subverting the tampon industry, hanging out with your mom, taking control of some of the more suspicious parts of your life, and riding skateboards down the street while wearing bunny-ear hats. I never did feel like part of the club before when reading feminist literature, but this book made me feel invited to the party.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Encourages Women to Support One Another December 30, 2004
When the book first came out and Inga would find herself in social settings accosted by "So, what do you do?" questions, how she'd answer would pretty much be determined by her impression of the person asking. Usually, it was something like: I'm a writer of a women's studies book rather than blurting out, "I wrote a book about c*&^s. And you?" I found the same to be true when asked "So, what are you reading these days."

Now that I've finished reading Muscio's book, I'm quite happy to tell people about it and freely voice the title. It's not because of any one thing she's said. The book as a whole is a gem once you get past the F-word in every second sentence. It was a distraction in the beginning but not anymore so than the title of the book.

The book gives some biology, some current state of affairs, and some history on the weight women have had to bear because they have c-word(s). Muscio wants women, transgenders etc.. to reclaim the word from men. The word is just a metaphor for a bigger picture. C-word(s) haven't been important to women in the last 200+ years but they have earned men an awful lot of money, among other things. Although the bold Muscio is not so gentle with the terminology.

Muscio wants women to start regaining their power, not as men bashing feminists but as the intelligent and beautiful goddesses we are. Doing this requires some responsibilities of us. Beginning with taking back the language. Learning about our bodies, self protection. Providing a support network. Muscio covers all these things. I found the passages on bleeding and rape to be especially effective, moving and educational. I wish I had read this book as a teenager.

To say some of what Muscio has to say is eyebrow lifting is an understatement.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, pro-woman read February 21, 2006
This book was given to me to read by a friend. It was one of the most inspiring, woman-friendly books I have ever read. I would encourage everyone, man, woman, whatever, to read it. I may not use sea sponges as sanitary pads or trust my sexual health to herbs, but if this book taught me one thing, it was to think before making a degrading comment about another woman, to accept myself, flaws and all, and to encourage other women to love themselves. As for my bias, well I am a pro-choice, female, democrat college student. But I encourage everyone to read it. Even if most of it offends you, I can't imagine anyone reading this book coming out of it worse off (ie disliking women, and all people, more) than they did prior to reading it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Was recommended as some sort of feminist manifesto
Was recommended as some sort of feminist manifesto. I never got past the first 20 pages of her rambling on about playing with her own menses and walking around the house nude... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Hellkat Studios
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware all ye of logic!
Couldn't finish the book. Put it down for good after the 3rd abortion that apparently she willed to happen. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Jason
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
i like this book. quite a lot. super clear and engaging writing.
Published 26 days ago by Meara McClenhan
1.0 out of 5 stars Navel-gazing New Age flaky hippie trash. This is NOT a feminist book
Should be titled "The World According to Inga Muscio." Inga's book amounts to cold reading for politics, ie simply say broad things about everything and surely someone is going to... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Bean Slap
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended.
Fast delivery. Highly Recommended.
Published 1 month ago by Lynn M Johnston
5.0 out of 5 stars Feminist must
I don't even know how many copies of this book I have purchased now. I keep "lending" the book to friends of mine, and it's so good, I never get it back! Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jenny
5.0 out of 5 stars good condition
like brand new, the description said it may have signs of wear but it was like new. good job thanks
Published 4 months ago by Mollie Sorensen
5.0 out of 5 stars Embrace what it Means to be One
Gives being called "the c-word" new meaning. After reading this, I no longer care if someone calls me one. I love mine and the power it holds.
Published 4 months ago by Christine
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing for feminist reader.
It started off funny and poignant, but went off the rails really quickly. I got about 20% through and had to stop. Read more
Published 5 months ago by A. Bennett
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all humans, regardless of gender or sexual orientation
Wow! What an important book. I devoured it in 2 days and now my boyfriend is as well. This is a beautifully written, very necessary book important for everyone to read. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Katie DiBenedetto
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