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Cunt: A Declaration of Independence (Live Girls) Paperback – September, 1998

3.9 out of 5 stars 141 customer reviews

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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.

About the Author

Inga Muscio is the author of Cunt: A Declaration of Independence and Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil. She does a lot of public speaking, and lives in the Pacific North-west.

Betty Dodson, Ph.D., received her doctorate in sexology from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and has been a public advocate for sexual liberation for more than three decades. Dr. Dodson lectures extensively and is regularly featured in the media as a respected sex expert. She lives in New York City.

"From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Live Girls
  • Paperback: 277 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press (WA); First Edition edition (September 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580050158
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580050159
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,991,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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 empathize or see their own situation in it. This book was absolutely horrible. How in the world do people think this is a feminist book? She thinks like a fundamentalist pro-lifer and I believe even lies about one of her abortion experiences mentioning that her boyfriend was in the room crying with her when she had her clinical abortion at a Planned Parenthood. Boyfriends/spouses, ect are not allowed in any operating room when a woman is having an abortion. A spouse/boyfriend would not be allowed in any surgery room even for an appendectomy. Even her thesis is screwy and she admits "Perhaps, as some 'historians' may have it, I fabricated the historic considerations in reassessing the way we presently perceive 'c-word (this is my own change since amazon wont allow me to write the real word)." What gives her the right to assess historians accuracy since she isn't one and this is cheap paranoia to pretend that there are "mainstream" historians and "alternative" ones like herself. The C-word is actually Dutch. So if she would "fabricate", ie lie about her central thesis its no wonder her other claims such as having her boyfriend in the room with her when she's having her clinical abortion would also be lies. She goes on to espouse back-alley abortions via the use of pennyroyal tea and blue cohosh, the former being toxic to the body. Women in the 21st century have drunk pennyroyal tea and have been put in states of coma. I've read her other interviews such as at therumpus.net and I cant help but think what an annoying flake she is. This isn't women-centered so much as its paranoid quackery.
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Format: Paperback
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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