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Saturday, November 29th, 2014

How Feminism is Failing Quvenzhane Wallis

Feminists respond to the Onion's insult of Quvenzhane WallisAs if the Onion’s use of the c-word to describe nine-year old Quvenzhane Wallis wasn’t humiliating enough, now we have self proclaimed feminists encouraging us (society) to let it go because the word ‘cunt’ shouldn’t be a bad word.

No. ‘Cunt’ should be empowering and freeing. It should be used to describe sexual passion and women (and men perhaps too) should be able to use the word liberally; at least that’s the message from Jezebel. In their most recent article about why the insult, which was hurled at a child, should not be cause for concern, they had this to say:

“Basically, empowered women are dangerous women” and “there are no other truly empowering words for the female genitalia” besides the c-word.”Cunt” isn’t scientific, it’s erotic. “Cunt” doesn’t refer to a baby cat or a treasure chest. It conveys purposeful sexual power, not submission. It’s mature. Women get called cunts when they reject sexual advances and assert themselves in the workplace; in other words, when they don’t play nice.”

So, by the online magazine’s definition, the word ‘cunt’ is sexual in nature and is only used when a woman doesn’t “stay in her place.” If that’s the case, then we collectively should be even more outraged that the Onion called Quvenzhane Wallis the c-word. Because little Miss Wallis has a sense of humor beyond her years, seems completely at ease in interviews as she would be in school and is radiant and, god forbid, confident, she was called out of her name in a most horrendous fashion. Because this sexualized word should be empowering, society should just let it go? Never mind that a child was called a sexually demeaning term. Never mind that it was a completely inappropriate way to describe how one feels about the way someone presents themselves publicly. Let’s just let it go…because ‘cunt’ shouldn’t be a bad word. Right?

One commenter on the site suggested that people might be less sensitive to how ridiculous, sexist and demeaning that insult was because the target of it is an African American girl. In her comment, she compared this incident with Wallis to Kanye West’s infamous interruption of Taylor Swift’s MTV video music award acceptance speech in 2009 and the outcry of response to it.

Feminism and Quvenzhane Wallis “Even after he (West) issued a public apology, I don’t recall anyone saying, “well let’s move on he apologized” as I have seen with Miss. Wallis. Calls to boycott his music, the story was covered on major news outlets for weeks, months and even for about a year or a blurb would pop up. It took quite some time for his career to bounce back. Will the Onion lose some readership, some sponsorship, maybe, but I have a feeling that it will be business as usual soon enough.”

The commenter went on to say, “There was also a tidal wave of out pouring, love and support for Taylor. Not that she didn’t deserve it, but could you imagine if at the time how millions could rush to the defense of America’s Sweetheart/Girl Next Door for being humiliated and rudely interrupted what would have happened if the C word was applied to her or the next popular child star/It girl.”

Indeed, the reaction to Miss Wallis being called a ‘cunt’ is business at usual. The powerful women over at Jezebel are encouraging people to focus on the big picture and forget the ‘distractions’ that detract from the real issues. They write, “Focusing on the word “cunt” is a distraction; for example, the Onion debacle kinda overshadowed how sexist the Oscars were overall. And that’s the goal, right? If we’re busy being outraged over how “cunt” is the nastiest nasty thing to ever nasty, we’ll waste the energy we need to fight against a system that denigrates women for wanting to be treated as equals.”

Clutch magazine must have read the Jezebel article and had the same reaction that we at Popular Critic did. In their latest piece on this issue, they wrote, “They (white feminists) encourage us to shrug off our Blackness for the greater feminist good…” It certainly seems as though that’s what the writer at Jezebel was implying in the statement above.

If decrying an online publication for calling a nine-year old a cunt is a waste of energy, then it’s unclear what issues feminists should be wasting energy on. As far as this feminist is concerned, this issue is certainly worthy to be tackled…and publicly at that. In a culture of routine slut-shaming, turning a blind eye to the targets of such sexist comments being pre-pubescent girls would be a colossal failure in feminism. In fact, by not tackling this issue and actually advocating for people to ‘move on’ from Academy Award nominee Quvenzhane being called a ‘cunt’ is empowering those who think it’s okay to insult women and girls based on nothing more than their disdain for how they carry themselves.

 

Comments

  1. well said! I'm goig over there(jezebel) to rant now!

  2. well said! pathetic on all fronts.

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