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How offensive is the word "cunt"?

Two members have just stated that a man using "the C word" is exactly the same as a white person using "the N word". It is my personal philosophy that how offensive a word is, is directly proportional to the plight suffered by the group the word is meant to malign. Personally, I think that slavery and a couple hundred years of intense, systemic racism is far worse than what women have suffered, and I'd imagine that comparison would be pretty offensive to African Americans. I also think that the N word is pretty universally offensive, whereas cunt is used for men and women all over the world with varying levels of offense (and sometimes even as a sort of term of endearment). I, however, am not a woman or African American, so I'm just guessing. They told me to take a poll. Here it is. Feel free to explain your view in the comments.

A man using the C word is exactly the same as a white person using the N word.

  • 2 votes
  • 4 votes
  • 7 votes
  • 15 votes
ChestRockfield 8 Apr 1

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In the UK its a mild slur. Personnally I was cunty before cunty was cool. I was a "trouble maker" for complaining that a co worker would yell faggot" across the room. I have witnessed the evolution of "fuck" becoming socially excessive & the word "nigger" becoming a hot button slur as "fuck" was in the past. Language is always evolving if it is alive. Just ask Latin. If it offended me, then I am giving power to that word. Actions offend me. Words do not. Opinions can offend me. A one word insult does not. What offends me is hate. I have a cunt so why would I be offended by what most heterosexual men try to climb back into where they came out of. Say it LOUD. I'm a cunt & I am proud.

Love this comment SO MUCH! Words have the power that you give them! Couldn't have said it better myself.

I'd disagree. Words do have power. The words of one person can start a riot, shape a nation, start a war, anger millions of people, or help bring about justice. Laws are just words. Books are just words. Yet these things have shaped the history of the world.

@Charles1971 You are missing what she's saying. You're describing actions, opinions, and/or hate, but calling it 'words'.
Actually, the more I think about her comment, the more it helps me understand why I think the way I do about the comparison between those two words. The N word has a ton of hate behind it. A whole set of beliefs and ideologies about how black people are lesser simply because of the color of their skin. It's not simply a one word insult. Whereas cunt, to me, is much more akin to something like 'asshole' that can be lobbed indiscriminately at anyone. It's just a personal opinion one person has of another person. It doesn't carry all this other baggage with it. If I call someone a cunt, I'm saying he or she is a shitty person, but I'm not saying that their existence and everyone that looks like them is so detestable that I shouldn't have to share a water fountain with them. I mean, that's a super fucked up level of hatred, and I'm failing to see that in the word cunt.

@JeffMurray Then I guess we'll have to disagree on this one too.

@Charles1971 It's disappointing that you just say we disagree but refuse to explain why or what supports your belief, but whatever.

@JeffMurray Okay then... as an example... the Christian Bible. It's just words, right? Yet that single book has created the most wide spread religion in the world. The words in the Quran led to a terrorist attack in the U.S. back in 2001.

I could give a multitude of other examples, both positive and negative but it would just be repeating the basic idea.

Words lead to action. Words shape opinions. Words create hatred. Words can also educate, give hope, spread peace, and show love. Words are the very basis of human communication.

@Charles1971 Again, those aren't examples simply of words, those are examples of ideas and hatred communicated through words. If the words themselves had the power as your comments suggest, they'd have said power regardless of who said them or the context in which they were said. "Okay, boys, strip down to your trunks and jump in already" is a very different set of words when spoken in a public pool and a rectory basement.
So the question I'm asking, and the concept that @Mooolah brilliantly highlighted, is: does "cunt" carry with it the tremendous amount of hate and anti-group ideology in its meaning and usage that "the N word" does? Or is it just a really vulgar one word insult?

@JeffMurray I'll still disagree but further debate on this seems fruitless.

As for your original question...

Does "cunt" carry with it the tremendous amount of hate and anti-group ideology in its meaning and usage that "the N word" does?

Yes, it can. HOW something is said is just as important as WHAT is being said. A word can be expressed with hatred or love (or other emotion).

I can throw praise and compliments at you yet deliver it with bitter sarcasm that will show I mean quite the opposite.

I could say vulgar and degrading words to a lover and deliver them with love and passion.

So whether one word is worse than another largely (if not entirely) depends on the context of the situation, who is saying it, and how they are saying it.

@Charles1971 All of that is obvious. No one here thought for a second that each word didn't have degrees of its own. And context was already mentioned before as well. David Cross says the actual N word in one of his stands ups, but the context, at least to a vast majority of his fans, made it okay. But that, also, is not what is being asked. I'm asking, in general, in the multitude of contexts you have the ability to imagine, which word, in your opinion, on average, is more off-limits, taboo, offensive, etc. If you're incapable of formulating an opinion on that (the way 12 other people have so far), that's fine, just say you don't have the ability to form an opinion.

For clarification the "who" is: a man saying cunt or a white person using the N word.
The context is: as many as you can imagine, averaged, or more simply, used against a theoretical black woman in a thought experiment.

P.S. Do you really think there's a context in which you could sarcastically call a black person you didn't know the N word and have it be okay? How many contexts do you think a white person can say the N word and it would be totally fine?

@JeffMurray I've already given my answer in multiple posts. If my answer was unsatisfactory to you then that is something you'll have to deal with.

@Charles1971 You didn't give an answer. You said you didn't need to determine which is worse because you don't use either. For fuck's sake, your first comment literally started, "I don't know the answer to this question". Did you vote in the poll? If you didn't vote and you didn't clearly state your answer in the comments, then you necessarily did not answer the question, you avoided it.

@JeffMurray I did answer. It simply was not an answer you are willing to accept. Just let it go. This discussion has grown tiresome.

@Charles1971 You left a comment. You didn't answer the question. If you did, feel free to post the screenshot showing you voted. If you're tired of responding, don't respond.


Context is crucial, and this is not allowed for in the poll.

How is context relevant? The women that told me they were the same and told me to make this poll obviously didn't think context mattered. I don't either. We're taking about all situations collectively for both words. Is cunt just as bad as the N word over all situations combined?

@JeffMurray The contexts of parliamentary debate and an all-in gang fight are quite different. "Cunt" and "nigger" used in the former case are generally quite acceptable but in the latter case both amount to abuse.

@anglophone How about this one:
You couldn't venture a guess? Let's say you're in the grocery store with your young child. Next to you is a black woman. You child is about to blurt out the N word and the C word, and you have the ability to magically mute just one of them. Which one would you mute?
And use your answer for that to inform your choice on the poll.

@JeffMurray You are talking hypotheticals. This invalidates your poll.

@anglophone How so? The poll is strictly asking people's opinions. Hypotheticals are a great way to help elicit them.

@JeffMurray Not a useful example. Perhaps a black guy might seem more threatening and the parent does not wish an altercation, while a woman, eh, who cares if you offend them? Even the fact that in this discussion people are using "N word" in order to not offend, but not bothering to say "C word" in order to not offend. Because, hey it is only women you might be offending.

@itsmeagain I didn't mention a black guy in the hypothetical.


I don't know the answer to this question but I don't use either of those slurs so I don't really have to worry about their individual weight.

You couldn't venture a guess? Let's say you're in the grocery store with your young child. Next to you is a black woman. You child is about to blurt out the N word and the C word, and you have the ability to magically mute just one of them. Which one would you mute?

@JeffMurray Clever hypothesis.

@Fernapple Thank you. I like to think there's always a way to figure something like that out. Kind of like a logic puzzle.

@JeffMurray Sorry... first of all I can't read minds so I wouldn't know in advance that my child was about to say something like that and also I would never even suspect my child would say something those words since any child of mine would not have heard those words from me or anyone or anything that I would expose them to.

I don't really see a need to determine a rating scale for vulgar slurs. Do you think it would really matter all that much to the black woman in the hypothetical scenario on which word she was called? Would a racial slur be any more or less offensive than a misogynistic slur to her? How would you even know which was more offensive to her? It would be subjective.


  1. Thought experiments are not about knowing things or reading minds. They are about assessing responses to a set of givens to determine how/what a person thinks. The given was that your child was going to say those words. How they learned them, why they were going to say them, and how you knew that are all irrelevant to the scenario. When someone posed the Trolly Problem to you, did you just dismiss it without giving an answer and say, "Well, how do I know that all 6 people can't live if I just jump up and down on the tracks?"
  2. My cousin used to say "I want more fuck" when he wanted milk. But you know the old saying, 'kids say totally normal, completely expected things.' I think that's the saying anyway.
  3. I personally do think it would matter. That's what the whole debate is about. Apparently 6 people on Agnostic so far and 14 people from work/home also think it would matter.
  4. I don't know which would be more offensive to her, because she is a hypothetical person in a thought experiment to test how I think. I'd be willing to bet you could find black women that would be more offended by each of those words. But I based my opinion on my belief that there would be far more black women that would be more offended being called the N word than a cunt.

But if you don't feel like playing, that's okay too.


I guess it depends on the circumstances. Anyone who's been in the military know it was a name given to a certain style of cap. []

I did not know this. Thanks for the education.

And a very similar word "niggard" is totally and completely unrelated .... though I would find being told I am niggardly to be offensive. But it has nothing to do with the color of my skin.


Wow do you ASSume that women in general have had it soooo much easier than slaves, when in fact for most of history they Were slaves, while many if not most men (of every color) were not.

Yes, that is my working assumption. If you have some evidence that all (including white) women were slaves for most of history I'd be interested to read it and change that opinion. However, a couple quick, differently-worded Google searches kept bringing up this article from Vox about how even though white women didn't have equal rights, they did share in the ability to buy, sell, and own black people.


@JeffMurray For most of recorded history rape was no biggie, beating women was no biggie, owning women was no biggie, forcibly marrying them off was no biggie, keeping the kids & tossing the woman was no biggie, burning us alive ditto, which are Also perfect descriptions of how slaves were treated, no?
Comparing the numbers of slaves vs. the numbers of women, we "win"......

I have written quite a bit about Sexual Slavery of Women. It is an interesting topic on how it has affected gene flow and cultures. And before you you feel sorry for all those women..Many survived, flourished even, sometimes took over the very reigns of power. The men? If not worked to death they were often killed immediately upon capture. If they were small children they may have been spared. Some men were ransomed, but that was rare.

@AnneWimsey I think I have underestimated the plight of women throughout history. Unfortunately I don't believe I have done so to such a degree that I think cunt is more offensive than the N word given all of the factors at play. I don't get many people on my posts, so I don't think the voting will tell us much, but I feel very confident that if we did have a representative vote it would align with my belief. Even doing research on the comparison of the two words you'll see cunt written out, but the N word is almost always referred to as "the N word".
If you're comparing the badness of two words, and you won't even say one of them... that's the worse word." - John Mulaney

@JeffMurray that's a good point!
Although the N word taboo is the result of some people waking da F up.....not yet happening for women, sadly, so there's that......
Oh, I did leave something out of my last post: both groups got to do the crumbiest jobs there were.....

@AnneWimsey So while I agree with the fact that women are still lagging a lot on the equality front, and I hope that gets rectified (not exactly sure how that will happen with the Republicans actively trying to turn women into forced incubators, but...) I still wonder if "cunt" will disappear in the process the way the N word did. Is it inextricably tied to the subjugation and slavery of women in the same way? Or is it just a really vulgar insult?

@JeffMurray IMO it dehumanizes women & so makes it Much easier to justify "whatever" they "deserve".
If you have to address someone/some class of people with a bit of respect, not dismiss them as a body part, or a color, it's a start......


As a person with a bit of a Scottish ethic and an education, none of them bother me. I am also part Haudenosaunee. The issue comes up about the word "Sqaw" (an Algonkian word) and even a lot of Native are misguided by popular "woke" media BS about the use of the word. To Natives such words were just descriptive and no more disparaging that if a pissed-off woman was to say "Men!". And the word "Nigger" is simply a bastardization of the Latin word for Black, which was applied to the area where the people were much darker than the Romans. And then this same word was used to describe the people from that and similar areas. Its use as a pejorative is merely a situative construct. The same is true of the word "Retard". Any word used to describe something can be used to be insultive. Banning words is just plain stupid because it diminishes language without any benefit.

I agree with the absurdity of the euphemism treadmill. Thank you for your comment.

@JeffMurray My pleasure.


I will vote for the last one. Because I am convinced by one well known, sadly now gone, feminists arguments.
(Sorry about the quality of the video, but it is very old.)

An excellent reference… Thank you for sharing this. Who knew that the word ‘vagina’ meant ‘sword sheath!’

@p-nullifidian Yes I did not know that, it is not a very feminist word, perhaps a lot of females would not like the word half so much if they knew.

@Fernapple I did happen to know that. I researched "cunt" before and learned that nice piece of information.

@JeffMurray It seems to me that the word is dealt with differently in the Commonwealth than it is here in the United States. One of my favorite comedians is Jim Jeffries who uses the word all the time and his humor. How do I Aussies feel about this?

@p-nullifidian And that was one of my points. How could it possibly be as bad as the N word when it's not even universally bad?


I feel like it depends on where you are from and where you are using the term that makes all the difference to the degree of how offensive it is, but I do not believe that it's anywhere in the same ballpark as using the "N" word.

Corpsy Level 3 June 25, 2022

I think much depends on your place of origin.

For a Yank, the word "bugger" just means a mildly annoying person, yet for a person from the UK or Australia, it is a highly offensive and vulgar term with strong homosexual connotations.

By contrast, your chosen word "cunt" is highly offensive in the US but I am led to believe it is not at all interpreted this way by our Aussie cousins.

Go figure.

But "the N word" as you say, is meant to describe someone as less than human. I would expect this to be offensive no matter where you are from and no matter who speaks it.

But I suppose that's just me.

I completely agree with that assessment. Did you vote in the poll by chance?

@JeffMurray Of course!

@Normanbites Thank you.

As an Australian, my now dead mother (aged 90) never ever used N or C or F-word, nor many other words & phrases considered expletives. Not in exasperation, anger, nor in discussion, even of the word or terminology. But, she used the word 'bugger', in various ways, as did her Australian parents (born in the 1880s). It was very commonly used in Australia, on television since the 70s. One TV show was called 'Club Buggery'. It's use has perhaps been reduced as the F's are now used more frequently on television. So, not sure where you've found your information.
If one is exhausted, one commonly says "I'm buggered!". Amazed at new information, "Well, I'll be buggered!". Worried of a bad outcome "We'll all be buggered!"


I have heard men referred to as "cunts" They were real assholes and had to work to get called that, it was by group approval that the person was a "C".

And your vote, sir?


They are not equivalent because they are offensive for different reasons, and context counts. I am restating my observation, or belaboring it if you will, that the OP began with the bias of the words not being equally offensive, as evidenced by the use of "N word", versus use of "cunt". Just restating because I hadn't clearly stated that the different presentations of the words indicated an up front bias for this discussion.

Just because they are not equal, does not mean that one is more acceptable than the other.

As an aside, it is ridiculous that we (and by we I mean everyone, not just in this thread) can't spell out the actual words, especially in an academic. I won't do so here because I am sure some ignorant person will be upset, as unreasonable as that is (hey, it's the Internet).

"N word" belongs to blacks and "C word" belongs to women. "Bitch" also belongs to women, and some gay guys. (This is humor!)

Just because I don't think they are equivalent, and you sussed that out based on my spelling one word out and abbreviating the other, even though you would have clearly read that in the post with no deduction needed, doesn't mean the reader can't say for themselves whether or not they are. This poll is asking for personal opinions. If your opinion on the matter is so weak and transient that my "bias" taints your answer, it wasn't based on that strongly held a conviction.

Yes, I should be able to spell out what the N word is in an academic discussion, but many people find it so extraordinarily offensive, that it doesn't even seem safe in that context. Any other little innocent thing that is misconstrued and all of a sudden it's paired with, "and he obviously doesn't have any problem saying n***er" and now I'm a racist.

@JeffMurray I am sorry, I have occasional pedantic moments. Just thought for the sake of a poll, both terms should be treated equally at the start. Seriously pedantic.

Your bias does not bias my answer. But I still could not answer because of the reasons given. I do not think they are equal, because it a simple comparison cannot be made. You are correct in that I have put more into it than you asked.

Oh, I'm sorry, not your answer, one's answer. Generally people calling out bias don't seem like they'd fall victim to it.

So I hear you context reasoning, but I would ask that you try to think of each word in its most offensive context. I mean if we were to compare the skill of two drivers, it wouldn't be by seeing who navigates a McDonald's drive thru better, it would be by really putting them through their paces, no? Or would we claim that Bezos and Musk are equally rich because they can both afford a BMW? So if the word that starts with N has the maximum potential to be worse than the word that starts with C has the potential to be, then you'd answer that they are not equivalent. But if at their very, very worst, they are exactly as offensive as each other, then you'd vote for equivalent.


The word may be as revolting as the other, & words can influence of course, but a word thrown at me as an insult is attempting to denigrate me & I choose to deny power to that word. I protested inappropriate words yelled across a work space as it create a hostile work environ. Tho it is different with others who do feel the power of words and are offended. It says more of the one who hurls the word. Working among men, one must have a quick comeback & a thick skin. And also a muted sense of smell.

I can own almost everything you said, save for the fact that I smell phenomenal!


I am a woman and I feel that they are very close.


It all depends on why the man is saying it. Sometimes it is very offensive and sometimes it is a term of endearment as you said in your explanation. Why you didn't offer that as a voting option, I do not know.

I'm trying to allow people to take everything into account. It's a question about people's personal opinions of the offensiveness of the two words. Are their less situations in which a white person could "get away with" using the N word than a man saying cunt? Do you think a black woman likely be more offended being called one word over the other? Do you feel one word is more taboo because it carries more underlying meaning or damaging connotation? If a public figure had a recording leaked of them saying one or the other, which do you think would be more damaging to them? If you liked or supported that public figure, which would you be more embarrassed by them using? Which do you think would be a more fair reason for them to get "canceled"? If I said those words at work which would more likely result in me getting fired?
There's a ton of ways you can determine which word you personally think is more offensive, and it's completely up to you to decide which one(s) you'll use. Personally, compiling as many scenarios as I could think of to compare the two words, the N word was far and away the clear winner for more offensive.


The N word to me is dehumanizing. I’m the whitest man on the planet and it offends me because I remember how my father used it. Cunt is a word a man uses for a bitch that has power over him.

Thank you for your comment. Did you vote by chance?

@JeffMurray I did. Not a woman and not equivalent.


I find that "twunt" is a better descriptor. Covers more ground.

And if this caught on and became the new most vulgar word, it would be a perfect example of the euphemism treadmill I talked about.


One there is a societal wide norm that it is not to be said, the other is said somewhat frequently. I try never to say the c word either. So both are prohibited as far as I'm concerned so equal.

Just because both are prohibited doesn't mean they're equal though, does it? Stealing a loaf of bread and brutally raping a child are both prohibited, but those certainly aren't the same.

They're both prohibited to me, I phrased my response as personal. I do think of the c word as being nearly as bad as the n word.

@Theresa_N Nearly as bad? Isn't that another way to say "not exactly as bad" or "almost as bad but not quite"?
Even things one prohibits for themself can have degrees. I don't steal snacks from the work refrigerator and I also don't shit in food I make at home and bring in for pot lucks, but one of those is definitely a worse thing to do.

I'm not trying to be a contrarrian, but I think nuance is important here.


Well, if it's something that could get you fired in a workplace zoom chat, you probably shouldn't use it on this website or in public.

"Shit" "fuck" and "gay" could get you fired at work (at least my work) should those really be off-limits everywhere?
Also, it really depends on who you are and what the workplace is. Jeffrey Toobin didn't even lose his job for jerking off on a Zoom meeting, so I can't really trust that yardstick.


F--- That! I grew-up with a bit of Scottish ethic and am not offended by much of anything. Only pansies are offened.


"I am a white cis woman, those are not equivalent." And that vote/statement informs you of absolutely nothing.

The two terms -- their histories (from various perspectives) & situational uses (vastly different and multitudinous ways and relationships involved) by different individuals (across genders, sexualities, races, skin tones, nationalities, migrant histories, etc.) --
are not comparable.

Your self stated 'philosophy' of proportional & comparative 'plight' being relevant to offense expected to be felt, or perceived to be intended, is also a bit BS.

In my opinion, a cunt is gloriously pleasurable, with extraordinary capabilities. With very few exceptions, you either have one, or you don't.
To equate something beautiful & amazing with extreme negative judgement of someone, especially by someone without one and/or of someone without one, is ludicrous.

That using cunt as a derogatory/accusatory term has become a cultural habit, anywhere, is sadly mysogynistic, contrary and ridiculous - at the same time - especially, to &/or from cis men. Of course I've used it, under my breath; just as I've exclaimed Oh My God!, and God bless you!. I'm still fighting automated thoughts, from cultural indoctrination. But we should all do better, rather than excuse ourselves.

The 'plight' of any woman (at the hands of any man, or as a victim of a society), or their being a lesser 'plight' to consider, is not relevant to trying to excuse the derogatory use of the word.

If you're not trying to validate excuses for yourself, your purpose seems obscure, to me.
Perhaps you think you're a funny cunt; but, I think you're not that funny, nor that fabulous.😁

This poll was not my idea. I was asked to post it by a woman who said the two words were "exactly the same". I generally use it for men, but when a woman is deserving, so be it. Basically, however, the sex or gender of the person is irrelevant when deciding whether or not they are deserving of an 'asshole' plus some shock value.

You can call my philosophy bullshit, but I think if people think about it, they probably do the same thing. How offensive do people consider the terms 'dumb' and 'lame'? Probably not very. You can scale the rest for yourself. But as you've already admitted, not all words are equally offensive, so if you don't use marginalization of the group as the thing that determines how offensive a word is, please educate me and give me the proper way to evaluate words that some may take offense to. I'm all ears.

I'm uncomfortable with anyone differentiating individuals according to race or gender or disability etc., because someone thinks of them as 'lesser', due to their race or gender or disability etc. ... according to judgement of their 'plight'.

If someone communicates with the obvious intention to denigrate/debase/undermine the receiver, using gender or race or disability distinguishing terms, based on differentiation of people's 'lesser-ness'... that's pitiful & pitiable. Intention & judgement matters with words chosen.

That culture/society has appropriated a noun for female genitalia, and saturated it with negative judgement & malintention is in itself disrespectful and offensive. Those who choose to continue this particular use, are responsible for solidifying societal norms. (There is research suggesting that abuse of women, when stemming from disrespect, can be reduced by changing word choices.)

Differently, a noun, derived from a latin adjective, that was purposefully brought into use, by non-PoCs, as a racial slur ... had/has no real non-judgemental use. Some PoCs are trying to reclaim the word, to disempower it or swap it to a positive judgement. This doesn't give licence to non-PoCs to also use it 'positively' ... whether well-intentioned, sarcastically, or slyly. It's a word laden with 'racial slur history'; and without a genuinely 'innocent' alternate use.

A recent 'intended to be harmful' insult that cut me deeply, was: that I had knowingly/intentionally used my generational white privilege to gain & inherit undeserved benefit, at the expense of Persons of Colour. (Attacking my choices; not my gender, race, or other unchosen identities.) He didn't call me a white cunt; "privilege abuser" was very effective.

@LizZyG Someone else commented on this and brought me back and I noticed I never responded to your comment.

"..according to judgement of their 'plight'."
But everyone already does this. Most people refrain from using the N word, but few if any avoid terms like 'lame' or 'dumb'. If it's not based on based on the plight of the group, I will need you to educate me and tell me what it is based on.

"Those who choose to continue this particular use, are responsible for solidifying societal norms."
I have no disrespect for women. One tiny example is that I'm as pro-choice as you can possibly be, which is WAY more pro-woman that a vast majority of all women. You won't find an issue or measure for women I wouldn't support equality for. But to be clear, this post was not about whether or not either of these words were bad. It was simply about whether or not the two words were "exactly the same" as was suggested.

I'm not sure how someone knowing how exactly to insult you to hurt you the most relates to the discussion at hand. But that does bring up interesting points in that you admit the word wouldn't have offended you as much as something else and that you actually used the word in your example. I'm curious to know if you would have spelled the other one out, and if not, why the difference?


I didn't answer because context is most important. Any word is just a word until someone gives it power to be offensive, but the better question is why use any word that is offensive to anyone?

My personal experience, growing up in the US, is that the C word is extremely offensive. Other countries see it at different levels of offensiveness, and sometimes not offensive at all. The N word is also extremely offensive here, although certain people are allowed to use it. I don't know for a fact that it is universally offensive. While some blacks may use the N word, women generally do not use the C word, in the US. These are very general observations, of course. I think the potential utterer may have different reasons for using or not using either of the words. I don't use either of them because I find both offensive.

Maybe your friend's statement about them being equal was intended as a simple, short cut explanation.

Thank you for your comment. There are two important reasons why someone may use a word that's offensive to anyone:

  1. Pretty much every word is offensive to someone. I learned that there are people offended by the word "lame". There are TONS of people that are offended by the word "moist". It would be pretty much impossible to talk if you could never use any word that was offensive to at least somebody.
  2. It's offensive. Sometimes people do shitty things, and the only way to adequately express your feelings is to use a word we've collectively given power to. Ricky Gervais had a bit about the Yulin festival in China where they eat thousands of dogs, only they think if the dogs are tortured first, it makes the meat taste better. He Tweeted a picture and captioned it, "One beautiful creature and two disgusting cunts skinning it alive" which prompted a women to reprimand him for his language. He asked if she was really more offended by his language than what the men were doing. It just doesn't make sense.

I'll admit I live a pretty sheltered life comparatively speaking. I'd be curious to know where in the world a white person could throw the N word around indiscriminately with no fear whatsoever, save for a Klan meeting in the Southern United States or GOP coke and sex orgies, I assume.

Maybe it was a short cut, but those can be offensive too. How would you feel as a holocaust survivor when people compare a more trivial plight to what you suffered? Hell, someone may even be offended by that comparison I just made, too.

@JeffMurray Agree that many words are offensive, but we are talking about these specific words. I choose to not use them. I use plenty of "offensive" words, but generally in a situation where I know the receivers will not be offended by the word. I also have certainly sworn at someone, but it seems in those cases, it is not so much that the word is offensive, as it adds to the tone of the situation. "You've flooded my basement." is not as effective as "You've flooded my fucking basement."

Not sure the Gervais example is valid for this discussion. In that you are comparing the offense of a word to the offense of torture. Interesting that you should bring up the Holocaust, in that there apparently are people who insist on trivializing it. But anyway, how much suffering does someone have to do to earn respect, and why does it require suffering in the first place? Kinda sounds like you would be willing to consider the C word offensive if only you thought women had suffered enough.

@JeffMurray And what if Gervais has used the other word and a black person complained?

@itsmeagain I do tie my belief about how offensive a word is to the plight suffered by the group the word is meant to malign. The other word is inextricably tied to slavery and lynching and hundreds of years of systemic racism. While it is true women have and still do suffer inequity, I don't know that "cunt", specifically, was used to subjugate women in the same way or carries the same connotation and power. It would seem that, at least in the limited results the poll they asked me to post has tabulated, members of agnostic tend to agree at an above 70% clip.

As for your claim that words add to the tone without being necessarily offensive, it shows that you, personally, aren't offended by the word "fucking", but that does not mean no one is. These other words you don't find offensive, but others do, is the same as others finding cunt to not be so offensive that it should be off-limits, so to speak. And we can even take it one step further as I find the N word to be unsayable, but @Reignmond has both used the word and stated that it is not an insulting word during this discussion. I totally see his point. The "banning" of words simply causes a euphemism treadmill effect, and is generally pointless... even though I think the N word attempts to be the exception to this rule because of the horrific history attached. I don't really see how a "new" word could ever replace it.

@JeffMurray Yes, and I think you made a similar point, about offensive words having different uses. And we agree that lots of words are offensive, to many and different people. I totally agree with @Reignmond, about the negative effects of banning words. Many words have obtained offensive status, just because of cultural trends. On the other languages DO evolve.

@JeffMurray Pretty near every Race / Ethnicity has been subjugated by some other, and not uncommonly with the aid of those in power in their own group. Slavery has never been about Race. It has always been about power, those who have it against those who don't. And it needs to be realized that Slavery was better than ethnocide, which is better than genocide.

Every Race has had its disparaging nicknames. My Brittish ancestors once refered to a group they enslaved as "despicable creatures", "unfit for civilization", "God-damned Wogs" (Wog is every bit as bad as the N-word). They were refering to my Scottish ancestors. And then they referrd to my Irish ancestors as Bodachs. And my Native ancestors as Heathens and Savages. It is time we mature. T
those are just words, and as my Scotch ancestry taught me; they are either true, in which case you need to work on that...or they are false, in which case they can be ignored.


For the matter of Voting....
They are equivalent, but not insulting.

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