Cunt: A Declaration of Independence, Book Review



Wow. What a read.


Short review: This book was very entertaining, witty, and super well-written. Muscio makes a few great points about female sexuality and our society’s institutionalized sexism. But Muscio is also a cray hippie who believes in a lot of BS pseudo-science, and that’s a bit bothersome… and hilarious.

Long review:

Wisdom in Cunt:
The preface is fantastic. I liked how the author used the c-word as many times as possible to get us used to it.
She’s absolutely right that the tampons sold in grocery stores are too damn expensive. I think using sea sponges as tampons is really stupid. I feel like you’d be asking for an infection. But Muscio mentions an early version of the menstrual cup, which I do want to try some day. She also talks about rags which don’t sound appealing to me at all, but the new period underwear might be something worth looking into. Like rags, they’ll save you money and help save the planet.
Abortion clinics are horrible places. I like that there is now a little movement to make abortion clinics more like spas than doctor’s offices.
The history of whores is pretty interesting. Although let me say this yet another time in my former Catholic/Religious Studies major life: MARY MAGDALENE WAS NOT A WHORE.
-Some of the orgasm stuff was pseudo-sciency, but I think her assertion that orgasms can purge us of negative emotions has some truth to it, and definitely works as a metaphor. I also like how this chapter encourages us to appreciate the female orgasm, because in most ways, women did get the better deal than men in this department.
-I’ve never heard of a “women positive sex store,” or really given much thought into how sex shops are so male centric… but it’s true. We need more women positive sex stores, for sure.
-I like that she offers suggestions for further reading. Not gonna lie, I kind of want a cunt coloring book.
The entire chapter about ending women on women hate was great. Women, like men, are brought up that it’s acceptable to be nasty to women. And that’s not okay. In this chapter, she also talks about how women of color have had it worse that white women, which is always something white feminists need to be reminded of.
The chapter about rape is also very well done. When she asked the reader to think about how many women have been raped during every “founding” of each nation on Earth, I got chills. I love the idea of an entire community of women rising up to protest when one of their own is raped. That doesn’t happen nearly enough.
I really liked the “Womanifesto” she wrote. Here are some of my favorite commandments: “when you’re sitting on the bus and the man who sits next to you gives you a bad vibe, get up and move to another seat without gives a rat’s ass about seeming rude.” “look at all the beautiful women on TV and in magazines and think that they’re all part of a weird industry run by men with major, major dick complexes.” “make a conscious effort to spend your money in establishments owned by women.”
I think only reading books by women, and watching movies directed by women, and discovering new female music artists for a month or so would be a fun experiment that I might try some day. I’m down for appreciating how much women have contributed to art in throughout the existence of the human race. And although I’m not entirely sure that I read more books by men than women, I probably do… and it’s probably because men get published more often, at least in certain genres. Which isn’t fair at all.
-I learned about the Guerrilla Girls in a Women’s Studies class but had since forgotten about them. They’re super rad. I need to read/watch more of their shit.

Ok… fun part of this review comin’ up…

Ridiculous Bullshit in Cunt:
The fact that the average menstrual cycle is 28 days and the moon’s cycle is 28 days is a coincidence. Your uterus has nothing to do with the moon. You cannot sync your period with the moon, as you are on Earth. And the moon is the moon. And you are a person. And your uterus is not a moon. It is a uterus. Also, let me emphasize again that the average menstrual cycle is 28 days… it’s not the same for all women. My cycle is 28 days now because I’m on birth control, but before that my cycle was somewhere between 31 and 36 days. That’s normal. In fact, anything between 23 and 40 is normal.
-Then we get even more more period pseudo-science… No, we are not more powerful when we have a period. We are just on our periods. We’re not being cleansed of anything except the lining of our uteruses. If you ask me, telling young girls that their periods aren’t a big deal, rather than saying they’re a burden or a right of passage, is the best way to go. The idea of a “menarche party” is ridiculous. Because some girls never get periods. Like trans girls. And girls with certain biological conditions. And then what about when you’re old and you no longer have a period? Then you’re not a woman anymore? What if you don’t get it until you’re 16? Or what if you get it as early as 9? Is calling attention to that necessary? It’s really not… A period isn’t a gift, nor a privilege. It is a freakin’ period.
The strangest part of this book is when Muscio claims that she ended her period cramps by “hanging out with the moon.”

Oh, yah… Totes. It’ll take some time. But once you sync up your period with the moon, you won’t be in pain anymore. Like I said, periods actually have jack shit to do with the moon. And you can’t “Secret” your way to having painless periods. You just can’t.

-Then Muscio declares that “healing comes from within.” Um, no… healing comes from medicine, actually.
-She then talks about the miscarriage that she induced after having 2 traumatizing abortions. To induce a miscarriage, she says, one must “devote One’s Entire Life to the process.” That includes “imaging” the fetus being expelled from your body, as well as eating this herb and this herb. I mean… I shouldn’t judge too much here because I’ve never needed/wanted an abortion, but performing your own abortion in any shape or form can’t be safe. Please do not try this at home.
-[Thought about a third of the way through: my uterus hurts just from reading this book.]
– She says that Western “healthcare” is slowly killing us rather than healing us. Seriously?? This attitude is dangerous. Our healthcare system is flawed for sure. But if you suspect you have cancer, you’re not going to try to think the tumor out of your body. You’re going to see a freakin’ doctor.


Okay lemme break this down for ya… Birth control education, here it is:
-Do BC pill decrease your sexual desire? Maybe. More likely, it changes it, but not in a way that you’ll ever notice or enough that it really matters.
-Does they make you fat? Not anymore. They did back in the day, but today’s BC pills do not make you gain weight.
-Does it obstruct your natural menstrual flow? Yes. That is the point. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not going to cause infertility. Literally has never happened before.
-Can they cause heart problems? No. Unless you have a family history of blood clots, and in that case, talk to your doctor.
-Cancer? There’s no conclusive evidence that BC pills increase your risk for breast cancer. Some scientists actually believe that being on the pill lowers your risk of ovarian cancer.
[-Now consult a few extra resources if you don’t believe me.]
-Then she says that women who use the pill do so because they don’t want to TOUCH THEMSELVES ???!!!?? Actually no, I use the pill because I like having manageable periods. I also like being a monogamous relationship and not having babies yet.

-[Thought half-way through: does this lady actually believe in a Goddess or is this a metaphor?]
-In the “Whores” chapter, she goes on this weird tangent about Jesus, and I couldn’t tell if she was joking or not:
“From all the things I’ve heard about Jesus, he sounds like a pretty decent sort. He looks like a nice in most of his pictures. You can tell Adolf Hitler and George Washington were dickheads just by looking at them. Looking at Jesus, he seems cool.”

K, soo… Don’t get it twisted: Aileen Wournos was actually a bad person. Yes, she was poor and fucked up in the head like every other killer we put on death row. I don’t believe in the death penalty myself, and I think if we take better care of the poor then the crime rate in this country will decrease. But I do believe in humane incarceration for people like Wournos. It’s very clear that she didn’t kill in self-defense. She was a serial murderer. The end.
I actually think there is a place for rape scenes in movies and TV, if executed correctly. As long as they serve a definite purpose, are not portrayed as titillating, and aren’t too graphic. Like, I didn’t understand all the shit Game of Thrones got this season for Sansa’s rape scene. Given Ramsey’s character and Sansa’s circumstances, it made sense. I’m not saying Game of Thrones is never sexist, but in this case, I really don’t think it was. Good fiction tells the truth… including the horrific aspects of every day life. And censorship isn’t cool.
-She pretty much says that we shouldn’t expect rapists to take responsibility for preying on women, because no matter what we do, they won’t stop raping. Now isn’t that pessimistic… Maybe the idea of teaching boys to respect women at a young age is like, a millennial idea? I don’t particularly want to learn how to fight. I want to know that I’m safe walking down the street without a black belt in Kung Fu.

In conclusion, I enjoyed this book. Did I like it? Yeaa… Yea. It got me thinking. I also kept reminding myself that if it wasn’t written almost 20 years ago (wow, I’m old), it would probably have turned out differently. This isn’t my generation’s feminism, so I don’t subscribe to it. But is it important for younger feminists to learn about what our moms and grandmothers believed? Of course.


3 thoughts on “Cunt: A Declaration of Independence, Book Review

  1. Yeah, my main issue with this book was also her false assertions about birth control. It seemed like she was trying to make me feel guilty for taking it, which is a great way to alienate your audience. But I do kind of agree with her point about our dependence on Western medicine. I think it needs to be qualified to say that too often we get trapped in the mentality that a prescription or even an over-the-counter pill is always the answer when something is wrong with your body. I’m currently working on a blog post about how I finally managed to cure my acne by quitting sugar. If I had gone to a dermatologist for a prescription, my skin may have gotten better, but I never would have addressed the fact that my sugar intake was having a negative affect on my body, and there is a decent amount of research out there which suggests that the human body is not designed to processed refined sugar, and it might be the cause of our high rates of obesity, heart disease, and even cancer:

    So, in the sense that taking prescription medications can cause you to ignore the real cause of your health problems, yes, Western healthcare could be killing us. I just would have phrased it better than she did.

    Also, the book I recommended to you, Sacred Pleasure, does site some evidence that before the invention of artificial light sources, women’s periods were synced with the lunar cycle. Freaky stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yah, I guess what I really mean to say is that it bothers me when people don’t trust reliable scientific study. Doing everything your doctors advise is a whole other issue… All the psychiatrists I see never want to listen to how I’m feeling. They just see my diagnosis and say, “so I guess it’s time to up your dosage,” even if I think the dose I’m taking is fine or needs to be lowered. In general, I think doctors and nurses know better than I do about medicine, but a lot of them lack compassion and empathy. Same can be said for why the environment of the UVA psych ward is so depressing… The staff there may keep you from killing yourself, but they probably won’t inspire you to get better. (One of my friends was just there a few weeks ago and agreed with me.) So if American healthcare isn’t killing us, it’s at least making us unhappy. That’s why I’ve come to rely on good therapists, yoga, other exercises, and a better diet (I definitely feel best on the days I eat little to no refined sugar), in addition to a bit of medication.

      I just bought a digital copy of Sacred Pleasure and I’m really excited to read it!


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