Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Media Moment: Quvenzhané Wallis Is a Cunt.

During the Oscars, The Onion jokingly tweeted that Quvenzhané Wallis (star in Beast of the Southern Wild and Best Actress Oscar nominee) is a cunt. What struck me was not the actual tweet (posted below), but the response it got. 

@TheOnion: “Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhané Wallis is kind of a c--t, right? #Oscars2013” 

I read about this though The Daily Beast article by Tricia Romano titled The Onion Tweets That Quvenzhané Wallis Is the C-Word. I'm not sure if her editors decided that "the C-Word" would be more appropriate, or if she chose to use it herself. Either way if I were her, I would have fought hard to have Cunt in the title. 

The Daily Beast article contains some Tweets from people who lashed out at the comment:
"Technology writer Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing posted: 'Fuck you, @theonion. Calling a 9 year old black girl a "c*nt" violates the most basic principles of what it means to be human. Fuck you.'"
So, because this girl is only nine -- and black -- calling her a cunt means you violate the most basic principles of her humanity? I think this comment perpetuates the cultural idea that the word cunt is dirty and derogatory. And this, coming from a woman. 

Females have it, but they are afraid to say it -- especially in public. On the flipside, I've heard both males and females trow it around as if it were a "bad word". 

My first media interaction with the word was through Eve Ensler's book The Vagina Monologues, where she reclaimed cunt as a word of empowerment. 

Quvenzhané Wallis is silenced throughout this whole ordeal. There are no comments from her whatsoever. Was is for the so called "preservation of innocence"? 

Cunt is a pop-culture no-no, yet I'm positive people still choose to use it, many times with negative connotations. What is your history with the word and how can we make progress from here?

PS. This ordeal reminded me of an interview where Samuel L Jackson tries (and fails) to get the reporter to say nigger. What correlations can you make from the Django interview and the Wallis incident?

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