Cunt: Never An Appropriate Descriptor for a 9 Year Old Child

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When I close my eyes, and imagine all the terms that one could come up with to describe a 9 year old girl, the very last one on my list would be “cunt.”
In general, I would assume that most reasonable people would agree. There are fewer words as genderized, vulgar and riddled with hate.
While some feminists have strove to reclaim the label, it remains an extremely derogatory term.

Apparently, there is someone handling the social media for The Onion tonight that either:
a) doesn’t care
b) didn’t get the memo or
c)is willing to push the envelope for spin/media traction.

No. Bad. Fail.
Before it disappears off the face of the earth, take a gander at that. “Quvenzhane Wallis is kind of a cunt, right?”

I get that The Onion is satire. I understand that they exist only to push the limits of good taste and freedom of expression.
I am generally a fan of their ability to mock convention and the sacred cows of society just enough to elicit a hearty laugh.
This? Not okay.

This is Quvenzhane Wallis:

She is a child.
A  nine year-old child, who happens to have been nominated for a “Best Actress” Oscar this year.

…and according to The Onion, a “cunt.”

If, for any reason, you have the cognitively chosen to defend The Onion on this I’d love to hear the justification.

(Be prepared for me to eviscerate you if your reasoning is “First Amendment” based. I call bullshit.)

Points to ponder:

  • An adult, with a job, who broadcasts outside of a vacuum, decided it was acceptable to use this specific epithet in reference to a pre-pubescent child.
  • A  female child, who also happens to be black! (Imagine the media frenzy if a little blonde caucasian child were called this.)
  • It wouldn’t have been okay to call any woman a “cunt”, for what it is worth. It’s sexist and worthless as far as words go, and it is just that much more disgusting when aimed at a little kid.
  • By the time I got to this point in writing the article, the Tweet was removed. Someone over there in Onionland pulled it.
  • If you want to let it fly, you can ping The Onion on Twitter – @TheOnion
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Tia is a mystery, wrapped in an enigma and covered in a crunchy candy coating of genuine British Columbian snark. She is currently exiled to Winnipeg for an unknown duration of time.

10 thoughts on “Cunt: Never An Appropriate Descriptor for a 9 Year Old Child”

  1. I was in disbelief when I saw the post. I thought, HUH?! I must have been mistaken. They can’t really have said that. And the fact that I know Quvenzhane, who is one of the only children of her age in the business that has still remained an innocent, made it all the more horrifying. Actually it made me a bit nauseous with anger.

    Wonder who at The Onion doesn’t know the difference between freedom of speech and verbal assault?

  2. While I am not defending “The Onion” in any way, shape or form, I thought it worth noting that it is our western society that deems the word “cunt” as being horrible and one of the worst possible term to call a woman. Australians throw the same term around flippantly and with little meaning, such as, “How’s it goin, ya mad cunt?” It’s almost used like our (albeit stupid) term “bro/brah”.

    The British also use it with far, far less weight behind the word than we do.

    I’d hazard a guess that the tweeter might be British in origin.

    Regardless, it is still over the line. The internet is a huge place and one has to be aware of social “faux pas” that go beyond location based society’s interpretations of a word.

    This kind of reminds me of Regretsy. Everybody loved it and then suddenly something crossed over the line and everybody took a big breath, covered their mouths, pointed at them, all while screaming “Shame, shame!”.

    1. Were this a UK media outlet directing the term at, for example, David Beckham, I wouldn’t blink an eye. In that sort of cultural context? Meh. Even, perhaps, I would use it in jest with a close girlfriend in a chiding manner. I’m not much of a pearl clutcher, but…

      In this case? It was a US media outlet, directed at an American child, at an American event. Regardless of whether it was simply a lapse in judgement, or a purposefully thought out Tweet, it does have the gravity of being a very sexualized derogatory term in North America.

      The CEO of The Onion has issued a subsequent apology/press release, which is a good start.

  3. The Onion has issued a full apology (at least on Facebook):

    Feb. 25, 2013

    Dear Readers,

    On behalf of The Onion, I offer my personal apology to Quvenzhané Wallis and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the tweet that was circulated last night during the Oscars. It was crude and offensive—not to mention inconsistent with The Onion’s commitment to parody and satire, however biting.

    No person should be subjected to such a senseless, humorless comment masquerading as satire.

    The tweet was taken down within an hour of publication. We have instituted new and tighter Twitter procedures to ensure that this kind of mistake does not occur again.

    In addition, we are taking immediate steps to discipline those individuals responsible.

    Miss Wallis, you are young and talented and deserve better. All of us at The Onion are deeply sorry.


    Steve Hannah
    The Onion

  4. Lighten up – it’s a joke.
    The kid is obviously a sweetheart.

    I laughed – and that was the only point of the exercise. Stop trying to make it more than it is.

  5. Wow! Thanks for mansplaining that to me, friend! Now that you’ve commanded me to do what you want, I’ll definitely stop thinking for myself and accept that you have some sort of divine intuition to know what the author of the post was thinking and intended. Whew! It’s hard being a feeble minded cunt sometimes.

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