“Naughty, naughty – you used the C-word,” an older male writer teased me, at the Hay festival.
“No… the other thing.”
I was the first performer at this popular literary festival, as far as I know, to suggest using ‘cunt’ as a positive or neutral word, before reading a story I’d written about lost children – embarrassing some of my audience. Children must not be associated with cunts, until they’re ripe for fucking.
I love the word ‘cunt’: belly-vowelled, it grunts from deep in our throats, reaching into our hearts and towards the cunt itself. Since I was a little girl, whenever I heard it as a term of abuse, it taught me that my cunt was disgusting, villainous, ridiculous.
The cunt is absurdly conflicted. Fertility is sexy yet motherhood is not – though the Cistercian monks, who carved shamelessly milk-bursting breasts on the church of Abbey Dore, near Hay, associated creamy maternal eros with God’s love. These 12th Century celibates, high on the beastliness of the divine, revelled in ongoing life.
Today’s manacling of fertility, child-bearing and sexiness is queerphobic, commercial and ageist. Social commentators, like the ex-Editor of Vogue, Alexandra Shulman feel it’s necessary to scapegoat a wild beauty like Helena Christensen partying in a bustier as a ‘helpful’ warning of our sell-by dates (“when women’s bodies no longer serve child-bearing purpose, we find flaunting them slightly tragic”).
Yet silence persists over cunts without a womb. And menopausal women have little voice. A recent furore on Social Media over not showing periods in porn did not touch the subject of menopause. Apparently, nobody undergoing hot flushes watches porn.
We explode this silence, this summer, with two magazine issues exploring the cunt.
In this first issue, to a gunky, sizzling soundtrack from our resident DJ Caoimhe Lavelle, featuring Prince, Betty Davis & The Flying Lizards, we bring you pussy terrorism from migrant film-maker & performer Liad Hussein Kantorowicz; a utopia where children belong to nobody, by debut author Sophie A. Lewis; leading porn maker Vex Ashley on not turning her cunt into a temple; photographic artist Brittany Merkart on repulsion, desire and releasing shame; and infra-red menopausal upsurge from film-maker & artist Marne Lucas. And Annie Nicholson uses public murals, her own naked body and ‘Pussy Power’ to overcome taboos around death and grief in vibrant hues that, we hope, uplift and stimulate you like The Demented Goddess.
Check out our Bachannalia page for cunt-friendly partying. We’re also running two competitions to win tickets to tango with the hottest cunt-loving brains, Naomi Wolf, Sophie A. Williams and Joanna Biggs at events this May.
Here’s to one, long, Summer of Cunt!
Love on ya,
Soma Ghosh, Editor, The Demented Goddess
Twitter @calcourtesan @GoddessDemented
Main photo by Marne Lucas.