Welcome To The Age Of Pussy

Posted on August 30, 2012 by

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pussy riot

Miri’s 15-year-old Sadie and her friends began using the term “pussy up” as a replacement for “man up,” and apparently Sadie is onto a global trend. This week Slate’s Double X not only attributed the dawning of the word pussy to Pussy Riot–you know, those brave ladies from Russia–but Slate writer Lindsay Zoladz also declared that Pussy is Having a Moment.

Yet even though “pussy” is having a comeback–some of you didn’t totally jibe with Sadie’s takeover of the word. One of our readers wondered if it was misogynistic to refer to a woman by her genitalia. She wrote:

If it pushes women toward greater self-acceptance and empowerment, then it’s positive long-term (and I will endure my short-term discomfort). Where’s the line?

Though society typically uses the word pussy when referring to weakness, as in “What are you, a pussy?” Pussy Riot redefined the word after protesting the Russian government in an Orthodox church. You don’t get more courageous than picking a fight with a man like Putin. That old version of “pussy” no longer applies.

It’s not such a stretch to reclaim a body part, and along with it, change the perception of a word. Eve Ensler lit up the word vagina on Broadway and then attached heroic stories to it. So the vagina was no longer an organ but a human. Soon the vag or the vag-jay-jay became symbolic for a woman. Even today in our language against the GOP, women are saying across the internet: “Stay out of my vagina.” When they really meant to say is: stay out of my life.

And while riot grrrrls in the 90s–including the miraculous Kathleen Hanna who’d scribble the word SLUT on her belly–attempted to reclaim some of those demeaning words (i.e., pussy, or cunt, or whore), as Zoladz mentions in her article, none of their hard work quite stuck. Who could forget that just a year ago, women were fighting each other over whether to use the word “slut” in Slut Walks because the word not only offended the masses, but many didn’t want to be defined that way. (Me? I don’t mind so much.)

Zoladz’s article references new artists who are referencing pussy as a source of strength; one artist, Australian rapper Iggy Azealia, according to Jezebel, has even released a vagina-shaped jewelry line called Pussy Rings.

So maybe now with the emergence of Pussy Riot, our definition can finally change. Pussy Up might become a new colloquialism. More, our girls can have an answer if someone calls them a pussy.

“Pussy? Oh yeah. Hell, yeah, I am.”

We’re in the age of the pussy. And you know what? I like it.

With that said, I hope you and your pussy have a wonderful labor day weekend.

Image: Photograph: Lorne Campbell/Guzelian/