New Zealand Green party co-leader Marama Davidson is facing criticism after she repeatedly used the word “cunt” at an anti-racism rally in what she said was an attempt to reclaim the word for women. Explaining that the word had been used in death threats against her, as well as to abuse other women, Davidson said that she felt if women unapologetically co-opted the term for themselves, the word’s emotional power would be blunted. “Cunts are powerful,” Davidson told supporters at the rally, eliciting a round of cheers. “Vaginas brought you all here. Call me that. I take it. I’m here for being a cunt!” she continued, drawing another round of applause.
But New Zealand politicians nonetheless condemned her use of the word, decrying it as inappropriate especially given that there had been families with children present at the rally.
Paula Bennett, the opposition National party’s spokesperson for women, characterized Davidson’s speech as “disgusting” and said that her desire to “reclaim the word” was “no excuse for bad manners.” Deputy prime minister Winston Peters similarly described the Green party politician’s language as “appalling” and “degrading” while Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said simply that she would not personally endorse usage of the term.
Davidson has defended her attempt at reclaiming the ‘C-word,’ telling Newshub that she would continue to “stand by using that word.”
“That word is a powerful word for women and shouldn’t be used as abuse,” she declared. “I think it’s a word that we have to disarm and reclaim. Reclaiming means turning a negative slur into a positive word, like the LGBTQ community did with the word ‘queer’ in the 1980s and 1990s.”
According to research from the Broadcasting Standards Authority, the “C-word” is considered the “most offensive term” in New Zealand — even more so than the “N-word,” according to Newshub. But over the past five years, the group noted, the number of people who consider the word unacceptable in all scenarios has dropped from 72 percent to 63 percent. Below, watch video of Davidson’s remarks.
Read the full story at The Guardian.