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Cunt
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Somewhere between Valerie Solanas's bitter SCUM Manifesto and Eve Ensler's fanciful The Vagina Monologues lies this self-indulgent exercise in feminist reclamation. Striving to remove the negative connotations from a word usually used as a scathing insult, Muscio traces the history of the term "cunt" and asserts that it was once a term of respect before the patriarchy turned it into a profane, misogynistic epithet. This transformation, she insists, occurred as part of a conspiracy to make women feel a sense of self-loathing and uncleanness; only by reconnecting with love for their genitalia can women achieve personal and political power. Muscio muddles her work with rambling digressions, including those about utilizing sea sponges instead of tampons during menstruation, using herbal tea and visualization in order to miscarry an unwanted fetus and identifying with Imelda Marcos. What insights the book does provide must be discerned beneath Musico's jarring prose, which fluctuates between the academic and the colloquial, sometimes in the same paragraph. On responses to her manuscript, she writes, "Reactions to a book called Cunt always lead to an intense grilling. Ain't never encountered ambivalence." Although this work may constitute a move toward women's acceptance of themselves and their bodies, it is a very small step. Agent, Leigh Feldman. (Dec.)

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