Forget “Blurred Lines”—Can You Like a Song That Celebrates the C-Word? (Yes.)

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
July 18 2013 10:37 AM

Forget “Blurred Lines”—Can You Like a Song That Celebrates the C-Word? (Yes.)

Though the homemade drag music video is by definition a genre that revels in bustedness, a new entry recently released by the artists Levonia Jenkins and La Lopez takes the form to delightful new depths. Called “So Cunt,” the video features Jenkins promenading around New York City mass transit, 14th Street discount stores, and other high-end locales while Lopez offers evidence for why the queen’s outfits and look deserve the title. It’s wholesome summer fun, and for the interested viewer, even instructive: I can attest that Wigs and Plus on 14th is a fine establishment for the butch queen who wishes to freshen up her drag wardrobe.

But what about that word, Bryan? True, not everyone will be down with the song’s unceasing repetition of the C-word. When Jezebel posted the video Wednesday, the comments section immediately began to fill with people expressing discomfort, and understandably so—as my colleague Forrest explained after the Onion controversially called child actor Quvenzhané Wallis a "cunt," the word has been basically the ultimate taboo since the beginning of the 20th century.


But words have different meanings in different contexts, and cunt in drag culture is not an insult. Indeed, in “So Cunt” two distinct definitions are in play: One is ironic, in that calling a queen “so cunt” or “fishy” (as Lopez does in one of the verses) indicates that she has succeeded in making herself indistinguishable from a typically feminine, biological woman. Obviously, Jenkins, with her beard and tattered layaway clothes, is, in fact, not “so cunt.” That’s why it’s funny. The other meaning is usually expressed as “cunty,” which means cocky or extremely self-assured and is generally a term of praise.

Given the annoying rise of the “fishy” glamour-girl drag aesthetic—think Toddlers & Tiaras pageant fashions but with size 13 pumps—highlighted in RuPaul’s Drag Race, I’m happy to see a less ladylike queen fight back with, dare I say it, a much needed “cunt-punt.”

J. Bryan Lowder is a Slate assistant editor. He writes and edits for Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section, and for the culture section.



Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

The 2014 Kansas City Royals Show the Value of Building a Mediocre Baseball Team

The GOP Won’t Win Any Black Votes With Its New “Willie Horton” Ad

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 11:40 AM The U.S. Has Spent $7 Billion Fighting the War on Drugs in Afghanistan. It Hasn’t Worked. 
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM The Global Millionaires Club Is Booming and Losing Its Exclusivity
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Right of Free Speech
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 1:47 PM The Best Way to Fry an Egg
Oct. 21 2014 10:43 AM Social Networking Didn’t Start at Harvard It really began at a girls’ reform school.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.