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6/29/01 (three whopping pages!)
Why are we still talking about "Pussy?"...


Stephanie was short and to the point:

 

I'm glad you're outing the word pussy. I have no problem with the anyone using the word pussy.

In fact, years ago, when I lived to be a feminist and "push the envelope," I would always refer to my feline pet as my pussy.

And Prince rocks.

 

Word, Stephanie.

Liz says:

After reading your entry I thought I'd share my own story - it is related. I really hated the "p" word several years ago and was around several guy friends who thought it was clever to shock me by using it regularly in conversation. I knew the only way to not have total disdain for the word was to forge it into my own vocabulary.

I started saying it several times a day, using it in all sorts of ways and shocking all kinds of people. Within about a week I had mastered the word and it no longer had any shock value for me. I believe I am still the only female my guy friends know who embraces the word and uses it when appropriate. (And isn't the key, really, using it when appropriate?)

I don't expect it to make a come back, but I'm ready if it does.

 

Pussy Comeback Tour: Europe Fall 2001! Watch for it. Pussy's goin' on tour.

My old friend Heather (but not the Heather of Spankie and Planet of the Apes fame), says:

You are allowed to use this word in small increments only when necessary. And thank you for not using the c word!

You're welcome!

Sarah quiere decir:

I am 100% in favor of free use of the word 'pussy.' By god. I think it really sucks that girl parts are so stigmatized and that calling a guy a pussy -- calling him female-like, basically -- is the worst thing you can do, in most cases. That's bullshit. Pussy = good. And actually I think the same goes for that C-word. It's a good thing, it's a nice thing, it shouldn't be an ugly thing. Rah rah reclaim etc.

(And by the way, Terribly Happy = good, too.)

Sarah = stroke to my ego.

Strega's got some words to say:

I couldn't resist making some random comments about the Pussy Power entry. Take it for the little it's worth... I don't think I've ever been offended by a word, so I'm always confused when other people are. I know it happens, so I try to avoid using the words likely to cause offense, but still. I wouldn't like being referred to as a [whatever], but it wouldn't bother me more than being called stupid or stinky or anything else insulting. The word itself isn't the problem, the hostility, or the sexism, or the objectification, whatever -- the attitude behind it is the problem. Making the word offensive in itself just makes that harder to fight. You can probably just insert a few George Carlin routines here, since I'm not going to be able to think of anything that he hasn't said.

Except that my friend Kelly taught me an important lesson: you can get a guy to do *anything* by saying, "What are you, a pussy?"

I guess words only have power if you let them. "Queer" and "fag" went from slurs to affirmations. I understand the feminists who argue that these words have all sorts of misogynist implications, but at the same time, I don't think pussies, vaginas, whatever-you-want-to-call-thems are horrible things that must never be referred to. And I feel like making references to them taboo suggests that they *are* awful things. I think it's much more damaging for women to think they have to use clinical language to describe their bodies. Wouldn't it seem silly if men only used the words "penis" and "testicles" because all those other terms were just *crude*?

I must say, Strega's logic is as tight as a Zip-Lock seal. I think she wins.

Rocksye, my high school sweetheart, wrote:

Hi, I finished today's entry. I bet you expected me to be scorning you. I don't remember how I acted about the word pussy when we were together. But now I am kind of torn. I think it shouldn't be a word that is forbidden. I am totally in favor of the word Vagina and the whole movement to make that not a "bad" word. I think pussy should be the same way, but I believe it was created in a bad way, wasn't it? I think that might be why you can't escape the horrendousness of the word. When one says pussy you get a kind of derogatory picture. When you hear vagina, that is just different. But that may just be my perception. But used in the right context I think is okay to use it. I found this a hilariously funny entry.

I have a friend that that has a son 6 months younger than Ethan. She was raised that your sexual areas were, tete for the penis and whowho for the vagina. She could not say penis and vagina unless you forced her to. I was teaching Ethan the actual body parts. She would not teach her son the real names. She wanted to but she couldn't tell him he had a penis. I thought it was hilarious! And sad at the same time.

And Irene wrote back again to lay some logic on us. Let's go out on this. It's a lot to chew on:

pussy, n. Also 6-8 -ie, 8 -ey; Sc. poussie, poosie. [f. PUSS n.1 + -Y dim. suffix.] 1. A cat: used much in the same way as PUSS n.1, but more as a common noun and less as a call-word. 1726 MRS. DELANY in Life & Corr. (1862) 124 My new pussey is..white,..with black spots. 1821 CLARE Vill. Minstr., Sorrows Fav. Cat vi, Ah mice, rejoice!.. 'Tis yours to triumph, mine's the woe, Now pussy's dead. 1870 E. PEACOCK Ralf Skirl III. 144 A saucer of milk put on the rug for pussy. 1889 J. K. JEROME Idle Thoughts 119 He strokes the cat quite gently, and calls it "poor pussy".

2. a. Used as a proper name for the hare: cf. PUSS n.1 2. Also (Austral.), a rabbit. 1715 T. CAVE Let. 26 Oct. in M. M. Verney Verney Lett. of 18th Cent. (1930) I. xvii. 342 The Dog is very young and has seen but few Pussies, but..I doubt not of his having Appear'd a profess'd enemy to your Hares by this Time. 1785 BURNS 1st Ep. J. Lepraik 3 Paitricks scraichan loud at e'en, And morning Poosie [v.r. poussie] whiddan seen. 1790 Tam o' Shanter 195 As open pussie's mortal foes, When, pop! she starts before their nose. 1821 CLARE Vill. Minstr., Autumn xxxii, Poor pussy through the stubble flies. 1841 J. T. J. HEWLETT Parish Clerk II. 15 Away went pussy for her home. 1941 BAKER Dict. Austral. Slang 58 Pussy, a rabbit. b. A humorous name for a tiger: cf. PUSS n.1 2b. 1873 Routledge's Yng. Gentl. Mag. 535, I should have liked to have potted a pussy, particularly such a blood~thirsty brute as this one seems to be. 3. a. Applied to a girl or woman: cf. PUSS n.1

3. Also, a finicky, old-maidish, or effeminate boy or man; a homosexual. 1583 STUBBES Anat. Abus. (1877) I. 97 You shall haue euery sawcy boy..to catch vp a woman & marie her... So he haue his pretie pussie to huggle withall, it forceth not. 1852 MRS. STOWE Uncle Tom's C. xvi, "What do you think, pussy?" said her father to Eva. 1870 DICKENS E. Drood ii, I'd Pussy you, young man, if I was Pussy, as you call her. 1925 S. LEWIS Martin Arrowsmith vi. 65 You ought to hear some of the docs that are the sweetest old pussies with their patientsthe way they bawl out the nurses. 1932 A. CHRISTIE Thirteen Problems xi. 193 "The dame de compagnie, you described, I think, as a pussy, Mrs. Bantry?" "I didn't mean a cat, you know," said Mrs. Bantry. "It's quite different. Just a big soft white purry person. Always very sweet." 1941 N or M? iii. 38 Old boarding-house pussies. Nothing to do but gossip and knit. 1942 BERREY & VAN DEN BARK Amer. Thes. Slang 405/2 Pussy, an effeminate boy. 1952 M. TRIPP Faith is Windsock iv. 73 "Your rear gunner is a hit with the ladies." "Jake knows how to make the pussies purr; it's an old Jamaican custom." a1957 J. CARY Captive & Free (1959) x. 50 Some of those old pussies, especially the males, are just longing to put you in a corner. 1958 L. DURRELL Mountolive viii. 157 "I first met Henry James in a brothel in Algiers. He had a naked houri on each knee." "Henry James was a pussy, I think." b. A person who lives in another's house as an inmate; a "house-cat". 1904 M. CORELLI God's Good Man xxi, I shall invite Roxmouth and his tame pussy, Mr. Marius Longford.

4. a. In childish speech applied to something soft and furry, as a fur necklet, a willow or hazel catkin, etc. 1858 Zoologist XVI. 5858 Little children call their warm neck-comforters by the name of "pussies". 1882 Garden 4 Feb. 77/1 These catkins, "pussies", and "lambs'-tails", as the country people call them. b. Criminals' slang. A fur garment. 1937 "D. HUME" Halfway to Horror 4 Those who steal furs handle them as "pussies". 1960 Observer 25 Jan. 5/2 If it was tom or pussies (furs) it was probably one of the big buyers. 1972 J. WAINWRIGHT Night is Time to Die 129 The coat... Ten to one, a fur coat, and there was always somebody ready to lift a pussy. 1973 "B. GRAEME" Two & Two make Five vii. 66 From one house they stole every piece of Regency silver..from another..they restricted themselves to jewellery, toms and pussies.

5. pussy-wants-a-corner, an American name for puss in the corner: see PUSS n.1 5. 1897 GEN. H. PORTER Campaigning w. Grant in Cent. Mag. Jan. 349/2 [The manuvres] now became more like the play of pussy-wants-a-corner.

6. The female pudendum. Hence, sexual intercourse; women considered sexually. to eat pussy, of a man: to engage in sexual intercourse or cunnilingus. coarse slang. 1879-80 Pearl (1970) 268 Her legs are wide open showing the red lips and clitoris of her pussey. 1913 L. STRACHEY Ermyntrude & Esmeralda (1969) ii. 12 I'm also sure that it's got something to do with the thing between our legs that I always call my Pussy. 1922 F. HARRIS My Life & Loves I. iii. 61 By thinking of Lucille and her soft, hot, hairy "pussy", I grew randy again. 1940 C. MCCULLERS Heart is Lonely Hunter I. iii. 37 She crossed over to the opposite wall and wrote a very bad wordpussy. 1959 N. MAILER Advts. for Myself (1961) 98 This is the magical evil of the big city, but he is wary of being taken in: "I come to see pussy..and I ain't seen pussy yet." 1962 J. BALDWIN Another Country I. i. 63 You wouldn't be putting that white prick in no more black pussy. 1965 "A. HALL" Berlin Memorandum xi. 105 You go to town on the tits and pussy, symbolising carnality till it moans. 1967 M. MCCLURE Freewheelin Frank i. 8 When we talk about eating pussy we make it sound as dirty and vulgar as possible. 1973 A. POWELL Temporary Kings v. 258 Louis's stuffed a charming little cushion with hair snipped from the pussies of ladies he's had. 1976 J. O'CONNOR Eleventh Commandment v. 70 He killed about five prostitutes, cut them to pieces and stuffed various objects up their pussies. 1978 J. KRANTZ Scruples ii. 21 There was nothing, he had discovered, like flying a girl away for a weekend to insure as much pussy as you could eat. 1979 Maclean's Mag. 12 Mar. 25/3 As one blonde in a black leather coat bluntly replied, "I sell pussy, not opinions."

7. a. attrib. or as adj. Soft and furry like a cat: cf. 4. Also fig. Cf. also sense 3. 1842 Amer. Pioneer I. 182, I walked up very carelessly among the soldiers..and concluded they could never fight with us. They appeared to me to be too pussy. 1863 KINGSLEY Water Bab. v. (1886) 236 She was the most nice, soft,..pussy, cuddly, delicious creature who ever nursed a baby. Ibid. 241 Little boys..who have kind pussy mammas to cuddle them. 1930 D. L. SAYERS Strong Poison xvi. 197 Mrs. Pegler, a very stout, pussy old lady with a long tongue (!) b. Comb., as pussy-baudrons (Sc.); pussy bow = pussy-cat bow; pussy four-corners = puss in the corner s.v. PUSS n.1 5; pussy hair slang, a woman's pubic hair; pussy-hoisting slang, stealing fur garments; pussy mob slang, a gang of fur thieves; pussy palm, = PALM n.1 4 and PUSSY-WILLOW; pussy posse U.S. slang (see quot. 1963); pussy power (see quots.); pussy-talk, feminine gossip; pussy-whip v. trans. (slang), = HEN-PECK v. 1894 CROCKETT Raiders 52 Innocent as *pussy~bawdrons thinking on the cream-jug. 1972 Times 28 July 10/1 His satin faconne shirts tie in a neat *pussy bow. 1922 JOYCE Ulysses 477 He plays *pussy fourcorners with ragged boys and girls. 1972 R. D. ABRAHAMS in T. Kochman Rappin' & Stylin' Out 231 When the pepper tree begin to bear It burn off all of Jennifer' *pussy hair. 1975 R. H. RIMMER Premar Experiments I. 68 The wild disarray of your pussy hair beneath your panties. 1962 PARKER & ALLERTON Courage of his Convictions i. 82 Then I got three years for *pussy-hoisting from a warehouse in the City. 1967 M. PROCTER Exercise Hoodwink xiii. 91 He became the wheel man of a "*pussy" mob... The Flying Squad caught him with a car load of stolen furs. 1936 N. STREATFEILD Ballet Shoes ix. 134 The catkins and *pussy palm showed there would not be much more winter. 1978 Guardian Weekly 26 Mar. 19/1 They used to start coming in April like the returning swallows and house martins. Then they arrived for the daffodils and pussy palm. 1963 R. I. MCDAVID Mencken's Amer. Lang. xi. 730 *Pussy posse, the vice squad. 1973 Times 22 Mar. 8/7 The police do their best. They have special teams of detectives (known as pussy posses) who mount drives against the girls. 1970 G. GREER Female Eunuch 126 Women in America are reported to be manipulating their menfolk by *pussy-power, which is wheedling and caressing, instead of challenging. 1970 New York 16 Nov. 48/1 Her specialty at political meetings was the Pussy Power speech. With it Elaine Brown originated the concept that a woman's function is to use her body to entice men into the Panther Party. 1937 AUDEN & MACNEICE Lett. from Iceland xii. 161 It looks like a week of *pussy-talk. 1963 Amer. Speech XXXVIII. 173 One informant noted that a male..is said to be *pussy whipped, a term one of the authors recalls having heard in the Navy in 1956. 1973 C. & R. MILNER Black Players vi. 161 White men (and square Blacks) are thought to be "pussy-whipped" by their wives. 1978 J. KRANTZ Scruples viii. 230 Some men are pussy whipped from the day they are born, some have it happen to them later in life, some never. APPENDED FROM ADDITIONS 1993 pussy, n. Add: [7.] [b.] pussy('s)-toes U.S., any of various woolly plants of the genus Antennaria; spec. the mouse-ear (MOUSE-EAR n. 4 c) or ladies'-tobacco, A. plantaginifolia. 1892 F. D. BERGEN in Jrnl. Amer. Folk-Lore V. XVII. 98 Antennaria plantaginifolia... pussy's toes. 1949 Chicago Tribune 9 Jan. VI. 5/7 In early summer, one may see blue, white and yellow violets,..pussy-toes, salt and pepper, poppies..and wild columbine. 1975 New Yorker 7 Apr. 44/1 They harvest the old flower heads at random. Boneset, Saint-John's-wort, common everlasting, pussytoes. 1985 R. M. STERN Wildfire I. i. 5 White pussy-toes and yellow meadow cinque-foil clung to rock and what soil there was.

Damn. My mind is blown. You? Okay, enough pussy talk.

 

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