Poetry/ Gwen Harwood Gender Analysis term paper 19113
Several contemporary feminists have followed the Wife's example, challenging male monopolisation of sexual discourse and seeking specifically to reappropriate the word 'cunt' itself, "reinvesting [it] with a more positive meaning" (Deborah Cameron, 1985) to counteract its "anachronistic slur on female sexuality" (Joan Smith, 1998). For example, 'A CUNT IS A USEFUL THING' was used as a placard slogan at lesbian-rights marches. (In , a chapter from their 1996 book , Susie Bright and Jill Posener write that "Lesbians have actually made the world a safer place to say cunt".) 'Cunt positive' writer Jane Mills explains that she is keen to reclaim the word: "to use the word 'cunt' in a positive way, to say 'Right, this is a sexual organ, and we're proud of it', would be no bad thing" (Kerry Richardson, 1994). Whoopi Goldberg's character in also advocates reappropriation: "I have to hear you say it! Oh, come on. C-u-n-t, go on, please! Please! It'll free you!" (Herbert Ross, 1995). This encouragement prompts Mary-Louise Parker's character first to whisper "Cunt" and then to shout and sing it aloud.
Prize Giving Gwen Harwood Essay
Ian Hislop wrote perhaps the most considered contemporary defence ofthe poem: "There are apparently 47 expletives [and] that more or lessconcludes the case for the prosecution. It obviously does not [takeinto account] that there might be a reason for putting in expletivesand that the cascade of obscenity is sparked by the poet's own anger atseeing the words on a grave" (1987).
Brenda Maddox, in an extremely lucid analysis of the poem's mediacoverage, noted that much of the 'outrage' was motivated less bygenuine concern and more by a desire for publicity: "Politicians whocall the poem "a torrent of filth" and "packed with obscenities" knowmore about getting headlines in the than they do about writing poems" (1987). Uniquely amongst thecommentators of the time, she recognised that, underlying the debatesurrounding obscenity, was a specific concern about the broadcasting of'cunt': "the C-word [...] is still so taboo that it hardly ever reachesthe air, even in films late at night. Its liberal use in  is probably the real reason for the current storm".