Let’s Stop Using the P-Word as an Insult

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Monday night, Donald Trump was speaking to a crowd of supporters at a rally before New Hampshire’s primary. In response to a statement about his opponent, Senator Ted Cruz, a crowd member yelled, “He’s a pussy!”

Trump responded by repeating the slur, but in the context of a reprimand.

“You’re not allowed to say that…” Trump said. “…I never expect to hear that from you again.”

Then, looking out over his audience of prospective voters, he added, “She said he’s a pussy.”

His statement was met by raucous cheering, and a bit of a “what can you do” attitude from Trump.

Watch the whole charming moment below:

Trump, Trump, Trump…this could have been your moment to rise above the childish antics your campaign has been associated with! Instead, in the guise of taking the high road, you chose to insult your opponent with immature name-calling.

Someone deserves a time out.

Now, let’s talk about the word “pussy” for a moment. When someone uses the word “pussy” they are usually referring to one of three things:

  1. a feline,
  2. a woman’s vagina, or
  3. a person who is weak.

The third definition, and the colloquialism Trump and his supporter used in the video above, is actually meant to be a shortened version of the word “pusillanimous” which does mean “showing a lack of courage or determination.”

Unfortunately, if you were to ask the average person on the street, they would assume the insult is in reference to the second definition: a vagina.

But wait a second! Why would weakness ever be associated with vaginas? Aren’t they super strong?

The answer is, yes! However, the association of female genitalia with weakness is the result of a patriarchal society. It even inserts itself into our day-to-day language. Look no further than the phrase “grow some balls,” which implies the person growing said balls would gain bravery and strength to accomplish a task or goal.

So, Mr. Trump’s supporter, and Mr. Trump himself, didn’t just use the classic bullying technique of degrading by name-calling. No, they attempted to degrade Senator Cruz with a word that shouldn’t even be used for degradation. (Unless Trump knows the word pusillanimous, which I sincerely doubt.)

Let this be a lesson to us all: the word “pussy” in its iteration as a slur is really an insult to women. Let’s just stop, okay?

Morgan McMurray
Morgan McMurray is an editor and gender equality blogger based in Seattle, Washington. A 2013 graduate of Iowa State University, she has a Bachelor of Arts in English, Journalism, and International Studies. She spends her free time writing, reading, teaching dance classes, and binge-watching Netflix. Contact Morgan at staff@LawStreetMedia.com.



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