Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Meet the Neighbours: Cuntlove

Hi folks! This time around for my “Meet the Neighbours” segment, I asked Olga from the blog Cuntlove a few questions. Personally, I found Olga’s answers rather beautiful, and certainly compelling – much like her thoughtful blog. Enjoy!

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Tell us about yourself! Who are you, and what has led you to this point in life/work?


I didn't have a proper first name until I was six months old, or so the story goes. I was born in 1981, five years after my brother who was born during the Montreal Olympics in 1976. My mom watched the Russian gymnast Olga take the screen from her maternity ward hospital bed. She fell in love with the name. She kept it in her back pocket for five years until she had a baby girl. My Dad did not like the name and thus began the battle of wills between my mother and father. In the interim I would be known as baby girl.


Legend says, that my grandmother heard me say my name. Olga is the sound that escaped my lips when she asked me what name I liked. My father still being opposed to it on the basis that Olga was a porn star name would not give in (check it: Olga's House of Shame, Olga's White Slaves of Chinatown, Olga's Girls).


Neither would my mother. She won that particular battle.


As for what led me here, that's one hell of a long story, let me just say that it started before I was even born.


Tell us about your blog - what is the focus? what are your goals?


To simplify things, I usually describe Cuntlove as a feminist, sex-positive and civil rights blog. The initial focus was very vaginocentric. I soon found that to be too restrictive. Mostly, I try to stand up for what I believe in.


I'd like to think that I create a space wherein people are free to question, a space where it's okay to own up to our own misgivings and somewhere along the line move on and try to do better.


Also, I just like to write and tell stories. I use my own life experiences as a primer to question...


Sometimes the answer isn't as important as the questions.


Example. I changed minors rather frequently in university, so that I almost have minors in a billion things. One of those things being philosophy. The question of proving the existence of God comes up rather frequently in philosophy. I don't believe in God, so in terms of belief you could call me an atheist. But if we're talking proof, I'm an agnostic. Because although I don't believe in God, I concede that it's impossible to prove one way or the other. As in, within the context of philosophical discussion and its arguments it's actually impossible to prove the existence of God. You'd think that if I thought it was impossible, I would also think it was pointless and a useless endeavour, but it's not. The question itself is important.


Tangent over. The gist of it being: questions are important.


So my goal in all of this? To incite change and reflection, if not on a large scale at least at a personal level.


Your blog has what I would call a feminist sensibility. Do you identify as feminist? How do you define feminism? What do you find are the most common misconceptions of feminism?


Yes, I identify as a feminist.


My definition of feminism is pretty basic thought: standing up for what's right.


I don't really understand how you can be a feminist and not also advocate or work for and in a space that supports the voice of whoever is oppressed and denied basic human rights.


So feminism for me is very much mixed in with issues regarding discrimination against race, sex, gender, sexuality, and class.


As for the most common misconceptions of feminism? Mad, screeching, hysterical, bra burning chicks who hate men. Feminism is a pretty eye roll inducing label or self-assignation at the moment, which sucks.


Let me just add...


Labels should never serve to define, to form. A label, a name is something you assign after the fact. I don't act or behave or think a certain way because I'm a feminist. I'm a feminist because I act, or behave or think a certain way. The label doesn't create me. Call me whatever you want, it doesn't really change anything. It's just a way to present yourself to others to simplify their superficial understanding of who you are.


Your blog title invokes a word -- "cunt" -- that many people find offensive, problematic, or empowering (or perhaps a little of all of these). What are your feelings about this word? Why use it in the title of your blog?


I chose the title of my blog after reading Inga Muscio's book Cunt. I read it in a day or two a little over a year ago and it blew my mind. I got the idea to start a blog after talking to one of my (then) coworkers (and now friend) about our vaginas at work one day. I stumbled upon Cunt when doing a little research about the kind of sex-positive material that already existed out there.


I fucking LOVED that book. I wanted to buy a copy of it for everyone I knew. I thought if only everyone knew or understood what Muscio had to say we would live in an entirely different and, I think, better world. It's been a while since I've read it, but I think she coins the term Cuntlove in that book. In any case, that's where I got it.


As for what it means to me...


I like strong language. I like the violence or strength that is inherent in certain words. Also, I swear a lot. Fuck, cunt and motherfucker are some of my favourites. If you like Jazz, read Miles Davis' autobiography and you'll fall in love with the word motherfucker. The thing with strong language or these words in particular is that they can be used to intone a variety of meanings. Cunt for me is a word that goes beyond its definition, it's a noun, sure, but it's also a metaphor, and a feeling.


I think your question hit it on the head, it is all of those things: offensive, problematic and empowering. The word cunt is ALL those things and so many more. The things that offend, that are empowering and problematic need to be examined more closely. We need to always question our own assumptions when it comes to words, and when it comes to our reactions.


Don't forget, it's not just Cunt, it's also love. Cuntlove, one word, two syllables. The first strong and in your face, the second soothing and comforting.


Also, it's hot.


Issues to do with sex work and pornography have often been dividing points in feminism and feminist activism, commonly referred to as the "sex wars." What is your perspective on these "sex wars"? What are your thoughts about pornography and sex work?


I support people, whether they be pornographers or prostitutes. Not institutions, and certainly not witch hunts.


What are your Top 3 favourite XXX movies, and why?


I don't have a favourite XXX movie. I couldn't come up with three titles to give you if I tried. I can, however, tell you that I like anime porn. You know the kind, ... bondage, demon monsters with tentacle dicks, and magical cunt powers a La Blue Girl (hey look at that, there's one title for ya).


You can dig anything with anime. It's OK to get off at all the taboo fantasies, because they're not real. It's down and dirty, really dirty sometimes, and reality never pops its head in to make you feel guilty. There's no actual people to take into account. I like the fantasy of it all. The tinge of violence, you can blur the lines. Something that can be harder in reality.


When I was younger (think high school) I had access to my brother's Penthouse magazines and whatever random VHS tape someone managed to sneak from their parents. I was really into woman on woman spreads or stories at the time. I would seek out the Penthouse forum letters when I needed a masturbatory primer. There's a Penthouse story that did the job particularly well. It was about a woman and her first oral sex experience with another woman. I was 10 or 11 when I read that and I couldn't think of a sensation that sounded as intriguing or pleasurable as someone going down on me.

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