Dear Jon Stewart: Stop Using the Word Pussy. Thanks.

Dear Jon Stewart: Stop Using the Word Pussy. Thanks.

Dear Jon Stewart,

Like most of the world, I think you and your show rock.  You’ve made me laugh, made me think, and helped make a vicious and absurd political system almost bearable (almost).  You’ve had more of an impact in getting young people involved in politics and in challenging the status quo than anyone else I know.  And you even seem like a nice guy.  But you continue to do something so offensive that I can’t bear to watch your show anymore.  What is it?

You say the word “pussy.”

Before you label me a Jezebel-reading, hyper-sensitive feminist freakazoid, let’s analyze how you're using the word.  During your newscast, what are you implying as you refer to a particular man as a “pussy”?  Are you referring to him as a cat or a fuzzy catkin of the pussy willow?  Or is it your way of telling the man he’s a vulva?  Hmmm … you're super smart, Jon, like a really bright guy, so let me look further down the free dictionary’s definition to decipher what you really mean when you freely toss this word around.

Oh, I see, you’re using “pussy” as shorthand for saying that a person – always a male, incidentally – is wimpy, timid, or unmanly.  Well that kind of sucks, because I happen to have the organ you use in order to stick it to another guy.  And every time I hear you say it, 13% and 15% flash into my mind.  Want to know why?  Those are the percentages of vulva-toting women who sit at the helm of Fortune 500 companies and in their boardrooms, respectively.  If that's too old-school whiny feminist for you, consider the millions of women around the globe trying to avoid exploitation on account of their vaginas alone.

Trust me, I get satire.  You’re saying “pussy” to get a few cheap laughs from the beer-chugging dudes who think it’s so cool that Jon Stewart is such a guys’ guy.  But c’mon, you don’t need Nick Kristof to tell you that every time you say the word “pussy,” you’re associating women’s genitalia with weakness and impotence.  What's that, Jon?  We use the word "dick" and no one says anything?  Well, let's see what “dick” connotes: strength, power, and impenetrability.  Yes, I purposely chose the word “impenetrability.”  See where I'm going with this?

So in case all the smarty Ivy League fellas in your writers’ room are having a hard time coming up with a word to replace “pussy,” allow me to offer a few suggestions.  How about “weakling,” “dud,” “corpora cavernosa,” “glans,” “corpus spongiosum,” “testicle,” or “shaft”?  Or would referring to your genitalia to insult another person make you feel exploited, denigrated, and vulnerable?

That's why I’m asking you, Jon, to please stop using this word.  Think of how awesome it would be for your daughter and my daughter to learn that a pussy and a coward are not in fact synonymous.  Maybe there are a few guys in the audience who will be a bit bummed that Jon Stewart is not taking the low road, but I have a feeling your career will survive.  And perhaps we'll all learn that you don’t need to use humiliating language about female genitalia to put another person down.

Take the high road, Jon, and no more “pussy.”  Thanks.

Your pal in Chicago,

Wendy Widom

Where's we get the pic?  From the folks at Fake News Junkies.

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  • It is kind of puerile when you come to think about it. Funny doesn't have to be anatomically demeaning.

  • Agree, Aquinas wired!

  • I have to disagree with your statement... "Well, let's see what “dick” connotes: strength, power, and impenetrability". when you refer to somebody as a "dickt" that is not at all the connotation, and while I respect the overall thoughts you express I think we too often try to police language and find nothing wrong with the use of words like pussy, dick, asshole, etc as descriptions for people.

  • The P.C. police are out! Everyone hide your sense of humor!

  • So - I know that "pussy" is another word for the female stuff, but using it this way just doesn't make sense. Are we sure he's not meaning a "pussy cat" 'cause that would make far more sense if he's trying to call someone a wuss? (OK, I know he's probably using the first version, but it still makes more sense to use the 'cat' version.)

  • In reply to Expat in Chicago:

    That's what I always thought "pussy" referred to--calling someone a pussy cat. I mean, I know "pussy" also has a derogatory meaning, which is probably the form Jon Stewart is using, but I have usually thought of it in the cat form.

    One thing I do want to point out is that pussies aren't actually weak. After all, they can take a pounding and keep right on working, right? (giggity) And men often instinctively protect their so-called "strong" genitalia because their bits are actually quite fragile (penile fracture, anyone?) So, based on that fact alone, "pussy" doesn't actually mean "weak" the same way "dick" means "strong" and yet everyone keeps misusing the terms.

    While we're on the subject though, I'm strongly inclined to agree with Aquinas wired. Why use genitalia terminology to describe people? There's far more colorful words out there that people can use, I'm sure. Just look at Urban Dictionary to get some good ideas.

  • Whenever someone usually a guy uses the term, I tell him to stop insulting my pussy. There ain't nothing weak about something a man would start a war over (Trojan), is instrumental in the circle of life (birth) and can our political discourse in a tizzy (birth control).

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    Oh, lighten up Wendy. You have a dirty mind! :-)
    Stewart refers to his cat. I know some might think of a dirty black furry thing that brings up birth control in minds of the Right. Most of us think of a beautiful soft creature that needs to be cuddled, loved and stroked!

  • “Why do people say "grow some balls"? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding”
    ― Betty White

    I don't use the p word myself. I think it's low class. I prefer to use the phrase candy-assed little pansy if someone really pisses me off that much. Schmuck is always a good one too. :)

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