A to Z challenge: Inga Muscio

M is most definitely for Inga Muscio.

If you’re a young lady of a certain age, you’ve undoubtedly read her most famous work, Cunt. Don’t be alarmed by its “cuss word” title; it’s all about how to reclaim this word for what it really means, and how the denigration of the words we use to describe women and their bodies has meant a denigration of women as a whole. (If you click the book cover, you’ll get a short excerpt so you can see what I mean.)

Muscio’s book is a feminist call to action, as well as an excellent education in feminine history (or “herstory”), filled with personal musings and essays on womanhood. Guys, if you think this book has nothing to say to you, you need to grab yourself a copy and get yourself corrected. As noted in my Ashley Judd entry, patriarchy isn’t just men, it’s everyone, and Muscio’s book is the antidote: feminism for all.

Besides, you might actually learn something about women by reading this book. Men are always complaining they don’t “get” women, they don’t know what they want… well, here’s your chance to find out. Lots of women think Muscio is right the fuck on, so at the very least you’ll be able to score some IQ points with the ladies for revealing you’ve read her magnum opus. (Not that that’ll get you anywhere if you don’t have the walk to match the talk, but that’s another story…)

Inga has also written two other books, using her trademark mixture of personal essay and historical facts. The first is entitled Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil. I’m still working my way through this one, since it’s about a mighty touchy subject (racism) and how white folks need to check themselves before they wreck themselves—along with all the non-white folks they’ve been treating like so much garbage throughout the millennia. The second, Rose, is subtitled “Love in Violent Times,” and discusses what our response should be to an inherently violent culture. It’s on my to-read list as well, because I’m sure she’s got some excellent insights on the matter.

For instance, in this interview on Sexis, she notes that the only right response to violence is love, something that sounds very religious, yet is very difficult to put into everyday practice. Here’s her last comment from that article:

Bringing joy into the world takes up space in your life and then there is less room for all the violence.

She’s no hippie; she knows it’s hard to love, and that authentic love “looks like shit a lot of the time,” but she’s consciously doing her best to live what she believes. If that isn’t an awesome thing to do with your life, I don’t know what is.

Have you read any of Inga’s books? Who’s your favorite M author?