What 'cunt' has in common with most other contemporary swear words is its connection to bodily functions.
'Cunt' is a primary example of the multitude of tabooed words and phrases relating to female sexuality, and of the misogyny inherent in sexual discourse.
Kate Millett sums up the word's uniquely despised status: "Somehow every indignity the female suffers ultimately comes to be symbolized in a sexuality that is held to be her responsibility, her shame [...] It can be summarized in one four-letter word. Our self-contempt originates in this: in knowing we are cunt" (1973).
When used in a reductive, abusive context, female genital terms such as 'cunt' are notably more offensive than male equivalents such as 'dick'.
This linguistic inequality is mirrored by a cultural imbalance that sees images of the vagina obliterated from contemporary visual culture: "The vagina, according to many feminist writers, is so taboo as to be virtually invisible in Western culture" (Lynn Holden, 2000).
'Cunt' has been succinctly defined as "the bottom half of a woman or a very despicable person" (Pentti Olli, 1999).