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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).Censorship of both the word 'cunt' and the organ to which it refers is symptomatic of a general fear of - and disgust for - the vagina itself.

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At the heart of this incongruity is our culture's negative attitude towards femininity.

'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.

The Old Dutch 'kunte' provides the plosive final consonant.

The clarifies the word's commonest contexts as the two-fold "female external genital organs" and "term of vulgar abuse" (RW Burchfield, 1972).

It was not until the latter half of the 20th century, after the sensational acquittal of can be seen as something of a watershed for the word, marking the first widespread cultural dissemination of "arguably the most emotionally laden taboo term" (Ruth Wajnryb, 2004).

The word has since become increasingly prolific in the media, and its appearances can broadly be divided into two types: euphemism and repetition.

Taboos relating to language are most readily associated with the transgressive lexicon of swearing.

William Shakespeare, writing at the cusp of the Reformation, demonstrated the reduced potency of blasphemy and, with his thinly veiled 'cunt' puns, slyly circumvented the newfound intolerance towards sexual language.

In , Sigmund Freud's classic two-fold definition of 'taboo' encompasses both the sacred and the profane, both religion and defilement: "The meaning of 'taboo', as we see it, diverges in two contrary directions.

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