In a powerfully emotional, no-holds-barred speech hitting out at the disgustingly vitriolic, daily abuse that she receives, SNP MP Mhairi Black is believed to have become the first MP to openly use the word ‘c*nt’ in the Houses of Parliament.

Black was speaking in a Westminster Hall Debate ahead of International Women’s Day. During the debate, many members argued for misogyny to be classed as a hate crime.

However, the SNP MP’s speech was a distinctly powerful moment, and her unedited use of language came as a stark demonstration that just because the utterance of such disgusting abuse may be uncomfortable and abnormal to some in the Houses of Parliament, it doesn’t mean it isn’t a normal occurrence to encounter such abuse in the daily life of a female MP.
Black began her speech by saying:

Misogyny is absolutely everywhere in our society, to the point that we often miss it because it has been so normalised by being continually unchallenged.

 

Some folk will be uncomfortable with the graphic language that I am about to use, but I am not going to dilute the reality of such an important issue.

Before going on to list some of the shockingly vulgar abuse she receives on a daily basis (NSFW):

We find the best insults, and that is how we have a laugh, but I struggle to see any joke in systematically being called a dyke, a rug muncher, a slut, a whore and a scruffy bint.

 

I have been told, ‘You can’t put lipstick on a pig,’ and, ‘Let the dirty bitch eat shit and die’.

 

I could soften some of this by talking about the ‘C-word’, but the reality is that there is no softening when I am targeted by these words: I am left reading them on my screen day in, day out.

 

Someone said: ‘She needs a kick in the cunt’. I have been called ‘guttural cunt’, ‘ugly cunt’ and ‘wee animal cunt’. There is no softening just how sexualised and misogynistic the abuse is.

You can read Mhairi Black’s full and unredacted speech below:

Misogyny is absolutely everywhere in our society, to the point that we often miss it because it has been so normalised by being continually unchallenged.

Some folk will be uncomfortable with the graphic language that I am about to use, but I am not going to dilute the reality of such an important issue. I am used to online abuse in particular. I am regularly called a wee boy, and told that I wear my dad’s suits and stuff. Me and my pals actually laugh about it. That is how I cope with it.

We find the best insults, and that is how we have a laugh, but I struggle to see any joke in systematically being called a dyke, a rug muncher, a slut, a whore and a scruffy bint. I have been told, ‘You can’t put lipstick on a pig,’ and, ‘Let the dirty bitch eat shit and die’.

I could soften some of this by talking about the ‘C-word’, but the reality is that there is no softening when I am targeted by these words: I am left reading them on my screen day in, day out.Someone said: ‘She needs a kick in the cunt’. I have been called ‘guttural cunt’, ‘ugly cunt’ and ‘wee animal cunt’. There is no softening just how sexualised and misogynistic the abuse is.

Some guy called William Hannah – I have never heard of him in my life – commented: ‘I’ve pumped some ugly burds in my time but I just wouldn’t’.

I have been assured multiple times that I do not have to worry because I am so ugly that no one would want to rape me.

All those insults were tailored to me because I am a woman. We can kid ourselves that those are comments by a few bad, anonymous people on Twitter, but they are not: this is everyday language.

I am aware that everyone here was uncomfortable hearing those insults – I felt uncomfortable reading them out—yet there are people who feel comfortable flinging those words around every day. When that language goes unchallenged, it becomes normalised, and that creates an environment that allows women to be subjected to a whole spectrum of abuse.

I regularly see guys on Facebook talking about ‘getting pussy’ and using other horrible words for women, but should we really expect any better given that the man sitting in the Oval Office thinks that it is okay to grab a woman by the pussy and faces no consequences?

Even in this place we need a bit of self-reflection. We are only starting to appreciate the full extent of the abuse and danger that women face on a daily basis, yet only a few weeks ago in the voting Lobby I was physically pressed up against a Member who has been accused of sexual misconduct, because there is so little room.

That is not normal, and it is fair to say we should be looking at and talking about that. I am blessed in that I have the same right and influence as any elected man in this place, but what about all the female staff here who do not? Is that really the best example we can set for society?

Surely it is something that we should at least be talking about.

Last year, the Fawcett Society launched a sex discrimination law review. It said ‘the long-term aim is to nudge people towards a culture shift and to reframe misogynist behaviour as socially undesirable.’ “Perhaps it is time we assessed the example that we set, because if we cannot get our own House in order, how can we expect anyone out there to?

 You can watch Mhairi Black’s powerful speech below (NSFW):

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