Lexicon

Below is a list of words that are likely to appear on OtB. This is by no means a comprehensive list. We welcome any community contributions whether they be in suggestions for additional terms, helping to define terms, letting us know if a term or definition is shitty or oppressive, providing additional sources, or any other means of participation.

These definitions will likely vary from those found in the dictionary or from their scientific understanding. Please do not attempt to argue against these concepts and definitions because of that.

Feminism – The advocacy of women`s rights on the grounds of sexual equality. [Source]

Womanism/Womynism – Womanism is a feminist term coined by Alice Walker. It is a reaction to the realization that “feminism” does not encompass the perspectives Black women. [Source]

Privilege (Male, White, Cis gender, Able bodied, Class, Straight/Heterosexual, etc.) – There is no one privilege, and even though someone is privileged in one area does not mean they aren’t oppressed in another. This is an important distinction. Privilege is a set of advantages one receives just by being part of the dominate social paradigm, or by being perceived as part of it. Privilege is one massive aspect of social justice. It is also the part that most people have the hardest time understanding.

I am fond of Ampersand’s description on Alas, a Blog:

People with more privilege, in contrast, can easily imagine that they are independent. A big mark of privilege is that social and economic networks tend to facilitate goals, rather than block them. This makes it easier to ignore the social and economic networks around us; and it makes it easier for the privileged to imagine their accomplishments are the result of their own pure merit. Imagine two roads: one smooth, well-paved, well-maintained, the other lumpy and full of cracks and pits. Most people will drive over the smooth road without even noticing it – but that doesn’t mean that the smooth road hasn’t facilitated their driving. Nor does it mean that the person driving on the smooth road has more merit, as a driver, than someone stuck on pothole avenue.

The study and discussion of privilege has created a popular trend of “checklists” which detail the ways in which someone who has a certain privilege is benefited.

Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh is perhaps the most noted example of White Privilege. There is also Tim Wise’s article “White Whine Reflections on the Brain Rotting Properties of Privilege” and Denia – Privilege and Life as a Majority. (Tim Wise is at his best when he is talking to White culture about their bad behavior, other times he can fuck right off.)
Ampersand compiled a Male Privilege Checklist on Alas, a Blog. There is also a great article called When Worlds Collide: Fandom and Male Privilege by Lucy Gillam. (Thanks to The Angry Black Woman for leading me to this article.)
Cisgender/Cissexual Checklist by takingupspace
Romantic Privilege by asexualcuriosities
Binary-Gender Privilege by DREKI
Heterosexual Checklist (pdf)
Thin Privilege by fatshadow
Adult Privilege on The Examiner
Vanilla Privilege by Nora
Sexual Privilege
Non-survivor Privilege by Blind Privilege Casino

Racism1 – Racism is sociologically defined (and therefore not going to be used in the DICTIONARY) as policies and practices put into place to enforce hierarchies. These hierarchies are also known as ways to keep white people in power.

In short, racism = prejudice + power. Power being the way that white people exert their power just by having white skin. Although race is a biological concept and therefore it has no place in being used in conversations tied to one’s worth, it is still used as a tool to support racism.

Additional reading can be found at Wikibooks’ Introduction to Sociology/Race and Ethnicity page.

Asexual/Demisexual/Grey-A – The definition of asexuality is “someone who does not experience sexual attraction.” However, only you can decide which label best suits you. Demisexual is when someone only experiences sexual attraction when there is an emotional bond. Grey-A denotes someone who sometimes has sexual attraction, but not always. [Source]

Fat acceptance (FA) – The basic premise of FA is to take away the stigma that is associated with being fat as well as prevent discrimination and to reclaim our bodies as our own. That’s just my definition though. My Spilt Milk has compiled a great bunch of resources, and offered a few bullet points of her own.

Cisgender – Term used for non-transgender people, whose gender identity and expression match that which is traditionally associated with their assigned sex. [Source]

Cissexual – A person whose self-determination of hir sex is consistently validated and reinforced by institutions of power, particularly medical, legal, religious, and scientific institutions. [Source (great source everyone, check it out!)]

Transgender – An umbrella term for people whose gender identity, expression or behavior is different from those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth, including but not limited to transsexuals, crossdressers, androgynous people, genderqueers, and gender non-conforming people.

Transgender does not imply any specific form of sexual orientation; transgender people may identify as hetrosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, polysexual, or asexual. [Source]

Genderqueer/genderfluid – A term which refers to individuals or groups who “queer” or problematize the mainstream and patriarchal notions of sex, gender, and sexuality in a given society. Genderqueers possess identities which fall outside of the widely-accepted gender and/or sexual binaries.

Those who identify as genderqueer do not necessarily consider themselves transgender. [Source]

Oppression – The exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner. Oppression can Social, Systemic, Internal, Indirect, etc. [Source]

Polyamory – The practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved. [Source]

Tone argument – A tone argument is when a person, usually a member of an oppressed group, is told that their argument isn’t valid because another person, generally a person of a privileged group, thinks that the first person’s tone was not appropriate. Sheila Marie has a great post on Google plus concerning tone argument and the #nymwars.

Here is how the tone argument goes: “Why do you have to be so hostile and rude? How can you expect anyone to listen to you when you are so aggressive? If you wouldn’t shriek about [racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.] every time someone else opens their mouths, maybe people could listen to what you have to say. But it’s impossible to talk to you when you’re so angry. No wonder no one takes you seriously. You just beat people over the head with your position. As soon as anybody else says something that isn’t politically correct, you start lighting your torches and bonfires. Why can’t you just calmly state what your position is? Why can’t you just teach people about your ideas instead of screaming at them? Why do you always have to get so emotional and oversensitive and start lashing out at people? You have such a chip on your shoulder!”

Etc. etc. etc. – the words vary but the argument is the same: You are not playing nice, and I do not have to take you seriously if you don’t meet my standard of niceness.

You should read the whole damn thing. Very important with several great links.

Strawman – A component of an argument and is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position.[1] To “attack a straw man” is to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the “straw man”), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position. [Source]

Rape culture – A culture in which rape and sexual violence against women are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media condone, normalize, excuse, or tolerate sexual violence against women. [Source]

In addition, I believe Melissa McEwan wrote a fantastic, lengthy, detailed post with countless examples of rape culture. There is also a round-up of posts on feminism 101 that I would be remiss if I didn’t mention.

Kyriarchy – Describes interconnected, interacting, and multiplicative systems of domination and submission, within which a person oppressed in one context might be privileged in another. It is an intersectional elaboration of the concept of patriarchy — it extends the analysis of oppression beyond traditional feminism to dynamics such as sexism, racism, economic injustice, and other forms of internalized and institutionalized oppression. [Source]

LGBTQAI/MSGI/MSG/SGM – An initialism that collectively refers to “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender” people. The Q was added for “queer” or “questioning” and the A for “asexual” or “allies.” There are a lot of variants which can be used.

MSGI stands for minority sexual and gender identities or MSG for minority sexualities and genders. There is also SGM for sex and gender minorities. However, there is some hesitation about using minority.

1. The post which had this definition is no longer available, as is the nature of Tumblr. It was written by a person whose Tumblr name was “Degausse.” If the owner of this name ever finds this page, I’ll be happy to change the citation if contacted.

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