Never heard of that word? A little confused about a concept discussed in the blog? Look no further, this page will provide a glossary of terms and concepts found in the blogs with which many readers may be unfamiliar. Think a definition is wrong or too unspecific? Tell us, and we’ll improve it.
Ableist: Discrimination based on any physical or mental handicap. Words such as lame, retarded, or crazy/insane are considered to ableist.
Classist: Discrimination on the basis of class.
Feminism: The belief in the social, economic, and political equality of the sexes.
Gender: The roles, activities, and attributes that are considered appropriate for men and women. Gender is socially learned, not biologically defined.
Heterosexism: The assumption that heterosexuality is normative; that all people are heterosexual unless explicitly stated otherwise.
Homophobia: The irrational fear and hatred of homosexual and bisexual individuals. Also see biphobia: the aversion to bisexuality and people who are bisexual, typically for two reasons: one, denial of the existence of bisexuality, and two, the belief that bisexuals are promiscuous (and that promiscuity is inherently bad).
Objectify: to strip someone or something of its autonomy by systematically comparing it to an object, or implying that it’s only worth is to complete a specific function (e.g. women are objectified when they are seen only as their reproductive organs, whether for the purpose of having children, or to sexually please men). Objectification must be viewed in cultural context: there is a difference between objectifying men and women, because we live in a rape culture that threatens violence against women.
Patriarchy: Patriarchy is not synonymous with men. Rather, it is a social system that both men and women participate in. It emphasizes the privileges of men and devalues the role of women. Patriarchy also reinforces the rigid social and cultural constraints on gender and sexuality.
Post-feminism: recognizing feminism as an important perspective but believing that its time has passed and is now obsolete.
Racism: Discrimination on the basis of race.
Sex: The biological and physiological traits that define men and women.
Sexism: The belief that one sex or gender is inherently better than another.
Transgender: A person who identifies with or expresses a gender identity that differs from the one which corresponds to the person’s sex at birth.
Transphobia: The unfounded fear of trans* (meaning transsexual or transgender) individuals.
Xenophobia: The irrational fear of people of other cultural and religious backgrounds.