Saturday, November 19, 2016

Feminism Terminology

Throughout my years of studying feminism, gender, and sexuality; I have never found a terminology list that fully satisfies me. This is my attempt to make one. No list can be completely comprehensive, because everyone has their own unique way of defining themselves. However, I hope this list is a good tool for people new to these subjects.

I highly recommend reading all of the terminology before following any of the links, because you will have a much better chance of understanding said articles! However, you really should follow the “see more” links after reading all of the terminology. Those articles give a lot of depth and clarification about their respective subjects.

I am not using terms that include [x]phobia/[x]phobic because systems of oppressions are not phobias, and using such language perpetuates ableism. However, some of the articles I link to do use those terms. I am not disagreeing with the content of any of the articles I link, merely the terminology.

Sex:

Biological Sex: The physical structure of your body; determined by chromosomes, hormones, and anatomy. Can be male, female, or intersex.

Intersex: “A general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male” (source) (see more on this here).


Gender:

Gender Binary: The belief that there are only two distinct genders, male or female. Also includes the belief that each has their own distinct cultural roles, behavior, personality traits, and types of dress/expression, etc.; known as masculinity and femininity.

Gender Expression: Your physical presentation of masculinity or femininity.

Gender Identity: Your internal feeling of your gender.

Cisgender: Someone's born biological sex matches their gender identity. The word comes from the Latin prefix cis-, meaning “on this side of” (source).

Transgender: Someone's born biological sex does not match their gender identity. The word comes from the Latin prefix trans-, meaning “across”, “beyond”, or “through” (source).

FTM: Means “female to male”, a transgender man.

MTF: Means “male to female”, a transgender woman.

Transsexual: Someone who changes their born biological sex to better match their gender identity.

Assigned Sex: “refers to the sex you were interpreted as at birth, which usually corresponds to the gender identity you were raised as and/or assumed to have in childhood” (source; see more on this there).

Genderqueer/Non-binary: Two umbrella terms for gender identities outside of the gender binary (see more on this here).

Agender/Neutral-gender/Neutrois: Used interchangeably. Means a person is without gender/no gender identity; or, a person has a gender identity, which is neutral (see more on this
here).

Androgyne: Means a person has “a gender identity that can be a blend of both or neither of the binary genders” (source).

Bigender: “Bigender people identify as two genders simultaneously, or move between them. This is not limited to man/woman and can include other genders” (source).

Trigender: A person “has three gender ientities, at the same time, or at different times” (source).

Pangender/Omnigender: Is “a non-binary gender experience which refers to a wide multiplicity of genders that can (or not) tend to the infinite (meaning that this experience can go beyond the current knowledge of genders). This experience can be either simultaneously or over time” (source).

Demigender: Is “an umbrella term for nonbinary gender identities that have a partial connection to a certain gender” (source).

Demigirl: Is “a gender identity describing someone who partially, but not wholly, identifies as a woman, girl or otherwise feminine, whatever their assigned gender at birth. They may or may not identify as another gender in addition to feeling partially a girl or woman.” (source).

Demiguy: Is “a gender identity describing someone who partially, but not wholly, identifies as a man, boy or otherwise masculine, whatever their assigned gender at birth. They may or may not identify as another gender in addition to feeling partially a boy or man.” (source).

Genderfluid: A person has different gender identities at different times (see more on this here). It is not a choice, but another gender identity.

Genderflux: Is “a gender identity in which the intensity of gender varies over time” (source).


Sexuality:

Heterosexual: Someone who is sexually attracted to cisgender people of the opposite sex. Commonly called 'straight'.

Homosexual: Someone who is sexually attracted to cisgender people of the same sex. Commonly called 'gay'.

Bisexual: Someone who is sexually attracted to two different genders. The word comes from the Latin prefix bi-, meaning “two” (source).

Allosexual: Someone who is sexually attracted to others.

Asexual: Someone who is not sexually attracted to others.

Demisexual: Someone who only feels sexual attraction after a strong emotional bond has formed with another person (the emotional bond does not have to be romantic).

Grey-asexual: Someone who is between asexual and allosexual on the sexuality spectrum (see more on this here).

Monosexual: Someone who is sexually attracted to only one gender (if you are heterosexual or homosexual you are monosexual).

Polysexual: Someone who is sexually attracted to many, but not all, genders. The word comes from the Greek prefix poly-, meaning “many” or “much” (source).

Androsexual: Someone who is sexually attracted to male gendered people. This term is commonly used by genderqueer individuals. The word comes from the Greek prefix andro-, meaning “male” (source).

Gynesexual: Someone who is sexually attracted to female gendered people. This term is commonly used by genderqueer individuals. The word comes from the Greek prefix gyneco-, meaning “female” (source).

Skoliosexual: Someone who is sexually attracted to non-binary people. The word comes from the Greek prefix scolio-, meaning “bent” or “crooked” (source).

Sapiosexual: Someone who's most defining factor in sexual attraction is the mind (see more on this here).

Pansexual: Someone who is sexually attracted to all genders. The word comes from the Greek prefix pan-, meaning “all” (source).

Sexually fluid: Someone who is sexually attracted to different gender identities at different times. It is not a choice, but another sexual orientation (see more on this here).


Other:

Body dysphoria: Distress/discomfort that happens because one's body does not align with their gender identity (see more on this here).

Social dysphoria: Distress/discomfort that happens because of social treatment that is based on one's perceived and inaccurate gender identity.

Gender Euphoria: Is “euphoria or happiness upon being correctly gendered, upon naming their identity, and being validated and recognized as their authentic self.” (source).

Attraction: Is “a feeling of being drawn to, or experiencing a pull toward, a recipient whose qualities inspire an impulse of a particular nature” (source). It is instinctual, and not something anyone has any control over.

Sexual attraction: You experience a sexual pull towards someone.

Romantic attraction: You experience a romantic pull towards someone. All of the different types for sexual orientation are true for romantic orientation as well (aromantic, demiromantic, etc.). There is no correlation between sexual and romantic orientation (you can be an alloromantic asexual, aromantic allosexual, aromantic asexual, etc.).

Emotional attraction: You experience an emotional pull towards someone. This is the basis for all close relationships – if you are emotionally attracted to someone, you feel a pull to open up to and connect with them.

Intellectual attraction: You experience an intellectual pull towards someone.

Sensual attraction: You experience a sensual (but not sexual) pull towards someone or something.

Aesthetic attraction: You experience an aesthetic pull towards someone or something.

Desire: Is “a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen” (source). In other words, it's “the degree of will directed toward action” (source). You can desire any type of 'attraction' experience above (sexual, romantic, intellectual, etc.) without having that attraction. Likewise, you can be attracted to someone and have no desire to act on it (for example, an allosexual may feel sexual attraction for a stranger walking down the street, while not having any desire to approach said stranger).

Libido/Sex Drive: Is “a physiological need for sexual activity” (source). There is a spectrum of low to high, and everyone has their own baseline. Fluctuation in someone's libido can happen for many reasons (see more on this here). There is no correlation between libido and sexual orientation (you can be an asexual with a high libido, an allosexual with a low libido, etc.).

Sexual Desire: The psychological desire for sexual activity.

Sexual Arousal: The physiological actions of one's body. Sexual arousal can happen without sexual desire, and is often present in sexual assault and rape (see more on this here and here).

Celibate/Abstinent: The act of abstaining from sex, usually because of religious or personal views.

Sex-Averse/Repulsed Asexual: An asexual who is aversed to/repulsed by the thought of sexual activity, either in general or personally.

Sex-Indifferent Asexual: An asexual who is indifferent to the thought of sexual activity, either in general or personally.

Sex-Favorable Asexual: An asexual who is favorable to the thought of sexual activity, either in general or personally.

Sex Positive: Is the belief that “the only relevant measure of a sexual act, practice, or experience is the consent, pleasure, and well-being of the people engaged in it or the people affected by it” (source; see more on this here).


Romance-Averse/Repulsed Aromantic: An aromantic who is aversed to/repulsed by the thought of romance, either in general or personally.

Romance-Indifferent Aromantic: An aromantic who is indifferent to the thought of romance, either in general or personally.

Romance-Favorable Aromantic: An aromantic who is favorable to the thought of romance, either in general or personally.

Queer: “One definition of queer is abnormal or strange. Historically, queer has been used as an epithet/slur against people whose gender, gender expression and/or sexuality do not conform to dominant expectations. Some people have reclaimed the word queer and self identify as such. For some, this reclamation is a celebration of not fitting into norms/being “abnormal.” Manifestations of oppression within gay and lesbian movements such as racism, sizeism, ableism, cissexism, transmisogyny as well as assimilation politics, resulted in many people being marginalized, thus, for some, queer is a radical and anti-assimilationist stance that captures multiple aspects of identities.” (source; see more on this here).

Queer Theory:Queer theory’s origin is hard to clearly define, since it came from multiple critical and cultural contexts, including feminism, post-structuralist theory, radical movements of people of color, the gay and lesbian movements, AIDS activism, many sexual subcultural practices such as sadomasochism, and postcolonialism.

Although queer theory had its beginnings in the educational sphere, the cultural events surrounding its origin also had a huge impact. Activist groups pushed back in the 1980's against the lack of government intervention after the outbreak of the AIDS epidemic. Gay activist groups like ACT-UP and Queer Nation took the lead to force attention to both the AIDS epidemic and the gay and lesbian community as a whole. These groups helped define the field with the work they did by highlighting a non-normative option to the more traditional identity politics and marginal group creations.

Queer theory as an academic tool came about in part from gender and sexuality studies that in turn had their origins from lesbians and gay studies and feminist theory. It is a much newer theory, in that it was established in the 1990s, and contests many of the set ideas of the more established fields it comes from by challenging the notion of defined and finite identity categories, as well as the norms that create a binary of good versus bad sexualities. Queer theorists contention is that there is no set normal, only changing norms that people may or may not fit into, making queer theorists’ main challenge to disrupt binaries in hopes that this will destroy difference as well as inequality.

The term “queer theory” itself came from Teresa de Lauretis’ 1991 work in the feminist cultural studies journal differences titled “Queer Theory: Lesbian and Gay Sexualities.She explains her term to signify that there are at least three interrelated projects at play within this theory: refusing heterosexuality as the benchmark for sexual formations, a challenge to the belief that lesbian and gay studies is one single entity, and a strong focus on the multiple ways that race shapes sexual bias. De Lauretis proposes that queer theory could represent all of these critiques together and make it possible to rethink everything about sexuality.” (source).

Queerplatonic Relationship: Is “a word for describing relationships where an intense emotional connection transcending what people usually think of as ‘friendship’ is present, but the relationship is not romantic in nature … The ‘queer’ is a reference to the idea of queering relationships and ideas about relationships, not for describing the orientations or genders of anyone in a queerplatonic relationship” (source; see here for important history on the term).

Primary Partnership: The primary relationship in one's life. Anyone can have or desire a primary partnership. It has no correlation to one's sexual or romantic orientation.

Heteronormativity: Is “a system that works to normalize behaviors and societal expectations that are tied to the presumption of heterosexuality and an adherence to a strict gender binary” (source; see more on this there).

Homonormativity: Is “a word that addresses the problems of privilege we see in the queer community today as they intersect with White privilege, capitalism, sexism, transmisogyny, and cissexism, all of which end up leaving many people out of the movement toward greater sexual freedom and equality.” (source; see more on this there).

Amatonormativity: Is “the assumption that a central, exclusive, amorous relationship is normal for humans, in that it is a universally shared goal, and that such a relationship is normative, in the sense that it should be aimed at in preference to other relationship types” (source; see more on this there). Amatonormativity and heteronormativity are almost always entwined (see more on this here).

Cisnormativity/Cissexism
: Is “the spatial-relational condition of privileging social-cultural-economic accessibilities to persons who are cisgender, who have cissexual bodies, or both, at the specific exclusion of or penalty to those people who do not have these — namely, trans people who are perceived as trans and not cis. Cisnormative spacing is an overarching paradigm comprised of both heteronormative and homonormative territories over which dominions of assimilation over trans people prevent them from being fully enfranchised as socially, culturally, and/or economically participatory residents. Trans violations of intruding on cisnormative space may produce social rejection, institutional exclusion, and even grievous bodily harm without comprehensive criminal penalization for doing so.” (source; see more on this there).

Monosexism: Is “the belief in and systematic privileging of monosexuality as superior, and the systematic oppression of non-monosexuality.” (source; see more on this here).


Femme: Is “a descriptor for a queer person who presents and acts in a traditionally feminine manner” (source; see more on this there).

Femmesexism: Is “the fear or hatred of all people and things which are perceived as femme, feminine, effeminate, and/or twink, regardless of their gender” (source).

Transsexism: Is “a range
of negative attitudes, feelings or actions toward transgender or transsexual people” (source).

Transmisogyny: Is “the negative attitudes, expressed through cultural hate, individual and state violence, and discrimination directed toward trans women and trans and gender non-conforming people on the feminine end of the gender spectrum” (source; see more on this there).

Misogynoir: Is “a portmanteau that combines “misogyny” and the French word for black, “noir” – is a term coined by the queer Black feminist Moya Bailey to describe the particular racialized sexism that Black women face. It’s a word used to acknowledge the very specific convergence of anti-Blackness and misogyny, and therefore is not applicable to non-Black women of color (or white women).” (source; see more on this there).

Mx.: Is a gender neutral title (like Mrs., Ms., Mr., etc.) (see more on this here).

Gender Neutral and Queer Titles: Various titles for different personal relationships; see here.


Preferred Gender Pronouns: There are many gender inclusive pronouns being used right now. Here is an article that covers a lot of them.

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