Feminism 101: Vocabulary

Feminism is amazing and empowering, and engaging in discussions is such a great way to participate in the discourse and learn more, but sometimes it can be a bit intimidating when there's so much lingo that comes with it. So here are some key terms to help you talk the talk like you walk the walk!

Feminist: someone who believes in the social, political and economical equality of the sexes

( NOTE: the definition does not entail world domination, burning bras and hating all men)

Patriarchy: the social system that exists, in which men are considered dominant to women, and masculinity is valued over femininity

(So yeah, that’s basically why we want to smash it all day every day)

Intersectionality: the term coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw (GENIUS) to describe the overlapping social identities and related systems of oppression, like racism, sexism, ableism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, etc.

(This is such an important part of feminism and is commonly forgotten, resulting in "white feminism")

Privilege: the advantages experienced by a dominant group, e.g. white privilege, thin privilege, male privilege, etc. This obscures the disadvantages of others, and makes privileged people unaware of their advantages.

(If someone calls you out on having privilege, this doesn’t make you a bad person. It just means you need to recognise your privilege and be aware of the ways on which it is harming others)

Gender Binary: The classification of gender into a dichotomy of two opposite categories of masculine and feminine. Having a gender binary excludes people who don’t identify as a man or woman, such as non-binary and gender fluid. Gender exists on more of a spectrum, rather than a two category system.

Rape Culture: The normalisation of sexual assault in society. This results in things like victim blaming and reduced prison time for rapists.

Sex Positivity: An emphasis on sexual freedom, consent, and women’s pleasure. It goes against the repression of sexuality in females and fights against problems like slut shaming.

Trans Inclusivity: The inclusion of trans rights within feminism’s safe spaces. This is sadly so absent from lots of feminism today. It’s so important that feminism be trans-inclusive, to be respectful of all gender identities

(Time to get on board Germaine Greer…) 

Internalised Sexism: This is the involuntary internalisation of sexist attitudes, which results in self-hate and ‘girl hate’.

(If I ever hear the words "I’m not like other girls" uttered ever again, I swear I’ll scream…)

(Photo credit: Berry College)

So there you go... take these terms, go out into the world and smash that patriarchy!