This is a compilation of acronyms and definitions commonly used in feminist discourse. Progressive and inclusive language is ever-changing and it can be hard to keep up. With that in mind, this is not an exhaustive list, so check back often for updates!
AAVE: African American Vernacular English
ACAB: all cops are bastards
AFAB: assigned female at birth
AMAB: assigned male at birth
BIPOC: Black, Indigenous and people of color
LGBTQ+: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer. This is interchangeable with the acronym LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexual). However, the intersex community has been very vocal about wanting to form their own community, separate from LGBTQ+.
MOC: man of color
MRA: men’s rights activist
POC: person of colour
SWERF: sex worker exclusionary radical feminist
TERF: trans exclusionary radical feminist
WM: white man
WOC: woman of color
WW: white woman
Ability privilege: describes the advantages enjoyed by those who exhibit certain abilities and the unwillingness of these individuals to relinquish the advantage linked to the abilities especially with the reason that these are earned or birth given (natural) abilities.
Bisexual erasure: is the tendency to ignore, remove, falsify, or reexplain evidence of bisexuality in history, academia, the news media, and other primary sources. In its most extreme form, bisexual erasure can include the belief that bisexuality itself does not exist.
Christian privilege: is any of advantages bestowed upon Christians in societies and it arises out of the presumption that Christian belief is a social norm, that leads to the marginalization of the nonreligious and members of other religions through institutional religious discrimination or religious persecution.
Cisgender (or cis): is a term for people whose gender identity matches their sex assigned at birth.
Colorism: based on skin color, especially favoritism toward those with a lighter skin tone and mistreatment or exclusion of those with a darker skin tone, typically among those of the same racial group or ethnicity.
First Nations: a term used to describe Indigenous peoples in Canada who are not Métis or Inuit. First Nations people are original inhabitants of the land that is now Canada, and were the first to encounter sustained European contact, settlement and trade.
Gender roles: a social role encompassing a range of behaviors and attitudes that are generally considered acceptable, appropriate, or desirable for a person based on that person’s biological or perceived sex.
Heterosexual: sexually attracted to people of the opposite sex.
Homosexual: sexually attracted to people of the same sex.
Indigenous peoples: also known in some regions as First peoples, First Nations, Aboriginal peoples or Native peoples or autochthonous peoples, are ethnic groups who are the original or earliest known inhabitants of an area, in contrast to groups that have settled, occupied or colonized the area more recently.
Intersectional feminism: a movement recognizing that barriers to gender equality vary according to other aspects of a woman’s identity, including age, race, ethnicity, class, and religion, and striving to address a diverse spectrum of women’s issues.
Intersectionality: is a theoretical framework for understanding how aspects of a person’s social and political identities (e.g., gender, race, class, sexuality, ability, physical appearance, height, etc.) might combine to create unique modes of discrimination and privilege.
Lesbian: a homosexual woman.
Microaggression: is a term used for brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioural, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative prejudicial slights and insults toward any group, particularly culturally marginalized groups.
Native American: a member of any of the indigenous Peoples of the Western hemisphere.
Period poverty: a global issue affecting women and girls who don’t have access to safe, hygienic sanitary products, and/or who are unable to manage their periods with dignity, sometimes due to community stigma and sanction.
Racism: a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.
Radical feminist: a perspective within feminism that calls for a radical reordering of society in which male supremacy is eliminated in all social and economic contexts. Radical feminists view society as fundamentally a patriarchy in which men dominate and oppress women.
Sex: either of the two major forms of individuals that occur in many species and that are distinguished respectively as female or male especially on the basis of their reproductive organs and structures.
Sexuality: capacity for sexual feelings.
Sex worker: a person who is employed in the sex industry. The term is used in reference to all those in all areas of the sex industry, including those who provide direct sexual services as well as the staff and management of such industries.
Social dysphoria: the sense of dysphoria specifically linked to social situations.
Socio-economic (class) privilege: having advantages based on access to economic resources.
Transsexual: a person who experiences a gender identity that is inconsistent with their assigned sex and desire to permanently transition to the sex or gender with which they identify, usually seeking medical assistance (including sex reassignment therapies, such as hormone replacement therapy and sex reassignment surgery) to help them align their body with their identified sex or gender.
Two spirit: a modern, pan-Indian, umbrella term used by some Indigenous North Americans to describe Native people in their communities who fulfill a traditional third-gender ceremonial and social role in their cultures.
White guilt: the individual or collective guilt felt by some white people for harm resulting from racist treatment of ethnic minorities such as African Americans and indigenous peoples by other white people, most specifically in the context of the Atlantic slave trade, European colonialism and the legacy of these eras.
White privilege: is the societal privilege that benefits white people over non-white people in some societies, particularly if they are otherwise under the same social, political, or economic circumstances.
Did we miss any terms or acronyms? Add them in the comments below so we can update this post!
Question of the Week
Should the internet be selectively censored?
Studies have proven that exposure to certain forms of online content leads to an increased likelihood to dehumanize a specific group of people or even commit violent acts against them. Two significant examples to point to are violent porn and hate crimes. What are your thoughts on online censorship for some types of content? Should censorship exist? If so, who controls it, and to what extent? Can we trust them to remain ethical with this control? If not, how do we justify the harm that comes to people as a result of a lack of censorship? Who would be most negatively impacted and why?
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