a feminist glossary

By: ivan |

here is a link to a recent article which introduces some terms which are relevant for understanding and discussing feminism, gender and sexuality – some are established, academic terms found in the relevant literature; others are more recent lexical innovations that have recently originated ‘online’…

thoughts, comments?



(Edit) Natasha
My understanding of feminism has never been extremely deep and wide. One of the things I actually felt proud of knowing about feminism is that it doesn't actually mean that women are the better sex over men, but that it simply means that we believe that men and women should have  equal rights and opportunities. Reading this post however, I felt was just really enlightening because I was never so aware of the different layers and terms that actually existed within our vocabulary to talk about certain specific things in feminism. So I'd just like to share my favourite, most enlightening term that I picked up from this article. benevolent sexism! This is a term that I was extremely thrilled to discover. I've always felt that benevolent sexism existed, and I've definitely felt the effects of it, but I never knew that there was actually an actual term to define it, and I couldn't quite put my experiences with it into words.  I mean, it's confusing, it's rooted in a compliment. It left me feeling a mix of positive and negative emotions whenever I was told for example, 'oh women are just better at raising children, they're more nurturing'. Yes, it was a good thing, and it did fit into the stereotypical traits of a woman, but I always felt uncomfortable too. What if I'm not nurturing, what if I'm not good at raising children, what if I don't fit into that stereotype, wait why even did I have to fit into such a stereotype? However, I was never actually sure whether this discomfort that I was feeling was legitimate, because I was being complimented. However, after reading the definition in this glossary, and doing a little more reading into what benevolent sexism is, I feel much better informed about how it works as it seems to paint this restrictive image of how women should be, leading there to be expectations that society anticipates all women will follow, and thus react to aversely, should they fail to fit this construct.    
(Edit) Chloe Gan
The thing about this feminist glossary, is that it seems as though there are more and more categories than necessary. The reason for feminism is so that everybody, no matter their gender, or their orientation, is treated fairly and equally. The issue is that there should not be any discrimination on whether people are transgender or cisgender, and that they should be offered equal rights, and not be judged on their preferences. I'm a self-proclaimed feminist, and to me, this glossary seems as though there are many people who are saying that they are feminist, but are excluding groups that they do not think deserves the same rights as them.   For example, it is mentioned that there are a few types of feminism, and different types of feminists. It is true that certain groups of women are less privileged due to their biological sex, or their race, and it is evident that there should be groups that are fighting for their rights. However, for types of feminists, there are two terms that I have not encountered previously, TERF, and SWERF. TERF means feminists that exclude trans-gendered women, while SWERF means feminists that exclude sex workers. With so many new terms, it begs the question if this third wave of feminism is really raising awareness of feminism, or if it is resulting in more exclusion of certain groups.
(Edit) Kai Wen
The idea of a feminist glossary, especially one that is periodically updated, is actually a fairly good one in my opinion. As times and perceptions change, language has to change along with them as words take on different connotations or fall out of use. However, formally including a word in some sort of glossary also gives the word power because of the perceived authority that comes with it (much like putting a word in a dictionary), which can lead to widespread use of terms. For example, a term I have an issue with is "feminazi", because it equates someone who may be (overly) passionate about gender equality with Nazis. The very idea should be ridiculous - equality versus genocide? Yet, it's become a term that has seen a fair amount of use. Of course, while some political correctness is needed so that marginalised groups can be protected, policing speech is also a dicey business because protecting free speech should be a priority. Unfortunately, there is no easy solution.
(Edit) debs
The ever-growing feminist glossary has made discourse more convenient as this current wave of (intersectional) feminism is beginning to touch on many more topics other than just women, though admittedly all the terms may prove overwhelming to some. In fact, many have expressed annoyance for the apparent need to label everything with its own unique term, likening this glossary to "Social Justice Warrior" (SJW) speak. An example would be the word "cisgender". While many (read: cis people) have expressed annoyance at having to "label" people who identify with their biological sex and view it with a negative connotation, I personally think it is important that we make a distinction between the gender alignments, especially the most privileged out of the bunch, ie cis people. Gender non-conforming people cannot simply refer to cis people as "normal", that leaves the implication that any non-cis person is... not normal. Other examples of ridicule that the feminist glossary faces include "trigger" and "trigger warning", which have been ridiculed and used by critics of the glossary to described people who they perceive to be overreacting (for example, "triggered SJWs whining about sexism haHAA"). Of course, this glossary will continue to have its fair share of lovers and haters, but essentially I believe this glossary signifies a step in the right direction, as it shows we are becoming more open and critical about all the deeply rooted issues in our human society—be it sex, race or gender—instead of simply sweeping everything under the rug.

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