Cisgender: The opposite of transgender–feeling that you have been gendered correctly, that you have been raised in the right gender and there is no serious disconnect involved.
Feminism: The international conspiracy of hairy-legged lesbians to destroy all men. Or, for those who can read, the broad social movement toward gender equality, traditionally focused on improving the traditionally-shitty lot of women in society. It is useful to note three distinct waves of feminism, as these waves are a common part of feminist discourse. The First Wave was the 19th and early-20th century movement for women’s rights that, among other things, won women the right to vote. The Second Wave arose in the 1960s in response to the stifling “feminine mystique” of the postwar era, and made great strides in economic and personal freedom for women, while being legitimately criticized for focusing too narrowly on white middle-class women, and for being overly prescriptivist in its notions of what women “should” want. The Third Wave is characterized by concern with issues of intersectionality and sex-positivity, which lead toward a broader social justice agenda of which women are an important part.
Femmephobia: The hatred, fear, and denigration of things generally coded feminine, such as softness, emotions, beauty, caretaking, gentleness, weakness, and the color pink.
Genderqueer: Refers to a person who is a gender other than the two primary genders. This person may identify as both male and female, as moving between male and female, as having no gender, as a third gender, or something else. Ozy, the comod of NSWATM, more-or-less identifies as genderqueer, though zie prefers the term nonbinary.
Good Consent: Our preferred term for what is sometimes called “enthusiastic consent”, a model for sexual consent that places primary value on both (or all) partners affirmatively consenting to whatever hijinks they are getting up to. Amazingly, this is controversial.
Kyriarchy: Somewhat newer term for the system of interlocking oppressions, both gendered and otherwise, in society. It is intended to acknowledge that different forms of oppression interact in a wide and complex system of interactions, in which a person can simultaneously be privileged in some dimensions and oppressed in others. Sometimes abbreviated as “the system of everyone oppressing everyone.”
MRA: This term stands for “Men’s Rights Advocate”, but in practice has come to refer to any of a loose coalition of groups based primarily in opposition to feminism. A few also advocate for men’s gender issues, but as antipathy toward feminism is the required ideological stance for anyone calling themselves an MRA, it is fair to regard that as their essential ideology. Many advocates for these same issues decline the MRA label for fear of being associated with the knee-jerk anti-feminism that the acronym is understood to indicate.
Myth Of Men Not Being Hot: Our rather awkward term for the broad societal assumption that men are intrinsically not attractive or sexy. It arises from a variety of sources, such as the male gaze, the assumption that all images must be presented for a male viewer. Thus, images of sexy men will often be described as “homoerotic” because it is easier to imagine the viewer as a gay man than a straight woman. It also arises from the denial of female desire: women aren’t really into sex, so of course they could never look at a man with lust. This toxic myth means that many men go their whole lives without feeling desirable or sexy, because they’ve been taught that that’s impossible.
Ozy’s Law: The principle that it is impossible to form a stereotype about one of the two primary genders without simultaneously forming a concurrent stereotype about the other. Or, more simply, misogyny mirrors misandry.
Patriarchy: Somewhat outdated term for the system of gendered oppression in society that defines gender roles and punishes those who fail to conform. Referring to the male-dominated nature of society when it was coined, it has since been criticized for implying a unidirectional oppression that fails to accurately describe the complex nature of the problem.
Privilege: The phenomenon of not experiencing a given form of oppression or marginalization, thus ensuring that you can’t understand it firsthand and can, if you wish, pretend it doesn’t even exist. Having privilege does not make you a bad person, and someone pointing it out or telling you to check your privilege is not attacking you. It just means that there are some things you don’t get, having never lived with them.
Success Object/Success Myth: Our term for the pervasive social idea that a man’s value is defined by how successful he is in money and career terms. Just as women are too often reduced to “sex objects” in society, where their value is judged in terms of their sexual attractiveness, so are men often made into “success objects”. This despicable societal myth makes it possible for a man to be a happily-married, well-loved pillar of the community with tons of friends and perfect health, and still feel like he’s a loser.
Transgender: The state of identifying as a gender different from the one a person was assigned at birth. Many trans people feel discomfort with their bodies or the way they are gendered, which is called gender dysphoria. Trans people may use surgery, hormones, or a variety of non-surgical means to cope with their gender dysphoria. It is very rude to not call a trans person by their preferred pronoun.
Zie: A gender-neutral pronoun for use in cases where “he” or “she” is not appropriate. Such cases include sentences where the gender of the subject is not known or not specified, or where the subject prefers to eschew gendered pronouns. Examples: “If a person wants to buy a hat, zie has the right to do that with zir own money.” “Ozy had better finish that post if zie knows what’s good for zir.”