BOSS Dictionary

BOSS Magazine strives to create and facilitate discussion surrounding feminist and intersectional issues. In order to do so, it can often be helpful to define common terms used in such discussions. Below is a list of terms and phrases that we believe to be helpful for readers.

Ableism: a system of oppression that includes discrimination and social prejudice against people with intellectual, emotional, and physical disabilities, their exclusion, and the valuing of people and groups that do not have disabilities.

Ageism: a system of oppression that works against the young and the old and values individuals in their 30s to 50s.

Ally: a person who is a member of an advantaged social group who takes a stand against oppression, works to eliminate oppressive attitudes and beliefs in themselves and their communities, and works to interrogate and understand their privilege.

Anti-black racism: a system of power that gives unearned power and privilege to non-black people and oppresses black people.

Anti-Semitism: the systematic discrimination against and oppression of Jews, Judaism, and Jewish culture and traditions.

Asexuality: lack of sexual attraction to others, or low or absent interest in or desire for sexual activity.

Biphobia: irrational hatred or fear of people who identify as bisexual, pansexual, or fluid.

Biracial: part of two racial groups.

Birth Assigned Sex: the designation that refers to a person’s biological, morphological, hormonal, and genetic composition. One’s sex is typically classified as either male or female at birth.

Biromantic:romantically attracted to members of two genders.

Bisexual: sexually attracted to members of two genders.

Cisgender: individuals whose gender identity and expression line up with their birth-assigned sex.

Cissexism: a system of power that gives unearned power and privilege to cisgender people and oppresses transgender and gender-queer people.

Class: social, economic, or educational status.

Classism: the institutional, cultural, societal, and individual beliefs and practices that assign value to people based in their socio-economic class. Here, members of more privileged socio-economic classes are seen as having a greater value.

Collusion: thinking and acting in ways that support dominant systems of power, privilege, and oppression. Both privileged and oppressed groups can collude with oppression.

Coming Out: the process by which LGBTQIA+ individuals recognize, accept, typically appreciate, and often celebrate their sexual orientation, sexuality, or gender identity/expression. Coming out varies across culture and community.

Cultural Appreciation: learning about another culture with respect and courtesy.

Cultural Appropriation: when a person takes something with cultural significance from another culture for their own, but doesn’t respect or understand the cultural significance the something has.

Demisexual: a sexual orientation in which someone feels sexual attraction only to people with whom they have an emotional bond.

Discrimination: when members of a more powerful group behave unjustly or cruelly to members of a less powerful group.

Ethnicity: the fact or state of belonging to a social group that has a common national or cultural tradition.

Ethnocentrism: judging another culture solely based on the standards and values of one’s own culture. Also, a belief in the inherent superiority of one’s own nation or ethnic group.

Feminism: the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

Gay: an identity term for a male-identified person who is attracted to other male-identified people.

Gender: socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society deems masculine or feminine. This social construct is often linked to and confused with the biological construct of sex.

Gender binary: a social construction of gender in which there are two distinct and opposite genders, male/masculine/men and female/feminine/women.

Gender non-conforming: one who does not follow society’s stereotypes about how they “should” look or act based on the female or male sex they were assigned at birth

Gender Pronouns (GPs): words that replace a noun referring to a person. GPs are used for people who identify both within and outside of the binary.

she/he her/him her/his hers/his herself/himself
ze/zie zim zir zis zieself
sie sie hir hirs hirself
e/ey em eir eirs eirself
ve ver vis vers verself
tey ter tem ters terself
they them their theirs themself

Genderfluid: a gender identity which refers to a gender that varies over time; a gender fluid person may at any time identify as male, female, neutrois, or another non-binary identity.

Genderqueer: an umbrella term for gender identities that do not conform to the gender binary.

Heteroromantic: romantically attracted to people of the other sex.

Heterosexual: sexually attracted to people of the other sex.

Hispanic: a person who descends from Spain or a Spanish-speaking country.

Homophobia: fear, hatred, and intolerance of people who identify or are perceived as gay or lesbian.

Homoromantic: romantically attracted to people of the same sex.

Homosexual: sexually attracted to people of the same sex.

Intersectionality: a lens for critical analysis that focuses on the intersections of multiple, mutually-reinforcing systems of oppression, power, and privilege. Intersectional theorists look at how the individual experience is impacted by multiple axes of oppression and privilege. Variables include, but are not limited to: race, gender, ethnicity, religion ability, education, sexual orientation, sexuality, gender identity, gender expression, class, first language, citizenship, and age.

Intersex: having genitals, secondary sex characteristics, chromosomes, and/or hormone levels that do not fit into the medical/societal definition of male or female. This term is preferred to “hermaphrodite.”

Islamophobia: dislike of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force.

Latinx: a gender-inclusive term to describe someone who descends from a Latin American country.

Lesbian: an identity term for a female-identified person who is attracted to other female-identified people.

Mental Illness: a wide range of conditions that affect mood, thinking, and behavior.

Learning Disorder: any of a number of disorders which may affect the acquisition, organization, retention, understanding or use of verbal or nonverbal information.

Microaggressions: everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership.

Multiracial: part of several racial groups.

Nationality: an ethnic group forming a part of one or more political nations.

Panromantic: romantically attracted to people of all genders.

Pansexual: sexually attracted to people of all genders.

Person of Color: a person who is not white.

Prejudice: a pre-judgment or unjustifiable, and usually negative, attitude of one type of individual or groups toward another group and its members. Such negative attitudes are typically based on unsupported generalizations (or stereotypes) that deny the right of individual members of certain groups to be recognized and treated as individuals with individual characteristics.

Privilege: a group of cultural, legal, social, and institutional rights, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group of people. Most of the time, these privileges are automatic and some individuals in the privileged group are unaware of them.

Queer: a term for individuals whose gender identity/expression and/or sexual orientation does not conform to societal norms. This reclaimed term is increasingly being used as an inclusive umbrella term for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Race: the classification of humans into groups based on physical traits, ancestry, genetics or social relations, or the relations between them.

Racism: a system of power that gives unearned power and privilege to white people and oppresses people of color.

Romantic Orientation: a person’s romantic identity in relation to whom they are attracted to.

Sex: either of the two main categories (male and female) into which humans and many other living things are divided on the basis of their reproductive functions.

Sexism: a system of power that gives unearned power to cis-men and oppresses women, gender-queer, and trans people.

Sexual Orientation: a person’s sexual identity in relation to whom they are attracted to.

Transgender: one whose self-identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender.

Trigger: an event, description, word, or other experience that may evoke feelings or memories of trauma.

White Feminism: a brand of feminism centered around the ideals and struggles of primarily white women. While not outright exclusive, its failure to consider other women and its preoccupation with Western standards and the problems faced by the “average woman” is often alienating to women of color, non-straight women, trans women, and women belonging to religious or cultural minorities.

White Privilege: the concrete benefits of access to resources and social rewards and the power to share the norms and values of society that Whites receive, tacitly or explicitly, by virtue of their position in a racist society. White privilege can exist without white people’s conscious knowledge of its presence.

Xenophobia: an intense or irrational dislike or fear of people who are perceived to be foreign or strange.

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