Cindy, our resident linguist, probably has a lot to say about words, but I’ll keep it short and simple. We use a lot of words. Big words. Smart words. Intellectual words. Slang words. Words. Hence, our textile taxonomies, or important terms page.

  • Androgynous- gender presentation that combines stereotypically “masculine” and “feminine” qualities, or that exists at the intersection of gender schemas.
  • Gender– Gender is the social organization of sexual difference. Femininity” and “Masculinity” are socially constructed- they are created by social processes that reflect the various workings of power in society. Gender has culturally and historically specific meanings we give to bodies. It has different meanings in various cultures/societies. It can also change over time and is acquired and acted out in social relationships. Many queer and feminist scholars explore the concept of gender. Our definition of gender is taken from Judith Butler‘s revolutionary book, Gender Trouble
  • Gender identity- How one self-identifies their gender.
    • Cisgender identity- žCisgender means you consider your gender identity the same as (meaning it fits with) the biological sex that was assigned to you at birth by medical professionals and/or your parents based on hormonal, genitalia, and other biological markers.
    • Trans* Identity- Trans* identity means you do not identify with the gender you were assigned at birth. There are multiple identities associated with trans* including Non-binary, Agender, Genderqueer, Transgender, Genderfuck, Third gender, Trans man, Trans woman, Two Spirit, Bigender, Transvestite, Transsexual, and/or Genderfluid. There are a bevy of articles written about trans* and cisgender identity, but we tend to refer people to Asher’s “Not Your Mom’s Trans* 101
  • Gender Socialization-the process through which we learn the appropriate thinking and behaviors associated with being a boy or girl in a particular culture.
  • Heteronormativity– A set of beliefs, practices, and institutions that categorize people into a binary gender system (men and women). Heteronormativity perpetuates the myth that heterosexuality is innate, and any deviation from heterosexual desire, love, coupling, and sex is an aberration. Additionally, heteronormativity dictates particular sets of behaviors for heterosexual couples. Namely, monogamy, marriage, procreation, and having a nuclear family. Examples of theorists who critique and discuss heteronormativity and compulsory heterosexuality include Adrienne Rich, Michael Warner, Lauren Berlant, Andrea Smith, Sara Ahmed, Jose Esteban Munoz, Jasbir Puar, and Lee Edleman.
  • Orientalism– A term coined by Edward Said, which critiques how non-Western (“Occidental”) spaces (such as the Middle East, Africa, South Asia, and Eastern Asia) were constructed by cultural critics, art historians, and others. Said criticizes the construction of “the orient” as other-than the imperial West. More on Orientalism and Edward Said.
  • Sex- Scientific categorization or what society calls “Biological” based primarily on anatomy, chromosomes, and hormones. Body before its interaction with culture. žBiological sex is a continuum, and there are not just female and male categories. Up to 2% of all live births are Intersexed.
  • Sexuality– žSexuality can be as fluid or as structured as an individual wants/feelsA person’s sexuality is oftentimes determined or defined by who one is attracted to- sexually, romantically, spiritually, relationally, etc.