During ICAH's recent strategic planning meeting, the topic of language appropriation came up. Language is often politicized, especially in the context of social justice work. When USA Today came out with a "feminist glossary," we knew it was time to start gathering our notes. Here's what we've come up with so far. Be sure to check back for more entries soon!

birth justice

Birth Justice exists when people of all ages and genders and their partners (if applicable) are empowered during their pregnancy, labor, and postpartum to make healthy decisions for themselves, their babies, and their families. Birth Justice means something different to everyone.


a gender identity of a person who identifies with the gender or sex assigned to them at birth


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Consent is an agreement to engage in a sexual activity. Consent must be asked for by the person initiating the sexual contact, and must be given clearly, unambiguously, enthusiastically, and freely. In other words, the person giving consent should not feel threatened or pressured into giving consent. Consent may be given as a clear “yes” or through enthusiastic actions. It can be reversed at any time during the sexual encounter, and giving consent to a partner once does not mean that they automatically have your consent the next time you engage in sexual activities together.

disability justice

Disability justice challenges the idea that an individual's worth has to do with their ability to perform as productive members of society and insists that value is inherent to the liberation of all beings. Like transformative justice, reproductive justice, and environmental justice, it implies a movement-building strategy.

Simply put, feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.
— Bell Hooks


the belief that persons of all genders, regardless of social identity or background, deserve the same political, social, and sexual rights


a term used to describe that an individual’s identity is not singular, but rather a combination of intersecting identities and roles, which assumes a unique set of experiences, challenges, and privileges

intersectional feminism

feminism that includes and advocates for all women of all background and identities in order to eradicate every oppression that falls on women; this distinction is made in response to the largely white, middle class feminist movement of the 20th century

intimate justice

framework for acknowledging how social identities and social stigma affect one’s perception of sexual satisfaction and "deserved" intimacy


when a man explains something to a woman in a particularly patronizing way, regardless of his expertise on the subject


a prejudice against women


a prejudice against men


a gender identity used by an individual who may not neatly fit into the gender binary (man or woman) that our society has in place. this individual may not identify with either gender, find themselves in between the two, or may find the two labels too restricting


a system which gives power to men and excludes & disenfranchises women, promoting sexism and misogyny


The Parental Notification of Abortion Law in Illinois requires that women under the age of 18 seeking an abortion must notify an adult family member before she may obtain the abortion. The adult family member does not need to give permission for the abortion, only notified of it. Organizations like ICAH and the ACLU stand against PNA because many women seeking abortions do not have an adult they can trust and live in the fear of abuse, being kicked out of the house, or being forced to carry out the pregnancy against their will. If a woman seeking an abortion would like to bypass the notification, she may attempt doing so in court. For more information and to sign a petition against PNA, visit stoppna.org. Download this article from Emory Law Journal to learn more about how PNA is harmful (pages 1018-1022).


Privilege is an unearned advantage and stability that an individual may receive due to one or more of their social identities. It is grounded in the oppression of marginalized people and groups. Privilege can take many shapes and forms. Examples: being able to hold hands with your partner in public without fear of ridicule or harassment, being able to see representation of your skin color and culture in every media outlet, being able to make mistakes without it reflecting on your entire race or religion, getting school off for your religious holidays, learning about your heritage in history class, simply feeling welcome in any social or institutional setting, or being able to afford applications for college.


Pro-feminists are allies of the feminist movement, often men. This term was coined to address the fact the men can never fully grasp or understand the daily oppression of women but are supporters of the cause to end that oppression.

reproductive justice

"The human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent children we have in safe and sustainable communities." --Sister Song

Read our full post on Reproductive Justice.

racial justice

the effort toward equity across races, achieved through proactive policy, practice, and action; racial justice is essential in repairing the oppression that followed the displacement of indigenous people and enslavement of people of color


stereotyping and discriminating against a woman


Sex Worker Exclusionary Radical Feminist describes a type of feminist whose policies, views, and attitudes exclude or harm sex workers. In general, these feminists are not sex positive and oppose sexual agency.


Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist describes a type of feminist whose policies, views, and attitudes exclude or harm trans people. Often this type of feminist doesn’t believe that transgenderism is real or sees it as inferior to being cis.

Title IX

Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 declares that no educational program (including school athletics) that receives federal funding may discriminate against or exclude persons based on their sex. It has since been expanded to ensure a fair approach to sexual harassment and assault. Check out this video to hear how Title IX has made an impact in school settings.


a feminist movement that focuses on the liberation of trans women as unique and necessary to the feminist movement at large; it is enlightened by trans experiences and trans politics


Transgender is a term used to describe the gender identity of a person who does not exclusively identify or define themselves by the sex assigned to them at birth. Transgenderism may take many different expressions, from adopting the appearance of the gender they identify with, to changing one’s hormonal makeup, or if none of the above are accessible, simply being self-aware of their ‘new’ gender identity.

Womanist is to feminist as lavender is to purple…. Womanism is simply another shade of feminism. It helps give visibility to the experience of black women and other women of color who have always been at the forefront of the feminist movement yet marginalized and rendered invisible in historical texts and the media.
— Alice Walker


a stimulus, like a conversation or a movie scene, that initiates feelings of trauma


Victim-blaming occurs when a victim or survivor of a crime is held responsible. It's often used in the context of sexual assault and takes form in questions/comments like, “What was the victim wearing?” or, “How much had they had to drink?” or, “They were flirting them all night, what did they think was going to happen?”


to be aware of social and political current events and attentive to their impacts on the community


a feminist movement that prioritizes the needs of black women; the term, movement, and identity were coined by Alice Walker as a response to the 20th century feminism that attended more to white women