A

The term abushock refers to the trauma experienced after sexual abuse, sexual assault, sexual harassement and rape . We already know a lot of medical terms which describe different kind of personality disorders . We also have a generic name — which is known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder— which describe the anxiety problem that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a traumatic event. But I believe that it’s important to reserve a specific word for the particular situation of experiencing the trauma of a sexual assault to highlight the horrific and so often invisible consequences and violences caused by the oppressive patriarchal system. People who have experienced sexual assault or harassment are more likely to suffer from poor sleep, anxiety, high blood pressure and symptoms of depression. Experiencing sexual harassment and/or assault not only has implications for the quality of life, social functioning and job performance, but also for the mental and physical health. Even for women who never experience sexual abuse or rape, the looming threat of sexual assault—and consistent exposure to degrading images of and language about women— can be exhausting and depressing, resulting in both mental and physical distress

 
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B

The term bodtrol refers to the control everybody should exercise on their own body. This term specifically suggests the importance of women’s control over their own bodies. Indeed today more than two-hundred million of women who want to avoid or delay pregnancy still cannot obtain modern contraception in developing nations. In 67 countries, abortion is either prohibited in all circumstances or allowed only to save a woman’s life. As Amnesty International reminds us with the campaign “ My body my rights” , being able to make our own decisions about our health, body and sexual life is a basic human right. Women should be able to take decisions over their bodies without fear, violence or discrimination. Yet all over the world, people are bullied, discriminated against and arrested, simply for making choices about their bodies and their lives. Beside the question of abortion, there are different forms of psychological coercion which women are likely to experience like pregnancy coercion, where a woman is forced or manipulated into becoming pregnant— or birth-control sabotage —where a woman is prevented from using contraception— or her contraception is tampered with. Women are likely to experience this kind of coercions especially in abusive relationships, where the partner may perpetrate violence through psychological, financial or physical methods. The social norms which allowed the misappropriation of women’s choices over their bodies are controlled by our governments, communities and families. These social normas have patirarchal roots. We should take action against them in order to defend our rights. 

 

C

The term choressure refers to the pressure experienced by women in doing the house chores and the domestic duties. Unpaid household work —including cooking, cleaning, shopping and caring for children—takes up a substantial proportion of people’s waking lives. It contributes to the functioning of domestic life, providing goods and services that would otherwise have to be paid for. Nevertheless domestic duties are generally excluded from most official measures of economic activity and they are very often considered an invisible work. Even if men have increased their housework contributions – a nod towards greater gender equality- women today spend as much time doing housework as in the 1990s. Yet women still spend twice as much time on housework as men. As the activist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie reminds us, the process of socialisation exaggerates the biological differences between men and women and addresses women to think that cooking and cleaning is just a female role. 

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D

The term dressescape indicates people’s tendency to escaping a certain kind of outfits for the fear to be sexually assaulted and /or harassed in public or private spaces, or simply moved by the fear to be judged. In many cases women are afraid of being judged on the content of what they are wearing and the tendecy is to escape for instance short skirt or low-cut dresses for the fear to be considered not serious enough for professional situations. For women the choice to wear clothes which are more covering or simply more modest is often influenced by the internalised fear of aggression and it is often used as a defence against sexual harassment. When we wear revealing clothing, we are instructed to be more modest, as if the amount of skin we cover reflects our moral character. And, worst of all, we are taught that our clothing choices make us vulnerable to harassment or assault, as if we dressed this way to garner that kind of attention. Women’s wardrobes are actually often cited as the cause of sexual crimes: an attitude which is connected to behaviour known as victim blaming. It’s quite shocking to realise how -within an intense climate which characterise any oppressive system— the power exercised by some people to others can influence even simple everyday actions like picking out clothes. 

 

E

The term empwomenerment indicates the process in which women elaborate and recreate what it is that they can be, do, and accomplish in a circumstance that they previously were denied. The term highlights the importance for women of gaining freedom and power to do what they want or to control what happens to them and it has the relevance to address the discourse specifically towards female gender. Indeed, although the equality between men and women has generally improved, we still live in a patriarchal society and in all parts of the world women are facing threats to their lives, health and well- being as a result of their lack of power and influence. We still live in a social structure that is male-centred , male-identified, male-dominated, and which valorises qualities narrowly defined as masculine. The power relations that impede women’s attainment of healthy and fulfilling lives operate at many levels of society, from the most personal to the highly public. Women empowerment has become a significant topic of discussion in development and economics. It can also point to the approaches regarding other trivialised genders in a particular political or social context. 

 

F

 
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G

The term gendunlearn refers to the process that lead to unlearning gender and gender roles. Our society has indeed a set of ideas about how we expect men and women to dress, behave, and present themselves. Gender expectations begin even before a child is born. Girls and women are generally expected to be polite, accommodating, dependent, vulnerable, pliant, weak, supportive, nurturing, intuitive, emotional, and empathic. Men are generally expected to be strong, aggressive, masculine, independent, invulnerable, tough, powerful, commanding, in control, rational, and non-emotional. Crude stereotypes are formed in children’s minds. They’re taught that girls need to be quiet and reserved while boys must be assertive and outspoken. Stereotypes about gender which are associated to emotional traits, domestic and nurturing behaviour or physical appearance can cause unequal and unfair treatment because of a person’s gender. This is called sexism. If we try to gendunlearn and to not associate our persona with its own genderless characteristics and inclinations we have a better chance to flourish as human beings. Human beings do not flourish when all males are pressured to adopt hyper - masculine attributes and repress feminine ones, and all females are pressured to adopt traditionally feminine attributes and re- press masculine ones. Language reflects and reinforces social norms; un-gendering language is an important part of solving sexism. 

 

H

The term herstory suggests the importance to include the female point of view on historical documentation and the significance to emphasise the role of women within the obscured historical record. Women have always been 50% of the population, but only occupy around 0.5% of recorded history: because of various factors — from systematic sexism biased towards male perspectives to male historians downplaying or dismissing women’s achievement to men taking credit for women’s work — many women from history who deserve a lot of credit and attention don’t necessarily get their due. The neologism herstory has been coined as a pun with the word “history”, as part of a feminist critique of conventional historiography, which is traditionally written from the masculine point of view. The word “history” —from the Ancient Greek ἱστορία, or historia, meaning “knowledge obtained by inquiry”— is etymologically unrelated to the possessive pronoun his. Women’s stories and lives have been silenced by a popular cultural attitude that gives priority to men’s narratives. This phenomenon has a great impact on people’s lives. This silencing of women’s voices in popular culture addresses the message that women’s lives aren’t as worthwhile as the lives of men. Male stories are the default. Women’s stories are the exception. 

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I

The term imer is a personal gender grammatical pronoun which can be used as neutral and focuses on the importance to include gender neutrality in genderless languages. A gender neutral or gender inclusive pronoun is a pronoun which does not associate a gender with the individual who is being discussed. There are thousands languages that have gender-neutral 3rd-person pronouns, but not English, one of the most spoken language in the world. You can’t always know in which kind of pronouns people is recognising in. She/her/ hers and he/him/his are a few commonly used pronouns. Some people call these “female/feminine” and “male/masculine” pronouns, but many avoid these labels because not everyone who uses he feels like a “male” or “masculine.” Asking and correctly using someone’s pronouns is a basic way to show your respect for their gender identity. Using the wrong pronoun means put the other person in a situation of alienation, invalidation and disrespect. 

 
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L

The term languexist indicates the attitude to use language in a sexist way that is excluding one sex or the other, or which suggests that one sex is superior to the other. Every day, we hear words thrown around that render women invisible, objectified, or use female gender as an insult. When people talk about “mankind,” for example, they are expressing an implicit belief that men are the most important part of humankind . If someone use the expression “fights like a girl” or “cries like a girl”, that is supposed to mean they are weak or incompetent — which does not say great things about women. Furthermore, traditionally, the pronouns him and his were used to refer to both sexes, male and female, but nowadays many people feel that this makes she, her and hers seem less important or inferior. 

 

M

The term maiolence means a behaviour involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something and which is perpetuated by male people. The term suggests the importance to include male gender into the problem of violence, especially violence against women. Men are indeed the major perpetrators of violent crime in our society. In fact, the degree to which women are the victims of male violence is truly staggering. Women worldwide are more likely to be killed or maimed because of male violence than because of war, cancer, malaria, and traffic accidents combined. Under the patriarchal circumstances — that currently prevail world-wide —this abnormality emerges in men to a much greater degree than in women and there is a reason for this . Indeed the parental and societal reinforcement of gender stereotypes has a great influence on this phenomena because of the internalisation of gender roles and expectations on young boys and girls. Nevertheless in our society is still not allowed to couple the word male with the word violence and when we talk about this issue we use the term “violence against women”, forgetting the importance to include the male gender into the problem. 

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N

 The term notreport indicates the situation of not reporting and not denouncing sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual assault or rape. The term in particular highlights the motivation behind the choice of people who didn’t report different kind of undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another. Based on federal data, the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network says that two out of three sexual assaults go unreported to the police. Part of the reason people are reluctant to go to law enforcement is that so few rapists actually get punished: only about seven rapes per 1,000 result in a felony conviction. But there are myriad other reasons, which hundreds of Twitter users —largely women— have recounted on Instragam sharing their own stories with the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport. There have been many reports which explain the many reasons why assault victims often don’t go to the police. There are psychological reasons “Because it took me 30 years to even know and admit it happened because that’s how traumatic it was; reasons influenced by the social environment “I did, it didn’t matter, I was dismissed, disparaged, & I still get blamed.”; there are discouragement attitude because of having experienced victim blaming behaviour “ I was 21 – a man on the street groped me. I did report it. Police asked if I was drunk.”; there are cases in which the victim is not even conscious of having experienced a sexual assault “He didn’t actually rape me so I thought ‘nothing’ happened.” 

 

O

  The term ownrivilege focuses the attention on the importance for everybody to recognise and acknowledge one’s privilege within the actual society. Indeed many forms of group-based inequality are tanglQed together in a patriarchal culture. According to sociologist Allan Johnson, privilege is something one received based on membership in a social category that others not from that/those categories do not receive. The concept of privilege refers to any advantage that is unearned, exclusive, and socially conferred: race, ethnicity, religion, class, and many other variables structure inequality within social systems. It’s important to understand that unpacking privilege and trying to dismantle its system means promoting equality. Indeed privilege doesn’t work just by its own, it rather works like a sort of rule in a game in which everyone participates. A system of white privilege, for example, is white-dominated, which means the default is for white people to occupy positions of power. White-dominance doesn’t mean that all white people are powerful, only that the powerful tend almost always to be white, and when a person of colour occupies a position of power, that will be noted as an exception to the rule. The identification process is strictly linked to social privilege: it means that the culture defines ‘white’ people as the standard for human beings in general. 

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P

The medical term Post Patriarchy Stress Disorder is an imaginary word referred to a mental health condition that is triggered by the terrifying social event of patriarchy — either experiencing it or witnessing it— and by the recognition that this system do exist. Sexism isn’t always the root cause of the mental health problems that women face. But there’s no doubt that it adds mental distress to women’s lives in a number of ways —from the gender pay gap to rape culture. Indeed million of women around the world struggle with anxiety and depression: this is often the expression of the intergenerational trauma of years and years of female oppression by the patriarchal culture imprinted in our bodies and nervous systems. This condition can deeply and profoundly affects our thoughts and emotions, choices and behaviours and holds us back from claiming women’s ultimate happiness and success. 

 
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Q

 The term queertessence indicates the most perfect or typical example of queer quality in a human being. This words suggests the essence of being queer in its purest and most concentrated form. The term queer is a historical derogatory term against people who were homosexual and is now predominantly used by the LGBTQ+ community to stake a contrast from mainstream, heteronormative society. Indeed individuals who recognise themselves into the LGBTQ+ community have taken back the word, so they could take the negativity away from the word and use it to say they were proud . The term is also an identity used to be vague or non-specific about a person’s sexual orientation —identifying with the LGBTQ+ community as a whole— or used because some individuals whose gender or sex is non-conforming may not have an easy way to culturally identify their sexual orientation. It is also description of people’s non-heterosexual sexual orientations in a non-specific and unbiased manner.

 

R

The term rolewom+ refers to the concept of female role models we have in our society and wants to underline its scarcity compared to the corresponding male ones. The impact of a lack of role models is felt at an early age by girls and often adversely affects their academic choices and future career aspirations. According to a research done by booking.com, today just 15% of tech roles are held by women. In addition, only 5% of leadership positions in the technology industry are held by women. If young women are not able to see powerful roles of female leadership, from film industry to tech & engineering, from political leaders to CEOs, it will be difficult for them imaging to become one of those influential people around the world just because they don’t have characters they can relate to. We need more female roles because the opportunity to see powerful women making a change sends the message that your opportunities are limitless, regardless of your gender. For young generations of women it’s important having other inspirational women they can identify with and in which they can truly see themselves, in order to flourish in their careers and personal development. What can we already do to make a change? It’s important to showcase and share the stories of a diverse array of female role models and to celebrate female entrepreneurs’ profound social and economic impact on our society. As a woman especially, it’s important lifting women up and encouraging each other to reach their fullest potential.

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S

The term streetshouting refers to a form of harassment, primarily sexual harassment , that consists of unwanted comments, gestures, honking, wolf-whistling , catcalling , exposure, following, persistent sexual advances and touching by strangers in public areas such as streets, shopping malls, and public transportation. The harassment within public spaces is an everyday reality for many women around the world but it remains a largely neglected issue, with few laws or policies in place to address. It is a human rights issue because it limits harassed persons’ ability to be in public, especially women’s, and it limits their behaviour and their everyday choices . Data suggests that the majority of females have their first street harassment experience during puberty. Recipients include people of all genders, but women are much more commonly victims of harassment by men. Many perpetrators of these actions would not characterise them as harassment, though most recipients would. Even though many people claims that this attitude could be considered at the same level as harmless comments, the act of streetshouting is the result of a deep rooted patriarchal culture which tend to consider women as objects of men’s pleasure.

 

T

The term taktion points to the importance of taking political action in our social environment within small everyday life situations. Political action is any action that brings pressure on political or governmental agencies and/or individuals in order to persuade them to take action. Whether it’s for the health of our planet or for questions of social injustice, it’s crucial to address our attitude towards an activistic behaviour. People tend to think of activism as angry, and certainly there’s a place for movements that express public anger. But often the most effective activism doesn’t all take place in the key of anger. Some of the most powerful actions to be a part of are those where people are coming together and celebrating community and resistance. Towards social problems or injustice most of the people see themselves as neither part of the problem nor the solution. This silence and invisibility allows the troubles to persist and the oppression to be perpetuated. If we start to get informed, if we start to acknowledge and speak up we are already half-way to our activistic achievement. 

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U

The term unyes can be used as word or as an adverb to indicate negation in case of unwanted sexual advances. It is important to underline the value of consent and dissent within the current rape culture we are living in, which is probably one of the worst consequences of the patriarchal system .Consent is a choice and means agreeing together. Consent is defined as a voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity with another person / persons . If consent is not given by both people, it is considered sexual assault. It is often convenient for some people -in most cases heterosexual males- to consider as obscure and unclear the border between consent and dissension within sexual activities. In many cases for instance it is convenient to take as a yes some situations in which people result impaired by alcohol or drugs, or are unconscious or sleeping. In other cases situation of sexual assault can occur when the person who is perpetrating the unwanted sexual advances is in a position of power or authority and uses intimidation or threats to coerce someone into sexual activity, or to put pressure on someone to change their mind.

 

V

The term vicblaming refers to a behaviour which occurs when the victim of a crime or any wrongful act is held entirely or partially at fault for the harm that befell them. The study of victimology seeks to mitigate the perception of victims as responsible: there is a greater tendency to blame victims of rape than victims of robbery if victims and perpetrators know each other. This behaviour marginalises the survivor, minimises the criminal act, and makes people less likely to come forward and report what has happened to them. One psychological phenomenon that contributes to this tendency to lay the blame on the victim is known as the fundamental attribution error; this bias involves attributing other people’s behaviors to internal, personal characteristics while ignoring external forces and variables that also might have played a role. Another issue that contributes to our tendency to blame the victim is known as the hindsight bias: when we look at an event that happened in the past, we have a tendency to believe that we should have been able to see the signs and predict the outcome. Our tendency to blame the victim also stems in part from our need to believe that the world is a fair and just place: social psychologists refer to this tendency as the just-world phenomenon.

 

Z

The term zoomy-woomy indicates the action of putting women at the centre of interest or activity and to zoom in the diversified territory of their belonging. Within a patriarchal system indeed men, mostly white men, are placed centre-stage for what concerns cultural, religious , political and socio-economic issues while women are strongly oppressed, underrepresented and marginalised in a society which normalises gender inequalities. But as we already know the male domination — which characterises most society today and is perpetrated among other things through economic, political , legal and linguistic way—is a social construction, therefore it can be deconstructed. We should do that when we zoom into the picture of women’s territory, both for how it is naturally conceived without the plague of oppression and also for how it was deformed and obscured by the patriarchal domination. We should do that when we think about the million adolescent girls who live in poverty and who are more likely than boys to be uneducated, married at a young age, and exposed to HIV/AIDS. We should do that when we stop and think about all the physical, moral and symbolic violence fostered by the institutions, by the religious myths, by the traditions. If we zoom on women’s space we can stop internalising and seeing as natural and unchangeable all the inequalities of our society.

 

©2020  Created by Federica Gilda Marrella