Lexicon- What It Means

BDSM/kink: “BDSM” refers to “bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism” (depending on who you ask). It is based entirely in consent, enthusiastic consent, and responsible players always use a “safeword” in case any participant should need to stop or pause for any reason. It is usually an erotic activity, though it does not necessarily involve sex or sexual acts. Players or participants are usually “tops” (the active), “bottoms” (the passive/receiver), or switches (can take on either role). Different people and different subcultures within the kink subculture have different interests, kinks, etc, and engage in all different levels of protocol and intensity. The community motto is “safe, sane, and consensual” and the expectation is that all players and play should always be all three of those things.

bisexual invisibility: bisexual-identified people are usually forced into the heteronormative dichotomy [assuming everyone is straight, unless they are obviously "gay"] by other people. When not romantically involved or when involved with someone of the other sex/gender (“hetero” couple), they are assumed to be straight. When romantically involved with someone of the same sex/gender (“gay” couple), they are assumed to be gay or queer. Short of actually telling other people they are in fact bisexual (or wearing a sign or something), bisexual-identified people are assumed not to exist. There’s also a vicious circle between invisibility and the stereotypes of bisexual-identified people (like that they have to have “one of each”).

cisgender (cis): refers to a class of gender identities formed by a match between an individual’s gender identity and the behavior or role considered appropriate for one’s sex.

consent: consent to sexual activities should be given prior to said activities, given in sobriety and sound state of mind, given freely and willingly by an adult, and given enthusiastically. Consent is not a blanket statement; consent to certain activities means ONLY those activities. It can also be revoked at any time, even during the activities previously consented to. If there’s any question about consent, don’t do it.

discrimination: unfavorable treatment of people based on their membership in some ill-favored group.

dominance: goes back to Marx; basic concept is all societies inherently have inequalities (for Marx these inequalities all went back to access to the means of production) as a result of some groups having more access to wealth and power than others. There are three basic systems of hierarchy: age (greater status and privilege for older individuals); gender (men have higher status and power than women, mostly because men tend to view women as a reproductive resource); and “arbitrary-set” systems of stratification (hierarchical group divisions based on socially-constructed or highly salient group distinctions, such clan, ethnicity, nation, race, religion, etc.). A hegemonic group (in our society, straight, cis, upper-middle to upper-class white men) occupies the top spot and powerful social roles are more likely to be occupied by members of this group. Hierarchies and the resulting discrimination and inequalities are driven and supported by legitimizing myths, which are often treated as facts or statements of truth (e.g. paternalistic myths like hegemony/patriarchy serve society, looks after incapable minorities [women, people of color, etc] or reciprocal myths like hegemonic groups and outgroups are actually equal).
Keep in mind that dominance is not a neat and tidy thing. Since all individuals are members of multiple groups and may occupy groups of varying power or dominance and the level of dominance or power afforded to certain groups may vary slightly by location and time, the nuances of dominance can be subjective (to a point). For example, a straight, cis, white man occupies a more dominant position in society than a straight, cis, Black man. However, a straight, cis, working-class white man may or may not occupy a more dominant position in society than a straight, cis, upper-class Black man, depending on location and time. In the backwoods of the South in the 1970s, the white man would occupy a more dominant position in society. However, in San Francisco in 2011, the Black man would occupy a more dominant position in society. For more on that, see Patricia Hill Collins’ Matrix of Domination.

gender: social expectations about attributes and behaviors ascribed to males and females; “man” and “woman” are genders, which are different from biological sex (male/female).

heteronormativity: the norm or expectation that all people fall into a gender dichotomy of distinct (mutually exclusive) and complementary genders (man and woman) with “natural roles in life” which includes the expectation that heterosexuality is the normal (or natural) sexual orientation and sexual and marital relations are most/only fitting between a man and a woman. a "heteronormative" view is one that involves alignment of biological sex, sexuality, gender identity, and gender roles. Essentially, it’s the assumption that everyone is straight and fits the traditional gender roles.

legitimating rationales: explanations for why social arrangements are right and proper. And example would be Social Darwinism, or the belief that people in poverty are poor because they are lazy.

the patriarchy



rape culture

victim blaming


“You’re just a woman with a small brain. It’s science.”

“I hope you step on a lego”

We’re all fucked

You can’t just make shit up