Definitions

Ableism – the systematic exploitation, mistreatment, and abuse of people living with a disability.

Adultism – the systematic exploitation, mistreatment, and abuse of young people by adults.

Anti-Semitism – prejudice, discrimination, and violence directed against people who are Jewish.

Christianism - the systematic exploitation, mistreatment, and abuse of faith groups who do not hold the beliefs and practices of Christians.

Classism - the systematic exploitation, mistreatment, and abuse of people based on their economic background. The Poor/Front-line workers/Unemployed/Welfare/Homeless are powerless. The Middle/Professional/Managerial have both power and are powerless. Rich/Owners are raised to be in (wealth is often passed from generation to generation) or rise to positions of power; consequently they are the ones with power.

Gender – (as different from “sex”) refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women. "Male" and "female" are sex categories, while "masculine" and "feminine" are gender categories. (Also see Sex)

Gender Expression - the outward expression of a person’s gender identity, usually expressed through clothing, behaviors, mannerisms, and chosen names.

Gender Identity – how a person self-identifies, their own internal, personal sense of being a man or a woman (or as someone outside of gender limits). The gender identities one may choose from include: male, female, both, somewhere in between (third gender), or neither. It is not necessarily based on biological sex, nor is it always based on sexual orientation.

Heterosexism – the systematic exploitation, mistreatment, and abuse of lesbian, gay and bisexual and transgender people. Homophobia is the fear of homosexuals and the fear of being gay or thought to be gay.

Homophobia - the fear of homosexuals, and/or the fear of being gay oneself, and/or of being thought to be gay by others. (Also see Heterosexism, Transphobia)

Lookism – the systematic exploitation, mistreatment, and abuse of people based on their physical appearance. This relates to preconceived societal notions of beauty.

Muse - Someone who inspires girls, who recognizes and draws out their strengths and potential (Amy Sullivan, From Mentor to Muse, p. 243.)

Misogyny - the hatred or dislike of women and/or girls. Misogyny can show up in many ways, including discrimination and physical, emotional and psychological violence against women. (also see “Sexism”).

Nationalism – the policy or doctrine of insisting the interests of one's own nation should be viewed as separate and superior to the interests of other nations or the common interests of all nations.

Oppression - working definition of oppression for the purpose of advocacy is keeping someone down by the cruel or unjust use of authority. Oppression is an action against a person or a group of people. It can occur interpersonally (between people) or though systems (institutionalized).

Racism – the systematic exploitation, mistreatment, and abuse by one group of people by another based upon race. In the United States, this usually refers to exploitation of people of color by white people.

Sex - refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women. "Male" and "female" are sex categories, while "masculine" and "feminine" are gender categories. (Also see Gender)

Sexism – the systematic exploitation, mistreatment, and abuse of women by men.

Sexual Orientation - an emotional, romantic or sexual attraction (or a combination of these) to persons of the opposite sex or gender (heterosexual), the same sex or gender (homosexual), to both sexes (bisexual) or more than one gender (pansexual, omnisexual).

Stereotype - an exaggerated or distorted belief about characteristics of a group. Stereotyping results in lumping all members of that group together and refusing to acknowledge differences among members of the group.

Transgender – an umbrella term for people whose gender identity differs from what is typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. For transgender people, the sex they were assigned at birth and their own internal gender identity do not match.

Transphobia - the term often used to describe fear of people who are transgendered or whose gender expression (appearance, behavior, name, etc.) does not fit what is considered “normal” for their biological sex.

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