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D E F I N I T I O N S
ASEXUAL /ey-sek-shoo-uh l/ (adjective): free from sexual desires or sexuality; a stereotype that attempts to desexualize black women from having no sex or sexual organs. See also Mammy.
BATTY POLITICS /bat-ee pol-i-tiks/ (noun): Historian Shirley Ann Tate created this term to describe mainstream society's historical and modern fetishization with black female bottoms. See also Sable-Saffron Venus.
BLACK EROTIC FUTURISM /blak ih-rot-ik fyoo·chr·i·zm/ (noun): Described by Shawna Shipley-Gates as a black feminist expectation regarding a future of liberated eroticism, sensuality, sexuality, pleasure, and divine feminine energy that empowers black womxn to self-define sexual narratives; explore all sexual identities and expressions; heal from sexual trauma; and engage in healthy sexual behaviors within a sex-positive, intersectional and inclusive environment that is free from sexual oppression. See also Erotic and Black Erotic Revolution.
BLACK EROTIC REVOLUTION /blak ih-rot-ik reh·vuh·loo·shn/ (noun): Described by Shawna Shipley-Gates as a black feminist movement within Black Erotic Futurism where black womxn living healthy, unabashedly provocative, and luxuriously erotic lifestyles is a form of power and resistance against misogynoiristic sexual oppression. See also Erotic and Black Erotic Futurism.
BLACK FEMINISM /blak feh-muh-ni-zm/ (noun): Commonly described by Patricia Hill Collins as the experience of Black women that gives rise to a particular understanding of their position in relation to sexism, class oppression, and racism. See also Intersectionality.
CONTROLLING IMAGES /kuh n-trohl-ing im-ijs/ (noun): Sociologist, Patricia Hill Collins coined this term as the ideological dimension in the oppression of Black womanhood. These images vary depending on historical and social context and generally characterize Black women in stereotypically negative ways.
CULTURE OF DISSEMBLANCE /kuhl-cher uhv dih-sem-bluh ns/ (noun): is a term coined by African-American author and professor Darlene Clark Hine to describe a "cult of secrecy" practiced by black women to"protect the sanctity of inner aspects of their lives." Though sometimes linked to assimilation, culture of dissemblance is different in that it was mainly used for black women to hide their sexualities and present an asexual image to the world in order to protect themselves.
CUPCAKE /kuhp-keyk / (noun): a tiny and delicate yet decadent dessert consisting of a layer of frosting (vulva or butt cheeks) and a cake-y center often with filling (vagina or rectum).
DESEXUALIZE /de·sek·shoo·ul·ize/ (verb): deprive of sexual character or the distinctive qualities of a sex. See also Mammy.
DIVINE FEMININITY or DIVINE FEMININE ENERGY /duh-vain feh·muh·ni·nuh·tee/ (noun): the connection to the part of your consciousness responsible for nurture, intuition, sensuality and empathy, regardless of your gender.
EROTIC /ih-rot-ik / (noun): described by Audre Lorde, black feminist and poet, as the most responsible source of women's power. Lorde located that power in women's acknowledgement of desire; issued a call to all womxn, regardless of sexual identity; and erased erotic differences between straight, bisexual, and lesbian desire in order to promote such desire as a creative force for revolutionary change.
EROTIC SUBJECTIVITY /ih-rot-ik suhb-jek-tiv-i-tee/ (noun): Audre Lorde, black feminist and poet, encourages black women to embrace their ability to be in tune with their own emotions and desires instead of suppressing their inner passion.
FEMINIST /fem-uh-nist/ (noun): a person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of all genders, regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, religion, ability, and sexual orientation.
FREAK FLAG /frēk flag/ ( idiomatic): a characteristic, mannerism, or appearance of a person, either subtle or overt, which implies unique, eccentric, creative, adventurous or unconventional thinking.
HOME PLACE /hohm pleys/ (noun): Feminist scholar, bell hooks, defines this term as “the one site where one could freely confront the issue of humanization, where one could resist."
HOTTENTOT VENUS /hot-n-tot vee-nuh s/ (person): Saartjie (aka Sara) Baartman, a South African Khoikhoi women who, due to her large buttocks, was exhibited as freak show attractions in 19th-century Europe under the name Hottentot Venus. Even after her death in 1815, her reproductive organs remained on display in Europe until 2002 when she was finally laid to rest in her home country.
HYPERSEXUAL /hahy-per-sek-shoo-uh l/ (adjective or noun): a stereotype that accuses black women of having a dysfunctional preoccupation with sexual fantasy, often in combination with the obsessive pursuit of casual or non-intimate sex; pornography; compulsive masturbation; romantic intensity and objectified partner sex.
ILLICIT EROTICISM /ih-lis-it ih-rot-uh-siz-uh m/ (noun): Mireille Miller-Young highlighted black women in the sex industry who employ negative stereotypes such as hypersexuality to achieve mobility, erotic autonomy, and self care.
INTERSECTIONALITY /in-ter-sek-shuh-nal-i-tee/ (noun): an analytical framework created by Kimberle Crenshaw that refers to how the interaction between different social categories (i.e. race or gender) shape people’s lived experiences. It also refers to the complex way inequality is arranged at the societal level so that some groups have power relative to others, even if they are disadvantaged or privileged in other ways.
JEZEBEL /Jez·e·bel/ (noun): also referred to as a sexual siren, is characterized as black women who are overly sexualized, aggressive, sexually promiscuous, uncaring, completely lacking in virtue and a woman who will use her sexuality to manipulate and deceive.
MAMMY /mam-ee/ (noun): a stereotype that portrays black women as desexualized servants to white families and who is generally good-natured, often overweight, and loud.
MISOGYNOIR /mi-soj-uh-nwar/ (noun): the specific hatred, dislike, distrust, and prejudice directed toward black women coined by black queer feminist scholar, Moya Bailey.
MULTIPLE JEOPARDY /muhl-tuh-puh l jep-er-dee/ (noun): The term intersectionality is most often used instead of this phrase coined by sociologist Deborah K. King. Multiple jeopardy refers to the inability to pinpoint any one factor as the most significant in explaining oppression.
NOIRE /nwär/ (adjective): French feminine equivalent to NOIR which means black.
POLITICS OF PLEASURE /pol-i-tiks uhv plezh-er/ (noun): Hip-hop feminist Joan Morgan is committed to reframing the existing narrative about black female sexuality by focusing on desire and pleasure.
QUADROON /kwo-droon/ (noun): a woman of one-quarter African descent and three-quarters European descent. Known to participate in "quadroon balls" or social events, mostly in New Orleans, designed to encourage mixed-race women to have sexual relationships with wealthy white men often as prostitutes, concubines, and mistresses.
RESPECTABILITY POLITICS (aka POLITICS OF RESPECTABILITY)
/ri-spek-tuh-bil-i-tee pol-i-tiks/ (noun): refers to attempts by marginalized groups to police their own members and show their social values as being continuous and compatible with mainstream values rather than challenging the mainstream for what they see as its failure to accept difference. Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham coined this phrase to describe the strategies of the Black Women's Club Movement in her 1993 book, Righteous Discontent: The Women’s Movement in the Black Baptist Church: 1880-1920, which allowed black women to join their religiosity with their social political attitudes.
SABLE-SAFFRON VENUS /sey-buh l saf-ruh n vee-nuh s/ (person): Before Hottentot Venus, the bodies of black women were viewed as sexually abnormal and only useful for sexual pleasures of white men (concubines) and reproduction (breeders).
SAPPHIRE /saf-ahyuh r/ (noun): a stereotype that portrays black women as rude, loud, malicious, stubborn, and overbearing. also known as the "angry black woman".
SENSUALITY /sen·chuh·wa·luh·tee/ (noun): the enjoyment, expression, or pursuit of pleasure of the senses.
SEX POSITIVITY /seks poz-i-tiv-i-tee/ (noun): a movement that celebrates consensual, safer sex and the multiple facets of human sexuality as natural, empowering experiences.
SEX TECHNOLOGY (aka SEX TECH) /seks tek·naa·luh·jee/ (noun): technology and technology-driven ventures that are designed to enhance, innovate and disrupt human sexuality and/or the human sexual experience.
SEXUAL HEALTH /sek-shoo-al helTH/ (noun): a state of physical, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. It requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence.
SEXUALITY /sek-shoo-al-i-tee/ (noun): the quality or state of being sexual; the condition of having sex; sexual activity; or sexual preference.
SEXUAL WELLNESS /sek-shoo-al wel·nuhs/ (noun): a blend of physical state, mental state, and social well-being that has a connection with sexuality.
SEX WORK (also known derogatorily as PROSTITUTION) /seks wurk/ (noun): the exchange of sexual services, performances, or products for material compensation. It includes activities of direct physical contact between buyers and sellers as well as indirect sexual stimulation.
SLUT-SHAME /sluht-sheym/ (verb): to stigmatize a woman for engaging in behavior judged to be promiscuous or sexually provocative.
TRAGIC MULATTA /ˈtrajik m(y)o͝oˈlädō/ (noun): dating back to the 19th century, a biracial (half black-half white) woman who fails to fit completely into the "black world" or "white world". She is portrayed as having self-hatred through depression, sexual perversion, alcoholism, and even suicide attempts. Tragic mulattas are often compared to Jezebels due to their stereotyped "hypersexual" behavior.
VAGINA /vuh-jahy-nuh/ (noun): the muscular tube leading from the external genitals to the cervix of the uterus in women and most female mammals.
VULVA /vuhl-vuh/ (noun): whole female genital package — your labia, clitoris, vaginal opening, and the opening to the urethra.
WOMANIST /woo m-uh-nist/ (adjective or noun): a term created by Alice Walker, as a black feminist who is committed to analyzing sexism in the black community and racism in the feminist community as well as acknowledging the contributions and abilities of black women.
WOMXN /woo m-uh n/ (noun): a term to denounce the original word of "woman" which implies the extension of man based on the biblical reference of Adam and Eve while also being inclusive of trans women, non-binary women, and women of color.
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