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Glossary - Women's History

This glossary includes words and phrases encountered in women's history that are sometimes confusing, or terms that have passed out of usage or have changed in usage. I've also added some amusing definitions from historical documents.

ACTWU
Profile of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union - ACTWU.

Abbess
Glossary entry for Abbess, part of an extensive women's history glossary from women's history.about.com

Alimony
Definition and description of alimony, from the perspective of women's history.

Augusta (Roman Title)
Glossary entry for Augusta, a Roman title.

Backlash
Definition of the term backlash. What is the meaning of backlash? Is there a backlash against feminism?

Bell, Book, and Candle
An 1811 version of the definition of "bell, book, and candle" as a phrase in Christian history -- one that was often applied in cases of accused witches and heretics.

Bitch
A derogatory term still used for "uppity women," the term "bitch" has been used in similar ways for at least several centuries. Here's a definition from 1811.

Child Custody
A brief description of child custody history.

CDV
What is a CDV, those images from the 19th century and especially around the American Civil War?

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
This international treaty adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly aimed at eliminating sex discrimination.

Coverture
In studying pre-20th century women's rights, especially in England and America, the concept of "coverture" is key.

Cultural Feminism
"Cultural feminism" is one of the varieties or threads of feminist activism and theory -- here's the basic definition of "cultural feminism."

Curtesy
Glossary entry for Curtesy, part of an extensive women's history glossary from women's history.about.com

Dowager
An explanation of the title Dowager often used in conjunction with royalty and the peerage, as in Dowager Queen or Dowager Empress.

Double Standard
What is meant by a "double standard" especially relating to women and men?

Dower
Glossary entry for dower, part of an extensive women's history glossary from women's history.about.com

Ecofeminism
What is ecofeminism? The philosophy of ecofeminism connects the oppression of women and of nature.

Dowry
Glossary entry for dowry, part of an extensive women's history glossary from women's history.about.com

Fallacy of Anachronism
In judging the role of women in other times, the charge of the "fallacy of anachronism" is sometimes invoked.

What Is Feminism?
Feminism refers to a diverse variety of beliefs, ideas, movements, and agendas for action.

Liberal Feminism
Liberal feminism defined, with examples and more information.

Fallacy: correlation implies causation
In historical analysis, as well as criticism of feminism, the fallacy of "correlation implies causation" is frequently -- and of course incorrectly -- invoked.

Male Chauvinist Pig
A term invented in the 1960s, "male chauvinist pig" is rooted in two different derogatory terms, "pig" and "chauvinist."

Gender?
How is "gender" defined and used, especially in the study of history and culture?

Hagiography or Hagiographies
Glossary definition of hagiography.

Intersectionality
What does the term "intersectionality" mean?

Misogyny
Misogyny literally means hatred of woman. Misogyny is also used to describe attitudes of contempt toward women in general.

Nuclear Family
What is the definition of a nuclear family? The traditional nuclear family is often described as the ideal family unit.

Objectification
What is objectification? Explore what it means to objectify someone in this feminism glossary definition of objectification.

Pennsylvania v. Addicks
Pennsylvania v. Addicks was a significant decision in legal history.

Pink-Collar
What does pink-collar mean? Pink-collar jobs were traditionally held by women and paid less than men's jobs.

Politicos
Who were the feminist politicos? Some radical feminists used the term "politicos" to describe feminists who did not break away from existing political structures.

Polyandry
A definition of polyandry, plus an example of polyandry as a cultural practice in relatively recent history.

Prostitute
Definition of the term "prostitute" including some synonyms, euphemisms, and related terms.

Radical Feminism
Though this term is sometimes used to describe any feminist whose views are extreme, the definition of "radical feminism" is more specific than that.

Separate Spheres
An overview of the ideology of separate spheres which attempted to define the proper role or place or sphere for women and for men.

Salic Law
Salic law defined and explained: European custom around women's inheritance of property and royal titles.

Separate Estate
Glossary entry for separate estate, part of an extensive women's history glossary from women's history.about.com

Sex Discrimination
What is sex discrimination? Here is a feminism glossary definition of the term sex discrimination.

Sexism
What is sexism? Feminist theorists defined sexism and fought against it.

Social Feminism
Social feminism applied separate spheres ideology, justifying a kind of activity by women in the public sphere by their special responsibilities.

Socialist Feminism
What is socialist feminism? Socialist feminism was a branch of feminism that gained popularity in the women's movement during the 1960s and 1970s.

Subjectivity
Definition of subjectivity as an approach to women's history. Links to more details. Entry in the Encyclopedia of Women's History from Jone Johnson Lewis.

Suffrage
Meaning of the word "suffrage," and where it comes from.

Suffragette
Glossary entry for suffragette, a term which had different connotations for American and British women.

Sex Object
What is meant by seeing someone merely as a sex object?

Teetotaller
The term teetotaller has a history. Do you know what it is?

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