7 Words That Tell Me We Should Be Friends

When I’m in the company of strangers I send out little verbal cues to see if I’m in good company. Little verbal hanky codes, if you will. Other people do it too. Here are seven awesome words and phrases that tell me we might just become best friends.

1. Performativity

In my mind the heavens open up, Judith Butler descends, and I do a little jig. You don’t have to agree with Judith Butler, you just have to know that the word exists. That’s all it takes for me to be mind-hugging you like this:
monkey2. Heteronormative

Let’s go grab a drink, girlfriend. Cause shit just got real.


3. Patriarchy (extra points if you call it “the” patriarchy)

Come with me, let’s go talk about the politics of pubic hair and drink some soy chai lattes.

hold-hands-500x4004. Cisgender

A classmate used this word in the beginning of the semester. I marched up to her after class (wide-eyed and a bit breathless), and told her I thought we should be friends. I’m surprised she still talks to me.
cute_wide-eyed-cat-400x2655. White privilege

23ma42w.jpg6. Ableism

Let’s go discuss issues of access somewhere where we can both feel comfortable.


kid7. I identify as…

I can’t wait to hear the end of that sentence, and I hope we can be friends.



Which words send you into a tizzy?




  1. Hearing someone talk about “rape culture” is a good cue for me.

  2. I don’t know why, but your comment is funny, Charlie.

  3. ohmygoodness. this is amazing. I recently transitioned from a women’s college with a bunch of feminists to a graduate school in physics where feminists are few and far between. I am now on high alert for any of these words, and those people will definitely be my friends!

    • slcfeminist says:

      I’m in the middle of a similar situation, Annie. Simple verbal cues are salvation in the absence of a strong feminist network! Hopefully you can change the perception of feminism within your physics cohort.

  4. I love your list! Recently I participated in a workshop and was late so I missed the introductory presentation. We later watched a documentary and were asked to give our opinion on it. When I said I liked it but thought it was a bit too heteronormative I was expecting to have to explain what I meant. But the whole room was nodding, because heteronormativity had been covered by the workshop leaders as an important term in the introduction. Needless to say I loved them!
    (My spellchecker apparently shouldn’t be my friend, it does not know the word heteronormative…)

    • slcfeminist says:

      We’re glad you like it! We know we have won when spellchecker recognizes commonly used words and phrases from feminist discourse!

  5. There is something awesome about having to look up words when reading an article….

  6. Extra points if you follow ‘the patriarchy’ with … ‘women won’t be any different’ because the problem is the combination of humans and power, regardless of gender.
    Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Jan Brewer … ya know? Or do ya know.

  7. all these words! also “feminist ally,” using “racist” to describe those who participate in a system of oppression not just those who are actively offensive, and the reminds me of a third one…”system(s) of oppression”

  8. ashurredly says:

    Extra points for “heteropatriarchy.”

  9. “Privilege,” “Check our privilege,” “Walk a mile in their shoes” before you judge them, “We don’t know what their life is like.”

  10. Also a word that is a big friend turnon

    saying STI instead of STD

    • I totally agree! As a sex educator that is the first thing I talk about when attempting to de-stigmitize STIs

  11. jesseagle says:

    This is amazing. “Patriarchy” and “heteronormativity” do it for me.

    And, simple as it seems, “I’m a feminist” or “As a feminist” are increasingly rare gems these days.

  12. also, for me: HAES, deconstructing the gender binary, any privilege that the speaker acknowledges having, cis-sexist.

  13. Someone says unpack – and not to do with moving apartments. Unluckily enough, it does not happen in my mechatronics engineering classes very often.

  14. Cisnormative. Intersectionality. 😀

  15. Decolonize, female-bodied, male-bodied, genderless marriage, LGBTQRSTUVWXYZ (with tongue firmly in cheek), abortion doula, sanism or mentalism, bodily integrity rights, people experiencing homelessness.

    Any of the above will hit the spot.

  16. “undocumented” immigrant moistens things for me.

  17. I’m sorry, but you sound like such a boring person. Not because you want to talk about feminism, but because this indicates that this is all you want to talk about. I don’t just make friends with people who only share the same interests or political views as me. In fact, I’m totally down with having a long discussion with a conservative or to chat with a fundamentalist christian or to have a coffee with a scientologist. And believe me, I am very opinionated and have very strong convictions, but I personally hate conversations that go “Oh yes, I absolutely agree!” “Oh me too! I totally agree!”. It’s only so long before that can get really boring.

    I suppose it’s all down to personalities. I personally love debates and I’ll even play devil’s advocate to see how someone’s argument stands. I suppose you just wanna have a space where you get to vent and be yourself.

    Another point – I know all this jargon, but if you heard me use it, you might not necessarily like me as a person, or even agree with my worldview. You might regret having that chai latte with me, haha.

    • slcfeminist says:

      Andrea, for the record, prefacing an insulting statement with “I’m sorry” doesn’t nullify the insult. Please keep in mind that this is one post, and represents one point of view of my personality. So, thanks for reading, but one post doesn’t represent me as a complex human being. Who know though, you might just think I’m boring.

      I’m also a fan of different perspectives, and love learning new things from people who don’t share my opinion. However, it is nice to spend your time (that amount varies) with people who have some similar interests.

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