Glossary

Since I use some terms that are not (yet) in common usage, I thought I’d set up this glossary to help clarify things. I am also including some terms to clarify the way I define the term since they are often difficult to define, such as “religion.” Obviously, this is a work in progress… (What isn’t?!?)

If you’re looking for terms used in financial crisis coverage, please check out the Planet Money glossary.

Amatonormativity
Amatonormativity, a term coined by Elizabeth Blake, is “the assumption that a central, exclusive, amorous relationship is normal for humans, in that it is a universally shared goal, and that such a relationship is normative, in the sense that it should be aimed at in preference to other relationship types.” (quoted here).

Atheism
Strictly speaking this means the denial of a theistic god, i.e., a god that meddles in our day-to-day life. It is often expanded to include the denial of any gods or goddesses. One of my favorite definitions is: Believing in one less god than Christians/Muslims/Jews.

Conjugality
While this is mostly defined as “related to marriage,” I would like to broaden this definition to mean “sex and everything else” relationships. So, conjugality describes a relationship that at least at some point involved sex.

Cooperation
Since cooperation is often mixed up with collaboration, I decided to include it in my glossary. Both words me “to work with” and collaboration has only recently taken on a negative subtext. Basically, we collaborate with the system and we cooperate with each other. Way more information is here.

Cultural Trauma
My current definition is: Cultural trauma is the shame we feel when we are not living up to cultural expectations. It occurs when we believe that we are unworthy of love and belonging because we don’t follow the rules. So, cultural trauma are the internalized cultural messages that suggest there is something wrong with us or we are not good enough because we fail to live up to a cultural norm and blame ourselves for that failure. At essence, cultural trauma are the painful manifestations of the myth that there is only one right way to live. For a more detailed explanation, please see this post.

Discrimination Types Unmarried Face

  • Marital Status Discrimination (MSD): Treating married people differently than people who are not currently married.
  • Conjugal Status Discrimination (CSD): Treating people who are in a conjugal relationship differently than people who are not a conjugal couple.
  • Relationship Status Discrimination (RSD): Treating people in any kind of relationship differently than people who are not in a relationship.
  • More details are in this post.

Emergence
“In philosophy and science, emergence refers to novel holistic (or global) properties that arise in complex systems from relatively simple interactions between smaller-scale systems. In meteorology, tornadoes emerge from simpler interactions of small fluid masses. [...] Wars between nations emerge from the interactions of social systems at multiple smaller scales forming nested hierarchies.” (Nunez, Paul L. (2010). Brain, Mind, and the Structure of Reality. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Page 53)

Family
A family includes a householder and one or more other people living in the same household who are related to the householder by birth, marriage, or adoption. All people in a household who are related to the householder are regarded as members of his or her family. A household can contain only one family for purposes of census tabulations. Not all households contain families since a household may be a group of unrelated people or one person living alone.
Families are classified by type as either a “married-couple family” or an “other family” according to the presence of a spouse. “Other family” is further broken out according to the sex of the householder. The data on family type are based on answers to questions on sex and relationship that were asked on a 100-percent basis.
(From the U.S. Census Bureau)

Healing does not mean curing, although the two words are often used interchangeably, While it may not be possible for us to cure ourselves or to find someone who can, it is always possible for us to heal ourselves. Healing implies the possibility for us to relate differently to illness, disability, even death, as we learn to see with eyes of wholeness. Healing is coming to terms with things as they are.” ~ Jon Kabat-Zinn

Heteronormativity
Onely has this great definition of it: “We use “heteronormative” to mean the hegemonic perspective that normalizes coupled relationships. “Heteronormative” historically refers to a perspective that fails to recognize “alternative” gender and sexual identities. At Onely, we believe that heteronormativity also fails to recognize those of us who prefer living alone to coupling.”

Humanism
Humanism that is devoid of anything supernatural. I am a bit ambivalent about the advantages of distinguishing secular humanism from humanism in general. I fear that this is creating an unnecessary splintering of the humanism movement.

Matrimania/Couplemania
Matrimania is a term coined by Bella DePaulo to summarize the cultural obsession with marriage. It is “perpetuating the misguided notion that marriage is unequivocally beneficial for individuals and society” (Hat tip to Onely). Couplemania expands this term to include a general social obsession with romantic/sexual coupling. More details are in this post.

Relationship
The term “relationship” has mostly been reduced to mean “conjugal relationship” but that is an incorrectly narrow definition of the term. It simply means “a relation between people; a state of connectedness between people (especially an emotional connection).” We have relationships with many people around us; some of these are close and intimate; others are more more causal. Sexual contact may or may not be involved. I am using the expression “coupled relationship” (replacing the more clunky expression “intimate relationship that involves sex”) to describe what we culturally consider a “relationship.” Sometimes I also simply use SEEP or seepie.

Religion
Books have been written about this one! I call anything a religion that acts or smells like one, i.e., a world view that contains at least some supernatural elements, whether those elements are a god or nirvana doesn’t really matter. For example, unlike many Western Buddhists, I think that Buddhism is a religion.

Shame
Brené Brown defines shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” (Brown 2010, 39). She also points out that “shame is the fear of disconnection” (Brown 2012, 109).

SEEP
Sex and Everything Else Partner – term coined by Bella DePaulo to describe the couplemanical obsession that one partner can have for the other in couples. The adjective that goes with it is “seepy” (not sure if the rhyme with creepy is intentional…).

Singlism
Term coined by Bella DePaulo to describe discrimination and bias against people who are not married or part of a couple. More details are in this post. Bella DePaulo provided a very detailed description of the term she coined in celebration of Singles Week 2010.

Spirituality
A less organized version of religion, thus it includes something supernatural (like an unprovable presence of a free-floating consciousness in the universe aside from) and faith in something, such as a god, spirits, or ghosts (hungry or otherwise).

The Wrong or religious wrong
I use these terms to describe what is usually called the Right (or Religious Right). Although the opposite is “left,” the usage of the term “right” seems to imply that somehow they are right about what they’re claiming… More details are in this post.