1. patriarchy n.
The social system prior to Beyoncé’s “Run the World (Girls)” where men traded women as property and you know, other shitty things.
“Belle said ‘Fuck the patriarchy’ when she refused to be Gaston’s ‘little wife’ and lived her own goddamn life with books.”
2. hegemony n.
The dominant cultural force. Like everyone who loves How I Met Your Mother or superhero movies, even though I personally see no value in them.
“Is there anything playing in the movie theater that has actual value, or is it just more trash Marvel sequels from the hegemony?
3. subaltern n.
Anything that is outside of the hegemony. An excerpt (not really) from Gayatri Spivak’s famous essay “Can the Subaltern Speak?” below for reference:
“I”m sorry, the subaltern can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, cause she’s dead.”
4. signified n.
What is expressed in a sign (sometimes, but not always words) as opposed to the physical object.
“The ‘signified’ in an eggplant emoji is a penis.”
5. signifier n.
A sign’s physical form (such as a word or illustration).
“‘Putting ‘Another Night’ by Real McCoy on your public Spotify playlist every morning at 7 a.m. for an entire week is a signifier for ‘I still have dreams about you.’”
6. petit mort n. fr.
Poetic French for “an orgasm”.
“I was obsessed with my English T.A. who told me what ‘petit mort’ really meant and used the word ‘fuck’ to talk about how cool poetry was, and I still remember her full name, but won’t post it on the internet.”
7. oedipal/electra complex n.
Freudian for “a sexual attraction to one’s parent”.
“So which one is it if I really want to bang my step-dad? Oedipal or Electra?” – All of Demi Moore’s daughters to their therapist circa 2005
8. Panopticon n.
A concept for a circular prison with a single, central watchtower, where prisoners are never fully aware of when they are being observed. Concept by Jeremy Bentham, commentary by Michel Foucault.
“The Panopticon is just a fancy word for ‘Big Brother’ or ‘Which Jersey Shore members are willing to have sex on camera?’”
9. uncanny adj.
Freud’s term for why dolls are creepy (because they are lifelike but not alive).
“No, I am not fucking going to watch The Conjuring or Annabelle with you. Those movies make me feel uncanny as fuck. But we can watch Raw. Do you want to watch Raw?”
10. misogyny n.
Anything that is rude to women.
“Donald Trump ran on a platform of misogyny and pussy grabbing. Well actually pussy grabbing is misogynistic, so just misogyny.”
11. homosocial n.
When you only hang out with members of the same sex, like Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.
“I had a homosocial gathering in my home this weekend. My girlfriends came over, I made 4 trays of Totino’s pizza rolls, they braided my hair because I was hungover, we watched Holes, and then took a group nap on my couch.”
12. performance n.
Mostly related to gender as an outward demonstration of one’s sexual identity.
“I understand that gender is a performance, but so is age. I mean everyone thinks I’m an adult woman, but really I’m just a 26 year-old child.”
13. Post-colonialism n.
The reason why there is always a cricket scene in good Bollywood movies.
“Hrithik Roshan has two thumbs on his right hand. You can see it when he holds the cricket bat thingy in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. Post-colonialism man.”
14. agency n.
An individual’s capacity to act of their own accord, and not based on cultural influences.
“I used my agency to get a Spanish degree, but then ended up working at an ad agency, which was the end of my agency.”
15. Death of the Author
The concept that the author will eventually die, taking with him/her all the original intention of their work, so that any criticism (during their lifetime or after) should exclude whatever that intention may have been, and focus solely on the text.
“Nicole wrote this article to be funny (I think) but as an author she’s already ‘dead’, so I’m gonna assume this was supposed to be serious AF.”