What's with the name? In October 2004, I started a blog I called Shakespeare's Sister, after one of my favorite Smiths' songs, which took its title from the Virginia Woolf essay, "A Room of One's Own." When I had no readers besides my partner Iain, and was blogging under the eponymous pseudonym, it didn't seem particularly weird to share my handle with the name of the blog, but as an entire community of contributors, guest writers, commenters, and lurkers grew, as a nod to the community, Shakespeare's Sister became Shakesville.

What's Shakesville all about, anyway? Shakesville is a feminist blog, and a feminist's blog. It is a progressive blog. It is a safe space. It is a community. It is a blog whose contributors are resolved to be willing to self-examine and learn, and whose community members are expected to do the same. Forward movement, progress, on cultural, political, and individual levels is woven into the fabric of Shakesville. Our key objectives are equality, liberty, and justice for all, empathy, self-awareness, growth, momentum, compassion, and laughter. We blog about domestic politics, foreign policy, high culture, pop culture, books, film, telly, food, the patriarchy, oppression, repression, religion, philosophy, parenting, not parenting, marriage, pets, why women's trousers have so many buttons, and anything else that we feel like discussing. With photos. Many of them doctored for maximum hilarity. All are invited. Whether you are welcome is up to you.

Who are you people? Information on the contributors can be found here.

What's the commenting policy? The commenting policy can be found here.

What does this weird word or phrase I keep seeing used at Shakesville mean? Check out the Shaxicon, below.

How can I submit a news tip, Question of the Day, guest post, action item, or other material I think would be of interest to the Shakesville community? Email Liss, or one of the other contributors.

What if I have a question that isn't answered on this list? Email Liss, or one of the other contributors.


12-Dimensional Chess—A reference to what political operatives are said to be playing when they assert a strategy is too sophisticated for critics, feminist or otherwise, to understand.

All In—Being "All In" is an acknowledgement that not speaking up, that not using one's teaspoon, that turning a blind eye toward or meeting with apathy the injustices wrought against other people tacitly condones them. To be "All In" is to recognize: I make a difference in this world, for good or ill. There is no neutral. There is no Switzerland. There is only saying no to the indignities one human visits upon another—prejudice, hatred, humiliation and pain—or saying yes. And silence, the craven averting of one's gaze so the offense may take place out of view, is not a no. It is not ambiguous. It is a yes. Yes, go ahead, just don't do it to me. It is a permission, and a plea. I'll sacrifice her if you'll let me on my merry way. We routinely cede our expectations of goodness for guarantees of safety, but only our own, and we can no longer fool ourselves that people who hurt others while we cast down our eyes are aberrations; they are, in the void of unyielding solidarity our self-interest has left, inevitabilities. There is no neutral. You're in or you're fucking out.

America 2.0—Post-democratic US, referencing corporatocacy and/or the police state.

Apatowcalypse—The current feminist backlash and possible end of culture as we know it, as signaled primarily by the rise of the Dudebro and retrofuck pop culture helmed by fauxgressive ironists like Judd Apatow, who persistently assert that bigoted jokes so old they fart dust and marginalizing humor that hasn't been original since cave paintings are "edgy."

Assdrip—A non-gendered expression of disdain, as in: "I don't give the tiniest, microscopic shit about Joe Lieberman. I don't care if I never even hear the name of this oxygen-sucking assdrip again for the rest of my everloving life."

Asshat Triumvirate—Three variations on "asshat" coined by CaitieCat: Rectal Haberdasher, Anal Milliner, and Cranial Colonic.

Bill Stickers—Whatever you've heard, he's innocent!

Bipartipoop—Conceding to conservative frames under the auspices of "bipartisanship."

Blub—To cry, either with sadness or extreme joy.

Boob Pistol of Disdain—Liss' oft-recommended, oft-used, and awesomely gratifying response to strangers cow-calling, commenting, grabbing, or otherwise rudely reminding you that you're publicly fat: 1. Grab your boob. 2. Aim it at them like a pistol of righteousness. 3. Blow a giant, loud raspberry. [Variant on step 3: Make a machine- or laser-gun noise. "Rat-a-tat-tatta-tat-tat!" and "Pyoo! Pyoo!" are both acceptable substitutions for "Phbbbbt!"]

Bootstraps—A reference to the "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" canard about self-reliance, which elides systemic disadvantages and privileges conveyed on individuals by the kyriarchy.

Bowl of Farts—A general insult, coined by Space Cowboy.

Braintwinz—Two people who think of the same thing at the same time.

Chipping Away at Roe—References the anti-choice strategy of slowly rendering Roe v. Wade an empty statute by legislatively reducing access to abortion on the state level.

Chipping Away at Griswold—Same principle as above, in reference to contraceptive access.

Clusterfucktastrophe—A catastrophic clusterfuck; a huge-ass mess.

Concern Troll—Someone who asserts to be on the same side as a social justice activist, but is nonetheless using silencing tactics (e.g. "Your tone is prohibitively strident") or serving as apologist for oppressive narratives, and purporting to do so out of concern (e.g. "I'm only saying women shouldn't wear short skirts in public because I'm concerned they're going to be raped").

Content Note—A note indicating that potentially troubling or triggering material may be found in a post, provided where applicable. Content Notes are provided to give readers the option to assess whether they've got the spoons (pdf) to process material that is potentially triggering to them. The provision of Content Notes is an exchange in which readers must participate: We communicate the information, and readers must assess their own immediate capacity to process content in the noted categories, then proceed accordingly.

Cult of the Feminazi Cooter—See: Feminazi Cooter.

Culture of Judgment—The pervasive culture in which we are socialized to judge and police other people's appearances, choices, and behaviors.

Deathbed Confession Cinema—A turn of phrase coined by Liss to refer to films in which the viewer is exhorted to laugh at fat jokes (or ethnic jokes or gay jokes or how terrible women are, etc.) for two hours before a heavy-handed dénouement in which a childish moral of the story—"X" are people who are deserving of love and respect, too!—is tacked on to hastily absolve both filmmakers and audience their production and enjoyment of the preceding onslaught of mockery.

Dildobrain—Someone whose brain seems better suited to uses other than thinkin'.

Dipfuck—Like a dipshit, but more so.

Douchehound—Variation on douchebag. See here.

Drip of Dogwank—As described. One of Liss' favorite turns of phrase to express disdain, as in: "I don't give a tiny drip of dogwank what any former president did or didn't do when it has nothing to do with what the current president is doing now. What Clinton did about wiretapping in 1994 has about as much to do with what Bush is doing about wiretapping now as pickled pigs' feet have to do with supernovas."

Dudebro—A Dudebro is an extremely privileged man, typically white, straight, cisgender, able-bodied, and middle class or higher. He wields his privilege like a weapon, hates to be challenged on it, and steadfastly refuses to examine how it benefits him. He favors rape jokes, Judd Apatow movies, and Ed Hardy gear, glories in his man-child existence, seeks a woman to be his mommy/fuckhole, and doesn't think ladies and gays should play video games.

Dumm Bith—A troll's truly pathetic attempt to insult Liss.

eleventy!!111! (and similar variants)—An expression for making fun of the sort of breathless exaggerated urgency that some people attempt to convey through a massive sequence of redundant exclamation points. Not content with a single expression of emphasis, some people have to use lots of exclamation points!!! Sometimes a handful!!!!!!!! Sometimes DOZENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And as often happens, when one is so consumed with the urgency of conveying such an important message, one's finger may slip off the Shift key, thus causing random numeral '1' characters to become interspersed with one's Crucial Emphasis-Conveying Exclamaganza. Thus, 'eleventy' is a shorthand for referring to character strings of the sort: !!!111!!11!!1! [Definition provided by Arkades.]

Exceptional Womanhood—In which a woman views herself as or is viewed by others as "not like other women," a state which is regarded as a good thing.

Expect More—An important component of teaspooning, the rejection of complacency masked as cynicism: "I'm not ironically detached, I'm not apathetic, I'm not resigned, and I'm not contemptuous of bleeding hearts. I am a greedy bitch with voracious expectations, and I dream long and lustfully of a better world that is both my muse and objective. I want it like the cracked earth of the desert wants rain, and I will neither apologize for nor amend my desire because of its remove from the here and now; its distance encourages my reach."

Eyebrow Actor—See Joseph Fiennes.

Fainting Couch/Pearl Clutching/Mint Julep/Smelling Salts—The accoutrements of affected Victorian shock.

Fatsronauts—One of Liss' many terms of endearments for her fellow fatties.

Fatty FatastropheLiss, or any other fatty who would like to proudly wear the label.

Fauxgina—An honorary vagina granted by a feminist/womanist woman to a F/W or F/W-allied man as a show of solidarity, as in: "Your 'Honorary Feminazi Cooter' fauxgina is in the mail."

Fauxgressive—Someone who claims to be progressives but demonstrates a bigotry incompatible with authentic progressivism, e.g. sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, disablism, classism, sizism, etc.

Feminazi CooterThis is the feminazi cooter. Now, I'm sort of breaking the Feminazi Cooter League's code of secrecy to do this, but let me just explain how the process works, to clear up any confusion: The Radical Gay Eggs are kept in the ovaries until they are fertilized by the dulcet tones of Barney Frank (or a Frank-certified Fertilofag like Spudsy), at which time they are deposited in the womb where they incubate alongside the Radical Gay Agenda Pink Disco Ball, which spins to the beat of It's Raining Men. In mere hours, the Radical Gay Eggs hatch into teensy lavender copies of Melissa Etheridge singles, which slowly disintegrate as they pass through the vaginal canal, emitting radiating vibrations of the Radical Gay Agenda.

Flounce/Echo Flounce/Epic Flounce/Take Your Boa and Go— Flounce (v) : To announce via comment that you are leaving this blog, never to return, because of something someone posted/commented/said in comments and then leaving. Normally reserved for concern trolls. Epic Flounce (phrase): To announce that you are leaving this blog, never to return, because of something someone posted/commented/said and then leaving by emailing something so ridiculous and douchey to Melissa or another contributor that it must be posted with information blocked so that all can enjoy mocking the fuckneckery. Echo Flounce (phrase): To announce multiple times via comment that you are leaving this blog, never to return, because of something someone posted/commented/said. Normally this is done because trollslayers are heedlessly mocking your every statement. Take your boa and go (phrase, imperative tense): A phrase used by Shakers to tell trolls (concern or otherwise) that they need to flounce off. [Definition provided by bgk.]

Flying Flunderton—Some nonsense Liss uses occasionally instead of "flying fuck."

Flyover Feminism—Practical feminism as practiced outside major media centers in the US; feminist activism in smaller towns between the coasts.

Fooking Hoff oon a Fooking Tschoosday—Care of Iain, a comparison for something you just can't handle at the moment, as in: "It's too much. I can't take it. This is like fooking Hoff oon a fooking Tschoosday."

Fuckneck—A general term of contempt. Origin.

Garbage Treasures—Worthless but hilarious items Deeky and Liss send each other in the mail.

Gay as a Pair of Pink Shoes—Self-explanatory. A term nicked by Mustang Bobby from a roommate when he was in grad school in Minneapolis.

Gaypocalypse—The impending meltdown of the American family after radical queers and their radical allies take over the entire country and force good, conservative, Christian straight people to get gay-married against their wills and give up their firstborn children to be gayified with their gay-beams of gayitude.

Goat|Paperclip—The best presidential ticket the Republicans could ever run, if only they were smart enough to do so.

Here, there is only pie.—In the truly hilarious but browser-crashing Fat Princess Flypaper thread (the Top 10 Troll Droppings from which are recounted here), Shaker JupiterPluvius calmly, brilliantly, and memorably explained to a troll who was missing the point: "What you are doing, sir, is the equivalent of going into a pie-shop and demanding a jellied eel, because the jellied-eel shop had been closed down after a gang of hooligans had demolished the place. SIR, YOU ARE TOO LATE FOR THE JELLIED EELS. HERE, WE HAVE ONLY PIE."

Hexfat—Fat cursed upon a child by hir mother. Usage: O NOES HEXFAT!!!eleventy!

hey your gay—A particularly amusing troll dropping.

Heyyy! Everybody! [Gibberish]! Wooo!—A phrase used to mock someone who very enthusiastically makes no fuckin' sense. Origin.

Hippie-Punching—The habit of Blue Dog, centrist, moderate, corporate, and/or establishment Democrats of blaming progressives for anything actually attributable to their spinelessness.

Hir—A gender-neutral substitute for him, her, his, hers. Also see: Zie.

Homomentum—The inevitable gay equality train barreling down the tracks. Choo-choo!

I Am Spartacus—The original reference is to Stanley Kubrick's 1960 film, and the scene in which various Roman slaves stand one by one and defiantly declare, "I am Spartacus!" in solidarity with the man himself (played by Kirk Douglas). In a similar if cyber fashion—following Liss' resignation from the Edwards campaign in February 2007, a subsequent Denial of Service attack, and threats of violence against Liss and Amanda Marcotte fomented by right-wing assholes like Fred Phelps—Driftglass declared, in a post on the whole mess, "I am Spartacus." And in solidarity Skaker after Shaker and blogger after blogger in turn declared online, "I am Spartacus!" Thus: An expression of solidarity especially in times of duress (or worse). [Definition provided by Kevin Wolf.]

I love you and want to do your taxes free of charge.—An exclamation to show strong appreciation, provided by Liss as an alternate to the traditional offer of having someone's babies, or sexually gratifying hir.

Jizz! In! My Pants!—An expression of extreme excitement, care of Andy Samberg.

Jumps Into Christmas Tree—See here.

Kumbaya, bitchez.—An ironic comment on nincompoops who can't get along, usually because they're deliberately stirring shit.

Kyriarchy—"A neologism coined by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza to describe interconnected, interacting, and multiplicative systems of domination and submission, within which a person oppressed in one context might be privileged in another." More here.

Kyriarchetype—A portmanteau coined by Liss: Kyriarchy + Archetype = Kyriarchetype, the perfect model of intersectional privilege to which we are meant to aspire.

Learn to Logic—A particularly amusing troll dropping, which can be adapted for any purpose, e.g. Bill O'Reilly should learn to math.

lol your fat—A particularly amusing troll dropping, frequently applied in other contexts, e.g. lol your hopey-changeyness.

lolsob—Laughing and crying at the same time.

Mansplaining—See "Splaining."

Maude—Liss' imaginary higher power.

Metric Fuckton—A lot. More than two fuckloads.

Misogybag—A misogynist douchebag.

Misogysaur—A misogynist dinosaur, someone so sexist zie is on the verge of extinction.

Mondo Fucko—One of Liss' many expressions of contempt for former president George W. Bush, as in, "There is no way Mondo Fucko is still talking about his optimistic rug!" See also: Turbofuck Shitwad.

Most Humorless Feminist in All of Nofunnington—A turn of phrase used as a play on the idea that feminists who point out misogyny or other oppressions is ruining everyone's fun.

MRA—Men's Right Activist. See here.

MREWYB—My rights end where yours begin. Liss' political philosophy, in one sentence. Example in practice here.

Nice Guy—See here.

Nieztschean Bake Sales—Where feminists get together and sell our baby-flavored cakes and sundries. A good place for people of like-minded curmudegeonliness to sit and grumble about how everything sucks and we hate all the menz. [Definition provided by InfamousQBert.]

Nooz—Unserious news, as reported by serious news outlets as if it's serious news.

Nutria-Based EconomyWhat we should totes have.

o.oP—The teaspoon salute. (See: Teaspooning.)

OFFS—Oh for fuck's sake. [/deeky]

OMG Shoez—"OMG Shoez" is something that Spudsy and Liss call each other just to say like 90 times a day, all because of this video. It's also a good way to indicate that a troll is being a hyberbolic dipshit, e.g.: "Liberals will be the end of America!" You: "OMG Shoez!"

Pathetic Anger Bread—Another superb troll dropping from the Fat Princess Greatest Hits parade.

Poopsburg—Where we are headed in an Edsel, instead of to the moon in a rocketship.

President Mondo Fucko—Liss' nickname for former president George W. Bush.

QcoFM—QCoFM is an abbreviation for Queen Cunt of Fuck Mountain, which Liss christened herself in response to emails she'd been getting about her coarse and decidedly unladylike language: "Fearing that we face a whole new level of bullshit about which we will, and should, be visibly angry, and preparing myself thusly, comments and emails composed specifically to tell me to stop using bad language or to start being less aggressive, less hostile, less antagonistic, less bitchy, less arrogant, less belligerent, less vitriolic, less nasty, less acerbic, or less of a poopyhead, are as welcome as any other, but I feel obligated to inform all potential authors of such missives that they are, however, a waste of time. If I get my facts wrong, let me know. If you don't like my tone, tough. At this bus stop in the blogosphere, I'm Queen Cunt of Fuck Mountain, and I'm mean for a reason. Once we get our country back on the right track, there will plenty of time for nursery rhymes."

QotD—Question of the Day. Asked Mondays-Thursdays.

Rape Culture—See here.

Retrofuck Jackhole—Liss' coinage for the "traditionalists."

RonpaulbuxxxSpecial coinage which can be used by glibertarians to buy a fucking clue from many of Shakesville's fine retailers.

Safe Space—See the commenting policy, here.

Scan Your Credentials—A service offered by trolls in order that we may understand they are totes smarter than us. See here and here, as examples.

Shakers—The denizens of Shakesville.

Sighbrows—Contempt or exasperation (or a combination thereof), as conveyed via eyebrow acting, coined by Shaker BrianWS.

Sodomy Squadron—Purveyors of the radical gay agenda and harbingers of the gaypocalypse.

Splaining—[Privilege]splaining is when a person of privilege condescendingly tells an unprivileged person something zie already knows, particularly something about zie's own life and/or identity, e.g. a man mansplaining what it's like to be a woman to a woman. [Privilege]splaining is that delightful mixture of privilege and ignorance that leads to condescending, inaccurate explanations, delivered with the rock-solid conviction of rightness and that slimy certainty that of course [the privileged person] is right, because [zie is the privileged person] in this conversation."

Steampunk Abortion RobotLiss, as conceived by a particularly, ahem, creative troll.

Teaspooning—The teaspoon reference started with Liss' post on International Human Rights Day: "Today is the final day of the 16 Days of Action Against Gender Violence, during which I suppose I have blogged exactly as often as always about violence against women, in America and abroad. Sometimes it feels like it's all I ever write about; sometimes it feels like I can't possibly write about it enough to do the issue justice; often, those feelings exist within me simultaneously. All I ever do is try to empty the sea with this teaspoon; all I can do is keep trying to empty the sea with this teaspoon." From that came the Shakesville Silver Teaspoon for Random Acts of Feminism, and a whole lot of subsequent references to teaspoons in these pages, when we are feeling crushed by the vastness of the work to be done.

Terrible Bargain—A deal implicitly struck between a privileged and non-privileged class, in which members of the latter withhold comprehensive trust in members of the former, as a result of casual interpersonal microaggressions. See here.

Testerical—A word not in common usage, coined by Liss to underline the etymological misogyny of hysterical.

Thank you for your concern.—A profoundly contemptuous way of calling out a concern troll.

That Explains Everything/Jumps Into Christmas Tree—See here.

Titty-Wrap Hugs {{{OTWHRecipientO}}}—Virtual hugs given by Portly Dyke.

Totally Trenchant/Trenchant as Hell—A turn of phrase, originating here, used to ridicule reporters who think they're being edgy when they're being assholes.


Trigger/Triggering/Trigger Warning—A trigger is something that evokes memories or feelings of past trauma in survivors of violence, sexual assault, self-harm, and/or suicide ideation. Thus, a trigger warning is a note added to posts on behalf of those who have experienced trauma, who may wish to avoid or prepare themselves for potentially triggering content. (See here for more.)

Turbofuck Shitwad—One of Liss' many expressions of contempt for former president George W. Bush, as in, "Fucking NO we don't miss you, so stay the hell away, you depraved turbofuck shitwad!" See also: Mondo Fucko.

Unsullied Cunt—Virginity, in the context of a culture in which women's ideas and accomplishments are regarded as unimportant, and women are viewed primarily as adornment or a source of sexual gratification for men, a woman might come to believe that her most valuable "asset" is her unsullied cunt. Origin. [Definition provided by RedEmma.]

Ur Comedy Iz So Edgy—An ironic turn of phrase used in association with comics, or anyone trying to be clever, using bigoted humor as if it's cutting edge.

Vagynomite—The power of Hillary Clinton's vagina in destroying male bromances.

Venus Fly Vagina—What women use to trap men in the ludicrous fever-dreams of absurd misogybags.

Wankstain—As described. One of Liss' favorite turns of phrase to express disdain, as in: Chris Matthews is a misogynist wankstain.

Wev—Wev is what Liss says when she has too much contempt for something to even bother uttering the full three syllables of whatever. Or, as the case may be, typing them.

What About the Menz?—A reference to the derailing tactic of hijacking any thread about women's issues to talk about men.

Who farted?Fred Thompson did.

Who monitors your bevis?—Another damn fine question, courtesy of a troll.

Your Gayest Look—Giving the finger. See here. Also here.

Zie—A gender-neutral substitute for she and he. Also see: Hir.

Zuh?—A statement of disbelief. Acceptable variants include: Huh? Buh? Wuh? and Guh?

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

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