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. 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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

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

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.

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.

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

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."

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.

Jumps Into Christmas Tree—See here.

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.

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.

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

Occam's Big Paisley Tie—The urge to exhaust every possible explanation for some example of bigotry or abuse, no matter how convoluted, remote, unlikely, or totally fucking absurd.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.)

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.

Validity Prism—The pervasive habit among people of privilege to filter marginalized people's lived experiences through their own perspectives shaped by their own lived experiences in order to establish authenticity. In simpler language, it's the habit of measuring someone else's life against one's own while ignoring meaningful differences in those lives. At its root, the Validity Prism is the practice of auditing, in place of the practice of empathy, done by privileged people who imagine their privilege makes them objective, as opposed to merely giving them a different perspective.

Visibilibunny—An avatar for anyone who wants to be seen or show support in comments, but doesn't have any words, or the right ones.

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.

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

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.

blog comments powered by Disqus