16 Words To Think Differently About In 2016

Because they matter more than you think.

1. Therapy


Seeing a therapist doesn’t make someone weird; it simply means they’re looking out for themselves, and often for the people they care about. We worry so much about physical health, but prioritizing mental health is just as important.

2. Race

CBS TV / Via

CBS TV / Via


Because it’s not a “card”; it’s a big part of people’s identity and how they interact with the rest of the world. Better to approach discussions of race with nervousness than to pretend, for one’s own convenience, that we’re post-race when race-based inequity is still so pervasive in our society.

3. Fat

Ready to Stare / Via

Because it’s a natural part of everyone’s anatomy, and how much of it someone has or where doesn’t make them a less worthy or lovable human being.

4. Skinny

Because body composition should never be stigmatizing.

5. Old

Sony Pictures Classics

Because “Ugh, I’m so old” isn’t a productive thing to say/hear/think, especially since your actual age usually has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

6. Dark


Because complexion isn’t an insult, and ummm…have you seen Lupita and Mindy?

7. Virgin

Summit Entertainment

Because a person’s sexual experience is no one’s business but their own.

8. Bisexual/pansexual

Anna Borges/BuzzFeed

It’s not a phase, and they aren’t greedy. Just because you like apples and bananas doesn’t mean you eat twice the amount of fruit as everyone else, does it?

9. Curvy

ABC TV / Via

Because it doesn’t actually describe just one kind of body, and if you’re that worried about ownership of the word, the other people who choose to use it aren’t nearly your biggest problem.

10. Flat

Epic Records

Because a “flat” butt or chest doesn’t make a body less of an awe-inspiring vessel.

11. OCD

Because obsessive compulsive disorder is a mental illness, not a way to describe how organized you are.

12. Kinky

iamhannalashay / Via

Because kinky hair makes a bomb-ass Afro!

13. Plus-size

Rachele Cateyes / Via

Because yes, retailers at some point made a confusing and seemingly arbitrary decision to use the label for sizes above a U.S. 12, but the word is quantitatively, not qualitatively, descriptive — much like “millionaire” or “octogenarian.” While plus-size stores and brands leave a lot to be desired, the term itself is not a bad one. Unless you’re in the “fat is bad” camp, in which case, scroll up.

14. Nappy


Because beautiful hair isn’t based on texture.

15. Bipolar

Because bipolar disorder is a mental illness, not an adjective for changing your mood or mind often.

16. Diversity

As Viola Davis so eloquently said in her Emmy acceptance speech, “the only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.” Ensuring that space is made for people who exist outside of the straight, cis, white, thin, able-bodied realm that has for so long been considered “ideal” is not a concession; it’s something that makes educational institutions, workplaces, and entertainment richer and better.

Now go forth and be compassionate!


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