Meet Moya Bailey, the Black Woman Who Created the Term ‘Misogynoir’
Some are skeptical of words like “misogynoir” altogether — words that have been invented in the last decade or so and appear to thrive solely on social media platforms like Tumblr, a site known as an enclave for so-called “social justice warriors.”
On Friday, New York magazine senior editor Jesse Singal tweeted out the definition of “kyriarchy” (defined, in the screenshot he includes, as “the social system that keeps all intersecting oppressions in place”). “If we just make up enough new words,” he wrote, “oppression will melt away through the sheer force of our theorizing.”
To anyone who might criticize “misogynoir” on the same basis, Bailey would say that there’s power in creating a word for something that already exists but, for the most part, remains nameless. And for Bailey, the more specific, the better — “people of color,” “women of color,” “patriarchy” and “racism” can often be dangerously broad.
“I think we have to refine language in a lot of different ways so we can actually come up with solutions that help the communities we want to address,” she said. “When you use language that’s generic or unspecific you can get at some of the problem, but not all of it.”