Need of a Word

Fear and hatred of nonconforming people in the most general sense – anyone who is not like the most powerful categories of people in a given society. Maybe it could be considered the motivational force behind kyriarchy? I was having a conversation with someone who wanted to express an idea where this would have been useful, and we were collectively stumped.

This leads me to realize it might be handy to have different forms of the main terms in social justice parlance that haven’t been broadly disseminated yet. Let’s see if this clarifies what I’m thinking about or makes it worse:

Emotional Motive – Form of Oppression
Misogyny – Patriarchy
Racism – (Dominant Race*) Supremacy
Homophobia – Heteronormativity
My Mystery Word – Kyriarchy

*Example: Japanese in Japan, White in the USA.

I feel like there could be another column in that chart I’m just not thinking of right now, and that I’m probably screwing up the chart as is by missing some obvious terms. I’m a little sick today.

The person said I should add some context. The discussion was about how – especially in high school – people hate “weirdos,” which could be just about anybody. This attitude continues into adulthood on some level: “Don’t do that or people will think you’re weeird,” “What do you think you’re special because you’re different? A special snowflake?”

Some parents would like a given child less because they didn’t want the things they’d expected: a business major, procreating, naturally colored hair, etc. Generally, shunning or abusing someone for simply being different – which can of course intersect with ableism, homophobia, transphobia, racism, misogyny, and so on.


  1. Pierce R. Butler says

    You and your friend must date from sometime well later than the ’50s, when the concept not only had cultural dominance but a term and (embryonic) resistance:


  2. says

    Pierce @1- Youths we are, though I learned a wee bit about the “fascist fifties” from my father. Conformity was one of the words that had occurred to us, but didn’t feel quite right. Conformity – as a word – feels like something you do or experience, not like it would stand for the enforcement of conformity. Maybe if it was modified in some way? But crafting neologisms, while it is sometimes easy, is also easy to mess up. Then again, you could be right. Could be that others don’t feel the same way I do about the word’s common usage.

    John @2- I’d thought of that too. Maybe. I still wonder if there’s some obvious word we’re all missing, or something that would work better.

    To both of you and anyone else interested in the topic- Do you know of any references similar to the shoddy chart I came up with, but better? Or have any ideas on how that should be structured? What is the third column? Are there more columns? Noun form of Motive – Noun form of Social System – What else?

  3. silverfeather says

    I don’t think this is what you are looking for, but when I’m trying to express this concept I use “othering”.

  4. says

    Maybe your, I want to call it a grid, could be unpacked to look at the sub-characteristics.

    >Emotional Motive – Form of Oppression

    According to what I read emotion has several parts as it is like a program being run. Percept>recall>identification:feeling>response. Motivation would be the feeling of an instinct driven response urge to what is in perception based on experience (s). (Urge because we have the capacity to resist and create alternate tesponses). Experience could be based on direct experience of the oppressed group (with associated irrational biases) or based on role-modeling by peers.

    Oppression would be a result of the expression of the above.

    >Misogyny – Patriarchy

    Misogyny: Hatred and contempt of women. A kind of motivation-feeling from specific experiences.

    Patriarchy: a system of social organization, force, and control that results (in part?) from mysogynistic morivations.

    >Racism – (Dominant Race*) Supremacy

    Racism: Irrational dislike (bigotry) of other race(s) expressed (in part) as feeling driven irrational discrimination and prejudice.

    Racial supremacy: a system of social organization, force, and control that results from racist morivations.

    >Homophobia – Heteronormativity

    Homophobia: Irrational dislike (bigotry) of same-sex sexual attraction expressed (in part) as feeling driven irrational discrimination and prejudice.

    Heteronormativity: opposite-sex sexual attraction overtly/explicitly, and covertly/implicitly held to be a universal standard of behavior independent of it’s enforcement (homophobia, means of establishing heteronormativity).

    >My Mystery Word – Kyriarchy


    Kyriarchy: a social system based around domination, oppression, and submission.
    I think there is some confusion due to the fact that these terms can cover actions and/or results of actions. Otherwise you appear to be looking for a simplified form of instinct driven (motivated) behaviors that result in and propagate kyriarchy (a kind of in-group oppression? Leading to new out-groups?) . The reference to school age behaviors seems appropriate since I’m certain that these instinct driven behaviors appear in simplified form when we are young, and get channeled by the surrounding culture into the others on the list. An instinct to form out-groups that needs self-control and thoughtful expression instead of action absent insight (from a non-bigoted perspective).

    Console wars, sport team rivalry, competing religions, hair styles…something to cover them all in rational and irrational forms? (I see dominance as an acceptable tactic against bigotry as long as one is honest, open and thoughtful about it, social conflicts include that as a matter of course).

  5. Pierce R. Butler says

    G.A.S. @ # 5 – Back then, the word “conformity” did include all the social pressures by which it was enforced.

    The standard reference book/allusion was The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, though I found more insights in those overtly rebelling against it, such as the works of bi anarchist Paul Goodman.

  6. cartomancer says

    Generally these sorts of terms are formed from Greek roots. We can probably construct one.

    A -phobia word seems to be what we’re after, in line with xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia etc.

    I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the term “kyriarchy”, since “kyrios” in Classical Greek means something like “lord” or “master”, and is used in late Classical and Medieval Greek for the Christian god himself (kyrie eleison and so forth). In an Athenian legal context it means “head of household” or “responsible adult in charge of dependents”, so linguistically speaking it’s not really any different from patriarchy or authoritarianism. But if you want to slightly extend its meaning to refer to any sort of unequal power structure, as modern theorists tend to, then we might go with “akyriophobia” to mean a fear/hatred of those without authority in unequal relationships. The a- or ab- prefix in Greek meaning a lack of the thing.

    Personally for that sort of thing I’d prefer to use hegemon, meaning someone in charge or having primacy (hence hegemony). So ahegemonophobia would fit the bill – a fear or hatred of those who do not have a position of primacy in society.

    But both terms place the focus squarely on people with authority, rather than those who follow their norms and mores. An akyriophobe or ahegemonophobe would hate those who are not privileged in society irrespective of how much they try to act like or approve of those who are. The Greek for not to conform would be dysschematizein (dys- meaning badly or wrongly, schema meaning to adopt a certain form or figure), so perhaps dysschemophobia – fear or hatred of not conforming?

  7. says

    Brony @6- Definitely some weaknesses in the way I communicated things, as you demonstrate.

    Pierce @7- Always good to get links for recommended reading, thanks.

    Carto @8/9- Ahh, constructing neologisms is a minefield for people without the language knowledge you have. Thanks for the help.

  8. says

    @Great American Satan
    It’s a worthwhile pattern to persue. I’ve noticed patterns of similarity among different forms of bigotry (Lewis’s law being a specific in a general category of group social display), I think you might have another.

  9. John Morales says

    G A S, I think there are different dynamics at different levels of granularity, and ‘tribalism’ I think applies at some of those levels — such as a school milieu. Group dynamics, not just instincts/psychology or culture.

    To both of you and anyone else interested in the topic- Do you know of any references similar to the shoddy chart I came up with, but better?

    Sorry, but I’m really not sufficiently knowledgeable about this stuff to give good guidance.

  10. ivo says

    And what about xenophobia? It’s usually defined as the fear of foreigners, but sometimes also as fear of the unfamiliar. In terms of emotional motivation, it seems to fit, but it’s probably not what you’re looking for here.

  11. says

    Brony 11-12 & John 13- I might get around to trying to make a better chart out of this. I think John may have hit at another column for the chart – “communal / group dynamic version”? Something to think about if I come back to this.

    ivo @14- Yet another of the words we considered but didn’t feel quite right. Nonetheless, a reasonable suggestion.

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