Nina’s 2023 List of Banned Words


Nina Howe-Goldstein ’25
Deloitte Analyst for Human Capital

Across the country, Republican legislatures have led efforts to ban books and educational content, including accounts of the Holocaust and AP African-American Studies. Having been rendered a reactionary conservative by recent events, TSV Chief Satirist Nina Howe-Goldstein has decided to embark on some censorship of her own. These are the words and terms that she will be banning from Scripps College until you weirdos can be trusted with them.

The Cisgendered “Partner”

Nina’s verdict: Anyone who uses the word “partner” in the year of our Lord 2023 at Scripps Fucking College is cloutfishing and I will not stand for it. People will be like, “Oh my partner and I-” and it’s CHAD from the CMS FOOTBALL TEAM. You cannot possibly have enough of a moral objection to legal marriage that you must call the world’s most special boy your “partner.” I can guarantee that he calls you his “girlfriend” whenever you’re not around.

“But Nina, it normalizes gender ambiguity if other people might be in an unsafe-”

I don’t give a normativifuck. This is Scripps College. You say, “I think perhaps asexuals are less actively persecuted than Tumblr made them out to be,” and a pack of Core 1 students are dispatched to beat the shit out of you. Gay or straight, the use of “partner” to describe the person with whom you have maybe held hands, traumadumped upon, and had one lackluster sexual experience with is plainly an effort to seem cooler and more mature than you are. You are not imminently going to be hate crimed for dating Joey the Environmental Studies major from Santa Barbara. Please get so real.

“Mutual Aid”

Nina’s verdict: “Mutual aid” is everywhere in Claremont, typically featuring varying degrees of proximity to both the historic anarchist origins of the term first articulated in Petr Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution and the formal modern definition, which envisions a pooling of resources and skills to meet the needs of one’s own community. In the true spirit of college students, one typically encounters it through Instagram infographics requesting money for individual students.

(The Claremontian style has some delightful quirks, not in the least the inclusion of a cornucopia of marginalized identifiers in order to best emphasize the struggle of students in need — but which risks doxxing them in the process. There cannot possibly be that many, say, nonbinary lesbian neurodivergent disabled FGLI water sign international students who need $200 for a new laptop.)

As you might imagine, I have a few quibbles. Most specifically, it seems a little weird to apply the term “mutual aid” to a very specific, very normal act — namely, giving money to people who need it. Rarely, if ever, do we see other applications of the format: requests for rides to the airport or tech support or the like. We’ve reinvented charity donations with a cutesy anarchist veneer, and so the word must be canceled.

But more generally, I think that this speaks to the same phenomenon as “partner:” a desire to apply revolutionary dialogue in order to inhabit a fully-fledged identity of maturity and societal marginalization which (I repeat myself) by virtue of attending Scripps Fucking College one is basically denied from the get-go.

Yet “mutual aid” in its most reductive, infographic-iest form persists unobstructed! Are we so afraid of “charity” that we develop another problematic structure and call it revolution?? It’s like replying to someone’s Instagram story with, “wow, pretty problematic smh,” and then saying “it’s not my job to educate you,” when they ask why. (I actually do this all the time, just for the lulz.)


Nina’s verdict: If you gasp on a Zoom call and exclaim at the sight of a furry tail, you are the weakest link. Yes, your classmate has a cat — because they have that special kind of nonbinary teenager depression that can only be cured by a poorly-trained ESA and talk therapy their insurance doesn’t cover. We don’t need to stop class for five minutes to recognize that fact.

“Altered my brain chemistry” and its ilk

Nina’s verdict: There are a lot of phrases that, despite being fun and ~quirky~ on the internet, are just a mouthful to say out loud. “My brother in Christ,” is another good example, as is “bee-eff-eff-are.” You’re not being cute.


Nina’s verdict: I’m going bite bite kill destroy on “valid.” It’s gotta get ditched from our generational vocabulary. A couple months ago I saw a tweet that was like, “Cardi B said bi people are valid as fuck #slay #weexist” and at that point I just knew the word was dead, having done more to ruin public perception of bisexuals than Kyrsten Sinema ever could. It was simply too cutesy to live — too demanding of external, ahem, validation, and altogether uninterested in anything but confirmation of one’s specialness. “Valid” is buried in an unmarked grave in a French estate’s rose garden, folx! Pack it up!

And finally, the most bannedest word of all:


Nina’s verdict: No Scripps student has ever accurately described herself as “chaotic.” It’s a made-up identifier that actually signals she was sheltered in high school and now, with her unlimited adult freedom, overfills the washing machine and scampers around campus doing side quests in lieu of going to class or growing as an individual.

Some examples:

A Scrippsie will post, “happy birthday to the craziest most chaotic girl I know!!!” and her friend is literally just standing ankle-deep in a Pomona fountain at 9 p.m.

A Scrippsie will say, “This semester was chaotic but not as chaotic as MEEE” and her only evidence is a picture of the squad at Collins brunch in their pajamas.

I had a roommate who was so #chaotic that she left her scooter unused in the middle of the room, kept rotting food in the fridge, turned the lights on at 1 a.m., and ALLEGEDLY hotboxed our substance-free dorm. We no longer live together.

Anyone who uses the term “chaotic” to describe themselves adopts this unique expression of mania — like unmitigated glee, lighting up your eyes, but for when you’re about to annoy the shit out of everyone around you. We can’t help the fact that you and two other friends split an Uber to Target and bought a “Bisexual Finger Guns” shirt from the Pride collection because it’s the funniest thing you’ve ever been exposed to in your short life.

American individualism was a mistake.

Image Source: Aanji Sin ’24

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