The term "featherwood" derives from the related term "peckerwood," a word that evolved from an old racial epithet directed at whites to a term used to refer to people associated with the racist prison gang subculture. A featherwood is the female equivalent of a (male) peckerwood. Featherwoods can sometimes be members of racist prison gangs (and, in California, of related peckerwood street gangs) but are more often associates of such gangs, often girlfriends or wives of gang members. The term featherwood is most common in California and Texas, less common elsewhere in the West, and considerably less common in other regions.
The most common featherwood symbol is simply the word "featherwood" itself, often used in conjunction with a feather. Sometimes a feather by itself is also used as a symbol.