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"Doesn't define us"

Despite petition signed by thousands, Oxford English Dictionary refuses to remove ‘appalling’ term

By WITW Staff on October 25, 2016

An “Essex girl”, according to the Oxford English Dictionary is an “unintelligent and materialistic” woman — but two women are now trying to change that. Natasha Sawkins, 34, and Juliet Thomas, 32, started a petition against term, claiming it is an “appalling stereotype” which does not reflect the women living in the county. While their petition already gained some 3,000 signatures, editors from the OED responded saying that the fabled reference text would not make the changes based on this petition as it “would go against our descriptive editorial policy and undermine the evidence-based approach that our dictionaries are built on.”

Thomas and Sawkins, two mothers living in Essex, say they are happy that they have been able to spark a debate around the popular British term, and that it does not reflect the women they know. “It doesn’t define the lady working double shifts at Tesco to make ends meet, the teenage girl up late studying for her A Levels, the hairdresser who dreams of opening her own salon, the volunteer at the woman’s refuge trying to help those who need it most,’ they told The Daily Mail. ‘It doesn’t define the mothers, the sisters, the daughters of this county and we sure as hell won’t let it define us.” However, Oxford University Press — which publishes the dictionary — does not seem intent on budging, telling The Daily Mail, “We don’t exclude offensive or vulgar terms from our dictionaries as they are as much a part of the language as any other words. Their presence in the dictionary is simply a recognition of existence and of relative longevity.”

Read the full story at The Daily Mail.


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