Essex girls campaign to remove definition from dictionary

i-am-an-essex girl
Credit: The Mother Hub

Women and girls from across Essex are petitioning to remove the ‘Essex girl’ definition from the Oxford and Collins dictionaries.

Natasha Sawkins and Juliet Thomas, from the online forum The Mother Hub, launched the campaign to remove the term’s definition.

The Oxford English dictionary describes ‘Essex girls’ as being “variously characterized as unintelligent, promiscuous, and materialistic.” Meanwhile, Collins Dictionary refers to them as being “typically considered as being unintelligent, materialistic, devoid of taste and sexually promiscuous.”

Nearly 6,000 people have already signed the petition and there has been a huge campaign on social media. Many women, using the #IAmAnEssexGirl hashtag, are sharing why they are supporting the petition.

Writing in their petition campaign, Sawkins and Thomas said, “These terms simply don’t define the women we know, heck even the ones we don’t know but see around us every day.”

“It doesn’t define the mothers, the sisters, the daughters of this county and we sure as hell won’t let it define us.”

“And it’s true, the “Essex girl” you’re referring to, is just a girl, trying to decide who she is, just the same as everyone else.”

However, a spokesperson for the Oxford English Dictionary said, “Oxford Dictionaries set out to describe the language as it’s used rather than specify how words should be used.”

“Where words or phrases in the dictionary are offensive or derogatory, like in the case of ‘Essex Girl’, we clearly indicate this.”

“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.”

To view and sign the petition, click here


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Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.