Following a vigorous campaign, the pejorative expression 'Essex Girl' has been finally removed from the premier Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. The campaign was led by Essex Girls Liberation Front in the United Kingdom. The Twitter bio of this initiative is as follows:
'We are rebranding the Essex Girl, campaigning to change the definition of the stereotype, challenging prejudice about what it means to be an Essex Girl'
Oxford University Press defined 'Essex girl' as 'a name used especially in jokes to refer to a type of young woman who is not intelligent, dresses badly, talks in a loud and ugly way and is very willing to have sex.'
Syd Moore, a leading figure of the campaign stated, "Unfortunately, the stigma of being an Essex girl does still exist - not in Essex, of course, because we all know it's not true. Essex is not only diverse but huge... and I think the tide is turning and people are starting to re-evaluate it."
Ladies and gentlemen- here is the news.
Proof that, if you put your mind to it, you CAN CHANGE THINGS.
Big up to all my fellow frontiers and campaigners @EssexGirlLibFnt @Snapthestiletto @Ciaraphipps Today is a day to celebrate 🎉 pic.twitter.com/490IecgvLZ
— Syd Moore (@SydMoore1) December 5, 2020
Reaction of Essex Women
Becky Scott, who was pictured for a project about the diversity of Essex women, said it was a 'good' decision. "I'm amazed it was ever in a dictionary --- it's ridiculous --- it was perpetuating a myth about a group of women." she stated, as reported by BBC. She was one of scores of women featured in a project by Southend-based designer and photographer Mark Massey. Massey was inspired by his young daughters after becoming concerned about how they might be stigmatised by the Essex girl stereotype.
Nevertheless, many women have welcomed this 'better late than never' compensation by Oxford Press.
Gemma Collins' views on the phrase Essex Girl
In an interview with Sky News, the ITVBe reality series The Only Way is Essex's star Gemma Collins said that she is totally against the use of the term. "I think the dictionary should be paying everyone in Essex compensation. We have evolved over the years. The stereotype needs to end."
The campaign claimed that the show didn't help them in their fight against the stereotype. However, they have no problem with the airing of the show as long as viewers know that it doesn't represent every person from the place. The reality series shows 'real people in modified situations, saying unscripted lines but in a structured way.'
'This Is Essex' Publicity video
On the contrary, a video This Is Essex was released by the county's tourist board. This aimed at publicising the initiative against the stereotype.
Nonetheless, the publishers said it would remain in the OED. This is because it was a 'historical dictionary' mapping the English language's evolution over a thousand years.
Sugandha Bora is an intern with SheThePeople.