Oxford Dictionaries Update Outdated And 'Sexist' Definitions Of The Word 'Woman'


Oxford Dictionaries Update Outdated And 'Sexist' Definitions Of The Word 'Woman'

The Oxford Dictionaries, published by Oxford University Press, has changed the definition of 'woman' and adopted a number of phrases in an attempt to modernise the meaning of the term. This includes ways in which females are characterised.

Last year a petition online arguing that the dictionary definition of 'woman' and references to women within the dictionary, were sexist gathered over 34,000 signatures. The petition complained that while many references to men involved words such as 'brave' and 'strong' the terms and phrasing used in the description of female characteristics was less positive.

A spokesperson for Oxford University Press told CNN:

"Sometimes the team focus on topics highlighted by user feedback (such as last year's petition about the definition of 'woman') and sometimes these topics are driven by current events or through projects taking place within the Oxford Languages team."

They added:

"We have expanded the dictionary coverage of 'woman' with more examples and idiomatic phrases which depict women in a positive and active manner. We have ensured that offensive synonyms or senses are clearly labelled as such and only included where we have evidence of real world usage… Our dictionaries reflect, rather than dictate, how language is used. This is driven solely by evidence of how real people use English in their daily lives."

The term 'man of the moment' will now not only be found in reference to men, but the phrase 'woman of the moment' will also be included.

Petitioners had objected to sexist tropes in the dictionary such as:

"Ms September will embody the professional, intelligent yet sexy career woman."

"I told you to be home when I get home, little woman."

And, "If that does not work, they can become women of the streets."

Campaigners however, are still unhappy that the term 'bitch’ will retain a definition that states:

"Spiteful, unpleasant, or disliked woman"

A statement from Women's Aid and the UK Woman's Equality Party read:

"Bitch is not a synonym for woman. It is dehumanising to call a woman a bitch. It is but one sad, albeit extremely damaging, example of everyday sexism. And that should be explained clearly in the dictionary entry used to describe us."



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Thinking Humanity: Oxford Dictionaries Update Outdated And 'Sexist' Definitions Of The Word 'Woman'
Oxford Dictionaries Update Outdated And 'Sexist' Definitions Of The Word 'Woman'
The Oxford Dictionaries, published by Oxford University Press, has changed the definition of 'woman' and adopted a number of phrases in an attempt to
Thinking Humanity
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