‘Essex girl’ removed from dictionary following campaign | Essex

The expression “Essex girl” has been removed from a dictionary used to teach English after a campaign by women from the county who described the term as offensive.

According to the Oxford University Press, “Essex girl” was previously defined 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.”

It has now been removed from the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, used to teach non-native English speakers, after a campaign group called the Essex Girls Liberation Front said using the expression was “very offensive”.

The phrase will still be included in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) because its publishers claim it is a “historical dictionary”, in which nothing is ever taken out. The OED defines “Essex girl” as a derogatory and contemptuous term for a “type of young woman, supposedly found in and around Essex, and variously characterised as unintelligent, promiscuous and materialistic”.

The campaign was instigated by the author Syd Moore, who referenced “Essex girl” at an International Women’s Day conference. She told the Times: “Women from the Congo had heard of the Essex girl. I thought, ‘It’s time to get rid of this once and for all’.”

On hearing the news, she tweeted:

The county’s tourist board also released a publicity video entitled This is Essex, to help the cause.

Campaigners claim the ITV reality show The Only Way Is Essex has not helped their fight, but say it should be allowed to continue as long as viewers realise it is not representative of everyone in from the county.

Gemma Collins, one of the stars of The Only Way Is Essex, previously told Sky News she was against the use of the term. “I think the dictionary should be paying everyone in Essex compensation,” she said. “We have evolved over the years. It is very derogatory what has been said about us. And it does need to be changed.”

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