The term ‘Essex Girl’ has numerous connotations, most of which aren’t flattering and are, more often than not, grossly generalising. The label has been making the rounds since the 1980s and has become a favourite category for the patronising and misogynous masses.
Even the online dictionary, a source we trust to be unbiased, comes across a bit sharp: “Derogatory a contemptuous term applied to a type of young woman, supposedly to be found in and around Essex, and variously characterised as unintelligent, promiscuous, and materialistic”
Take it easy, dictionary!
‘Essex girls’ (not women, mind) is an ugly term that should be treated like any other stereotype: with great contempt. If you’ve visited Essex in any capacity, you’ll realise that the county has more than vapid club culture.
Proud Essex women Juliet Thomas and Natasha Sawkins are campaigning to get the definition removed from the online dictionary and slowly phase the outdated stereotype out of the public sphere.
Obviously you can’t kill language but you can make an effort to mould mindsets and influence people to rethink.
They’re calling other Essex women that have faced scrutiny because of where they’re from to sign their petition and use the hashtag #IAmAnEssexGirl.
Many are pointing to The Only Way Is Essex as the forerunner for defining women in this way most recently. However, that’s not the show’s fault. It focuses on specific characters but it’s the public that decides that these people represent the entirety of Essex residents.
Former Towie star Grace Andrews told the BBC she supported the campaign: “100 million per cent”.
Women are now standing together on social media to celebrate #IAmAnEssexGirl
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The dictionary people at the OED are refusing to budge claiming a flimsy excuse: “Definitions can change, but an entry will never come out.”
Which basically translated to: “You can change the lexicon but our dictionary will always be outdated”.
The dictionary marketing team have agreed to meet Thomas and Sawkins. Hopefully they can agree to take some steps into a more progressive future.