Nearly 30,000 people have signed a petition calling on Oxford University Press to remove entries that discriminate against, and patronise women
Launched this summer by Maria Beatrice Giovanardi from the feminist group, the Fawcett Society, the
petition claims that Oxford dictionaries contain words such as bitch, besom, piece, bit, mare, baggage, wench, petticoat, frail, bird, bint, biddy, filly as synonyms for woman.
Sentences chosen to show usage of the word woman include: Ms
September will embody the professional, intelligent yet sexy career woman and I told you to be home when I get home, little woman. Such sentences depict women as sex objects, subordinate, and/or an irritation to men, the petition says.
Signatories are calling on OUP to eliminate all phrases and definitions that discriminate against and patronise women and/or connote men's ownership of women, to enlarge the dictionary's entry for 'woman', and to include examples representative of minorities, for example, a transgender woman, a lesbian woman, etc.
In response, OUP's head of lexical content strategy Katherine Connor Martin pointed out that the content referred to in the petition is not from the scholarly Oxford English Dictionary, but from the Oxford Thesaurus of English and the Oxford
Dictionary of English, which are drawn from real-life use of language, Martin said:
If there is evidence of an offensive or derogatory word or meaning being widely used in English, it will not be excluded from the
dictionary solely on the grounds that it is offensive or derogatory.
Nonetheless, part of the descriptive process is to make a word's offensive status clear in the dictionary's treatment. For instance, the phrase the little woman
is defined as 'a condescending way of referring to one's wife', and the use of 'bit' as a synonym for woman is labelled as 'derogatory' in the thesaurus.
Update: Utterly ridiculous!
19th September 2019.
Thanks to Alan
Basic purpose of a dictionary is to enable the user to find the meaning of a word.
Thus, it must contain words that could offend for one reason or another - 'fuck' in its literal
meaning or as a cussword; 'Jesus Christ!' used blasphemously; 'nigger' , essential for readers of Mark Twain; 'womanish' , 'girly' , as sexist insults...
A foreign speaker seeing that Boris Johnson
called David Cameron a 'girly swot' needs to be able to find out what these words mean and why they are insulting.
The Victorian scholars who founded the OED beat themselves up precisely because contemporary mores wouldn't
allow them to include words like 'fuck' which they believed should have been there. Hard to believe that these idiots can be trying to turn the clock back in the 21st century.
An ad for PETA displayed on the side of buses, seen in February 2019, included the text Don't let them pull the wool over your eyes. Wool is just as cruel as fur. GO WOOL-FREE THIS WINTER PeTA. Beside the text was an image of a woman with the neck of her
jumper pulled over her face.
Ten complainants, who believed that sheep needed to be shorn for health reasons and therefore wool should not be compared to fur, challenged whether the claim wool is just as cruel as fur was
misleading and could be substantiated.
ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld
The ASA considered that the general public were aware that in the fur industry animals were often kept in poor conditions and were
killed for their fur, and that they would interpret the ad's reference to cruelty in that context. We considered that people who saw the ad would therefore understand the claim wool is just as cruel as fur to refer generally to the conditions in which
sheep were kept and the effects on sheep of the methods used to obtain their wool. We considered that although the public would recognise the ad was from an animal rights organisation and as such that the claim would represent its views, it was presented
as a factual claim and a direct comparison between the two industries.
In terms of wool production in the UK, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Code of Recommendations for the welfare of livestock had specific
guidelines on the shearing process to ensure they were adhering to the standards of animal welfare which was required by law. Those guidelines stated that every mature sheep should have its fleece removed at least once a year by experienced and competent
trained shearers who should take care in ensuring that the sheep's skin was not cut. We considered that demonstrated that the main method of obtaining wool from sheep by shearing would not be regarded by consumers as being cruel.
The Code of Recommendations and additional guidance also included specific provisions for the health, treatment, transportation and living conditions that sheep should be kept in for the overall benefit of their welfare. We considered this demonstrated that in the UK, there were standards to prevent cruelty to sheep.
We considered people who saw the ad would interpret the claim wool is just as cruel as fur as equating the conditions in which sheep were kept and the methods by which wool was obtained with the conditions and methods used in the
fur industry. However, sheep were not killed for their wool as animals were in the fur industry and there were standards in place relating to their general welfare including relating to the shearing process. We therefore concluded on that basis that the
claim was misleading and in breach of the Code.
The ad must not appear in its current form. We told PETA not to use the claim wool is just as cruel as fur in future.
A campaign group for people with Tourette's syndrome has asked a comedian to apologise for his award-winning joke made at the Edinburgh Fringe festival.
Tourettes Action said it was so disappointed by Swedish comedian Olaf Falafel's gag, which won
Dave's Funniest Joke of The Fringe prize. It said the fact the public voted for the joke showed how we as a nation deal with people who are different.
Falafel won the award with the gag:
I keep randomly shouting
out 'Broccoli' and 'Cauliflower' - I think I might have florets.
TV channel Dave asked panellists, comprising the UK's leading comedy critics, to submit their six favourite jokes made at the festival. It then put the shortlist to
2,000 members of the public, 41% of whom voted for Falafel's joke.
But the chief executive of the UK's Tourettes Action charity said the rubbish joke had brought shame on Dave. Suzanne Dobson said her grorup had been about to launch a campaign to
stop using Tourette's as a punchline, which unfortunately has come about a week too late.
The Liberal Democrats have said Manchester City Council is wrong to welcome undercover video footage from the anti-strip club campaign group Not Buying It .
The party, which has long-believed in legalising sex-work including prostitution, has
warned that if the footage was to leak it could seriously endanger the safety of the workers.
Dancers and strippers involved said they are terrified after the anti-sex work group filmed private strip dances in Manchester-based Victoria's and
Not Buying It claims to have footage of sexual acts being offered and breaches of licensing rules.
Manchester City Council said officials have launched an investigation into the two clubs after the footage from Not Buying
It was presented to them. A spokesperson said: We thank Not Buying It for bringing this matter to our attention.
The United Voices of the World Union (UVW) have compared the covert filming to revenge porn, whilst the pro-sex work Liberal Democrats
criticised the move as a completely inappropriate invasion of privacy. The party's Equalities Spokesperson April Preston said she was appalled that Manchester Council has welcomed the footage and hopes the same level of scrutiny is applied to the strip
club bosses. Describing it as entrapment, Preston added:
Instead of going after workers, Liberal Democrats would legalise sex work and focus on the safety and employment rights of women.
fully support unionisation to ensure the same scrutiny and accountability you would find in any other line of work and will work with anyone to help reinforce this.
A queer porn film festival in London this weekend was forced to relocate after protests by aggressive feminists.
Faced with the prospect of a picket, organisers of the festival, which describes itself as celebrating queer, feminist, radical and
experimental porn, pulled screenings from the Horse Hospital, an arts venue in Bloomsbury. The three-day event was instead be held at a new location disclosed only to ticket holders.
Despite the festival's progressive intentions, multiple
complaints about the festival had earlier been made to Camden council.
Janice Williams, chair of the activist group Object , clamed the films on show promoted degradation and oppression. In a letter to Camden council, Williams singled
out a festival strand titled Sex Work Is Work claiming the festival was to show extreme pornographic images and pornography that is likely to result in serious injury to the performers.
Festival organiser Rude Jude responded:
These are not violent or extreme in the legal definition,Some of the films show practices that some people aren't into, but that is very different.
Meanwhile the coordinators of a separate pressure
group, Women Against Pornography , spouted:
Feminist pornography is an oxymoron -- feminism is not about individualistic wishes or desires, it is about liberating all women from the oppression of males. This can
never be achieved by being tied up in a bed or by telling women that torture will make them free.
Nimue Allen, whose film Fisting Fun was shown as part of the Brazen Brits strand on Friday, says the festival has proved an
inspiration for performers. Festivals like this are so important to show that there are alternatives to the mainstream porn -- Centring people of colour, trans performers, queer sex of all types -- and allowing people to see themselves represented on
screen -- is something that needs to be done so much more often.
Offsite Comment: Progressive Porn Vs Regressive Feminists