Women’s Week: Be careful who you call an Essex girl!
- Credit: Archant
What do you think when you hear the phrase “Essex girl”? - writes Lauren Hockney.
For some it may conjure up a stereotype involving white stillettos (has anyone even worn these since the 80s?!) peroxide blonde hair, lots of make up and, according to the Oxford English dictionary is “a brash, materialistic young woman of a type supposedly found in Essex or surrounding areas in the south-east of England”.
The Collins English dictionary definition is both appalling and aggravating: “A young working-class woman from the Essex area, typically considered as being unintelligent, materialistic, devoid of taste, and sexually promiscuous.”
So can you only possess brash and materialistic traits, and be unintelligent or devoid of taste if you live in or are from Essex? I think not. I have seen plenty of fellow females up and down the country, and indeed around the world displaying these tendancies.
These thoroughly derogatory definitions make us out to be a particular breed of woman found in a land far, far away - but I can assure you we are not. We are simply women and girls, who do not require definition according to the county we are from. We are successful businesswomen, teachers, artists, mothers, nurses, doctors and sportswomen - amongst other things - professions which do not support the notions found within the pages of a “modern” day dictionary.
You may also want to watch:
In case you can’t tell, I am from Essex - Colchester born and bred - and I am proud of my roots, they just happen to be Essex roots!
There may be similar generalisations for women from Suffolk, or in any other English county, but I am not aware of them and feel sure they don’t have their own dictionary definition!
- 1 Emotional moment as family decides to cease farming in-hand
- 2 Man arrested after car crashes into supermarket sign
- 3 'We'll see how we go' - QPR boss Warburton on Bonne recall option
- 4 New online booking system for Suffolk recycling centres
- 5 Suspected drink driver flees scene after car destroyed in crash
- 6 Ndaba on Salford, Neville's advice, his brush with Ronaldo-mania and his goal of reaching the Ipswich Town first-team
- 7 'We are sorry' - Council apologises for letting SEND children in Suffolk down
- 8 Fuller Flavour: Can we sign Bonne permanently, please?
- 9 Exhausted farmers cool off the combines after gruelling harvest
- 10 Couple fear they will never sell home after A12 upgrade outside
In 2016, two Essex mothers were so perturbed they launched a petition calling for the official definition to be changed.
Natasha Sawkins and Juliet Thomas, creators of the Mother Hub blog which supports and inspires women across the county, were 216 signatories away from their 10,000 target via the online petition site change.org. At the time the pair said: “We want more Boadicea and less of this invented ‘Essex girl’. Because that girl you’re referring to... she’s just a girl.”
And they are quite right, women and their many achievements should be celebrated and not be subjected to such stereotypes, including those from Essex!