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26th Oct 2016

Gemma Collins is the latest star to ask for Dictionary to change the meaning of “Essex Girl”

"I'm a massive fan of the dictionary", said the TOWIE star.

Ben Kenyon

If you look up the term ‘Essex girl’ in the dictionary, what you’ll find isn’t terribly flattering.

The Oxford English Dictionary’s definition describes it thus: “A contemptuous term applied (usu. joc.) to a type of young woman, supposedly to be found in and around Essex, and variously characterized as unintelligent, promiscuous, and materialistic.”

So it’s no wonder there’s a campaign from women around the county to see that definition deleted in favour of something more pleasant.

This week The Only Way is Essex star Gemma Collins went on Sky News to explain why she and thousands of others believe it should be changed,

“We can all take a laugh and a joke at ourselves,” she told Sky’s Kay Burley. “You know we’re up for the banter, but it is very, very derogatory what has been said about us and it does need to be changed.”

She did agree that the term, first entered in the dictionary in 1997, used to be ‘all about the white stilettos, the really blonde hair and all the fakeness’ – but she said that women in Essex had evolved.

“I’m a massive fan of the dictionary,” she continued. “We should be promoting the dictionary anyway – because it’s such an amazing historical British thing.”

“But for them to write that about us Essex girls, we are not happy. So keep us in the dictionary but please change the meaning.”

She did offer an alternative definition of the term which she hopes the dictionary will adopt: “I think it should say an Essex girl is smart, sassy, fun and striving hard in life like everyone else.”

However, an Oxford University Press spokesperson told Mail Online that the petition, which has had thousands of signatures, would not be enough to change the word on its own.

“We can’t make changes as a result of a petition as this would go against our descriptive editorial policy and undermine the evidence-based approach that our dictionaries are built on,” they said.

Essex Girl being highlighted to us means we can continue to monitor the corpus closely and will spot when the evidence begins to suggest a new definition is needed.”

Looks like this debate has only just begun…

You can catch up on the latest episode of JOE’s Football Friday Live right here…