Thousands sign petition in support of Essex girls who are fighting to redefine dictionary term

PUBLISHED: 16:16 27 October 2016 | UPDATED: 16:46 27 October 2016

Natasha Sawkins and Juliet Thomas who started the petition. Picture: Kika Mitchell Photography.

Natasha Sawkins and Juliet Thomas who started the petition. Picture: Kika Mitchell Photography.

Kika Mitchell Photography

A campaign to remove the “derogatory and stereotypical” ‘Essex Girl’ definition from the dictionary has gained huge momentum after thousands signed up to a petition.

It comes after two women from Brentwood banded together and launched the campaign in an attempt to “reclaim the term”.

Juliet Thomas and Natasha Sawkins from the online forum Mother Hub, started the petition two weeks ago after being “appalled” to find the term listed officially.

Both the Collins and Oxford English Dictionaries have the term ‘Essex Girl’ listed as a noun and defined as “a young working class woman from the Essex area, typically considered as being unintelligent, materialistic and sexually promiscuous”.

Ms Thomas, 32, said: “We already knew there were thousands of proud Essex girls but many like us, would not have know this definition existed in the dictionaries.

“So this is a campaign to reclaim the term and all about giving women a voice and starting a dialogue.

“For too long girls have faced a barrage of Essex girl jokes when they go to university and feel they have to fight twice as hard to get the same level of respect as others.”

Women from all over the country with links to Essex have now fought back online by listing their personal achievements under the hashtag #IAmAnEssexGirl.

“We have been overwhelmed with the scale of the response, its been incredible,” the 32-year-old mum said.

“But we have not been surprised by the passion and pride of everyone from Essex as we all know the stigma girls face when they venture out of the county.”

Despite the petition now gaining more than 8,000 supporters, a spokeswoman for the Oxford English Dictionary said the term could not be removed.

A spokeswoman for the Oxford English Dictionary said: “We don’t exclude offensive or vulgar terms from our dictionaries as they are as much a part of the language as any other words.

“Their presence in the dictionary is simply a recognition of existence and of relative longevity.”

But the campaigners are remaining upbeat despite the refusal.

“The Oxford English Dictionary has thanked us for bringing the debate to the public’s attention and they haven’t ruled out changes,” Ms Thomas said.

“If we continue the campaign and show the amount of people who are against the term then we hope to see change in the future.”

Visit here to show your support.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Romford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Romford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Romford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Romford News Stories

A look back at the biggest local stories from this day 20, 40 and 60 years ago.


Whether it is by winning medals at local diving competitions or helping beginners perfect their moves, the Havering Cormorants never fails to make a splash.

A Holocaust survivor relives his journey more than 70 years on, recalling how he lost his identity at Auschwitz.


Mother’s Day came early for one mum who was treated to a special makeover day at Mercury Mall.

Yesterday, 15:00

A fairytale land thrown into chaos when its good-evil equilibrium is disturbed is the subject of an inclusive drama group’s latest show.

Yesterday, 12:00

The list of names which Barry Cryer has written jokes for reads like a who’s who of comedy greats.

Yesterday, 10:00

In 1922 protesters seized Romford’s workhouse in anger at growing poverty. Prof Ged Martin tells us more

Fri, 18:00

X Factor star and TV personality Stacey Solomon has visited patients and staff at Queen’s Hospital, Romford, after donating £17,000 to the hospital’s charity.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news


Show Job Lists

News from your area


Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now