Oxford Dictionary is under fire after Michael Oman-Reagan, an anthropologist and Ph.D. candidate, pointed out these instances of sexist example sentences accompanying words like “rabid” and “shrill.” At first, Oxford Dictionaries responded with the above flippant tweet — but later apologized and vowed to change at least one of the words.
WOW this is so not okay
This is what we mean when we talk about invisible sexism. Each of these makes perfect sense to most people, fits perfectly with our social context and our cultural worldview. Only when they’re put together do you see the pattern all at once and go “oh…yeah that’s actually kinda fucked up, isn’t it?” Because tiny, invisible things create a cultural context which builds into an overall attitude of mocking, minimizing, and dismissiveness towards a full half of the population.
This is also a good example of why “but the dictionary says-” isn’t a valid argument when discussing racism, sexism, etc.
YES! And this is precisely the same thing language does with colorism and anti-blackness. Our language has sexism and racism embedded in it, and quietly teaches us to associate negative qualities with non-male and non-white people. Sexism and colorism become normalized in common, everyday euphemisms to the point we often don’t even “see” it - hence the “invisible” part of invisible sexism. Language is extremely pernicious (and effective) in this regard.