Woman changes the dictionary with a single tweet
Every year, dictionaries add words to its lexicon, proving that language is ever-changing. One woman proved that sometimes, dictionaries have antiquated definitions that need to be changed as well.
Writer Ali Segel noticed an outdated example of the word "femininity" in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. She shared her criticism on Twitter:
The example read: "She managed to become a CEO without sacrificing her femininity."
She spoke to Cosmopolitan.com about how she came across the offensive example. "I decided to make a zine of artwork and written word inspired by strong, powerful women and asked my followers to send in their submissions." she said.
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"One woman sent in some poetry along with a screenshot of the definition of femininity being like, 'P.S., isn't it insane that this is in the dictionary?!'"
Segel decided to tweet about her disdain. It was quickly noticed -- so much so that the official Merriam-Webster account replied:
They followed up with Segel, saying the example has been removed:
"Someone ended up contacting Peter Sokolowski, who is the Lexicographer at Merriam-Webster," Segel told Cosmopolitan.com. "As soon as he caught wind of it they promptly addressed the situation and removed the sentence. I thought the way they handled it was really great."
While Segel was glad that Merriam-Webster removed the distasteful example, she just it's just one instance of sexism. "I was surprised at how sexism infiltrates every single aspect of our culture and so frequently goes unnoticed," she said.
She said that people have to work to change perception of women overall, not just one definition -- and that women themselves don't have to change. "We need to reframe the way we think and talk about women," she said.