casual sexism

Dictionary Changes Outdated Definition of ‘Femininity’

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The Merriam-Webster Twitter account is fairly active — regular posts pegged to current events, roasting Slate editors, the usual. And on Tuesday, when faced with criticism over one of its definitions, the person behind the account worked quickly to remove it.

Writer Ali Segel was working on a post-election zine when, she told, “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?!’”

The example the dictionary had used was “She managed to become a female CEO without sacrificing her femininity.” After Segel tweeted out a screenshot with the requisite thinking-face emoji, Merriam-Webster’s lexicographer, Peter Sokolowski, reportedly found out about it, leading the company to change it shortly afterwards.

Big year for Merriam-Webster, huh.

Why the Dictionary Changed Its Definition of ‘Femininity’