Oxford Dictionaries criticized for sexist example sentences
A Canadian anthropologist is calling out Oxford Dictionaries for using sexist examples to illustrate how certain words are used.
Michael Oman-Reagan, a PhD student at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, criticized the dictionary late last week for using “the rising shrill of a women’s voices” as an example of how to use the word “shrill.” He also called them out for using “rabid” to describe a feminist.
For “housework” the dictionary uses “she still does all the housework” as an example.
“When Oxford editorially selects example sentences reproducing sexist stereotypes, they are making implicit, prescriptive statements about gender and language,” he wrote in a recent post at Medium.
Oman-Reagan called Oxford out on Twitter, asking the dictionary to clarify their use of sentences.
They responded with, “If only there were a word to describe how strongly you felt about feminism…”
Oxford Dictionaries later apologized for the “flippant” response.
On its website, Oxford says that, sentences are chosen from real-life examples drawn from publications and websites.
Oxford Dictionaries said they are reviewing their example sentences. It is the default dictionary for Google searches and Apple’s operating system.
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