In the run-up to International Women’s Day, the campaign called for 30 different words for sex workers, including “puttana” (prostitute) and “cagna” (bitch) to be removed from the list of synonyms.
These words appear as synonyms of the euphemism for the sex worker “buona donna”, which is included in the list of expressions that use the word “donna” (woman).
This suggests that while the terms related to “woman” have negative connotations, the synonyms listed under the word “men” are generally positive.
Signatories to the letter include activist and politician Imma Battaglia, politician Laura Boldrini and Bank Italia deputy director general Alessandra Perrazzelli.
Open letter: “La Treccani changes the definition of woman”: Activist Maria Beatrice Giovanardi, along with a hundred people from the world of politics and culture, from Laura Boldrini to Michela Murgia, asked those in charge of the dictionary to … https://t.co/yAhdg22EJ8
– Republic (@republic) March 5, 2021
“Such expressions not only offend but reinforce the negative and misogynistic stereotypes that demean women and present them as inferior beings,” the open letter said. published in the Italian newspaper La Republica on Friday.
The campaign was started by activist Maria Beatrice Giovanardi, who was also behind a similar campaign last year that urged the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) to remove words like “bint” and “bird” as other ways of saying “woman”.
– Maria Beatrice Giovanardi (@mbgiovanardi) 27 June 2019
Oxford University Press updated his definition of “woman” in his dictionary after a similar petition collected 30,000 signatures.
However, Treccani’s director of Italian vocabulary, Valeria Della Valle, replied that she didn’t think the dictionary needed to be changed.
“Not by lighting a bonfire … to burn off words so that we can maintain our image and role (as women),” Della Valle wrote in his response.
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