The Oxford English Dictionary “Can’t Help” Its Sexism In Its Latest Additions, There Just Aren’t Enough Female Directors

Though it is often difficult to ascertain precisely what century we’re in at the moment–nineteenth or twenty-first–the one thing that the Oxford English Dictionary can’t be blamed for (entirely) in its recent additions of Altmanesque, Tarantinoesque, Spielbergian, Lynchian and Kubrickian (all of which are, in case you couldn’t tell for yourself, indicative of a sausage party) is that the film industry is the entity at fault for a lack of such additions as, say, Wertmüllerian–which yes, the OED should have probably inserted if they were going to throw Buster Keaton a bone with Keatonesque (otherwise known as: how to describe most of David Foster Wallace’s work).

In the aftermath of what was only the light reckoning called #MeToo, men are already scandalized by the “witch hunt” nature of the movement because they can’t endure even a smidgen of the same amount of pain and discrimination as women have since literally the dawning of civilization. That being said, there is a tinge of the political in the dictionary’s curation of these words based on dick-swinging men’s names, as though an undertone of placation is afoot–the assurance that men still have value in modern society. Have a place in dictating the culture. Obviously, this form of assurance is unnecessary when considering the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in the face of riots in the streets.

While of course no one is arguing the artistic merit of these directors hand-picked to be repurposed into adjectives that women will be forced to use in their writing and speech at some point (for how else can the Trump administration be described other than: “showcasing a severe blending of the Tarantinoesque and the Lynchian”?), there is something utterly disheartening about their inclusion. Certainly the sound of “Harronesque” (you probably don’t even know who Mary Harron is off the top of your head, unappreciative of the fact that she brought American Psycho to life as you are), “Gerwigian” or “Codyesque” must not roll as easily off the tongue to these “deciders,” as George W. Bush would call them. They must see the value in placing emphasis on the nightmarish and cartoonish that can only be evinced by the films created by these auteurs packing penises.

But again, it’s not the dictionary’s fault that the film industry has for so long allowed men to reign supreme in the director’s chair. And yet, perhaps sometime in the future, the dominance of the precious few female directors who have carved a place out for themselves (Amy Heckerling, Nancy Meyers, Julie Taymor, et. al.) in the face of Hollywood’s Kubrickian (in its “meticulous perfectionism”) discrimination will force the Oxford dictionary to amend their “forced” sexism (in the process of also becoming little better than a more official version of Urban Dictionary). Still, even if they end up adding “Coppolaesque,” it would be Francis Ford, not Sofia, that people’s minds would go to–the male moniker consistently preponderant even when it belongs to a woman as well. So no, when all is said and done, the cinematic realm and the English language do not believe god is a woman.

Leave a Reply