Cambridge Faculty Told Not To Use “Genius” and “Brilliance” Because Of Sexist Connotations

I guess Jimmy Neutron will have to live with “Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius .  Cambridge University examiners are being told to avoid the words “flair”, “brilliance” and “genius” in the review of student work because these terms are sexist and “carry assumptions of gender inequality.”  It appears Madam Curie was just a really solid researcher.

At first I assumed that this was a gag but it appears to be a serious position taken by adults like lecturer on Gender History Lucy Delap, who must be herself really smart but no genius.  Delap insists “Some of those words, in particular genius, have a very long intellectual history where it has long been associated with qualities culturally assumed to be male. Some women are fine with that, but others might find it hard to see themselves in those categories.”

So once again we will alter basic nouns and adjectives in case some people might feel uncomfortable with others (including females) being described as “brilliant.”  Delap insists that language must change to combat the “male dominated environment” at the school by eliminating such descriptive terms based on intellect.


So the school, according to Delap, is “really try[ing] to root out the unhelpful and very vague talk of ‘genius’, of ‘brilliance’, of ‘flair’ which carries assumptions of gender inequality and also of class and ethnicity.”

All I can say is that Delap and her colleagues have succeeded. That effort is anything but brilliant.

57 thoughts on “Cambridge Faculty Told Not To Use “Genius” and “Brilliance” Because Of Sexist Connotations”

  1. Thank you for this report. It amazes me how the elite have dumbed down our language one more time. How soon before they will only accept telling everyone, “You are so smart.” Maybe that will become politically incorrect as well. What do those with such “wisdom” spend their time doing?

  2. Parsley, sage, Rosemary and thyme. Hail to Rosemary. Mary with a flower. One should not sing such songs. All names need to be gender neutral. Jenny can be Jerameny and Joan can be Joanny cum lately. Fred can be Fredrickey. Rosa Parks can be Roe Parks.

  3. “That effort is anything but brilliant.” It also lacks genius and flair as noted. Porcelain lawn scholars. They never come up with anything good.

  4. Perhaps we need to go back to, and more fully utilize, the concept of gender endings on English words. We used to have “actor” and “actress,” but now they are all actors. Ditto for “hero” and “heroine.” So maybe we now need “genius” and “genia” (or maybe “genienne.”) Then nobody would be offended … (yeah, right!)

    Other Endo-European languages have strict gender endings on words (e.g., in Russian), which date back to the original ancestor languages.

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