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. The term “genius” has historically been associated with men, because historically, and contemporarily, most geniuses are men.

  2. This kind of stupidity in an “educator” no less pushes normal people toward the virulently anti-political-correctness mentality of misogynists like the so-called (and hopefully soon to be impeached) president Little Hands. (Nuts! There goes my appointment to the federal bench!)

  3. Enough of this craziness. It leads to precocious morons. The gender history lecturer should soon be known as Lucy Delap-i-dated.

  4. A seriously underrated mathematician of the first half of the twentieth century was Emmy Noether. Not only for her theorems applicable to physics, but also she was the mother of modern algebra.

    1. David Benson — that is a sexist statement about Noether. Why can’t she be the father of modern algebra?

      1. That is equally sexist.

        Mathematicians don’t pay much attention.

        1. David Benson – if I gave you the choice of being either the father or the mother of modern algebra, which would you pick as higher?

  5. O.T. I’d like to add: Stuff you never get to hear about with our lap dog “press”

    “Video footage obtained by Al-Masdar appears to show convoys of ISIS fighters fleeing the Syrian city of Raqqa untouched by the U.S. military, which is currently bombing that exact location. As Al-Masdar notes, despite having Kurdish and American drones hovering around the city of Raqqa, U.S. bombs are nowhere to be seen as hundreds of fighters pass safely..”

  6. Dang! Spam filter chewed that one up! I was quoting Camille Paglia:

    Paglia also said that, “Women have been discouraged from genres such as sculpture that require studio training or expensive materials. But in philosophy, mathematics, and poetry, the only materials are pen and paper. Male conspiracy cannot explain ALL female failures. I am convinced that, even without restrictions, there still would have been no female Pascal, Milton, or Kant.

    Let me try it without the link.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. Squeeky – just as a thought problem pretend it is a matriarchal society and the men are uneducated, tending to the children and washing the clothes. The women are highly educated and are running society. Now, where are the geniuses coming from?

  7. O.T. but important–Officially, we are pretty much a military dictatorship. Thank you Trump, for ignoring our Constitution and selling out our nation. Job well done!

    “President Donald Trump has has given the Pentagon unilateral authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan, the WSJ and Reuters reported overnight, clearing the way for the military to intensify its fight against the Taliban and opening the door for future troop increases requested by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.”

    1. O.T. but important–Officially, we are pretty much a military dictatorship.

      You live in fantasies of your own manufacture.

  8. What?! This seems like an Onion article: “Committe on Equqlity bans use of word “smart” because it excludes women.” We are
    truly living in a land of addled thought.!

  9. Many women have exhibited genius but most do not get credit. The credit frequently goes to undeserving men who worked along side of them. Privilege doesn’t recognize privilege. But I have to agree in that I don’t see the sense of this directive. Check out Cup of Jane on facebook.

    1. betttykath – it would be interesting to see the breakdown of genders of winners of the MacArthur “Genius” Award.

      1. Why? Ta-Nehisi Coates one a ‘genius’ grant (and the moniker “Genius T Coates” for life). What Joseph Epstein said a generation ago about awards remains true: give it to a few of the wrong people and fail to give it to a few of the right people, and the award is trashed.

    2. Many women have exhibited genius but most do not get credit. The credit frequently goes to undeserving men who worked along side of them.

      This is a systemic problem in your imagination only.

    3. That sounds like ideological claptrap.

      Name names. Who are these specific women denied their genius? Who are the men who deprived them of their notoriety? Since you used qualifiers like “many” and “most”, it must be a very long list. We live in 21st century America, so provide contemporary examples. I’d also like to understand how you measure the lack of recognition for the women and the undeserved recognition for the men. Thanks.

  10. Someone needs to tell Angry Author that it is NOT progressive to use the word brilliant anymore, including when it’s used for the assination of Our President.
    Fareed Zakaria @FareedZakaria
    ·May 31
    If you’re in NYC, go see Julius Caesar, free in Central Park, brilliantly interpreted for Trump era. A masterpiece:

  11. She just defined the universal word, stupid. Too much time indoors away from fresh air. There is a Phd thesis here concerning the effects of mold from old university rooms and books.


    It could be the Pims #1.

  12. I thought the reason for banning these words would be because the delicate snowflakes that aren’t would have their feelings hurt.

      1. Here is a lovely excerpt from the book:

        “And so the locksmith became a lcksmith, and the bootmaker a btmaker, and people whispered like conspirators when they said the names. Love’s Labours Lost and Mother Goose flattened out like a pricked balloon. Books were bks and Robin Hood was Rbinhd. Little Goody Two Shoes lost her Os and so did Goldilocks, and the former became a whisper, and the latter sounded like a key jiggled in a lck. It was impossible to read “cockadoodledoo” aloud, and parents gave up reading to their children, and some gave up reading altogether…”

          1. You will love The Wonderful O. It is not a long read, but certainly a delight.

  13. “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.””

    The thought-control police are creating the world that George Orwell predicated in “1984”, a classic. “Classic” will probably be outlawed as sexist or racist before long.

    Let’s face facts: “Flair” “Brilliance” and “Genius” are words that are certainly gender-neutral & race-neutral– applying to exceptional works in diverse fields by scientists including Albert Einstein and Marie Curie, for example. Musicians, including Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Cole Porter, Scott Joplin all had “flair”. Writers like Pearl Buck, “The Good Earth” & John Steinbeck, “The Grapes of Wrath” wrote books that deserve acknowledgement: “brilliance” would not be an over-statement. “Genius” is a word that I use reservedly for great minds that change forever their fields and/or perceptions: e.g. Charles Darwin; Albert Einstein; Madame Curie; Ada Lovelace; William Shakespeare; Mozart; Picasso; Van Gogh…but it’s true that true genius is rare.

    My critique is that “genius” is a world that’s often applied recklessly to any pop-mediocrity who achieves fame & fortune and who wins Eurovision or the American Music Award. “Google” most celebs, and these days, some fawning, sycophantic interviewer can be cited to acclaim “Genius” for anybody achieving their 15 minutes of fame, but whose music will probably be gathering dust 50 years from now. The same can be said of writers, TV personalities and other notables.

    Language matters: It shouldn’t be outlawed–but people should use a dictionary from time to time.

    1. Interesting you bring up Madame Curie who was one of only two women to ever win the Nobel Prize in physics. The last female to win the Novel Prize in physics was Maria Goeppert-Mayer and she won it over 50 years ago. Both won with groups of men.

      1. mespo – Watson and Crick stole the idea of the double helix from the desk of a female colleague and finally had to give her part credit for discovering DNA. However, when the Nobel was awarded, she was dead and they don’t award Nobels to dead people so only Watson and Crick got the prize and the publicity.

          1. mespo – I actually heard Watson give her credit on a TV program. She might have been alive still.

    2. Interesting that you would bring up Ada Lovelace, because you know nothing says “genius” like starring in a porn flick. C’mon, you could have just a smart female, like me, to make your point.

      Squeeky Fromm
      Girl Reporter

    3. Gadflty – a genius has to have an IQ of over 140. It is actually definable. What the village idiots are doing is trying to redefine the language so they do not feel bad about themselves.

  14. I can’t recall whether it was “Animal Farm” or “1984” where the quantum of words was systematically reduced as a means of governmental thought control of the populace. Rather than eliminate words, Cambridge needs to eliminate goofy professors like Delap. Better yet, eliminate the word “lecturer” because it erroneously implies that people like Delap have something useful to convey to their students.

    1. “Better yet, eliminate the word “lecturer” because it erroneously implies that people like Delap have something useful to convey to their students.”

      But we are being lectured. She is living up to the worst connotations of that word.

      1. Prairie Rose – it is the denotation of the word in this case.

  15. You ever notice that the studies of this crap psuedo-science comes out of departments where there are no brilliant or genius scholars or faculty? They are just tired of feeling inferior to the math and science people, and some of the English and history people.
    This is the tail wagging the dog.

    1. They have a constant inferiority complex to the STEM people, because they are.
      However, pursuant to that state of ignorance they will demand that they are equal by force of law, reality be damned.
      If it is a law, that must make it true.

  16. “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.””

    I note that the victims of words which carry assumptions of gender inequality are always hypothetical.

    They must be out their somewhere, really, you can almost see them.

  17. Oh, PLEASE! Have these “GENIUSES” forgotten that everyone is unique?? Some people are brilliant (Einstein) and some are not but God made each person and loves them all “equally and infinitely.”

    1. They are trying to forget just that. We are all equal — equally stupid if we continue to accept this.

      It’s one thing when podunk college’s in dark blue states make such idiotic decrees, but not when we have Oxford and Cambridge joining their super liberal brethren (oooh, bad word) to the west, we’re in deep doo doo.

      1. Here we go again with the “all the children get a participation award”.
        As a female for over a 1/2 a century I have NEVER thought there were NO female geniuses.
        The progressives keep digging their graves and only stop to reflect when their little Frankenstein monsters turns on them.
        But then find a way to blame conservatives or Trump. i.e. Evergreen college.

        1. No kidding. Her logic itself is about as sexist as one can get. She has proven one thing beyond the shadow of a doubt: in the 21st century, even some in the highest ranks of storied institutions in famously educated societies are dumb as dirt. Seriously: who cares? We mostly even out as we mature (those of us that do actually, you know, *mature*). Such juvenile BS. Wah!

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