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FBU's Lucy Masoud says media should stop the sexist language

SENIOR firefighter Lucy Masoud hit out at politicians and pundits today over the backlash faced by London Fire Brigade (LFB) chief Dany Cotton when she suggested media outlets should say “firefighter” rather than “fireman.”

The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) treasurer said change “really needs to come from the mainstream media and politicians” as when a word is used regularly “it becomes part of your language.”

Ms Masoud’s comments followed a speech at a Young Women’s Trust event by LFB chief Dany Cotton, who revealed the level of abuse she had received for suggesting Fireman Sam should be renamed Firefighter Sam “made me want to back off and hide in a cave.”

Ms Cotton told those attending the Gender Equality: Will it Take Another 100 Years event: “The backlash I’ve had — the vitriol, the spite, the unpleasantness — truly horrified and shocked me and it showed me we’ve got a long way to go.”

Ms Masoud told the Star: “I’m not sure I’m surprised. I’m quite disappointed. I would imagine a lot of the people are not in the fire service. If they were, they would know we have been using the term for well over a decade, probably two decades.”

She added: “It’s frustrating. As a firefighter myself, I’m not asking much. I’m not asking for someone to hand over their wages to me. I’m just asking for [people] to refer to us as firefighters.”

Ms Masoud said that, though the use of the word was “not that big a deal,” it was “something that ,when people say fireman, they should just be corrected and it should be pointed out, but really this needs to come from the media outlets.”

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