Leading article: Don't throw a strop, Jacqui

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The Independent Online

Is "stroppy" sexist? Jacqui Smith thinks so. In an interview the former Home Secretary takes exception to the fact that she was once described that way by a BBC presenter. No male politician, says Ms Smith, would have been called stroppy. What that presenter was saying, according to Ms Smith, was: "Don't get above yourself". We beg to differ – both over the "gendered" nature of the world and Ms Smith's negative interpretation of it.

Stroppy is one of those wonderful adornments to the English language. A shortened form of "obstreperous", it has grown to encompass meanings of bloody-mindedness, stubbornness and cantankerousness. It's a nuanced word too. Stroppy people might cause those around them to sigh in frustration, but they don't provoke hatred. The stroppy can be difficult, but they're not bullies. The stroppy tend to come round in the end. Our advice to Ms Smith would be to stop worrying and just enjoy being stroppy.