‘Ugly Girls’ say slur promotes solidarity
Egham: Feminist students turn tweet to advantage
WHEN members of Royal Holloway, University of London’s feminist group overheard a boy calling them ‘The Ugly Girls Club’, they took the opportunity to turn the slur into a viral campaign of solidarity, spanning the global Twittersphere. “Our Feminist Society committee was running a stall on consent at a Student Union club night,” said president, Natasha Barrett, 20. “We are used to certain types of people making similar comments about feminism – it comes as an occupational hazard – so we weren’t offended. “However, we did find it quite amusing so were joking by sending photos to each other using it as a hashtag, as we all feel quite proud to be part of student feminism.” Using the hashtag #uglygirlsclub, Twitter users of all genders and nationalities have claimed the slur as their own, posting pictures of their most ‘ugly’ faces on the internet in a mark of tongue-in-cheek comradeship with the group. “Ex and current members of the society caught on to the amusement of the photos and decided that, despite the irony, it portrayed a very important point against conventional beauty standards and people being judged purely on appearance so decided to display it as a small, lighthearted campaign. “From here it just grew,” said the English student. Feminist groups in universities across the UK picked up the pace of the campaign, posting pictures from Oxford, Cambridge, the University of Surrey, eventually snowballing into universities in Europe and as far away as Taiwan and Australia. Despite reports that the comment prompted the group to change its name to The Ugly Girls Club, Natasha confirmed that members are still going by The Royal Holloway Feminist Society. More than a bit of fun and opportunity to upload a selfie, the students’ campaign has drawn on the power of social media in harnessing opinion against intolerance. “The only reason misconceived stereotypes of feminists exist is because a lot of people are quick to search for ways to belittle and insult any movement that they feel threatened by, which people often do purely down to a lack of knowledge and research into feminism and it’s definition and aims,” Natasha added.
Royal Holloway students Laura Lewis, Molly Coulthard, Natasha Barrett, ‘H’ Beverley and
Grace Kirkby say the viral slur has worked to their advantage.