‘Ugly Girls’ say slur pro­motes sol­i­dar­ity

Egham: Fem­i­nist stu­dents turn tweet to ad­van­tage

Surrey Herald/News - - NEWS - By Eleanor Davis

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.

Dar­ren Pepe HI147533

Royal Hol­loway stu­dents Laura Lewis, Molly Coulthard, Natasha Bar­rett, ‘H’ Bev­er­ley and

Grace Kirkby say the vi­ral slur has worked to their ad­van­tage.

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