Louisa Ackermann

The Ugly Girls’ Club, Open for Membership

This Christmas, spare a thought for the Ugly Girls. Tragically bereft of doe eyes, soft lips, or indeed of any form of sex appeal, they are forced to wile away their lonely days in other pursuits. Knitting maybe. Or crying. Or systematically dismantling the sexist structures which places the value of women on their looks over all else. Poor things.

Yes, feminists are ugly. It’s no secret – the men in charge of everything have been saying it forever. And I don’t think those men would have gotten into powerful positions if they weren’t very intelligent and didn’t fully understand that feminism isn’t a movement for equality, as it’s sometimes claimed to be – but a place of respite for Ugly Girls. Take this anti-suffragette poster, for example, made by some of those clever chaps in 1912.

cat paris

See? Very ugly.

Very sad.

I am of course talking bollocks, but fast forward over a hundred years, and the Feminist Society of Royal Holloway University are being confronted by this same tired stereotype. The President of the Society, Natasha Barrett, was running a stall at a club night with other committee members, when a student referred to them as ‘The Ugly Girls’ Club.

Natasha said, “We started talking about how women are judged on the way they look and how ridiculous this is – your worth shouldn’t be dictated by how well you fit conventional beauty standards. We started sending each other Snapchat photos of us pulling faces with the caption #uglygirlsclub.

uglygirlsclub uglygirlsclub2  uglygirlsclub4

The aim of the campaign is to empower people to not just think of their worth in physical terms – the selfies were tongue in cheek to start with but they carry a serious message too.”

The campaign is garnering speed quickly, with selfies being sent in from universities around the country and Exeter University setting up their own branch.

Natasha noted that one student had said “the campaign had given her a confidence boost and that she was never going to delete her ‘unsatisfactory’ selfies ever again, and that’s exactly the kind of response we want. Women have enough self-esteem problems as it is – if this campaign can go a little way to help combat that then we’re happy.”

Insults to women’s appearance are frequently used as a silencing technique, it’s old, it’s petty, and frankly, it’s fucking childish. It’s so awesome to see these women responding to it with such humour, and engaging the country in such a brilliant campaign.

Being ugly is not the worst thing you can be. In fact, it really shouldn’t matter at all. Being a sexist fuckwit, however… well, that is something to be ashamed of.

2 thoughts on “The Ugly Girls’ Club, Open for Membership

  1. Hi I’m writing from a television company where we are making a documentary about sexism among young people and how women are fighting back. I was thrilled to read about the Ugly Girls Club and would love to speak to someone about it. Could someone please pass this message on to Natasha Barrett, the society president. Many thanks, Jenny

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