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University feminist society hits back at abuse by renaming itself the "Ugly Girls Club"

2nd December 2014

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Members of the Royal Holloway Feminist Society have started an online campaign to prove that women should be valued for more than their appearance after overhearing derogatory comments being made about them at their students’ union.

The Royal Holloway Feminist Society has renamed itself “Ugly Girls Club” after hearing that certain "anonymous" members of the university community had labelled it with the unflattering moniker during a debate about sexual consent last week.

Members decided that instead of getting mad, they’d get even – and their name change has led to a social media campaign that has received support from students at Oxford, Southampton, Durham, Exeter, Cambridge and Surrey, amongst others.

Under the new twitter account @RHuglygirlsclub and hashtag #uglygirlsclub, the society and supporters, including large numbers of men, have been tweeting pictures of themselves.

Royal Holloway’s Fem Soc President, Natasha Barrett, says: “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.

“There are some fantastic student feminist campaigns around at the moment like ‘Reclaim Your Campus’ and the NUS ‘Lad Culture’ campaign – anything that helps draw attention to these issues is great.”

Supporter Kate Noble, a member of Exeter University’s Feminist Society, believes that “appearance-based insults are a ridiculous way to try and silence people, particularly about issues as prevalent as consent and gender equality."

Natasha Barrett adds that the #uglygirlsclub hashtag started as a joke, with members sharing selfies between them, but that it grew after former members of Royal Holloway’s feminist society joined in.

More than 200 selfies have been shared in solidarity since the weekend.

Members are now actively encouraging supporters to get involved, by tweeting pictures of themselves to #uglygirlsclub

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