Grand National stereotype fight back after unfair headlines

Grand National Many racegoers at Aintree dress up for Ladies' Day

Related Stories

It is a day when women from Merseyside are encouraged to dress in their finest clothes and enjoy a day at the races at Ladies' Day.

Yet the sophisticated image of the Grand National is far removed from the images in newspapers the day after of women falling over, or with underwear showing after being caught by gusts of wind.

It is something that Liverpool women academics, stylists and commentators are tired of, and the fight back has begun.

Liverpool fashion student Hannah Ramsay, who now lives in London, said that people there regard her accent as something "hysterically funny".

She wrote a paper on the north-south fashion divide as part of her degree course.

"I think the gap is closing between the north and the south in terms of fashion," she said. "There are always going to be people who want to do Liverpool down and resort to stereotypes no matter what we do, there are people who want to rip it to shreds."

She said she will not go to Ladies' Day as she does not want to judge other people subconsciously.

"People in Liverpool do want to look good and not adhere to the norm," she added.

Gemma Ahearne Gemma Ahearne says the working classes have been vilified

Gemma Ahearne, a sociology and criminology lecturer and PhD student, said the negative coverage is part of the "vilification of the working classes", who are "not regarded as being worthy of being at the races".

She used Aintree as a case study when she examined how the media portrays women and she believes it targets women and defines them as "Chavs" who are held up as "defective" and to be mocked.

Ms Ahearne said: "I don't go to the National as it's cruel to the horses, but I have friends who go and hate how women are treated and portrayed as caricatures," she said.

She believes the media are "misogynistic and disapproving of women who are hyper-confident, and such coverage aims to regulate their behaviour".

"The comments below the line on these articles are disgusting and you get a differentiation at Cheltenham and Ascot, where the language and semantics talks of fashionable fillies," she added.

Jennina O'Neill, manager of the Met Quarter shopping district in Liverpool, said it was disappointing the press focus on the same stereotypes year after year.

She said: "It's important to celebrate individuality, but the focus should be on style, it would be nice to see more stories showcasing some of the great looks at the races."

Interestingly, she does not believe it has a major impact on the city as she said "every city has to deal with certain stereotypes."

Aintree Ladies' Day 2013 Aintree receives different coverage in the media compared to other races according to Andy Heath

She agreed that women in Merseyside take pride in their appearance, but said there were lots of different looks in the city. "One thing we notice from our shoppers is the appetite for individuality", she added.

Andy Heath, the deputy managing director of Merseyrail, said they had seen a marked change in the behaviour of racegoers - for the better - over the last four or five years.

"There is a well-trodden stereotype of Ladies' Day that people turn up in their finery and stagger out at the end of the day," Mr Heath said.

Merseyside Police Supt Paul Wilson said anti-social behaviour would not be tolerated and he asked people to treat the area with respect.

Shoes abandoned at Grand National Flip-flops are handed out to those who get sore feet

Last year, there were just 16 arrests during the three-day festival - five on Ladies' Day. None were women, the force said.

Merseyrail has introduced bylaws that prevent people who are extremely intoxicated travelling. Music is played and coffee sold in pop-up stores to create a good atmosphere.

Over the three days, Mr Heath said the rail company transports 100,000 people - half on Saturday and 30,000 on Ladies' Day. Trains double in frequency to every seven minutes and 12,000 flip-flops are handed out.

The flip-flop giveaway also prevents escalator accidents at Liverpool stations, Mr Heath added.

While not denying that people may indulge too much, he said they were "a very small minority." "You don't get this sort of publicity at other events such as York or Ascot," he added. "It's a very jaundiced and unfair reflection on women in Liverpool."

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Liverpool

Weather

Liverpool

17 °C 13 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    Tributes to murder victim 09:33: Liverpool Echo
  2.  
    top headlines
     
  3.  
    Car park anger 09:23: Simon Moffatt Reporter, BBC Radio Merseyside

    I am in a car park in Mount Avenue in Heswall where Wirral Council's parking charges have caused a stir.

    Car park ticket

    Coun Lesley Rennie told me since the charges were put up from 40 pence to between £1.05 and £1.10 for an hour, the car parks have been empty.

    She said they were "totally unfair" and are stopping people coming into town.

    Wirral Council is yet to comment. What do you think? Tell us via email, Facebook or Twitter.

     
  4.  
    man charged with murder 09:14:

    A man has been charged with murder after a stabbing at a house in Liverpool.

    Snowdon Lane, Vauxhall

    He is accused of killing Stephen Bennett, who was found with knife wounds in Snowdon Lane, Vauxhall, on Sunday.

    The 28-year-old suffered injuries to his back and face and was taken to hospital, but later died.

     
  5.  
    Missing man appeal 09:04: BBC Radio Merseyside

    tweets: MISSING: Have you seen Terence Sullivan? The 47 year old was last seen leaving his home in Toxteth on Wed 17th Sept.

    Terence Sullivan
     
  6.  
    news on the hour 08:59: Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    Councillors are expected to approval Liverpool's plans for a bigger Anfield today.

    The football club's proposals for the main and Anfield Road stands would increase capacity to almost 59,000.

    The expansion of the stadium forms part of £260m plans to regenerate the area.

    Listen live to the 09:00 bulletin.

     
  7.  
    City's bid for Everton player 08:54: BBC Sport

    Tuesday's gossip column says Manchester City are ready to make a fresh bid for Everton and England midfielder Ross Barkley, 20, next summer after the Toffees' £50m valuation drove them away during the last transfer window. (Guardian)

     
  8.  
    Actor's bid to clear name 08:48: Ian Youngs Entertainment reporter, BBC News

    Before becoming one of Britain's best-loved actors through roles in Brookside and The Royle Family, Ricky Tomlinson was controversially jailed for his part in a strike in 1972. He is trying to clear his name, and hopes a new play about the case will help.

    Ricky Tomlinson (centre)

    He is trying to clear his name, and hopes a new play about the case will help.

    In 1972, Ricky Tomlinson was a plasterer in his mid-30s, living in a council house in north Wales, known by his real name Eric, with his familiar gift of the gab and a fiery streak.

     
  9.  
    More on Hillsborough inquests 08:43:

    The altering of a sergeant's statement after the Hillsborough disaster was "possibly" an attempt to mislead an inquiry, the inquests jury has heard.

    Fans entering through Gate C

    William Crawford said he only found out in January that comments criticising the low number of officers at the Leppings Lane end had been "expunged".

    They were removed before his statement was sent to Lord Justice Taylor's 1989 public inquiry into the disaster.

     
  10.  
    Anfield expansion plans 08:35:

    Plans for the expansion of Liverpool FC's stadium are being considered by the city council later.

    Artist's impression of the new Anfield stadium

    The move, which will raise Anfield's capacity to almost 59,000 is part of a £260m scheme to regenerate the local area.

    The proposals also include conference and banqueting facilities, a new club shop and extra car parking.

     
  11.  
    Couple 'sorely missed' 08:23:

    The family of Paul and Dorothy Brown who were found dead at a property in Toxteth on Friday said the couple would "be sorely missed".

    Dorothy and Paul Brown

    In a statement the family said: "Dorothy and Paul both came from large families and they always lived life to the full and were very well travelled.

    "Dot, as she was known to friends and family, was glamorous and very creative and really enjoyed painting. Paul was a retired electrician and was very witty."

     
  12.  
    Slow on the M62 08:18:

    BBC Travel says there's slow traffic on the M62 eastbound between Junction 9, (Winwick) and Junction 11, (Birchwood).

     
  13.  
    No concerns over Gerrard - Rodgers 08:13: BBC Sport

    Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists he has "no concerns whatsoever" about Steven Gerrard.

    Liverpool's Steven Gerrard

    The Reds captain struggled to make an impact in his side's 3-1 Premier League defeat at West Ham on Saturday.

    Rodgers said: "He is a brilliant player for us. It was the team performance that wasn't up to scratch."

     
  14.  
    Patchy rain 08:08: Charlie Slater Weather Presenter, BBC

    Cloud and patchy rain in the far north will steadily spread southwards through the day and will become more persistent and heavy in places during the afternoon.

    Weather forecast Liverpool

    The best of the brightness will be across southern parts in the morning.

    Maximum temperature: 17C (63F).

     
  15.  
    news on the hour 08:00: Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    Councillors are expected to approve Liverpool's plans for a bigger Anfield today.

    The football club's proposals for the main and Anfield Road stands would increase capacity to almost 59,000.

    The expansion of the stadium forms part of a £260m scheme to regenerate the local area.

    Listen live to the 08:00 bulletin.

     
  16.  
    Good morning 08:00: Lynette Horsburgh BBC News

    I'm here to bring you the news, sport, weather and travel from around Merseyside.

    If you'd like to share your pictures and comments, you can email, send via Facebook or Twitter.

     

Features

  • Peaky Blinders publicity shotBrum do

    Why is the Birmingham accent so difficult to mimic?


  • Oliver CromwellA brief history

    The 900-year-story behind the creation of a UK parliament


  • Image of Ankor Wat using lidarJungle Atlantis

    How lasers have revealed an ancient city beneath the forest


  • ShakespeareBard taste? Watch

    Are trailer videos on social media spoiling theatre?


Elsewhere on the BBC

Programmes

  • Islamic StateClick Watch

    Can the location of Islamic State militants be found with open source data?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.