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



Min. Night 9 °C

BBC Local Live

    16:14: Free Art Friday Simon Moffatt Reporter, BBC Radio Merseyside

    It might be Black Friday, but here in Liverpool it's also Free Art Friday, where more than 50 pieces of art are being left on the streets for people to find.

    Free Art Friday

    The items have been placed on County Road in Walton, and inside shops and bars nearby. Festival co-ordinator Pamela Sullivan is hoping people find them, take them home and make them their own.

    16:00: News on the hour Alex Dibble BBC Radio Merseyside

    A first aider's told the new Hillsborough inquests about the moment he jumped into the pens to help people in the crush, saying he knew what he had to do.

    After hearing Philip Saxton's evidence the coroner in Warrington said no-one could have done more.

    15:48: Cannabis factory fire

    A fire broke out at a cannabis farm above a cafe in Aintree this morning.

    Cannabis at house

    Police were called to the flat in Warbreck Moor this morning and found 302 cannabis plants being grown which they estimate to be capable of producing up to £1.2m worth of cannabis in a year.

    A 65-year-old man was also rescued from the flat next door and taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation.

    15:30: Coming up on Drive Simon Hoban BBC Radio Merseyside

    It's Black Friday today, and billions of pounds have been spent in stores and online as people try to take advantage of price cuts in the run up to Christmas.

    I've been out speaking to some of them to see if they've bagged any bargains.

    You can hear more on BBC Radio Merseyside from 16:00.

    15:27: M56 closure

    If you're heading home from work early, you might be interested in this latest travel update: One lane of the M56 eastbound has been closed due to accident between junction 14 at Hapsford and junction 12 at Runcorn.

    15:21: Your views Julia Bryson BBC Local Live

    We've introduced BBC Local Live from our base in Liverpool to bring you the latest news, sport, travel and weather all in one place. Tell us what you think.

    15:18: Lantern Parade Julia Bryson BBC Local Live

    Cheshire West and Chester Council tweets: Some lovely photos from a great night at the Chester Lantern Parade, take a look @ChesterXmas

    Lantern parade
    15:13: Blood donors wanted Simon Moffatt Reporter, BBC Radio Merseyside

    There's a fresh call for people to give blood in the run up to Christmas to make sure supplies don't run low.

    About 4,500 donations are needed in Merseyside to ensure life-saving treatments can go ahead.

    But, as Christmas Day and Boxing Day fall ahead of a weekend, there are fears fewer people will be able to donate.

    15:07: Liverpool without Balotelli BBC Sport

    Liverpool are again without Mario Balotelli because of a hamstring strain, so fellow forward Rickie Lambert will continue to lead the line.

    Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli (right) and Reds boss Brendan Rodgers

    Manager Brendan Rodgers must decide whether to keep faith with out-of-form goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

    15:04: Run for James St Helens The Reporter

    Friends and family of a young St Helens man who died of an undiagnosed heart defect are set to take on a Park Run in his memory this weekend.

    James Nicholas's dad, Kevin, and several of the 21-year-old's friends are set to complete the Victoria Park run this Saturday as part of Cardiac Risk in the Young awareness week.

    15:00: News on the hour Alex Dibble BBC Radio Merseyside

    The campaign group Save Walton Hall Park says the projection of new jobs in the area - if there's a big regeneration scheme - is misleading and won't happen.

    It comes after an independent panel said more than 1,200 people could find work if Everton build a stadium there.

    14:50: Actor 'locked up' for charity Julia Bryson BBC Local Live

    Actor Paul Barber has been 'arrested and locked up' - but it's all in the name of charity.

    Paul Barber

    The Only Fools and Horses star, who played Denzil, was 'stopped' by police in Liverpool One this morning and taken to Belle Vale police station, where he joins other celebrities who are being put in the cells to raise money for the Prince's Trust.

    14:41: Green savings Alex Dibble BBC Radio Merseyside

    The Pyramid Shopping Centre in Birkenhead has slashed its annual energy bill by £26,000 after investing in green technology.

    Birkenhead Shopping Centre with the Pyramids Shopping centre behind

    A heating upgrade and new LED lights have helped cut costs.

    14:31: Hillsborough latest Ben Schofield Hillsborough reporter

    A volunteer first aider who was awarded the British Empire Medal and honoured as a hero of the Hillsborough disaster has described his decision to jump into one of the pens in order to help casualties.

    Philip Saxton was at the game with the St John Ambulance service and said he was the first to climb over a pitch-side fence into pen three.

    He told the jury at the Hillsborough inquests he pulled fans out of the pen and also tried to help around 15 others who had been taken on to the pitch.

    Ninety-six Liverpool supporters died after being fatally injured during a crush on the Leppings Lane terraces at Hillsborough in April 1989.

    14:24: Edge Hill award Bronwyn Jones BBC North West

    The vice chancellor of Edge Hill University, John Cater, said he was "delighted and extremely proud" after it was named University of the Year at the Times Higher Education Awards.

    Edge Hill University staff

    Edge Hill was recognised for high rates of student satisfaction and graduate employment as well as its contribution to "transforming lives" in the region.

    14:14: Freedom of Liverpool

    The Merseyside branch of the War Widows Association of Great Britain is to be awarded the Freedom of the City of Liverpool.

    Formed in Liverpool 43 years ago, the association is now a national organisation fighting for and supporting Britain's "forgotten women".

    Members of the association will receive the honour at Liverpool Town Hall on Monday.

    14:13: More speak of college woes Liverpool Echo

    Students and former teachers at The City of Liverpool College have spoken out about problems there in recent years.

    14:00: News on the hour Alex Dibble BBC Radio Merseyside

    A volunteer first aider says he jumped into pen three as the Hillsborough disaster was unfolding because he saw fans were deteriorating in front of him.

    Philip Saxton told the jury at the new inquests he was the first to climb over a pitch-side fence into the pen.

    13:46: Everton move may 'create 1,250 jobs' Rumeana Jahangir BBC News

    The building of a new Everton stadium could create up to 1,250 permanent jobs and 1,000 homes, a report has claimed.

    Everton's Goodison Park stadium

    The study, commissioned by Liverpool City Council, said the move from Goodison Park could take up to 50% of the 130-acre Walton Hall Park.

    Campaigners said the report ignored the "major" issue of traffic and parking.

    13:33: Coming up on North West Today Roger Johnson Presenter, North West Tonight

    Coming up on the programme, the gun surrender in Merseyside has led to more than 120 weapons being handed in to police. And we will hear more from the Hillsborough inquests, where St John's Ambulance hero Philip Saxton has been giving evidence.

    Watch more on BBC One at 13:30.

    13:07: Hillsborough inquests Ben Schofield Hillsborough reporter

    The jury at the inquests into the 96 people who died in the Hillsborough disaster has heard from Philip Saxton, a St John Ambulance first aider who was honoured as a hero of the day and awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for what he did.

    The coroner thanked Mr Saxton and said: "Nobody could have done more. That's all I can say."

    12:59: News on the hour Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    A volunteer first aider says he jumped into pen three as the Hillsborough disaster was unfolding because he saw fans were deteriorating in front of him.

    Philip Saxton told the jury at the new inquests he was the first to climb over a pitchside fence into the pen.

    12:42: Meningitis case Phil Cooper BBC Radio Merseyside

    As it emerges a seven-year-old from Sefton is being treated for a form of meningitis, I'll be speaking to Public Health England about the risks.

    The child, who goes to Our Lady of Walsingham school in Netherton, is said to be recovering well after receiving treatment for a probable meningococcal infection.

    12:26: McCarthy assessed

    Everton's James McCarthy is being assessed after he suffered another hamstring injury during the 2-0 win in Wolfsburg last night.

    James McCarthy

    The result means the Blues will now qualify for the last 32 of the Europa League top of their group.

    12:13: Thailand case delayed Andy Gill BBC North West Tonight

    The family of Liverpool man Darren Taylor, who died in Thailand last June, has said a verdict in the case of a man accused of killing him has been delayed until January.

    The 34-year-old, originally from Walton, fell from the balcony of his sixth-storey flat in Bangkok.

    12:00: News on the hour Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    A seven-year-old child from Merseyside is recovering at home after being treated for a form of meningitis.

    Health bosses say the child, who goes to Our Lady of Walsingham School in Netherton, suffered a probable meningococcal infection.

    11:46: Winter Watch in Chester Julia Bryson BBC Local Live

    The Winter Watch Parade - a Chester tradition dating back to the 1400s - will return to the city on 4 and 11 December.

    Chester Winter Watch

    Setting the Watch marked the keys to the city being handed over from civic leaders to the watch, or early police force, before a banquet to celebrate Christmas took place.

    This year it will see fire-breathers, sword fighters and musicians take over the city streets from 19:00.

    11:28: Weight-loss surgery St Helens The Reporter

    More than 30 obese patients were referred for weight-loss surgery last year at an estimated cost of £225,000 to taxpayers.

    Figures recorded by the Health and Social Care Information Centre show that 33 people were referred for surgery in St Helens 2012/13 - the second highest number per person in the North West with only Blackpool seeing higher numbers.

    11:17: Oil spill closes road

    The A5058 Miller's Bridge has been closed both ways due to an oil spillage between Regent Road and Hawthorne Road.

    Police said a 40 gallon drum of oil spilled onto the road closing it at about 10:30. It is expected the road may remain closed for several hours.

    10:59: News on the hour Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    More than 120 weapons have been handed in during a two-week firearms surrender in Merseyside.

    They include 25 shotguns and more than 2,500 rounds of ammunition.

    10:47: University honoured

    Edge Hill University has been named University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards.

    Edge Hill University

    The institution based in Ormskirk was chosen as the winner from a list of six shortlisted institutions after a visit from the judges in September.

    10:38: Police probe park incidents Julia Bryson BBC Local Live

    Police are trying to find out more about two suspicious incidents in a Chester park.

    A 34-year-old woman was followed by a man as she walked her dog in Westminster Park on Wednesday, but ran off when he noticed other people in the area.

    It comes days after an incident of indecent exposure in the same park on Saturday.

    10:15: Late night trains begin Julia Bryson BBC Local Live

    Late night trains will be running for people going out in Liverpool in the run up to Christmas.

    Merseyrail train

    Trains will run from Liverpool Central to Southport and Hooton, leaving at 01:30 every weekend before 25 December, the first being in the early hours of this Sunday.

    10:05: News on the hour Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    Merseyside Police says 126 weapons have been handed in during its two weeks firearms surrender including 25 shotguns and 2,600 rounds of ammunition.

    Forty one of the weapons were firearms including one sawn off shotgun - 12 of them will be sent away from further investigation to see if they have been used in criminal activity.

    09:56: PM 'to tackle traffic chaos' Warrington Guardian

    The Prime Minister has announced his support to find a solution to tackle the traffic chaos in Warrington.

    But during the same speech, David Cameron accidentally acknowledged a need for a new swing bridge - a crossing which has been proven to fuel the congestion nightmare in Warrington and not alleviate the problem.

    09:46: Accident in Padgate

    Orford Road has been closed both ways in Padgate due to accident involving one vehicle between A574 Birchwood Way and Oakwood Avenue/Padgate Lane.

    Cheshire Police tweeted: Cheshire Police incident on Padgate Lane, Warrington. Road closures are in place Birchwood Way and Orford Road, Expect some traffic...

    09:29: Casillas for Liverpool? BBC Sport

    Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas could be heading to the Premier League in January, with Arsenal and Liverpool interested in signing the 33-year-old Spaniard, according to the BBC Sport Football Gossip Column.

    Iker Casillas
    09:17: Teenager's funeral Julia Bryson BBC Local Live

    A private funeral will be held later for 15-year-old Erick Maina, who was found hanged at his Fazakerley home.

    Erick Maina

    Hours later, offensive racist graffiti was discovered at the school he went to in Maghull.

    A family statement said Erick was a committed Christian who loved charity work and "just wanted to help others".

    08:59: News on the hour Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    Merseyside Police say 12 weapons handed in during a two-week firearms surrender will be sent away for further investigation - to see if they've been used in criminal activity.

    In total 126 weapons were surrendered, including a sawn-off shotgun and old revolvers dating back to World War One.

    08:49: Everton move 'beneficial' Julia Bryson BBC Local Live

    More than 1,200 new jobs and a similar number of new houses would be created if Everton move to Walton Hall Park, an independent study has claimed.

    Goodison Park

    The feasibility study commissioned by Liverpool City Council suggests the proposed 50,000 seat stadium, homes and retail facilities would regenerate the area, cutting crime and unemployment.

    08:35: Black Friday begins Liverpool Echo

    Black Friday kicked off early with scores of people queuing outside a city supermarket just before midnight on Thursday.

    Shoppers hoping to bag a bargain for Christmas started turning up at Tesco in Dingle early on to get ready for the store's Black Friday event which began at one minute past midnight.

    08:28: A cloudy day Charlie Slater Weather Presenter

    It will be a cloudy day across many eastern parts, with extensive hill fog and patchy, drizzly rain.


    However, some sunny spells are likely to develop in the west. Breezy.

    08:22: Traffic slow

    There is congestion this morning on the A565 between Orrell Hill Lane in Thornton and Green Lane in Liverpool.

    08:11: Gun surrender Chris Long BBC News

    Twenty-five shotguns, five rifles, 11 handguns and 2,600 rounds of ammunition have been handed in to Merseyside Police during a two-week surrender.

    Merseyside Police amnesty guns

    A total of 126 items were given in between 7 and 21 November, including 24 imitation guns and 26 air weapons.

    08:07: Everton 'lethal' in Europe Phil Kinsella BBC Merseyside Sport

    Roberto Martinez described part of his side's performance as "lethal" as the Blues confirmed a top spot finish in their Europa league group with a 2-0 win at Wolfsburg.

    Romelu Lukaku

    Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku got the goals. Lukaku (pictured) felt it was a great team effort against difficult opponents.

    08:03: News on the hour Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    Merseyside Police says 126 weapons have been handed in during its two weeks firearms surrender including 25 shotguns and 2,600 rounds of ammunition.

    Forty-one of the weapons were firearms including one sawn-off shotgun - 12 of the weapons will be sent away from further investigation to see if they have been used in criminal activity.

    08:00: Good morning Julia Bryson BBC Local Live

    Hello from Liverpool, I'm here today with all your news, sport, travel and weather updates from across Merseyside. If you'd like to get in touch with a comment, story or photo, you can do so on email, Facebook or Twitter.



Elsewhere on the BBC

  • UnderwaterHidden depths

    How do you explore the bottom of the ocean? BBC Future finds out


  • All-inclusive holidaysThe Travel Show Watch

    With all-inclusive holidays seeing a resurgence are local trades missing out to big resorts?

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.