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



20 °C 15 °C

BBC Local Live

    People cut free 12:33:

    @MerseyFire tweets: Firefighters attend two road collisions on the M53

    Feedback sought 12:23: Tom Airey BBC News

    BBC Local Live is a new service which we produce from our base in Liverpool and we want to know what you think of it?

    Please share your feedback here.

    Stoptober push 12:17:

    KnowsleyCouncil tweets: There's still time for smokers to sign up for Stoptober - the 28-day non-smoking challenge which starts tomorrow.

    Takeaway XI 12:04: Tom Airey BBC News

    BBC Sport's Dan Walker is having a bit of fun with a football takeaway XI for Tuesday Team News.

    Patrik Berger

    My first thought was former Liverpool star Patrik Berger. Any other suggestions? Contact us on email, Facebook or Twitter.

    news on the hour 11:59: Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    Two separate crashes on the M53 in Wirral have closed a section of the motorway near Bebington.

    You can listen to the live 12:00 bulletin here.

    Major accident on M53 11:50: BBC Radio Merseyside

    An accident on the southbound carriageway of the M53 towards Bebington, closed two lanes earlier.

    The road was fully closed in both directions while the air ambulance attended.

    Since then there has been a serious accident in the queuing traffic.

    Highways have closed the road southbound again, and northbound now has two lanes closed.

    Hillsborough 'profound regrets' 11:38: Ben Schofield BBC Radio Merseyside

    Former Superintendent Roger Marshall, of South Yorkshire Police, says he regrets not delaying the 15:00 kick-off at Hillsborough.


    He was responsible for policing Liverpool supporters outside the Leppings Lane turnstiles in 1989.

    Speaking at the new Hillsborough Inquests, he told the jury: "I could have requested a delay to the kick-off. I can tell you it's one of the most profound regrets of my experience at Leppings Lane on 15 April that I did not."

    Everton relegated 11:30: BBC Sport

    Everton were relegated from the top division of women's football after a 2-0 defeat at Notts County on Sunday.

    Aileen Whelan scores against Everton

    Aileen Whelan, pictured above, scored twice to seal Everton's fate. You can now watch highlights of the match here.

    Talking to Wicked cast 11:23: Helen Jones BBC Radio Merseyside

    I'll be joined by Ashleigh Gray and Sam Edwards, two of the cast of the Wicked tour at the Liverpool Empire in just over five minutes.

    Helen Jones and Wicked cast

    Listen to BBC Radio Merseyside at 11:30.

    Prisoner criticises sentence 11:18: Liverpool Echo
    GB cyclist death 'tragic' 11:14: Chris Long BBC News

    The president of British Cycling says the death of former international cyclist David Hitchen in a collision last week has "saddened everyone in the cycling community".

    David Hitchen

    The 42-year-old from St. Helens was killed when his bike collided with a motorcycle in Lancashire on 21 September.

    Bob Howden says he was "deeply saddened" by David's death and urged anyone with information about the collision to contact police.

    Brain difference? 11:06: Tony Snell BBC Radio Merseyside

    Earlier, we were talking about the difference between the male and female brain.

    Snelly and Jenny Summers

    Jenny Summers and I decided to go head-to-head while discussing this. You can listen again on the iPlayer or join the debate on Facebook.

    news on the hour 11:00: Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    A senior police officer who was in charge of managing how Liverpool fans approached and entered Hillsborough is giving evidence at the new inquests.

    Listen to the live bulletin at 11:00.

    Accident closes M53 10:44:

    The M53 on Merseyside is closed on Merseyside due to an accident involving four cars and two vans.

    BBC Travel says there's queuing traffic in both directions between Junction 3 for Woodchurch and Junction 4 for Bebington.

    Hillsborough Inquests 10:35: Ben Schofield BBC Radio Merseyside

    A senior police officer who was in charge of managing how Liverpool fans entered Hillsborough says he didn't know about safe capacities of the Leppings Lane terrace until "post disaster".

    Former Superintendent Roger Marshall, of South Yorkshire Police, has been giving evidence at the Hillsborough Inquests in Warrington.

    The jury was told he had "considerable" experience of policing football matches.

    Scouse Nous update 10:23: Tony Snell BBC Radio Merseyside

    Today's Scouse Nous if you missed it: This became the law in 1911. Eighty years later the law changed, and you no longer have to do it - but some still do.

    Colin called in to guess if it was the the requirement to give hand signals while turning a car. Elaine in Huyton thought it was about leaving the parking light on overnight in the car to notify other drivers to the vehicle's presence.

    Both good answers, but not what we are looking for unfortunately. This one is going to roll over to Wednesday!

    Sturridge test 10:11: Phil Kinsella BBC Merseyside Sport

    Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will assess the fitness of Daniel Sturridge ahead of tomorrow's Champions League clash with Swiss side FC Basel.

    Daniel Sturridge

    The striker has missed the Reds' last five matches due to a thigh injury, but is believed to be closing in on a return to the starting line up.

    News on the hour 09:57: Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    A senior police officer who was in charge of managing how Liverpool fans approached and entered Hillsborough is due to give evidence at the new inquests later.

    Listen to the live bulletin at 10:00.

    Warmest September? 09:48: BBC Weather

    The Met Office says this September is currently ranked as the joint fourth warmest on record.

    The warmest September was in 2006.

    100 jobs to go 09:41: Warrington Guardian

    An engineering business with headquarters in Daresbury has gone into administration, with more than 100 members of staff made redundant.

    Caip Limited, which provides services to telecoms, renewable energy and construction sectors, employed 117 members of staff at its sites in Daresbury, with smaller sites in Northampton, Lymington and Didcot.

    Top headlines
    No pressure for keeper 09:30: Phil Kinsella BBC Merseyside Sport

    Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet denies he's under pressure - saying pressure is "what's happening in Iraq".

    Simon Mignolet

    The Belgian player, who signed from Sunderland in 2013, was beaten from long distance by Phil Jagielka in the Merseyside derby over the weekend.

    M62 problems 09:17:

    BBC Travel reports there's one lane closed and slow traffic on the M62 in Cheshire.

    The problem, due to a broken down car, is affecting the eastbound side at junction 10 where the motorway meets the M6.

    Scouse Nous challenge 09:05: Tony Snell BBC Radio Merseyside

    Today's Scouse Nous is as follows: This became the law in 1911. Eighty years later the law changed, and you no longer have to do it - but some still do.

    Any ideas? Get in touch by tweeting us, emailing us, or posting on our Facebook page.

    News on the hour 08:58: Giulia Bould BBC Radio Merseyside

    A senior police officer, who warned people would die unless exit gates were opened to relieve crowds outside Hillsborough, will give evidence at the new inquests later.

    Listen to the live bulletin at 09:00.

    Zombie cast invasion 08:45:

    An appeal for people to play zombies in an upcoming film has attracted over 1,000 people.

    People dressed as zombies

    The project, by film-maker Chee Keong Cheung, will be called Zombie Apocalypse.

    Filming will take place in Liverpool, Lancashire, Manchester and London.

    Hillsborough inquests 08:37: Ben Schofield Hillsborough reporter

    I'm at the Hillsborough Inquests in Warrington to hear evidence from Superintendent Roger Marshall of South Yorkshire Police.

    He was in charge of the Liverpool Sector - that meant he managed how Liverpool fans approached and entered the stadium.

    As crowds built up, he eventually radioed the police control box to ask for exit gates at the Leppings Lane end of the stadium to be opened.

    Liverpool rail link 08:26: Liverpool Echo

    Liverpool Mayor and Labour icon Joe Anderson strode into the Conservative party conference in Birmingham yesterday to make the case for the city joining the planned high speed rail network.

    Joe Anderson

    At a packed fringe session the mayor banged the drum for a 20-mile fast connection between Crewe and Liverpool.

    Merseyside congestion 08:15:

    It's not looking too bad on Merseyside's roads at the moment, but there is some congestion in a few areas.

    There's slow traffic in Seaforth on the A565 between Church Road and Claremont Road but it's still moving.

    You can find more travel updates here.

    A bright morning ahead 08:08:

    We could see some brightness this morning, before cloud thickens from the west later on.


    This will lead to some outbreaks of rain later in the afternoon and into the evening.

    Good morning 08:00: Tom Airey BBC News

    Morning folks, I'm here today with your news, sport, travel and weather updates from across Merseyside.

    If you know of anything going on in your area, or have any great photos you would like to share with us, you can contact me on email, Facebook or Twitter.



Elsewhere on the BBC

  • FilmsOnes to watch

    BBC Culture picks nine top films coming out next month


  • A computer simulation showing a planned station upgrade in Hong KongClick Watch

    Simulated world - how architects are using virtual and augmented reality to transform our cities

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.