Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

Click to visit the Siren Stories website and read more work by J.J. Barnes and check out her latest novels.

The hashtag proclaiming “feminists are ugly” is wandering around Twitter. It is being answered with selfies posted by beautiful women, arguing to prove that feminists are not ugly.

This raises two issues.

1) Why would anyone start the #feministsareugly trend in the first place?

2) Why would beautiful girl selfies be a good response?

So let’s look at it.


This is obviously coming from the antiquated concept that beautiful women are not feminists because they get the attention and adoration of men, and obviously that is all women want. Ugly women become feminists because they’re angry with men for not falling at their feet and buying them jewellery. Therefore they respond by claiming women are superior to try and regain control.

I have to break something to you boys, that is not what feminism is.  I am raising Miss Rose to be a feminist. Not because I believe she is superior due to her gender, not because I believe men are stupid Neanderthals who can’t do a good job at anything, and not because I am hoping she grows to be a lesbian. I am raising her to be a feminist because I believe her gender is irrelevant to her potential, because I believe men and women are equally capable, and because I want her to know that whoever and whatever she is that it’s fine. Her sex is just one part of her.

To be a feminist means respecting women for who they are, and for their abilities and choices. This is something men have always had. Well… white men. White men have never had to fight for the right to vote. White men have never had their sexual desires considered “hysteria” and been abused for it. White men have never had their strengths and abilities questioned or mocked as impossible or faked. If that had been the case then perhaps “masculism” would be a cause and we would have #masculistsareugly trending.

We need feminism. We need it because women need to be allowed to be who they are. Whether they want to be a stripper or a pathologist, whether they like to wear high heels or welly boots, whether they’re gay or straight. Those choices need to be looked at for what they are regardless of the gender of the person making it.

Miss Rose is a girl. She is strong, she is smart, she is beautiful. She is not going to be raised to believe she is superior or inferior to men. She is going to be raised to see men are her equals, her peers.

Photo credit Erika Wittlieb

Photo credit Erika Wittlieb

So, that leads on to the selfies. As I said, Miss Rose is beautiful. She truly is. I realise I am biased, but it’s not just me who says it. Miss Rose is a bloody beautiful girl.

But… if she was ugly? So? She’d still be raised a feminist. Because it’s irrelevant. The concept that only ugly women are feminists is such a patronising and disgusting idea designed by men to sexually repress and exploit women.

Our abilities, our beliefs, are not based on our looks. I have no need to prove whether I am beautiful or not when it comes to my beliefs. Because they’re irrelevant. What I look like does not influence my feminist beliefs. Beautiful or ugly, feminism matters. And part of the reason it matters is BECAUSE people think feminists have to be ugly, and BECAUSE smart, intelligent, passionate women feel the need to prove they are not ugly!

Does it matter? I’m sure some feminists ARE ugly. I’m sure some are the most beautiful women on earth. Does either devalue feminism? Does either make it less valuable, or less important? No. Being beautiful does not add weight to a logical argument. Being ugly does not make fact suddenly stop being fact. What matters is that women who believe they are feminists then feel the need to validate that choice with their looks. It feeds the troll. It allows none-feminist men to then reduce us back to whether we are beautiful or ugly when that is so far from the point that it makes my skin crawl.

I hope Miss Rose will never feel that her gender is going to negatively impact her life. If she wants to do something I will judge it as positive or negative, but based on her abilities and intelligence, not based on her gender or looks.

This generation has the best chance of equalism of any before. Make it happen. It is our responsibility as parents to ensure our daughters understand their value, and our sons never forget it.

You can check out all my contact info an links on www.jjbarnes.co.uk, I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram so you can get in touch on there, as well as find links to all my work. There’s also www.sirenstories.co.uk which has all the work by both myself and Jonathan McKinney and loads of extra content such as background stories for different characters. If you want to subscribe on Patreon, its just $1 a month to help support our work and it also grants you access to our extra podcast a week, you can go to www.patreon.com/sirenstories.

Thanks as always for reading, and I’ll speak to you soon I hope!



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