Kit Steinkellner
December 04, 2014 9:36 am

Show of hands: Who out there lives in terror of being called ugly? Like if nuclear war or the zombie apocalypse were to happen, that would be bad, but if some dude were to call you ugly? End of the world, right there.

But why does such a subjective word wield so much power? (BTW beauty is ABSOLUTELY in the eye of the beholder, don’t let anyone ever tell you differently.) The deal is, women are conditioned to believe that their appearance is one of their most (if not THE most) important quality, and so to fail a made-up beauty rubric is basically synonymous with failing as a human being. Spoiler alert: it’s not.

Six students from the Royal Holloway University in Surrey, England were all fed up with “ugly” being used as a weapon against women, particularly a weapon against women fighting for gender equality (Google “ugly feminist” and you will find 1.2 million ugly-minded results). So they decided to take back the word’s power, and have done done so in the most brilliantly viral enabled way ever — by asking girls around the world to post goofy selfies using the hashtag #uglygirlsclub.

It all started like this. These young women were members of the Royal Holloway University Feminist Society and overhead their organization being referred to as “The Ugly Girls Club.” Rather than running home and having a therapeutic cry about it, the women decided to put their feelings into action. Thus the feminist society became “The Ugly Girls Club” and a beautiful, empowering, necessary meme was born.

First the girls began uploading goofy images of themselves hashtagged #theuglygirlsclub, and then invited people from around the world to join them. The Internet is not one to let a great idea slip quietly away, and the meme caught like fire. The resulting response has been genius uploads like:

President of the Ugly Girls Club Natasha Barrett is currently trying to balance being super overwhelmed by all this Internet love and super grateful for the support:

“[We had] no idea it would grow to the extent it has,” she told BuzzFeed. The group also clarified their mission on their Facebook page: “The Ugly Girls Club is for EVERYONE — all genders, all ages and from all parts of the world . . . Maybe you’re like us and are tired of being assumed “ugly” for being a feminist! Whatever it is, we all experience appearance-based insults, and we are all inevitably hurt by them. But this group aims to lift everyone above that as part of a larger cause, knowing that no selfie is too ugly, no insult is too hurtful, because YOU ARE MORE!” Right on. 

And whatever happened to that rando dude that gave the girls the inspiration for their name change? Rando dude, so far, has stayed silent, but Barrett cracks, “I would guess they feel rather intimidated right now!”

#uglygirlsclub 4 life.

[Image via]

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