Why is every bank holiday weekend an excuse to shame drunk women?

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Why is every bank holiday weekend an excuse to shame drunk women?

Another night out, another Daily Mail photo of a girl in a tight dress eating a kebab

Another bank holiday weekend, another photo feature – this one from the Daily Mail – on drunk revellers – this time in Newcastle, but let’s be honest it could be anywhere – having a good time and looking lairy doing it.

It happens every time: photos of girls crying on the street, bodycon dresses rolled up as they lie passed out on the pavement, hanging on the arms of their friends and tripping in platform heels, unflattering photos of them mid-bite of their post-night out kebab.

While it’s true that men get a harsh deal in these ‘broken Britain on a bank holiday’ photo features – which basically just seem like an attack on anyone under 30 who’s having fun and “out of control” on their long weekend – there’s something deeply sinister in how they portray women.

It harkens back to the old argument that drunk women are fundamentally unladylike, something to recoil from, something to avoid even if it means having less fun. This weekend, in Newcastle, the photos were awful, but no worse than the treatment women get at Aintree, in Notting Hill, or the last bank holiday weekend, or the next one.

Looking at them past the initial wince-factor, they don’t really seem like the “horror show” they’re made out to be. They just look like young people out having a good time. It certainly seems superfluous to lead into the voyeuristic extravaganza with the tagline: “Pictures taken last night show numerous scantily-clad women passed out in the street in tight dresses and huge heels”.

Heels? Tight dresses? Alcohol? Surely not. And if you thought sanity would prevail in the comments and people would point out how ridiculous the whole thing is, prepare yourself for disappointment.

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You could be forgiven for looking at these photos – the worst of the worst that the photographers could presumably find, and thinking, thank god that’s not me. I’m just as guilty of it: looking at them and thinking, thank god there wasn’t a photographer to capture my worst moments, thank god only I noticed my patchy tan or running mascara. Thank god my mum, my friends, the guy I like, doesn’t have to see the gurny, stumbling, messy photos I can swiftly detag on Facebook.

Hastily cropped and filter on, sorted
Hastily cropped and filter on, sorted

Like most other people, not just in Newcastle or London, but all over the UK, I had a good bank holiday weekend. It got messy, sure. Certainly I wouldn’t have liked a professional photographer catching candid shots of me on my way home from carnival. I’m glad I had nobody but a very honest friend to vilify me for my outfit choice. But I also had a fucking good time. And the people in the photos look like they had a good time as well.

Girls dance with a police officer at Notting Hill Carnival, London. 29 August 2016.

Apparently, an occupational hazard of having fun, having a drink, enjoying your extra day off as a woman is being fair game for the internet to take the piss out of you.

@rosielanners

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