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I’d never been ashamed for how I look or being proud of who I am – until this month

feministI am a 19-year-old woman from Manchester, I’m a student at Manchester Metropolitan University and I’ve been active in Labour Party politics since I was 18, and I must admit while it’s been a bumpy ride, I’ve always managed to keep my head above the water and stick at it.

Until this month, I could talk to anybody about sexism in politics, and tell them although it is upsetting, it’s never been bad enough to make me want to quit everything for good.

Until this month, I’d never had my appearance picked apart so ruthlessly online by internet trolls, I didn’t want to leave the house.

Until this month, I’d never had to ring my parents in tears, concerned they’d see the article and believe the content.

Until this month I’d never been ashamed for how I look or the fact I’m proud of who I am.

Until this month, I’d never considered quitting everything, because of how embarrassed I was over what somebody wrote about me on the internet.

This month, I got Guido’d. Like having your photo posted on Redwatch or in the Daily Mail, this is something anyone politically active on the left may have to deal with at some point.

Of course, being a young woman, the attack takes on a specific character. In this case it was that, having been selected for a liberation role on a committee, I couldn’t possibly have got in on my own merits. Rather, I must have been gifted it because an older man found me young and attractive.

This was complemented by the usual trawling of social media for pictures of me out with friends or enjoying myself so that his followers could comment on my appearance. Discussing my politics seems to be beyond them. The body shaming, slut shaming, abusive nonsense continued as the blog pointed people towards my Twitter, making the usual retort that “you don’t have to read the comments” irrelevant.

As I say, one expects this to some extent from the gutter press and the keyboard misogynists who get off on it. What is less cheering is when those supposedly on the left engage in this. Whether it is members of my own Labour Club who think it’s an appropriate tool with which to advance their own ambitions, or a former director of the London Labour Party using it as an excuse to bash those in a different faction to him, this does tremendous damage to young women who want to get involved in the political process. This behaviour cannot be tolerated in our party. After all, how can we hope to challenge sexism in wider society if we tolerate it in our own structures?

I make no apologies for being a young woman at ease with her sexuality, with friends and a social life. I make no apology for being politically active, and fighting for what I believe in. I don’t see a contradiction, and I won’t be told I have to give up enjoying life to have my voice heard. In the words of Emma Goldman, comrades, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.”

The pictures they chose to publish, might be sexualised, they might not be what you find attractive, but I touch upon the point that those pictures are for me. Do you think I dress like that to please 50-year-old men, either in my political field or on a site like Guido? No I do not. I dress like that for myself. I take charge of my sexuality, and anyone who thinks that is somehow not my right to do so, well, you know where to go.

I want to use this as a way to help other women in this position. Never apologise for your sexuality. Never apologise for your successes. But you should never accept something like what I faced this month, because it is only in our reaction, that we can show them exactly, what we are made of.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my family, my friends and the long list of people who have taken their time today to offer me support and love during what has been a difficult day.

And to those who have done quite the opposite, well you know where the door is.

Don’t let it hit you on the way out.

This article previously appeared at Huffington Post


  1. personally I never use social media, and would recommend that others do the same. What is the point of Twitter, which is Orwellian, Instagram or so on save for sending pics of new born babies? Blog yes, social media no.

    However if this is an allegation that Labour party members and ‘a former director of the London Labour Party’ passed on the material to an extra party source then its a more serious matter. Having just rejoined the Stafford Labour Party it s clear that social media became involved in internal politics which reached the press. Once the material is on line, it is there for ever

    The Labour Party needs a code of conduct on these matters., In the meantime, and I admit I am older than even silver fox Lansman, don’t use social media. If Orwell were writing today, he would not invent Newspeak. Twitter is better, and involves the victims doing the work. Nice.

    Trevor Fisher

  2. Giles Wynne says:

    Social Isolation is a terrible condition to be in, Frankie. Could you also become a Humanist ?

  3. John P Reid says:

    Sorry to hear this having the Daily mail,or Red watch target us, is one thing, guido,is a shock jock, but the allegation gUnst you. Is surely slanderous, to not just you,but to who they are claiming out you there for this purpose, we must deal with all trolling, in the Labour Party and out,

  4. John P Reid says:

    The older man ended me in place view needs to be lanced,so we can take on guido,or the Mail, the Flkirk situation hasn’t fully been dealt with,it saw Karie Murphy, castigated, yet others who tried to parachute her in got away with it,and now she’s in Jeremy’s office it’ll re surface

  5. Richard Tiffin says:

    Powerful post. Keep fighting sister and don’t let the bastards get you down

  6. Chris says:

    Well, we all get crap from idiots online, alas. All one can do is ignore them.

  7. Bazza says:

    Don’t be afraid of negative words etc. from little people.
    Take the words back from the little human beings.
    Take the power for yourself. X

  8. Susan O'Neill says:

    Well done the authour of this article. Let the Neanderthals drag their knuckles their participation is likely to be detrimental to any intellectual ethos and we are better off without them.

  9. Syzygy says:

    Susan is right .. the Neanderthals have always been there and you are in the good company of a majority of attractive young female political activists. What more mindless attack is there, than for the opposition to try to reduce you to a sexual object? Delighted to read that you’re not buying it.

  10. rod says:

    If you can, Frankie, ignore the keyboard plonkers.

    Stay strong.

  11. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

    Offensive comment has been deleted in accordance with comments policy – Ed

    1. J.P. Craig-Weston says:

      Offensive comment has been deleted in accordance with comments policy – Ed

      1. James Martin says:

        Weston, you are truly a nasty piece of work. Take your trolling idiocy somewhere else because you show time and again you have no place here.

        1. Dave Roberts says:

          What exactly is trolling. Weston can be annoying but he does have a point of view and uses, I assume, his own name as do most of us.

          In that context a troll would seem to be someone that you don’t like or at least their opinions.

      2. John P Reid says:

        I can tolerate, Dave ‘terry fitz’ Roberts, at least he has highlighted Lee Jaspers anti white racism,even if he fell intoJaspers trap of losing it,and getting Jadper to humiliate him
        But JP Weston do you have any left wing views that fit in with the wider Lsbour/trade union movement, it’s not the end of the world to look back in embaressment, what’s that got todo with anything,
        But Trolling be it, Guido, or smears or the rape ,sexual humiliation threats that Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper, Jess Philips got,in the first two cases by alleged corbynistas, is just sick.

        1. gerry says:

          John – I don’t agree with any of Jeremy P Craig Weston’s arguments on this: I think he is being heartless, cruel and lacking in empathy for a Labour activist who is being trashed by the disgusting Guido Fawkes. But his views are not uncommon, and I am against this tendency we have to try to silence anyone whose views we find distasteful. Let him- and everyone else – have their say: freedom of speech and expression, it is called! Left Futures is a good site because of the divergence of views, clearly expressed, on show – I understand that over 40,000 visitors log on here each day, and the number is growing. And, for all his views on this, I accept that Jeremy P is broadly part of the Left, as are others on this site with whom I fundamentally disagree: that’s fine- I am a grown up and can handle reading his words!

    2. Nestor says:

      “I think that real problem isn’t so much you’re gender as the simple fact you’re a actually bit of Pratt.”

      I would respectfully suggest that the real problem here is that you come across as a complete [word deleted – Ed] with a pronounced hatred of women and young people.

      As a check I just asked my wife what she thinks and she says you should be thrown down a well full of badger turds and caltrops.

  12. James Martin says:

    The guido site is a refuge for f-wit public school boys (current and ex) who get ever so excited by using racist and sexist language but for some reason think they are better than mentally challenged fascist sites like stormfront and red watch. In reality part of the same dung heap.

    1. gerry says:

      This is a repeat of the 80s when anyone vaguely deemed to be “loony left” or “leftwing” was subject to the most vicious sexism (Linda Bellos ) , homophobia (Tatchell), racism (Bernie Grant) imaginable and their personal lives and histories trawled for anything which made them look corrupt or weird or sinister. Then it was the Sun, Mail, Express, Times, Telegraph which led the charge….and as an activist in inner London, I can vouch for the fact that the smears and hatred worked, especially in the 1983 and 1987 elections. The Tory press destroyed lives, jobs, whole communities by these tactics. And at the same time of course, many workers were on secret employer blacklists which identified them as “troublemakers” or “communists” never to be enp!oyed on construction sites, building projects, factories.

      Frankie Leach – suggest you learn from history, keep pointing out exactly why Guido and the Tory press are doing what they are doing, and then think cleverly: there wasn’t social media back then, but I suggest you and any other activist or Leftie go through your Facebook or Twitter or other accounts and delete anything – be it pictures or words – which they can use against you. Warn your nearest and dearest about what is to come- so they can prepare themselves psychologically. These Tory journalists will sink to any level to discredit you, so you have to prepare yourself for the inevitable onslaught which will come your way. The personal is political, as the feminists used to say, and you/we have to fight cleverly too…and never forget: the fact that they are doing this, means they are scared of you. Guido Fawkes is a true bully and fraud, always on the side of the powerful.

      1. John P Reid says:

        But the 3 people you mentioned gave the Tory press ammunition, they couldn’t find it on Chris Smith or Paul boateng otherwise their seats would have had 10% swings against them in 1987′ the way Grants did, or Tatchell in the 1983 by-election

        In all fairness, if Grant, Tatchell or Bellos genuinely believed their views were more important than wining votes, they should have been proud of what they said, if they secretly regretted what they had said they should have , apologized, rather than trying to save face, but as they never suffered the way the rest of the working class, who didn’t happen to by their council homes, or ,find ways of seeing their tax go down, then ,they were the ones who let the Tories win, , when we look back in the struggles of the 80’s, I know who cost labour those votes then, but they felt it a moral victory,

        1. John P Reid says:

          By= buy

        2. Nestor says:

          “In all fairness, if Grant, Tatchell or Bellos genuinely believed their views were more important than wining votes, they should have been proud of what they said, if they secretly regretted what they had said they should have , apologized”

          What are you blethering about? Tatchell was targeted mainly for being an unashamed out gay man, when such things were still considered “bad form” by the establishment. He has always been proud of this and has never hidden it, nor should he.

          You, on the other hand, should be deeply ashamed of your insinuations.

          1. John P Reid says:

            It wasn’t him being gay, it was his views that th bible is like Mein Kampf for gays, defending PIE’s the right to print stuff , or wanting legalizing gay sex for 13-14yr olds, nine of which I’ve condemned, but I was just pointing out that, this stuff cost labour votes while as I said earlier Chris smith being gay didn’t cost votes

            As Gerry points out, certain people ,cost labour votes in the 80’s ( Just as Gordon brown cost labour votes in 2010, or the Attlee government was burnt out by 1951) , and many of us suffered under the Tories, but we have to either say, in the 80’s it was either a mistake to not denounce as unworkable certain policies that cost us votes, or accept we feel we were right to have those votes,even though the result cost us elections,and we suffered poverty under Thatcher.

          2. John P Reid says:

            Nine = none

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