Not just a pretty face

I M GOING to seem like an Angry Feminist now, but I make no apologies for that, largely because I suppose I am one. Correct me if I m wrong but we ve had a woman prime minister, we have women in all kind of senior positions in industry and business, we ve

I'M GOING to seem like an Angry Feminist now, but I make no apologies for that, largely because I suppose I am one.

Correct me if I'm wrong but we've had a woman prime minister, we have women in all kind of senior positions in industry and business, we've had women astronauts.

We've yet to obtain absolute equality but my point is that by 2006 we have come to realise that women are capable of all sorts of things, not just washing, cooking, cleaning and looking pretty.

Yet still we have young ladies up and down the country vying to be Miss England, the key qualification for which appears to be very much based in the looks department.


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Last week we ran the story of Hayley Kruse, the young lady from Stotfold who was crowned Miss Hertfordshire and will now go on to the national competition.

I mean absolutely no disrespect to her, because as well as being a very pretty young lady, I know she is also a talented heptathlete.

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But the fact remains that as part of the competition, the girls had to dance in cheerleading outfits and stand looking nice in evening gowns.

All of the girls there were willing participants and I think that's what confuses me most - why it is an accolade you would work hard to get.

I'm sure I don't look anywhere as nice as those girls do in ball gowns so possibly this is sour grapes talking, but really I think our young women should be aspiring to a bit more.

I have never spoken to any of the Miss Hertfordshire contestants, but I have no doubt that there would have been a mixture of abilities and interests in the group.

Why would any of those girls want to be known for their looks rather than their other talents or skills?

I want to look as nice as I can, and yes, I'd love to be gorgeous, but in the final reckoning, I'd much rather people thought that I was kind, clever and - hopefully - occasionally funny.

Maybe we'd get a little bit closer to total equality in the future if more of our young women thought like that.

l I hope that as many of you as possible will dig deep into your pockets to find a few pounds to help out Jonathan and Karen Harrison, who feature in my story on page 3. Their son Cameron has a terminal genetic condition which has left him blind, deaf and unable to speak or walk. Mr and Mrs Harrison are trying to make the time that Cameron has left as enjoyable as they can. To do this they need around £7,000 to install a tail lift on their car and to buy him a special motorised 'movement therapy centre' so he can enjoy the sensation of riding a bike, something he loved doing before his illness struck. There can be no more worthy cause than helping improve the quality of life of this brave young man. If you would like to make a donation, please send a cheque (no cash please) payable to Cameron Harrison, to Cameron's Appeal, The Comet, Bank House, Primett Road, Stevenage, SG1 3EE.

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