I recently had the great pleasure of meeting and walking (a tiny bit) of the Essex Way with the inspirational Juliet from An Essex Girl Walks as part of her 4 day trek walking the entire 81 miles of the Essex Way from Epping to Harwich. It was a very, very muddy and wet day – I managed 3 miles of slipping and sliding before I had to leave and head back home to do some work. The 3 miles I walked back on my own to my car were nowhere near as interesting and fun as the 3 I walked with Juliet!
Juliet and I half way through the mudfest. Think Glasto with more mud!
Juliet – like me – resents the Essex Girl stereotype and instead of just moaning about it to anyone who will listen (err like me!), she actually got up and did something about it.
Her aim was to raise funds and awareness for Essex Women’s Advisory Group, whilst challenging a stereotype that does no woman any favours; least of all those of us who were born, or have moved to and love, or are bringing up our beloved daughters in Essex.
She’s just published her blog on the walk and it’s so worth a read. I really really enjoyed my brief time with her and hope to spend much more time with her soon.
One of the motivations was the Oxford Dictionary Definition of an Essex Girl. This definition perpetuates such an awful misogynistic stereotype. I have always been aware of the stigma and actually chose to move here still (and I am from the beautiful West Country so I am very choosy on where I live!).
Here is the definition. Spoiler. It’s not great…..
A contemptuous term applied (usu. joc.) to a type of young woman, supposedly to be found in and around Essex, and variously characterized as unintelligent, promiscuous, and materialistic.
– The Oxford English Dictionary
What do you think? Personally I am proud to be a (relatively new) Essex Girl and love this stunningly beautiful, enormous and varied county. #IAmAnEssexGirl. Surely an Essex Girl is just a ‘girl from Essex’?