Cherwell article pulled amidst misogyny allegations

The original article before it was pulled offline. Skip to the bottom of this page to read the Cherwell’s piece in full.

A Cherwell article (available to read in full at the bottom of this page) which claimed that “posh girls lose their virginity at 15” has been removed from the newspaper’s website just one day after its original publication on Monday 20th August.

The lifestyle piece entitled “A guide to dating posh girls” provoked a storm of controversy both on Facebook and on the Cherwell’s website, with readers branding it “misogynistic” and “condescending”.

In a section entitled “Sex”, the article reads: “She’ll have had a lot of it, way more than you […] Posh Girls lose their virginity at 15, often to the same floppy-haired bloke (remember, they share everything). She duly worked her way through the Eton rugby team before re-eloping with the same floppy-haired wanker on her gap year in Phuket.”

The guide goes on to warn that spending time with a posh girl’s friends will “embody all the warmth and intimacy of a court room” as “Posh Girls share everything with one another” and that “they know more about your sex life than you do.”

OUSU’s Women’s Campaign Officer, Sarah Pine, commented on the article saying: “Treating women like objects that lack any autonomy in who they date or sleep with is outdated and boring. If this article is trying to be funny, the author needs to realise his audience won’t be impressed with such irrelevant stereotypes about women. If he’s being serious, then I am appalled at his inability to move into the 21st century and treat women like real people, who might have their own ideas about dating.”

The article also drew several negative comments from readers who criticised both its sexist tone and its similarity to an article in Vice magazine entitled “A Vice guide to dating rich girls”.

Jesus undergraduate Natasha Frost wrote on Facebook that the Cherwell guide was “offensive”, stating that it was: “misogynistic, and in a frighteningly casual way.”

She added: “There are a lot of substantial similarities with the Vice article (the idea that ‘posh/rich’ girls lose their virginity at a strikingly young age; the implication that they’re all inextricably right-wing; the comments about Mummy and Daddy) and the general theme – and tone – of the article might not be out-and-out plagiarism, but certainly constitutes cribbing. Boring cribbing at that.”

Sean Wyer, a student at Balliol, wrote: “Formula: take a Vice article, remove all the funny bits, replace them with shit half-baked Oxford references and some moronic ‘wry observations’ (read: bollocks) and you get… a passable piece of student journalism? Alas, perhaps more predictably, you get a steaming piece of “oh Christ how did this get past editing?”

Cherwell’s editors later replaced the feature with an apology but denied that claims of sexism or plagiarism had forced their hands.

The editors wrote: “we have removed the piece largely because we would hate for a misunderstanding of the piece to lead to the belief that stereotypes of the kind [author] Tom [Beardsworth] is satirising are a part of Oxford life or that misogyny is something that is accepted by the University or its students.”

They added: “In our view this piece was attempting to satirise the misogynistic (and, indeed, misandrist) ‘how to…’ dating guides that pervade the mainstream media. However, this tone was perhaps not conveyed as well as it should have been, and if it caused any offence then we are very sorry.”

Brasenose undergraduate Tom Beardsworth, the author of the article and Cherwell’s comment editor, declined to comment. Cherwell editors Grace Goddard and Barbara Speed were both unavailable for comment.


 The original article in full:


A Guide to dating posh girls

Oxford is a melting pot of tastes, quirks and interests. A talent we all develop is to slice and dice people into certain categories in order to make sense of them, in order to pitch ourselves appropriately. Class, depressingly, remains the chief distinction. When it comes to finding a mate however, class differences throw up hilarious befuddlements for both sides. In the interests of averting mutual bafflement Cherwell brings you the Guide to Dating Posh Girls.


Meeting her parents

Contrary to expectation, her parents will be smashing. They’ll wine and dine you, take you to the theatre and maybe even abroad. Go on admit it, swallow your pride, her parents are lovely people. Sure, they’re viciously judging you but hold back the resentment – you’re doing exactly the same to them. Touché.


Meeting her friends

Posh Girls share everything with one another.

This makes meeting her friends difficult. Whilst the Spice Girls’ famous adage ‘if you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends’ will bear you in great stead, it is devilishly difficult.

Posh Girls, ‘practically sisters’ since their years together in the boarding house, tell each other everything. Consequently they know more about your sex life than you do (and yes, this includes all the embarrassing cock-ups and habits she promised not to tell anyone). Relations between you and them will therefore embody all the warmth and intimacy of a court room.



Officially, it is very bad form to bring up politics. You’ll rarely hear the young lady mention something newsworthy and she will profess ignorance when you reference a current political controversy. Don’t be fooled however. Posh Girls can feign an apolitical apathy because their allegiances are a given, duh!

About 3 months in, the inner Tory will flash. Her godfather, it casually emerges, is a Cabinet minister. Or she’s leaving town for the evening to ‘have supper in the Lords’. From this point on, your ears become antennae, acutely aware to her every utterance, lacing it with meaning and innuendo.

Even if your sensibilities are centre-ground, be prepared to discover a socialist conscience. A passing mention of her grandfather, who leads to county hunt, will inexplicably lead to you embracing the Animal Rights lobby, disavowing meat and sponsoring a stray fox called Arthur. Beware, dating a Posh Girl has the same political effect as going to Port and Policy: it turns you into a raging lefty.



She will be exceedingly well travelled, having had the obligatory gap year in Thailand. In between the annual pilgrimages to Cloisters at Christmas and Cannes in summer, she will be frequenting the European capitals, visiting prep school pen pals and Pablo, her Barcelona tennis-camp coach.

Within her own country she remains firmly settled in the South. The furthest north she will have been is LMH and even that she found ‘a bit grim’.

If she does brave it and travels north to see you, be sensitive. As she disembarks the train, refrain from mocking her attire (wellingtons and a ski jacket – ‘but I thought it’d be freezing’) and instead congratulate her on having made it thus far. When driving her back to your place, it’s a good idea to make a detour past the local Waitrose. This will settle her down considerably.



She’ll have had a lot of it, way more than you. Do not believe any assertions to the contrary, she is massaging your fragile ego. Posh Girls lose their virginity at 15, often to the same floppy-haired bloke (remember, they share everything). She duly worked her way through the Eton rugby team before re-eloping with the same floppy-haired wanker on her gap year in Phuket.

Mercilessly, most of her past conquests will be at Oxford and you won’t be able to bust a move in Park End without bumping into one of them. Aesthetically he is a beautiful man: taller, broader, and handsomer than you will ever be. But Posh Girls can see past that right? (Ha!)


Getting dumped

This will happen. Prepare for the inevitable eventuality.

Suspicions, aroused by her indefatigable flirting, that she is cheating on you are wholly accurate. Take it on the chin. This was always her plan. You weren’t dumped, just duped.


The article can also be viewed in cache form here





  1. Zoah Hedges-Stocks

    23rd August 2012 at 18:25

    I question the wisdom in writing a news story on how an article was pulled because it was controversial and drew complaints then REPRODUCING IT WORD FOR WORD.

  2. Bob

    23rd August 2012 at 18:33


  3. Adrian Smith (@distoviolin)

    23rd August 2012 at 18:55

    Well now you have made this article very popular and certainly infamous. The toerag could never had done it without your support.

  4. Joshi E Herrmann (@JoshiHerrmann)

    23rd August 2012 at 21:54

    Why did the editor panic and claim it was satirising the media?

  5. Cornelius

    24th August 2012 at 19:21

    This sounds like more of a satire based on class, than one based on sex.

  6. Iodelma

    24th August 2012 at 20:13

    I thought the Brits were supposed to be funny, but of course that must not include Oxbridge twats.

  7. zaphod

    24th August 2012 at 22:20

    thanks for the full article – took a little time to find it after I read on the Telegraph website about how the anti-free-speech brigade forced its removal -shameful conduct by the editors to bend to the will of these PC fellow travellers

    wow unis have changed since I was there

    thought they were places where open knowledge & free speach were important & open discussion of controversial issues the norm

    seems things have changed – sad

  8. FatherJon

    24th August 2012 at 22:21

    It’s just a harmless piece of fun.

  9. J. Cocker

    24th August 2012 at 23:02

    Here’s one I wrote earlier:

  10. Pils Scheuler

    24th August 2012 at 23:20

    jarvis is clearly correct.

  11. Rob's Uncle

    25th August 2012 at 01:37

    I agree that this is quite harmless and find it difficult to understand how anyone could be upset by it. I was at Cambridge U 1963 – 66 [Magdalene] which no doubt in some eyes explains a lot.

  12. Anonymous

    25th August 2012 at 08:48

    I wonder what Sarah Pine would have to say about the Agony Lad feature in the OxStu…

  13. Anonymous

    25th August 2012 at 08:49

    In the words of X,

    Phwoar, kyak, yaak, yaaak

    …where X= Sid James

  14. amelianixon

    25th August 2012 at 10:02

    So chavs with money then

  15. Jack

    25th August 2012 at 10:36

    Why are feminists so boring.

  16. FatherJon

    25th August 2012 at 11:41

    They’re not just ‘feminists’, they’re femonazis…the very worst type of puritan.

  17. Martin Alexander

    25th August 2012 at 13:12

    The article about the article is interesting. The article itself is just badly written, and too badly written to deserve the compliment of outrage. It’s floppy writing, unless that too was intended to be satirical. For example, I think there’s an error in this line: ‘She duly worked her way through the Eton rugby team.’ Shouldn’t it read ‘Dully’?

  18. Thomas

    25th August 2012 at 18:54

    It is unbelievable plagiarism. Seriously, read the Vice article.
    The question of misogyny is trickier but certainly the writing is clumsier in the Cherwell version and this leads to some pretty uncertain humour. The Eton rugby team line is a good example.

    Offensive stuff on both sides but even if you claim it as satire (which it clearly is) it is still terrible journalism to reproduce someone else’s work like this.

  19. Grace

    26th August 2012 at 00:27

    Found this quite funny. Maybe because I’m a ‘posh girl’?

  20. amelianixon

    26th August 2012 at 00:34

    The similarities in personality traits between posh girls and chavs is striking. See, we really are all the same underneath the posh and chav labels. Sisters!

  21. Rafael

    26th August 2012 at 11:58

    Though here in Netherlands we don’t have such a classy society, this description of posh girls is so good, and internationally valid!
    I have always be wondering how this mechanism works. Of course it’s a generalisation, but it answered quite a few of my questions about these ‘princesses’ ….

  22. Anonymous

    26th August 2012 at 16:13

    This article is much, much worse than the article is deprecates.

    Cherwell’s article was quite clearly, as they say in their apology, satire (whether or not to everyone’s sense of humour) written to provide amusement by poking fun at stereotypes at Oxford and the common ‘How to Guides’ in the media.

    Firstly, it is not misogynistic. It may be crass and vulgar at points about sex, but in complete opposite to what Sarah Pine says it in fact gives sexual autonomy entirely to the ‘posh girl’. I agree with her that ‘treating women like objects that lack any autonomy in who they date or sleep with is outdated and boring’ but this completely contradicts the actual article. It infers that the ‘posh’ girl may be sexually vociferous but in no way implies she is being used, rather that she is doing the using: “You weren’t dumped, just duped.”

    Secondly, it is not plagiarism. It has similar set up to the Vice article, but it also is similar set up the thousands of ‘How to Date…’ guides on the Internet and printed media, including women’s magazine Cosmo, that categorise different aspects of the prospective partner. Was that was not sort of the point? To poke fun this genre and turn it into a light-hearted Oxford-related student journalism? It’s actual content has been shaped to fit Oxford student life.

    In reality the reason this has been taken so far is because of pathetic rivalries between the two student papers. The Oxford Student clearly wanted to simply ‘get one up’ on Cherwell, which is why they decided it was necessary to create such a stir about an irrelevant story. Their high morals that induced them to label it misogynistic did not stop them reprinting the article in full so it subsequently was read by thousands of people in the national press, far more than if it had remained on Cherwell and no fuss was made. Instead of making Cherwell look bad it has just reinforced unpleasant public perceptions of the university by Daily Mail journalists jumping on an opportunity to criticise Oxford students.

  23. amelianixon

    27th August 2012 at 09:30

    Surely written by a disappointed and bitter young man? Most people would treat the article with the contempt it deserves. Young woman, whether they be rich or poor chav or posh deserve better than this.

  24. Opiniated Observer (@priya_lall)

    28th August 2012 at 13:16

    This article refers to the authors own insecurities rather than the reality of dating in Oxford. He obviously has a fear of women’s sexuality, which is why he keeps on re-iterating how many men she slept with. He is also so preoccupied with her class background that the only way that he can bring her down is through going on and on about her sexuality. This makes the article is pathetic and backward. We are not in the fifties anymore and, really, he should get it over it because it is so damned idiotic. Perhaps, these women dumped him due to being bored of his backward opinions and perhaps found a nicer guy *shock horror* from the same background.

  25. Elliot Adams (@AwesomeWelles_)

    28th August 2012 at 13:58

    student journalism is always a bit shite, par for the course, but stealing an article is pitiful behaviour – there is enough to worry about with bloggers, aggregators and ‘curators’ stealing people’s work without fledgling journalists doing this to each other too.

  26. billy

    27th October 2012 at 22:31


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