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What a right shower they are at Monsoon.

Following a complaint by one non‑binary teenager this week — let me repeat, a single person who made one solitary protest on social media — the fashion chain, whose entire range is designed for women and children only, has declared that its changing rooms are now ‘available to all customers’.

Does this mean that any dirty old men who want to spy on young girls trying on crop tops should throw on their crusty macs and thunder down to one of Monsoon’s 180 shops pronto, grab some floaty skirts and head for the changing rooms? Who knows? But if they did, no one at Monsoon would be able to stop them.

This all started because sixth‑former Charlie Moore wanted to buy a prom dress, so went shopping at a Monsoon branch in Birmingham.

Charlie (who uses the pronouns ‘they/them’ instead of ‘he/she’) was asked to leave the store’s changing rooms after being told by an assistant that ‘males are not allowed to try our clothes on’

Charlie (who uses the pronouns ‘they/them’ instead of ‘he/she’) was asked to leave the store’s changing rooms after being told by an assistant that ‘males are not allowed to try our clothes on’

Charlie (who uses the pronouns ‘they/them’ instead of ‘he/she’) was asked to leave the store’s changing rooms after being told by an assistant that ‘males are not allowed to try our clothes on’

So far, so ordinary — except that Charlie (who uses the pronouns ‘they/them’ instead of ‘he/she’) was asked to leave the store’s changing rooms after being told by an assistant that ‘males are not allowed to try our clothes on’.

Charlie does not feel comfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth. Born male, they now wish to live their life as a non-binary person and is hoping for gender-affirming hormone therapy. Fair enough, that’s totally Charlie’s call.

After leaving the store, the 18-year-old complained on social media, where Charlie lists themself as ‘pansexual’ and also the chair of the West Midlands Young Liberals and trans-spokesperson for the Young Liberals.

Uh-oh.

One can only imagine the panic bomb that exploded at Monsoon HQ. God, no! Anything but the Young Liberals!

The company immediately capitulated. There was an ocean of grovel, fawn, cringe, kowtow — and how.

Not only did Monsoon declare that its changing rooms were now open to all, it offered to find a dress for Charlie ‘free of charge’. Result!

Not only did Monsoon declare that its changing rooms were now open to all, it offered to find a dress for Charlie ‘free of charge’. Result!

Not only did Monsoon declare that its changing rooms were now open to all, it offered to find a dress for Charlie ‘free of charge’. Result!

Not only did it declare that its changing rooms were now open to all, it offered to find a dress for Charlie ‘free of charge’. Result!

I’m glad for Charlie and hope their hurt feelings are assuaged and that they shall go to the ball. (Unlikely to do so in a Monsoon dress, though, as they have said they will never shop there again.)

However, where does that leave the majority of Monsoon customers — the birth-assigned females, the mothers, the loyal shoppers who might well feel differently about another formerly ‘safe space’ going, going, gone? What about our rights and feelings?

Because really, this isn’t about Charlie, who only wants to live their life. But what if the person in the next changing room is not this Charlie — but Charlie Nutter or Creepy Charlie, who is very much not your darling? The point is that public spaces where women and girls are undressing should be sacrosanct.

Young women should be able to shop in peace, with an expectation of privacy and safety, free from the male gaze and possibly predatory interest. Older women should be able to welcome the comfort and security of female-only zones.

By making its changing rooms available to ‘all customers’, Monsoon is at risk of alienating the majority of its core clientele. Why are their feelings, hurt or otherwise, never taken into account?

Is it just a coincidence that this all happened just days after the Equality and Human Rights Commission issued guidance that services such as gym changing rooms, bathrooms and domestic abuse refuges should be open to trans people whenever possible? And that exceptions are only acceptable if there are ‘proportionate and justified reasons’?

It’s not the law, not yet (just an interpretation of existing equality laws), but one can see the way things are going.

Young women should be able to shop in peace, with an expectation of privacy and safety, free from the male gaze

Young women should be able to shop in peace, with an expectation of privacy and safety, free from the male gaze

Young women should be able to shop in peace, with an expectation of privacy and safety, free from the male gaze

A tolerant and healthy society can be accommodating and flexible, but how will commerce cope? Hard to imagine companies such as Monsoon allowing the need for more diverse changing rooms to eat into an inch of their high-profit retail space. Far easier to trample over women’s rights instead, so let’s just do that, shall we?

Many will sympathise with Charlie and their difficult journey. I know I do. Charlie has already started a GoFundMe page to raise the money for their gender therapy: ‘The NHS’s gender services are terribly underfunded and inadequate, and to avoid furthering already present medical-related trauma, I’ve elected for a private route,’ they write on their page. ‘Please chip in.’

At the time of writing, Charlie has reached half of the £1,200 goal. The kindness of strangers and the support of friends is so inspiring, isn’t it?

That won’t stop the storm clouds gathering for Monsoon. But I feel it deserves the approaching culture war squalls.

Renee Zellweger says she is not ruling out coming back as Bridget Jones, and described her character as 'so much fun'

Renee Zellweger says she is not ruling out coming back as Bridget Jones, and described her character as 'so much fun'

Renee Zellweger says she is not ruling out coming back as Bridget Jones, and described her character as ‘so much fun’

The return of Bridget? I can’t wait …

V. V. good news. Renee Zellweger says she is not ruling out coming back as Bridget Jones. ‘I hope so, she is so much fun,’ she said, when asked about reprising her most famous role.

We last saw her in Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016) when she married Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) and subsequently discovered he was the father of her child. Phew! If they don’t live happily ever after, there is no hope for mankind. In so many ways, Bridget is a totem of our times. The world and women have moved on, reflected through her prism.

Back in the very first film (2001), she was skipping around an office in her miniskirt, flirting with boss Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant). ‘Like your t**s in that top,’ he emailed her during one office flirtation.

Bridget just giggled. Today he’d be up on a #MeToo charge. And rightly so, said absolutely no one.

And in a fun Mr and Mrs-style questionnaire for Vogue magazine before the wedding, Brooklyn revealed that the most embarrassing thing he ever did was suffer from a bout of flatulence in a school classroom

And in a fun Mr and Mrs-style questionnaire for Vogue magazine before the wedding, Brooklyn revealed that the most embarrassing thing he ever did was suffer from a bout of flatulence in a school classroom

And in a fun Mr and Mrs-style questionnaire for Vogue magazine before the wedding, Brooklyn revealed that the most embarrassing thing he ever did was suffer from a bout of flatulence in a school classroom

The message in Brooklyn’s outfit? This way up!

Ahhh, the Beckham wedding. There has been much criticism over the ostentation and the expense, but at heart Brooklyn and Nicola are just two crazy kids in love, starting on their life adventure together. Shouldn’t we wish them all the best? I do!

Still, interesting that Nicola’s mother was so thrilled at her daughter’s choice of groom that she had a protective ‘evil eye’ embroidered into the bridal dress. Just in case. Of what? Don’t ask.

And in a fun Mr and Mrs-style questionnaire for Vogue magazine before the wedding, Brooklyn revealed to the world that the most embarrassing thing he ever did was — how can I put this? — suffer from a bout of flatulence in a school classroom. His in-laws must truly be impressed.

In the same quiz, Nicola revealed she gave him a suitcase filled with personalised labels for Christmas because ‘he loves them’. She even had one specially made to sew inside his wedding outfit.

I wonder what it said. Put Arms In These Holes. This Way Up. Do Not Resuscitate. Nil By Brain. Adult Supervision Required. May Cause Drowsiness In Others. Do Not Leave Unattended.

That’s enough labels. For now.

Jacob was pants as a blind date

Bad behaviour in this week’s Mail Blind Date, which featured Jacob and Anastasia. Jacob complained because Anastasia ordered fish for her meal, which he considered a faux pas because ‘the smell lingers’.

What rubbish.

Even worse was the fact that lovely Anastasia had made an effort to dress nicely, while Jacob didn’t bother. ‘I wore jeans and trainers. I’d stayed the night before on a friend’s sofa and those were the only clothes I had with me,’ he said.

Doesn’t that just sum him up?

Ready to complain about food choices and attitudes and women who are ‘arrogant and superficial’ — but he didn’t even bother to put on a clean pair of pants or a fresh shirt.

Anastasia, you are too good for him!

'Well, what you've got is a criminal for a leader, who is wrapped in a messy war, embroiled in a stupid scandal and surrounded by ambitious idiots, and really should resign,' Dan Stevens said in an interview about his new drama

'Well, what you've got is a criminal for a leader, who is wrapped in a messy war, embroiled in a stupid scandal and surrounded by ambitious idiots, and really should resign,' Dan Stevens said in an interview about his new drama

‘Well, what you’ve got is a criminal for a leader, who is wrapped in a messy war, embroiled in a stupid scandal and surrounded by ambitious idiots, and really should resign,’ Dan Stevens said in an interview about his new drama

Don’t die of shock, but something quite interesting happened on The One Show this week. I say ‘quite’, I say ‘interesting’, because it is The One Show and the last exciting thing that happened was when Gary Barlow walked off the set about a century ago.

This week, actor Dan Stevens made a laboured joke about the PM and the Tories, calling him ‘a criminal leader’ who is ‘surrounded by idiots’. Hilarious or what.

Dan was supposed to be plugging some show, but the flop-haired one from Downton decided to Make A Political Point instead. ‘Vulgarity is no substitute for wit,’ as Downton’s Countess Violet would say.

It was hardly a shock, given that — in spite of stiff opposition — he is the world’s No 1 luvvie who boasts that his guilty pleasure is vegan ice cream.

Some might say he is a ghastly man with a shield of carefully curated attitudes and box-ticking opinions.

But that’s enough of him. At my age, as Violet would also say, one must ration one’s excitement.

When Northern Ireland’s women’s team lost 5-0 to England, their manager Kenny Shiels said his team’s collapse was because women were ‘more emotional’ than men.

Cue much outrage.

Yet women are more emotional than men — and there is no shame in that. Look at us! Always blubbing and sobbing when we ladder our tights. Having a melty when Marks & Sparks runs out of handbags.

But the problem is that is not what Mr Shiels meant. Read between the lines and what he was actually saying is that women are weaker than men.

That when his all-gal team were behind on the goal front, they crumbled and conceded even more goals — and his tacit allegation was that men would not have done the same thing.

No wonder women are rightly furious with him.

I’m so mad I could cry. How did he get that job in the first place?

Source: Daily Mail

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