The Guardian’s HADLEY FREEMAN tells us why America can’t let Romney win, why she rejected her first Guardian job offer, and how to dress for a supervision when you’ve written an abysmal essay.

After moving to London from New York as a child, Hadley Freeman attended boarding school in Cambridge and proceeded to The Other Place to read English, where she edited the student newspaper Cherwell.

She is able to seamlessly shift from writing about John Kerry to Kerry Katona, and her articles – from sharp commentary to her much admired Ask Hadley fashion column – are routinely the most-read on The Guardian’s website.

Hadley’s dual Anglo-American citizenship is manifest when we meet. A very British mix of frankness and humility charmingly complements her archetypally American self-assuredness – which has brought her to the Union to debate the US election. The Tab spoke to her about politics, print journalism and Primark.

Will Superstorm Sandy affect the election’s outcome and how has Obama handled it?

It might motivate apathetic and disillusioned Obama supporters to vote, because Romney was against the federal helping of states and very sceptical of climate change. Obama’s been there with those affected, not campaigning, whilst Romney is off in swing states thousands of miles away.

Would you have conducted Obama’s campaign any differently?

I’d have motivated him before the first debate because he really couldn’t be bothered with the politicking and fighting. Romney gained momentum, but Obama got it back.

If Romney wins the election, will you renounce your dual citizenship?

Oh god… knock on wood, but I really don’t think he’ll win. The idea of him and Paul Ryan in charge of America is so horrendous I can’t even bear to think about it.

How would you compare the political cultures of the UK and the USA? 

They’re like the weather: London’s isn’t extreme, whereas New York’s goes from hot to freezing. So in America the right wing is much farther to the right. I thought you’d never get away with that here, but they’re trying.

Nadine Dorries and Jeremy Hunt are using abortion and women’s bodies as political footballs. Hunt is such a moron – he ‘has a feeling’ that the abortion limit should be 12 weeks. I think he only said that so Cameron wouldn’t look as bad bringing it down to 20 weeks.

Do you think part of the problem is that there just aren’t enough women in politics?

It is better for women to be talking about their own issues, but they don’t automatically bring empathy. Sarah Palin played a big part in moving the Republicans rightwards, based on a fake morality.

If you were president for the day, what would you do?

I’d put in more stringent climate change policies; shore up Roe v. Wade; shut down a lot of the cable news networks because they’re so partisan and hysterical. And I’d ensure the survival of newspapers.

How much longer do you think The Guardian’s print edition has left?

A lot of daily papers probably won’t have print runs during the week within the next few years. I don’t see how we can survive if we don’t put up a pay wall, but that’s against The Guardian’s whole theory.

You’re part of a current wave of funny feminist journalists, along with the likes of Caitlin Moran. Do you think journalism has reached a tipping point for women, enabling them to be more outspoken?

Maybe. We all grew up in an age when Feminism had progressed to a certain point, so it never occurred to any of us that we shouldn’t be mouthy.

What was it like being an American at Oxford? And why did you decide to work for a British newspaper?

I moved to London at eleven so it wasn’t too weird. But on my first day some idiot boy asked me if I was related to Morgan Freeman! In my final year, The Guardian offered me a job but I didn’t want to be a journalist so I swanned off to Florence and pretended to be Lucy Honeychurch for a year. Then I planned to work at American Vogue, but the pay was too low to survive on. So I came back and said to The Guardian, “Hiiii…”

Cambridge student fashion consists predominantly of oversized knitwear and thick-rimmed glasses. Can geek chic work in Cambridge, or is it just geek?

Sure it can! That’s hipster with warmth – practical hipster! It’s better than the fashion at Oxford in the nineties. Everyone was wearing floral dresses and Doc Martens, or Carhartt combats – there was a lot of Carhartt – and everything was baggy.

Dressing for the library – dress up or down?

Down, otherwise you’ll spend the whole time hoping people are noticing you. If you’re making the effort to go to the library, just do the work.

One for the guys: you’ve got a job interview, worst-case scenario, do you wear your dad’s suit or go to Primark?

I didn’t know Primark made stuff for men! It depends on your dad – my dad’s suits would be a disaster. If Jarvis Cocker’s your dad then you’re fine.

You’ve written an abysmal essay – what do you wear at the supervision to distract from it?

I’d look as awful as possible so the tutor would feel bad for me. Like I’d had a terrible nervous breakdown.

What’s your favourite fancy dress outfit?

You know that story in the news about the old woman who painted over the church fresco? This Halloween, I was the fresco Jesus. But when in doubt go Ghostbuster.

Tell us about your second book, ‘Be Awesome: Modern life for modern ladies’, due in April 2013. 

It’s a guide to life directed at myself at 23. How to be an un-annoying vegetarian; how to talk about eating disorders without mentioning Kate Moss; how to be a twenty-first century feminist; how to cheer up your single friend without lying or patronising them. All the important stuff!


  • Bro

    Some cool stories in here.

  • is it just me or

    does 'i'd shut down a lot of news cable networks' seem a bit odd?

    • Fox

      scares me and her alike

    • Thoughtful

      No – they poison the political debate in the USA and are frequently wildly inaccurate. Who benefits from "news" that's not true?

      • More thoughtful

        Very few networks (if any) are completely impartial, and most of them are biased to the left (albeit more subtly than Fox is to the right). In any case, the contempt for free speech that this suggestion betrays is rather alarming.

        • Think harder

          Your argument is nonsensical: "It's impossible to be perfectly impartial, so any degree of partisanship should be allowed"? Entirely illogical. Now, I see no merit in networks which are biased to the point of consistent factual inaccuracy being allowed to mislead the public by describing their programmes as factual "news". If you think otherwise, make your case.

          As for "contempt for free speech", presumably you don't support defamation laws, or laws against false advertising? After all, they're restrictions on free speech too – of exactly the same nature as banning the promotion of a news network on which facts are routinely distorted (cf… ) as "impartial news".

          • I thunk hard

            That's not my argument. My argument is that if you're to be consistent in enforcing network neutrality, then practically all existing networks ought to be shut down, rather than just Fox News (which I suspect is the main target of those proposing this). Subtle bias is, if anything, more pernicious than overt partisanship.

            Defamation laws and laws against false advertising are entirely different from 'banning the promotion of a news network on which facts are routinely distorted'. The former allow organisations and individuals to be held to account for actual wrongdoing, the latter pre-emptively punishes a network for anticipated wrongdoing, thereby hindering its freedom of speech, truthful or not, on the basis of what (presumably) some government body decides is impartial or not (how well that's worked with the BBC!). The equivalent of libel laws would be fining networks for distorting the facts whenever they do so.

            As it happens, I'm ambivalent about libel/false advertising laws anyway. There's a principled case to be made for doing away with them altogether (after all, people are in general free to tell untruths), and it's clear that, practically speaking, libel laws as they exist mainly benefit the rich and powerful. But that's another issue.

  • umm

    "shut down a lot of the cable news networks because they’re so partisan and hysterical."

    So 'partisan' means daring to criticize your precious Obama..

    You say Romney would be horrendous but Obama has been as bad as Bush. In fact he's been worse when it comes to civil liberties and there's still high unemployment.

    • Feminist o clock.

      So you honestly think Romney would be better? Someone who wants to BAN ABORTION?!?

      • Highwayman

        I kind of see where you are coming from, but I don't think there are many issues that are so black and white that they do not need to form part of a debate, and I'm not sure abortion is one of them.

      • umm

        You actually believe Romney would ban abortion?

      • Half past Feminism

        Why are people disliking that comment? Is it in support of banning abortion? If so those 'dislikes' are the most concerning thing on this whole page. Feminist o'clocks comment may have been slightly obvious but definitely not unreasonable. As a tempered version of that, I would like to ask if people 'disliked' the comment because Romney was not trying to ban abortion? If so, someone should tell Feminist o'clock.

  • "sure up"?

  • Tab

    Hadley if you are reading this please marry me I love you. For reals.

  • Typo?

    "shore up".

  • J.W.


  • I am now


  • rb
  • Another Victim of Sexism

    “pounce on their prey (or a man if you would rather call them that).” – This statement just shows the ridiculous level of sexism in modern society which men are subjected to. Such sexual objectification completely disregards our personal and intellectual traits. We are not just a piece of meat or a fine “D” as you so disrespectfully put it. The Tab should be ashamed, articles like this completely trivialise the issue.

    • Holly

      Yes because you should feel so threatened by this comment when 91% of rape victims are female ( and 99% of rapists are male, take your petty tears and go and cry with your fellow ‘hard done by’ men on your Men’s Rights Activists message board you tool. misogyny is killing women left right and centre, misandry is hurting poor little boys feelings on the internet.

      • Another Victim of Sexism

        I personally prefer to cry on my own than with other ‘hard done by’ males, and I think I speak for all of us when I say we sometimes lack the confidence to confide in others. Clearly judging by your disregard for gender equality, and the unfortunate 9% of males who you kindly raised the issue of being rape victims, you are yet to consider the emotional needs of the other sex, Holly.

        I hope you sleep easy you sexist pig.

      • SAM

        your actually wrong its more like 50sumtin % of women.. research that!!

      • Dave

        And thus the little fish takes the bait.

      • Olly

        Yes because it’s not sexist if women aren’t (and cannot be) raping men.

      • Olly

        You sound like you love equality, and women’s rights.

        Well, let’s be equal.

        Consider yourself my prey, I will now hunt you down, and “pounce on” you.

        Happy? :)

      • Sam

        I love how you preach about rape and what not although recently they did a test on domestic violence between a man and a woman in public, the man was threatened with being arrested when he abused the women but when the woman abused the man the public infact laughed at the ordeal. 40% of domestic violence is suffered by men, i hate you narrow minded feminists on how you’re always subject to the short end of the stick.

      • Sarah Harvey

        Holly – I think your comment was disgusting and makes you look incredibly insensitive and ignorant.

      • Spog

        Aware as I am that most rape/domestic violence victims are women, I don’t think that’s justification to trivialise it when it happens to men. Implying that a female rape victim has somehow been “more raped” than a male one is simply reinforcing the stereotype that men should be tough and women are soft and emotionally fragile, and therefore attaching a stigma to being a male victim of abuse.

        This is a particularly sore point for me, having suffered some pretty severe beatings from an ex. At one point I needed hospital treatment – told them I’d cracked my head on a cupboard door in the kitchen to hide the embarrassment that she’d actually done it by hurling a wooden box at me for “making a mess” (I’d spilled some pencil shavings beside bin then got distracted by something else and forgot to hoover them up).

        I’m still too embarrassed to admit to being chinned by a girl” (hence the pseudonym) and attitudes like yours don’t help.

      • dfdf

        Rape isn’t the only result of men being treated like meat or always up for it.

        If I had a pound for every time I’ve been sexually assaulted on a night out, I’d have 8 or 9 pounds, but it’s still not acceptable.

      • Libertarian357

        Two thirds of homicide victims in the UK were male in 2012. Clearly sexism is literally killing men left right and centre.

      • You are a nobhead

        91%….therefore we must disregard the 9% and the 1% male rapists and the numberous more amounts of false allegations.
        You are fucking retarded.

    • Dogg

      Sensitive snowflake, much?

    • …that guy

      Are you actually offended or taking the piss?
      I can’t tell.
      Act like you got a pair!

  • Ashley

    And all of them use these personas as excuses for being unfaithful or just sluts in general.

    • youreanidiot

      and men don’t? pretty sure you wouldn’t call men sluts for acting exactly the same as men do in this situation.

      • micky ansell

        I do, I even call them on it. Will I get to be shouted at now by a randomer on the internets.

  • Katie

    Everyone is overreacting, it’s only a little article written for a bit of fun. get over yourselves.

  • Hedgehog Juniper

    What about the drunk angry feminist girl who can’t understand why society thinks it’s ok for guys to show their nipples but not women, and so gets naked and shouts at everyone? Because that’s me…

  • Munch

    this made me laugh. funny article maybe they should think about doing the same thing with drunk male personae? 8/10 would read again and giggle like a little girl

  • …that guy

    “drunk girl personas” …for fuck sake learn how to handle your shit! There is nothing more relentlessly annoying than drunk girls causing a scene because they’re too dumb to know their limits.

    • A person

      Sexism hurts both genders. It creates unrealistic standards and categorises people into 2 dimensional stereotypes. We need to understand that we are not wholly defined by our sex.

  • Crayonless

    Does every harmless piece of journalism have to turn into a debate on the levels of sexism in society today? It’s getting very old.

  • Navraj Johal

    i don’t believe this for a second. maybe if this had been written by my girlfriend Amy Ferguson it would be believable as she’s an 8 out of 10 so would be very likely to get a match with Harry Styles (at least an 8.5)

  • Someone

    I guess guys do all of this things

  • Bradley Speck

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  • caston

    i am caston by name. Greetings to every one that is reading this testimony. I have been rejected by my husband after six(6) years of marriage just because another woman had a spell on him and he left me and the kid to suffer. one day when I was reading through the web, I saw a post on how this spell caster on this have help a woman to get back her husband and I gave him a reply to his address and he told me that a woman had a spell on my husband and he told me that he will help me and after 3 days that I will have my husband back. I believed him and today I am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have the power to bring lovers back. because I am now happy with my husband. Thanks for His Dr AGBER OR CALL HIM ON HIS MOBILE NUMBER +2348100515075

  • caston

    i am caston by name. Greetings to every one that is reading this testimony. I have been rejected by my husband after six(6) years of marriage just because another woman had a spell on him and he left me and the kid to suffer. one day when I was reading through the web, I saw a post on how this spell caster on this have help a woman to get back her husband and I gave him a reply to his address and he told me that a woman had a spell on my husband and he told me that he will help me and after 3 days that I will have my husband back. I believed him and today I am glad to let you all know that this spell caster have the power to bring lovers back. because I am now happy with my husband. Thanks for His Dr AGBER OR CALL HIM ON HIS MOBILE NUMBER +2348100515075..

    • OrcWarrior

      Is he level 90 yet? What skills has he unlocked?

  • beep

    jim and hamish have some serious problems ya know, its people like this thaat make the world that much more of a darker place.

  • hornycunt m

    indeed jim and hamish are unaware of the genuine discrimination
    prevalent in todays society

  • Matilda Montague Johnson

    As a middle aged woman myself i am appalled by the attitude of jim and hamish. I needed to have a sex change just to join my local golf club. it was a deeply harrowing experience. I think the world really should give a ‘fuck’, because i needed to get a dick to swing a club

  • Anonymous

    The article forgot to mention several basic facts. First, the Spec is not part of the university, and it owns, legally and outright, the suite of rooms where it meets in Old College (though it does also rent additional uni-owned rooms in Old College occasionally). Furthermore, it doesn’t contribute to the renovation or maintenance of Old College because, legally, it doesn’t have to. The Spec actually used to own the land under which Old College now stands, and in (IIRC) the early 1800s gave the land to the university (so that Old College could be built), and in exchange the University ceded the Spec the deed to a suite of rooms and which the University would provide maintenance for and access to in perpetuity. This is why the University has not been able to alter its relationship with the Spec. Though they have been loathe to discuss it for various political reasons. But hey it’s student journalism (and the tab), what could you expect.

  • Filthy


  • Some guy on the internet

    Not the usual shit you find in a library then?

  • Alan Sugar

    to much modafinil for some1

  • Hercule “cleaner” Poirot

    As the cleaner in the pic I WILL find the culprit and DNA or not they don’t call me Hercule Poirot of the cleaning fraternity for nothing, you will be found!

  • concerned youth

    is it true that short guy is 26?

  • Pingback: nike mercurial superfly

  • wim

    thats got nothing to do with his job. once again the fake online conscience of britain fucks someone over for nothing. everyone loves a witch hunt. we’re all such great people blah blah blah

  • Joshua Saffold-Geri

    This is the best Tab article I have ever read.

  • Carlos

    i think this ‘article’ gave me cancer

  • micky ansell

    That isn’t what the Oxford Dictionary defines rape as….

  • #equality

    It’s the correct legal definition and it is therefore literally impossible for a woman to be convicted of raping a man. Instead, they would be convicted of sexual assault and get a less severe sentence.

  • micky ansell

    well that’s stupid….

  • Captain Obvious

    I understand and agree with what you’re saying… but you can’t lower both the male and female percentages… they’ll always add up to 100…

  • Scottish.girl

    My comment meant that domestic violence against Women should be reduced as well as domestic violence against Men. I’m sorry if you couldn’t understand that, I’ll spell things out for you next time ;)

  • Plight of the Masochist

    Fight the good fight, Brothers!

    Rest easy.

  • 420fagit

    i’ll fuking hook u in the gabber m8

  • we know

    More like hi Alex

  • T

    Yes there is. “You absolute muppet.”

  • VKs are really bad for you xxx

    If you are going to shower anyone in anything, please:

    Think of the children. Take heed.

  • Beth

    But that’s not FREE, David. If we’re going to buy ink, printer and paper, we’d just buy loo roll.

  • next time