Dr Terri Simpkin of Angia Ruskin University points out in the feature that there was certainly an element of snobbishness to the Essex Girl stereotype: "Essex became a corridor between dormitory towns and London, so we saw a rise in people having social mobility. Out of that came a level of snobbery and a disparaging view of people who had become more aspirational and affluent. But with women, there was gender discrimination as well, because so-called Essex girls weren't wilting wallflowers - they were more overt as sexual beings, they took control of their own sexuality."
And perhaps Southend playwright Sadie Hasler has it right when she argues: "If you could take every negative stereotype about Essex girls, and turn them into positives, it would be amazing to see Essex girl come out and say love your body, make the most of what you've got, own it, don't take lip from anyone, say what you think, defend yourself and don't be a wallflower. The thing about Essex girl is she actually represents lots of positive messages for women - but they're currently dressed up in the most hideous way." Click on the link to read the whole feature.