Miss England Final 16-17 May:
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Changing the stereotypes – Melissa’s story

By 19th April 2024 No Comments

I’m Melissa Butcher and I am 24 years old from Lancaster, Lancashire. I am now a Miss England Finalist. I am hoping to use Miss England to promote Women working in male-dominated industries like myself and help inspire others to join the prison service. I also want to promote body positivity and raise awareness around body dysmorphia.

Women working in male dominated industries face a variety of challenges in addition to sexual harassment, including Societal expectations and beliefs that question women’s leadership and managerial abilities. There are so many stereotypes leading women to take on necessary but rarely rewarded “office housework”. For example when a male member of staff would say ‘it’s a women’s job to clean the office’ gender stereotyping women with cleaning. Or someone saying ‘it is a man’s job’ and ‘women should not do this job’ it really infuriates me because why shouldn’t we? You don’t have to be typically rough and tough to do this job. Sometimes all it takes is a bit of empathy and communication to diffuse situations and keep good order.

I am hoping that with my appearance in Miss England I will raise awareness that you can be a girly girl and still work in a typically stereotyped male dominated job such as myself. I would describe myself as a typical girly girl likes pink, dressing up, nice heels, handbags, makeup, hair and  nails. However I still go into work everyday and wear my work uniform which is a lot less glamorous and no makeup, hair tied back and do my job just as well as the males do. People often say to me ‘you do not look like a prison officer’ and I want to show that you do not have to look a certain way to do this career.

I am hoping that with taking part in Miss England I will help breakdown the stereotypes and inspire young women and girls like myself to take the risk like I did and join these careers, putting the stereotypes to one side and putting ourselves out of our comfort zones.

Melissa competing in the Miss England semi finals!

I am living proof that you do not need to be rough and tough, big and strong to be a prison officer. I find it so empowering and get a great sense of achievement and job satisfaction when I feel as if I have helped even just one person become better. Whether it be helping them engage In their sentence plan and help with reading and writing or signposting them to mental health recovery or drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

I feel good when I help others and I want to show the world that prison officers are human behind the uniform and to breakdown stereotypes that it is ‘us vs them’ attitudes. As it isn’t and in order to rehabilitate we need to have good professional working relationships and this way help reduce reoffending and keep the public safe.

I have been given authorisation by my governor to go into schools and colleges  and educate others on this topic and the career path within the prison service. I want to inspire others that it is a good career and the stigma of it being ‘bad’ and ‘for men’ is not accurate.

My second platform is through body positivity and body dysmorphia. I have suffered from this since a young age. Ever since I was a young dancer I always used to avoid mirrors as I was scared of the reflection and what would be looking back at me. I lacked so much confidence and starved myself daily. I used to limit myself to 800 calories a day, train in the gym for 3-4 hours a night and I lost so much weight. I was so unhealthy and depressed just because I thought I had to look a certain way as a ballerina and competitive dancer.

I am now so much healthier and have a good balance with exercise and food. I am so passionate about body positivity and want to promote this and make others know it is a normal feeling to not feel great everyday and have some insecurities. However I have learned how to have a healthy lifestyle and the importance of embracing our imperfections and insecurities as this is what makes us who we are.

I also want to show others the importance of a healthy lifestyle has on our physical and mental health. My next goal is to become a physical education instructor in the prison service to encourage others to focus on health and well being and the importance it can have on your mental health.

I am hoping to get over to South Africa in the summer and help my fathers friend with his project of building eco homes for vulnerable children and families.

I am also going to be hopefully hosting a fitness charity fundraiser with ex offenders and officers over the next few weeks to educate others and show how we rehabilitate and help others in our line of work. And what better way to do this than raising money for charity as well. I am excited to start raising funds for ‘’Balls to cancer’’ charity and ‘’PAPYRUS” This charity is very close to me with dealing with suicides and self harm on a daily basis in my line of work. And it is important to raise awareness and funds to support those who struggle as mental health matters!!

Melissa promoting the Miss England Headline sponsors Watermans Hair



Melissa will be competing in the next Miss England national final taking place at the Grand Station Wolverhampton  on the 16th & 17th May 2024 sponsored by Watermans Hair.

For tickets to support Melissa at the event visit the Grand Station Website to find out more