It is tradition at the University of Cambridge after exams finish for college drinking societies to organise garden parties to celebrate. They are much anticipated events, and almost every member of the university will go to one. Most are a brilliant way for students to let their hair down, forget about exam stress and start their summer.
Each year at the Wyverns' Garden Party, organised by the all-male drinking society associated with Magdalene College, it is organised for two female students (sometimes more), in bikinis, to wrestle in a paddling pool full of jelly. They give them "prizes" (of money). This is clearly sexist, misogynistic and completely inappropriate as entertainment for 2013.
Paying women to wrestle half naked is not entertainment. It cements and prolongs the idea that women are lesser, that they are only good for their bodies, and that in order to contribute socially they must be sexualised objects. These are out-dated ideas that (thankfully) only a small minority at Cambridge hold. The access team here do excellent work every year to end the entrenched belief that this university is sexist and elitist and it is exactly events like this that ruin their work year on year by projecting a false idea of an institution that in most ways is really fantastic.
Many people want to go to this particular garden party because it is famed for being one of the best. Using this as entertainment means every guest, male or female, is forced into condoning this in order to attend, and many guests (understandably) feel uncomfortable having to passively support this behaviour simply in order to attend the party of their choice.
Please help me make this end - I feel deeply saddened to not only attend a university where this takes place, but to be associated with this event simply by attending Magdalene, but it does not have to be this way! If you love the women in your life for their brains, for their wit, and for their contribution to society that has NOTHING to do with the body they come in, please sign and help me stop this.
If you would like more information regarding the negative effects that the sexist elements of "Lad Culture" can have on women's experiences at university, I urge you to read NUS's report on the subject: http://www.nus.org.uk/Global/Campaigns/That's%20what%20she%20said%20full%20report%20Final%20web.pdf
- The Wyverns' Drinking Society
Please end the tradition of jelly-wrestling at the Wyverns' Garden Party.
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