VERSA | Jazz-hands replace clapping at NUS Women conference

Yeah, you read that right. Oxford’s very own WomCam requested that attendees at the NUS Women’s Conference refrain from applauding speakers and their points, and instead perform ‘feminist jazz hands‘ to show approval. Clapping was “triggering” for some attendees, said WomCam.

@nuswomcam please can we ask people to stop clapping but do feminist jazz hands? it’s triggering some peoples’ anxiety. thank you!

— OUSUWomen’sCampaign (@womcam) March 24, 2015

An eminently reasonable and normal request. But, as is the way of the Web, the most innocuous of posts can pry open the lid of very large, very “problematic” cans of worms…

Sorry quick question about the Jazz hands – aren’t they cultural appropriation? @womcam @NUS_Vonnie

— Amelia Hamer (@HamerAmelia) March 24, 2015

The following was swiftly posted to Oxford’s moral philosophy group, ‘Cuntry Living‘:

Much serious, respectful debate ensued.

Some less serious debate also ensued.

@HamerAmelia @womcam @NUS_Vonnie Isn’t passing a “motion” offensive to those who are non-ambulatory?

— Toxic Masculinity (@Warden_AoS) March 24, 2015

#nuswomen15 telling ppl not to whoop b/c it’s “inaccessible” to some + encouraging jazz hands instead. V exclusionary toward ppl w no hands

— Amelia Hamer (@HamerAmelia) March 24, 2015

@HamerAmelia @womcam @NUS_Vonnie As a child I was horribly abused by a Bob Fosse impersonator. I find this discussion very distressing.

— Jeff Minch (@UberMinch) March 24, 2015

@KaeSmth also surely blind people are excluded, unlike with normal clapping

— Amelia Hamer (@HamerAmelia) March 24, 2015

@HamerAmelia @AceofSpadesHQ @womcam @NUS_Vonnie Rather do this! pic.twitter.com/Ew9JCrOWqd

— David Kozerow (@djkozerow) March 24, 2015

But shhh, let’s not mention the problems with the shiny new idea.

This? Disgusting

Oxford was not, however, left defenceless. James Blythe, OUSU’s Vice-President for Access and Academic Affairs, promptly strode into the fray:

Really appalling men trolling #nuswomen15. As a man, you are pathetic excuses for men and need to be better, not criticise amazing women

— James Blythe (@OUSU_AcAff) March 24, 2015

We think he might have regretted this choice.

@OUSU_AcAff @Kata_basis A wild white knight appeared!

— Silver Xatu (@SilverXatu) March 24, 2015

Dear @OUSU_AcAff – that’s pretty sexist of you, assuming all those people are men. @dungeekin @ruffh2o @DidiMouzon

— nycdeb (@nycdeb) March 24, 2015

Where are the bodies James? @OUSU_AcAff pic.twitter.com/nRpQ9NFs8R

— B for #Potato (@BforBeta) March 24, 2015

@OUSU_AcAff ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha nob.

— Frank Burnside (@burnside_frank) March 24, 2015

@OUSU_AcAff “Don’t criticize women. They can’t take it. They’re only women, you know.” – James Blythe. A round of applause for this man!

— Kashmir Mandalay (@KashmirMandalay) March 25, 2015

@BforBeta @RBPundit Does no one else see it? @OUSU_AcAff pic.twitter.com/7wWwjt1gMt

— Ignatius J. Reilly (@confedofadunce) March 24, 2015

Those ableists with their jazz hands. @brixtronix @CyberEagle1989 @OUSU_AcAff pic.twitter.com/9AL2SZKcBr

— Ashley Phoenix-Claw (@AshPnX) March 24, 2015

@OUSU_AcAff @_icze4r thanks for defending the womenfolk friend! I tip my hat to you pic.twitter.com/KNu2JE3PCt

— TRAP LORD (@UncleverSarcasm) March 24, 2015

@OUSU_AcAff Are you saying women can’t handle criticism? Who said they needed you to ride in and save the day?

— Brittany (@britcantweet) March 24, 2015

@OUSU_AcAff That’s not what ur mom said last night.

— King of Zeroes (@KevinDahmer) March 24, 2015

.@OUSU_AcAff As an expert, can you please tell me how to perform my gender correctly?

— isabel (@isaabel_graace) March 24, 2015

@OUSU_AcAff excuse me bitch boy i think you need to calm down pic.twitter.com/DJb16ILA9L

— willoftheboss (@willoftheboss) March 24, 2015

@OUSU_AcAff better chat up lines are available.

— Hamish MacBadger MBE (@Madbadger35) March 24, 2015

And the NUS attempted damage control:

Here’s the URL to the twitter feed with no trolls, huzzah! https://t.co/RWceqASpaw

— NUS Women’s Campaign (@nuswomcam) March 24, 2015

…which went about as well as you’d expect. The link in that tweet?

In the spirit of community and solidarity, VERSA has come up with some ideas for non-triggering, non-culturally-appropriative substitutes for applause. These include rapid eye-rolling, aggressive blinking, and audience members gently twitching their ears.

In total, not a completely optimal day for our dear Union. Oh, and by the way, this also happened.

Typical gays, “stealing culture”…

The motion resolves to – wait for it – “raise awareness“. Gosh, the gaytriarchy are going to be in fits.

The NUS Women’s Conference has only been going on for a day. But VERSA thinks they’ve earned a very long, very slow clap.