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Petition to bring back Cambridge bikini jelly wrestling passes 1,000 signatures

15th May 2013

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A petition calling for the reinstatement of a bikini jelly wrestling match at Cambridge University has gained over a thousand signatures.

The petition, entitled ‘The Wyverns’ Drinking Society: We want jelly wrestling at the Wyverns’ Garden Party’ is calling for the decision to cancel the event to be overturned, saying it is ‘harmless’ and ‘a great bit of fun.’ 

First reported in The Tab Cambridge, the petition also calls on students to ‘support freedom of expression in all its forms,’ pointing out that ‘in the quest for sexual equality men’s jelly wrestling should also take place.’ 

The annual event, organised by the all-male Wyverns Drinking Society and in which only females could compete, was cancelled last week after a student-led petition deemed it sexist, degrading, and patronising.

As TNS previously reported, Magdalene College student Nina de Paula Hanika began the petition, which gained almost 1,200 signatures before the subsequent cancellation.

She called the event “clearly sexist, misogynistic and completely inappropriate as entertainment for 2013” and claimed that 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.”

Supportive comments included that of Anthony Woodman, who wrote: “For all the faux-libertarians out there who'll say that it's actually fine 'cos the women concerned want the money... Replace women with any other historically oppressed demographic - like black people - and then see how comfortable you find it.

"This shouldn't have been going on when I started university. And certainly shouldn't in the term when I graduate.”

The most ‘liked’ comment, from Hannah Haverkamp, read: “Get the boys in on it! Nothing wrong with a bit of jelly wrestling, but limiting it to women is sexist and gross.”

After the cancellation the Wyverns’ Drinking Society released a statement saying that they "are committed to ensuring all party-goers have the best time possible and understand the concerns of some of them.”

The new petition sprung up within hours, however, and now has 1,068 signatures to de Paula Hanika’s 1,173.

Comments include that of Dom Bonham in Manchester, who wrote: “Freedom of jelly is crucial to the free functioning of any modern democracy.”

More serious comments point out that women’s choices should not be restricted by a petition.

James Lind, from Brentwood, writes that: “People should have the right to decide what they do, and not be forced to have a select vocal few get away with dictating the rights of others because of their own personal feelings.”

Criticism has been levelled at both petitions, due to the numbers of signees from outside Cambridge.  

The petition’s creator, identified only as ‘The Cambridge Nutter’, wrote on the petition page that the Wyverns’ Society would be informed now that the 1,000 mark has been reached.  

Ticker image provided by The Tab Cambridge

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