So you’ve all by now heard the story about people at an NUS womens’ conference getting anxious because of all the clapping, and officials asking conference attendees to please do “jazz hands” instead. If you didn’t hear, then here are the tweets that triggered the meme:
The feminists of course are up in arms. They don’t see it as a case of a group their colleagues acting slightly pathetic, they see as a necessary step in the implementation of a policy of “inclusiveness” (of people with anxiety disorders, in this case, which is certainly a real condition). The feminists wrote that apparently:
Anyone who has been to a conference will know that tensions are running high with some of the most vibrant student activists in the UK in one room. Conference is charged with heated debate, there is a lot to get through, say and do, and for those with generalised anxiety disorder and other disabilities, this can be a difficult and exhausting space to navigate and participate in.
It sounds to me as if the problem it not so much about vulnerable anxious minorities but rather with a loud and obnoxious majority. I’ve been to conferences, including once or twice while I still carried a bit of youthful uncertainty and awkwardness (which is not the same as an anxiety disorder), and I do not recognise the atmosphere described as necessarily associated with conferences. If such an atmosphere is normal for feminist conferences then the fault is most likely with the feminists. To be clear, male dominated IT conferences do not have this edge, nor does Liberty League, for instance (also somewhat male dominated).
But anyway… that is not the purpose of this post. I’m posting because frankly the idea of having special “feminist” hand signals sounded absurd so I tried to look it up. It seems as if, and I could be wrong, that these hand signals developed or became popular at least through the Occupy movement. Frankly, that bunch are pretty weird in their own ways too. What is all the chanting about, it is a cult?