It would appear that during the furore of feminist jazz hands doing the rounds and causing a storm on social media, some controversial ideas managed to gain legitimacy during the conference.
Take Motion 502, which called for the no-platforming of ‘Transphobic’ and ‘Islamophobic’ speakers. Firstly, the modern trend of pathologising those you disagree with as having an irrational fear is childish and serves only to shut down debate. Secondly, a serious question needs to be asked as to what constitutes Islamophobia. Criticism of Islam (surely something that is entirely legitimate in a secular society) ranges from an unreformed Tommy Robinson, to the late Christopher Hitchens, to feminists concerned about the treatment of women in some Islamic cultures. What is the cut-off point, and – more importantly – who gets to make that call?
Furthermore, Julie Bindel, the Guardian columnist, had her ban extended at NUS events for an article she penned eleven years ago…
As Versa writes:
No. I think it is the discourse surrounding the no-platforming of Julie Bindel: the claim is that her views “erase” the identity of transgender people. This perfectly exemplifies the thinking of the cultural left that words, not the actions that they may cause, but the very words themselves constitute some form of material harm. I am afraid my vision of liberation, indeed my vision of humanity, is a little more robust.
Finally, and perhaps most hauntingly, the conference decided to ban something which will effect most themed student parties – yeah, that’s right no more cross dressing for students.
I remember at university there was an event that the rugby boys would look forward to every year where players would dress up in women’s clothes and play golf for 9 holes. I wore a tiara and a charity shop purchased dress one year to really express myself. It had nothing to do with trying to steal an identity or gender mockery – it was purely for fun and if anything, for team cohesion.
Unfortunately, it appears that these sorts of team bonding experiences will have to been hit into the long grass from now on as student unions will now actively stop these events from taking place.
Once again Versa:
This ham-fisted attempt to re-educate rugby lads who wear tutus to College bops is expertly taken down by Helen Lewis in her New Statesman column. Not only does Lewis illuminate the short-sighted ambiguities of this motion – can guys still grow their hair long, can goths wear black nail polish, can Scots wear kilts to a Burns supper? – she also captures its inverted social conservatism: “What this motion implies is incredibly reactionary: all straight cisgender people must wear gender-appropriate clothes in their leisure time”. It all seems somewhat counterintuitive for a group that places so much emphasis on gender-fluidity [Backbencher emphasis].