It is not imperative for students to mold themselves, but there is tremendous pressure in order to do so; it is not essential for girls to expose their cleavage to the extent it looks like a bum crack in order to engage in a sexual experience.
Backed by Loaded, Nuts and Zoo magazines, Carnage claims to be the ‘UK’s BIGGEST AND No.1 Student event’. After an outcry of rage and protest in response to the event’s 2012 theme ‘Pimps and Hoes’, it was a relief to know I was not alone in believing there was something a little off about casually associating “lad mags” with students.
I wanted to know why Carnage chose this theme, so I contacted the Head Office. Their media team responded as follows:
The fancy dress themes for our events are chosen by the students and not by us. The selection process is conducted via social media polls in June and July of each year. This year, students across the UK, which includes the students in all cities, have chosen “Pimps and Hoes” as the fancy dress theme for their first event and “Beauty and The Geek” as the fancy dress theme for their second event.
Whilst there has been some criticism from a small minority of individuals in connection with our “Pimps and Hoes theme”, we would like to point out that attendance at our events, is of course, entirely voluntary. If that small minority do not like our themes, we would kindly advise that small number of individuals not to attend our events and to seek alternative social events.
What is worrying here is that events like Carnage are not the problem, they are merely providing an outlet for the problem. The true issue is that the excuse to dress up provocatively is a student demand. Whilst every individual is absolutely entitled to clothe their bodies in their desired apparel, what needs to change here is the motivation behind the way we may choose to dress.
The practice of females dressing in a sexual way purely to get attention from the opposite sex is quite frankly, relatively fucked up – according to Charles Darwin. His exploration of ‘sexual selection’ discovered that a number of male animals necessitated certain types of attractive characteristics in order for them to successfully reproduce. Peacocks with the fanciest feathers for instance, attracted mates more easily. The brighter a rooster is coloured, the likelier he is to get laid (or, preferably, get another bird laying – I apologise…). Similarly, deer with the largest antlers attract mates most easily.
With humans, there has seemingly been a role reversal in who has to look the most appealing in order to attract the opposite sex. For students in particular, although the motivation is rarely for mating purposes, the sexual element axiomatically remains.
University is a jungle of young, vulnerable animals trying to find themselves, and the sexualisation aspect is only one major pressure that they increasingly face. Its role has evolved from an academic institute, into a social milieu of competition; who can drink the most alcohol without being sick? Who can consume the largest combination of drugs without being hospitalised? Who can get off with, or sleep with, the most girls during fresher’s week?
Do you have to be a “fittie McVittie” to survive University? No, but it often feels as if it is a necessary characteristic to achieve social acceptance. Of course there is an argument that invokes the bigger picture, which is the conviction that that’s just the way it is in life – physically attractive people winning at the cost of the less attractive. But the reason the focus of change here is on students, is because students really are the instrument through which the future can be played.
When I was living in halls in my first year, a particular flat mate was extremely inconsiderate and highly disruptive. Regardless of me expressing how his behaviour entailed negative externalities, he insisted he didn’t feel bad or the need to apologise because he was “just living the student life”. If the majority play this game to survive by accepting that this is merely the expectation of a student, then how will it ever be an environment other than one that promotes unpleasant, competitive behaviour?
It is certainly not imperative for students to mold themselves into a certain stereotype in order to survive university, but there is tremendous pressure in order to do so. It is not essential for girls to expose their cleavage to the extent it looks like a bum crack in order to engage in a sexual experience. It is also not compulsory to immerse yourself in the alcoholic binge drinking culture. But what the representatives for Carnage said pretty much embodies the entirety of the point I am making here, that being “If that small minority do not like our themes, we would kindly advise that small number of individuals not to attend our events and to seek alternative social events.” In other words, if you do not want to behave like the majority of students, then quite simply you cannot be a part of the “normal” student community.
At university Social Darwinism is merely superficial smoke and mirrors, for if the fittest are all subjecting themselves to carnage, then surely the only survivors are those who opt not to take part in the first place.
Photo credit: used with permission / theriskyshift.com