Jelly Wrestling on Wobbly Ground

An online petition has been launched in protest against the infamous jelly wrestling match that takes place at the annual Wyverns’ Garden Party.

Cambridge Daily Mail Drinking Societies jelly Jelly Wrestling May Week summer Wyverns

An online petition has been started against the annual Jelly wrestling contest at the Wyverns’ Garden Party, on the grounds that it is “clearly sexist.”

The petition was created by Nina de Paula Hanika, who is herself a student at Magdalene – the college with which the Wyverns society is associated.

At the time of publication, the petition has 891 signatures, close to its stated aim of a thousand. It has received wide support from both inside and outside Cambridge.

“This particular event is not ‘just a bit of fun’.” Nina told The Tab “To use that tired excuse is to ignore the huge number of women who have contacted me to tell me how personally degraded, devalued and marginalised even the idea of this has made them feel. It also patronises the sheer number of men who have commented to say they feel embarrassed to be associated with an activity that represents them in the most negative light simply on account of their gender.”

The pinnacle of Suicide Sunday’s most popular Garden Party is the jelly-wrestling match, which sees two bikini-clad girls fight each other in a paddling pool full of jelly for a cash prize.

Just a bit of fun, or deeply sexist?

The competition has always aroused its fair share of controversy, but this year’s petition suggests that many think the time for change has now come.

The petition aims to persuade the Wyverns to bring an end to the phenomenon of jelly wrestling, which it describes as “clearly sexist, misogynistic and completely inappropriate as entertainment for 2013.”

It suggests that many of those who go to the party feel forced to condone the wrestling match if they want to attend one of May Week’s hottest events.

The complaint claims that the jelly fight portrays women as “only good for their bodies, and that in order to contribute socially they must be sexualised objects.”

It’s not all Jelly Wrestling at the Wyverns’

Hannah Haverkamp, whose signature is on the petition, believes that the score should be evened and boys should also wrestle. She writes: “There’s nothing wrong with a bit of jelly wrestling, but limiting it to women is sexist and gross.” Nina, however, disagrees:

“Building mutual respect and support won’t happen by pulling down the men in attendance to match. This event is a manifestation of insulting objectification that has gone on for far too long, and is something that neither gender deserves.

“The Wyverns have a perfect opportunity to break the trend and show that drinking societies do not have to represent the worst qualities of our life at Cambridge.” She went on to say, “I’m looking forward to hearing their comments and hope they choose to do the right thing.”

The Tab attempted to contact a representative of the Wyverns this morning, but at time of publishing, have received no response.