‘Woof!’ Barking Up the Wrong Tree
Keen clubbers SAM FAIRBROTHER, WILL DARLYMPLE and HANNAH CARINS have a growl about casual sexism in Cambridge.
First mistake of the evening: going to Life. Second mistake of the evening: going to Life on a Friday. As ever, after downing too much overpriced beer and attempting to enjoy the artistic endeavours of Miley Cyrus, we found ourselves stood in the smoking alley. This is where it happened. Our friend Bernadette, walking out of the club, was spotted by a suited-up student who shouted out: ‘You’ve got a great pair of pins. Woof!’
As much as everyone spouts off when wasted, we felt this was a step too far and engaged him in conversation to try to understand why someone could be so blatantly misogynistic without regret. The answer was given straight to us: ‘that’s not fucking misogyny!’ Correct us if we’re wrong, but doesn’t the objectification of a woman based entirely on her physical form, without speaking to her as a human being, and then shouting your thoughts openly to an alley full of complete strangers, clearly show a complete lack of respect for women? No blurred lines in this argument.
His response seemed typical of what we all do as Cambridge students when argued into a corner: ‘You don’t understand. You don’t know shit about gender psychology!’ He seemed perplexed as to why his triumphant objectification of our friend was not taken as a flattering compliment, even after being hit twice over the head by Bernie, who was making her feelings on the matter quite clear. When asked if ‘woof’ was an appropriate way to address anyone, he justified his actions by pointing out that he was a member of the Bulldog Society (‘we woof at everyone’). We’re not familiar with this particular group, but we’re guessing that this sort of behaviour is actively encouraged.
As tension mounted, he set his sights on the main defender of Bernie, a tapette young man dressed as St Aloysius for an All Saints bop. ‘You don’t fucking understand. You don’t fucking understand being attracted to a woman. You’re only talking to me because you want to fucking kiss me.’ As attempts to make him apologise fell on deaf ears, Bernie’s patience ran out and she sharply jabbed at Bulldog’s face with a burning Marlboro Bright Leaf. Odd choice of cigarette we know, but it’s the most cost effective in terms of nicotine content. She missed him, but provoked Bulldog to grab at her neck. The shit hit the fan and we all jumped in, with St Aloysius’ weapon of choice being a bunch of fake lilies, ironically a symbol of purity and grace.
Valentine discreetly separated the scuffle, the Bouncers being absent from the scene, and we left a breathlessly unrepentant Bulldog being petted by his consoling friends. As we walked back to college we started to mull over the night’s action. Whilst we’re all aware of this sort of bigotry, and have come across it many times before, his behaviour brought to mind the rakishly sexist Lord Flasheart from Blackadder, rather than a Cambridge undergraduate, i.e. a supposedly intelligent person. Admittedly, trying to stub a fag out in someone’s face is not the best way to achieve anything, but we’ve been left wondering how indicative this incident is of a wider prejudice amongst entitled students at this university. Is this kind of thing that anyone should have to deal with on a night out? We think not.
The worst part? We didn’t even make it to The Van of Life.