All the uncomfortable socials at Lancs that need to stop

Cable tie socials are lame x


Every Wednesday Lancaster clubs flood with themed socials. School girls, spartans and police officers take on Sugar with force. The spine becomes a catwalk for whichever costume you’ve managed to string together on a student budget. That’s student life and it’s great.

But it’s 2020. The past 10 years have provided lesson after lesson on how to treat girls. The prominence of the allegations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein in 2017, the #MeToo movement and the Ayia Napa rape case at the end of 2019 have redefined how we should treat women on campus and in society. And yet, each week a new social pops up that has you questioning if there is any consideration towards the girls on the team.

The Lancaster Tab spoke to girls from different societies across campus, all of whom wish to remain anonymous.

The cable tie social

Cable ties, typically used to harness and bundle wires, instead tie together a girl and a boy from different teams. The only rule is that you are cable tied together for the entire night. The joke of the social is that they don’t know each other, perhaps ideally they might share a red cup of vodka coke and fall in love – hoorah for that cable tie! The intention is comedic, but of course, that's rarely the case.

Socials already require a lot of effort, and part of that effort is to overcome the pressure of wanting to fit in. Is there a single person on campus who doesn’t want to feel a part of their team? So why are we putting girls in this position? What’s the intention? It can also be pretty uncomfortable for the guys, too!

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One student told The Lancaster Tab: "I felt extremely uncomfortable because I have a boyfriend who I’m pretty sure wouldn’t be too keen on me being literally tied to another (drunk) guy for my entire night, not just because of jealousy but also for my safety.

"I didn’t feel valued at the social, I couldn’t socialise with my friends because I was essentially dragged round all night to see my cable tied partner’s friend. I also felt a lot of pressure to take part, not because it was a part of a team but because I didn’t want to be the only one who didn’t do it."

Another student added: "Okay if you’re given a choice on 1) If you’re cable tied to anyone at all and 2) Who it is!"

Another simply stated: "Cable tie no, anything else YES."

'Anything-but-clothes' socials

Pretty self explanatory. You show up in anything but clothes. Perhaps swimming trunks or a dress that has been made of bin bags. They’re hardly a hit across campus, it's freezing, but several sports teams still use the theme. One student said: "Boys running round campus naked on freshers made me feel uncomfortable."

Another said that they feel "lowkey scared when socials wear like a tiny amount of clothes on socials for a night out."

A second year student said: "I understand the anything-but-clothes theme if you immediately interpret it as 'be inventive,' but I can see why some people might be put off by it. If you don’t feel comfortable going out in your swimsuit, or don’t feel okay with a bin bag, it is uncomfortable."

'Tight and bright' socials

Not as popular as the former two themes, but it has been seen on campus. The tight and bright theme expects you to wear neon clothing that is skin tight.

Another student told The Lancaster Tab: "On a night out I want to enjoy being with my mates, not drawing any attention (to myself) and feeling comfortable – tight clothes can just be uncomfortable and bright ones bring too much attention.

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"In a way, I do think it's quite objectifying – the whole point feels like it's focused on bringing attention to the body. The only good thing about this being a social is that it was easy to find the group.

"Nobody is forcing me to go on the social, I could just go out with a different group of friends however when you’re part of a team being the odd one out does add a sort of pressure."

Perhaps these themes have been passed down through generations of different society execs. The themes continue because they’ve always been there. However, in a community of a student body that appears progressive, these social themes that are popular with Lancaster students appear contradictory. Aren’t they just a tad outdated?