A self-proclaimed victory for women’s rights has been won by the University of St Andrews feminist society (FemSoc), after they forced a night in their Student’s Union to change its name from “P.U.L.L”, which they deemed “sexist”, to the more appropriate “Bop.”
“[The name] alienates people who are not interested in the sexualised nature of clubbing; it alienates people for whom consent is essential; it alienates religious groups who are uncomfortable with the trivialisation of casual sex; it alienates those opposed to ‘lad culture’ and it alienates those who simply want a safe space,” FemSoc Coordinator Jo Boon told The Tab.
Admissions Rep at St Andrews and former student Carla McGaharan said the name was “problematic.” Adding: “Such a title could lead to assumptions of sexual entitlement, and people becoming assaulted, raped and harmed as a result.”
Chris MacRae, Director of Events & Services, claimed: “We intended the name to be both an acronym for Postgrads and Undergrads Loving Life, as well as in its abbreviated form to suggest the new Club would be the biggest ‘pull’ or ‘draw’ in town.”
However, the acronym was easily and quickly confused with the colloquial term “pull,” meaning to attract or kiss a prospective sexual partner.
FemSoc boss Boom set up a petition in protest. Within 24 hours it had gained 427 signatures and the name was changed.
A counter petition has now been started, arguing: “Nobody has the right to not be offended.” It reads: “When just over 5 per cent of the student population gets to make a decision for rest, this is not making the majority feel comfortable and does represent the wider majority.”
Boon said the name was “alienating” because, “branding the aim of nights out as being ‘to pull’, which is not the case for many people and it should not be considered a ‘norm’, as it will be if it is the name of the weekly union event.”
Other feminists at the university, however, have argued that the action is not a representation of feminist values. Commenter Another feminist wrote: “This is the kind of backwards slut-shaming virginity-worshipping nonsense that feminists have historically fought against. What’s sexist about a gender-neutral term for going out and having fun and having sex?”
Other students simply don’t care.
At the beginning of this month the government ordered an inquiry into a “sexist” “lad culture” in British universities.
The business secretary Sajid Javid told The Sunday Times: “If the taskforce comes back with new ideas that might even require some kind of legislation or intervention, I’m taking nothing off the table. This is a very serious issue and we will approach it in that way.”