Is university life becoming more sexist?

Undergraduate students at Cardiff University are gearing up to discuss whether life at university is becoming more sexist. As part of this Emily Parnell, an undergraduate student, reflects on Carnage UK: Pimps ‘n’ Hoes

Since its establishment in 2007, the infamous student pub and club crawl Carnage UK has lived up to its riotous title. Each university term the event brings with it a night of, well let’s say, excess!  On October 7th 2012 Carnage’s most recent theme ‘Pimps ‘n’ Hoes’ sparked outrage among many due to its misogynistic theme encouraging women to dress as sex workers and men as their ‘owners’. This theme is quite clearly encouraging ideas that men are superior and women are sexual objects. As a result a petition was started by the Cardiff University Women’s Officer asking for Carnage UK never to use such a sexist theme again as it is demeaning to both women and men and is sensationalising the abusive and oppressive practices of prostitution. In a written response, the leaders of Carnage events Varsity Leisure Group claimed that the ‘Pimps ‘n’ Hoes’ theme was common among fancy dress events and that attendance was entirely voluntary. They also made a point of saying that they had ‘no desire’ to work with Cardiff University Student’s Union ever again.

As a current student of Cardiff University who has attended previous Carnage events I found the ‘Pimps ‘n’ Hoes’ theme very distasteful and quite offensive towards both men and women. Personally I found it offensive in the sense that the theme was encouraging women to explicitly dress as sex workers. I do understand that for many of the Carnage events students are encouraged to dress in overly provocative ways in line with the publicity and advertising campaign that maintains Carnage’s raunchy reputation. Yet many of us believe that it should be down to the individual to choose how they dress, and the most recent theme ‘Pimps ‘n’ Hoes’ left little scope for modesty when choosing fancy dress outfits.

Emily Parnell, Cardiff University


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