25th October 2012

Student 101: controversial costumes

As The BOP was forced to pull its ‘Armed Forces and Taliban’ fancy dress theme Lucy Gardner explores the issue behind controversial costumes

Prince Harry, Pimps and Hoes, the inevitable stag do mankini – failing to see the link?

Inappropriately dressed celebrities, and the odd member of the public who happened to be in the wrong clothes at the wrong time, provide stories for tabloids and magazines nationwide everyday but every once in a while they cross the line and become front page newsworthy.

Students play host to many an ill thought out party. Recently a Facebook campaign launched against what was going to be Jabez Clegg’s Friday night BOP ‘Armed Forces vs. the Taliban’ theme. The group attracted almost five hundred likes and lead to Social Junkies, the organisers of the event, to pull the theme and distribution of flyers. However, with the BOP being infamously dubbed as the ‘easiest place to pull in Britain’ and being filled to the brim with students every Friday night, should it really have been a surprise? The city’s students are living in one of the most culturally diverse areas of the country – were they taking a good night out too far by becoming culturally insensitive or is it one more story that will be laughed at as just another ‘typical student’ thing to do?

The Sun splashed “Harry the Nazi” across its front page seven years ago when the nation’s hedonistic royal was seen sporting a swastika at a party. Newquay have banned the mankini in a bid to keep rowdy stag parties from wandering the streets whilst leaving little to the imagination. With major stories of shock and embarrassment hitting the news-stands on a regular basis, should today’s students really know better?

The Universityof Manchester’s very own Tabz O’Brien-Butcher, the Students’ Union’s Women’s Officer, recently featured in the Manchester Evening News after criticising the Carnage student pub crawl that has recently been brought to universities across the country. This year the theme of the night was sold as ‘Pimps and Hoes’, something which the Women’s Official cited as a “message to women students, many of whom who are in halls and have moved away from their home and their families for the first time in their lives, that their only worth is as sexual objects for men.”

The Carnage events also caused controversy this year with racist comments being scrawled across the legendary Carnage t-shirts and in previous years the six-bar-strong night out lead to students desecrating a war memorial. It has to be questioned whether the tasteless themes that constantly spark a debate do in fact lead to behaviour that gives students a bad name or whether it should be seen as a three year phase of carefree immaturity.

60 years on from World War II and Prince Harry’s outfit still caused outrage across the country – with tension, both old and new, still rampant throughout today’s society, should students give certain nights a miss and hold on to their morals or is it all just a bit of harmless fun?

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