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Lerwick Up Helly Aa - sexist or traditional?


Muckle Oxters
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Female squad members in Lerwick Up Helly Aa  

105 members have voted

  1. 1. In principle, should women be allowed to participate in Lerwick Up Helly-Aa as squad members?

    • Yes
      54
    • No
      51
  2. 2. Is logistics (already high numbers of guizers, waiting lists for squads etc) a valid reason not to allow women to participate in Lerwick Up Helly-Aa as squad members?

    • Yes
      50
    • No
      55
  3. 3. The current ‘male only’ squad member demographic of Lerwick Up Helly-Aa is….

    • Sexist
      42
    • Traditional
      63


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AFAIK;

There are no women in squads because, quite simply, women do not get invited to join one.

Pretty much a "boys only" sort of thing.

 

There is no rule that states "women cannot take part" but, I suspect that there would be hell to pay (quietly) if one was allowed to join any squad.

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There are women in the Brass Band, and make up some of the bands best players. Of course, this discussion has gone on for many years and as I understand it, there is no "law" or "rule" (or "udal law?" ha ha ), that prevents women joining, other than I believe women generally have more common sense than wasting a year standing in a cold shed building a boat they will burn once it's finished......just joking. The fire festivals are excellent, and they all seem to be run very well.

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Guest Mr.Brown

I'm guessing that the choice of Amsterdam for a stag do would have very little to do with the architecture or history of the city or even the specific quality of their alcohol! That choice could be seen as one made by a "backward, sexist, misogynistic dinosaur". Maybe not the best argument for the case?!

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The following is not the case:

 

Females not being allowed is an urban myth. There is apparently nothing on the rule books to stop any female taking part,.

 

I don't think anybody would disagree that male only guizing is an accepted custom of the Lerwick festival. The instruction

 

"it is the duty of each Guizer to conduct himself at all times in accordance with the “Spirit of Up-Helly-Aa” with goodwill and strict adherence to accepted customs."

 

is therefore quite clear.

Edited by EM
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The following is not the case:

 

Females not being allowed is an urban myth. There is apparently nothing on the rule books to stop any female taking part,.

 

I don't think anybody would disagree that male only guizing is an accepted custom of the Lerwick festival. The instruction

 

"it is the duty of each Guizer to conduct himself at all times in accordance with the “Spirit of Up-Helly-Aa” with goodwill and strict adherence to accepted customs."

 

is therefore quite clear.

 

So, are you saying that despite the previous alleged official line', and widespread belief being 'there is no rule banning female participants', a ban on female participants does actually currently exist?

 

If so, has it existed for some time, and the belief it didn't was simply another myth, or has the rule been introduced recently?

 

While a current custom may be for only male guisers, customs are quickly and easily rendered obsolete by many types of circumstance, practicalities, challenges etc. UHA has seen numerous changes and an evolution over time, different procession routes, different burning sites etc. Prior to those changes the formers route, burning site etc could have equally been argued to be 'the custom', but those customs were cast aside for 'reasons', when the right reasons came along, as can any of the current customs be.

 

Any change in gender roles within UHA will have to come from the inside, and having the same old chestnut arguments trotted out every year by those outside UHA, when its been established they won't and can't, and indeed shouldn't change a damn thing, as its not the ousiders party, has gotten very irksome.

 

By all accounts all UHA participants, guisers, hostessess and guests, are either supportive of or at least happy to leave alone the gender defined roles currently in place, and the rest of folk need to accept that its not their business to interfere in it, and live with it. However, should the day come, as it very probably might, either sooner or later, that a significant percentage of participants are no longer content with gender defined roles, I'll put money on it that the 'custom' of male only guisers will go down the Swanee quicker than the the remnants of last nights curry when the chain is pulled.

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I'm guessing that the choice of Amsterdam for a stag do would have very little to do with the architecture or history of the city or even the specific quality of their alcohol! That choice could be seen as one made by a "backward, sexist, misogynistic dinosaur". Maybe not the best argument for the case?!

I'm dunno, Mr. Brown. I think it could be argued that Amsterdam has a forward thinking and liberal reputation. They also have some excellent 'coffee' houses...  :razz:   

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The Lerwick Up Helly Aa is a tradition. There are many traditions all over the world that don't have as much hassle as this. Women are involved in the whole thing and it's getting so tedious and repetitive that every year Christmas is finished, new year is finished then what a surprise they start on about this equality bruck. I am a woman, I am a massive Up Helly Aa supporter but only for it to remain as it is. If it changes I will wash my hands of it all together and know many who feel the same. If women are so desperate go to a country festival... there is plenty of them!

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Guest Mr.Brown

Never heard of a stag do destination that was decided on the quality of the coffee houses on offer Equality Street, still it is said there is a first time for everything! I also suspect a lot of the forward thinkers & liberal minded would not be nearly so much if it were their loved ones involved in certain offerings that Amsterdam & some other places are particularly famed for.

Edited by Mr.Brown
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Guest Mr.Brown

^ Suffice to say there may well be a good enough argument for the status quo of Lerwick UHA remaining as is but I'm not convinced the "Amsterdam" one is it! I do though admire the energy of any one who can keep going on their feet, drunk or sober, all night & wish I had even half of it!

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