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Lerwick Up Helly Aa


Female squad members in Lerwick Up Helly Aa (2022 poll)  

26 members have voted

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

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

    • Sexist
    • Traditional

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  • 1 year later...

^ it's da biggest event o da year attended by 1000s o folk from aa ower Shetland. Hivin a public holiday da next day maks sense. As far as I'm aware da SIC has an allocation o public holidays and dey choose when tae use dem. If no on Hop Day den when idder else?

Whit would mak even mair sense is hivin Lerrick UHA on a Friday night!

I winder if dir is ony particular reason for it bein on a Tuesday besides tradition?

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8 hours ago, Muckle Oxters said:

I winder if dir is ony particular reason for it bein on a Tuesday besides tradition?

A left over from the days of Wednesday being a 'half day' for almost all toon businesses that's not gotten caught up with the 21st C.

Friday night would be fine, get it more out of harms way for folk that have total disinterest in it all.

Back in the day they probably thought having it any nearer the helly than midweek was chancing their luck, considering the stooshie it caused among the religious types.

If they were like they were with it on the Tuesday night, when they had four days to pray and whatnot to quell the heathen demons invoked on the Tuesday, before their own holy day, just imagine the frenzy they'd have had with only Saturday to deal with them.

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  • admin changed the title to Lerwick Up Helly Aa

Is it my imagination, or is dir a lot more letters aboot female guizers in Lerrick Up Helly Aa letters bein published in da local media dis year? Dir doesna seem to be ony new discussion points, or ony sign o reconciliation.... joost mair o it!

I dunna sense ony change in folk I spik tae's opinions, but it feels lik folk are even mair entrenched da more it's spoken aboot.

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I don't know whether there's more of it or not, but what is seems to all be coming from a very loud minority.

I take their points about the SIC appearing to condone and support the status quo by allowing public facilities to be given over to it, and agree that the SIC top brass taking a 'nothing to do with us' attitude is a wimpish cop out.

Outside of that all I'm seeing is a perception problem, which I'd argue needs addressing and settling as a prerequisite of addressing the gender debate.

Its billed as a 'community event', fine, but who exactly are the 'community' that is spoken of?

The critics of the status quo seem to define that 'community' as the public, although whether that be the toon public or the entire Shetland public, I've yet to establish.

The supporters of the status quo seem to define the 'community' as those who are involved with and/or support UHA itself at whatever level.

There can be no debate held or resolution reached until or unless what 'community' is, is defined and agreed upon by at least a majority.

Add to that, that we, at this stage anyway, presume that the final decision will be made, by whoever eventually makes it, in a democratic manner, and the fact that probably the majority of toonies and Shetlanders don't give a stuff one way or the other about UHA, and the water gets even muddier in the bay.

This all started as random drunken rabble dragging burning tar barrels along the street and the random discharge of assorted firearms two centuries ago, and stayed exactly that for almost a century until the sensibilities of late Victorian era life was having their noses put out of joint too much by it.

Reinventing itself as an organised Viking themed parade to attempt to salvage something of the old that was going to fly in the 20th C. was a gamble which could have gone either way. Those who supported the new were lucky, in time it took off, the old die hards of the past either had to assimilate or accept that what they wanted to continue to do was not going to be allowed to happen any longer.

Its lasted exactly like that for fully another century, and its no real surprise that 21st C. sensibilities have now discovered issues with it just like the Victorians did in their time. It *could* be modified to address those issues quite easily and successfully as is demonstrated by the numerous country versions, but only *if* the plan is successfully sold to the masses first.

There are those among the supporters of change that try and say its no big deal, if the Committee would just amend the rules everything would be fine. They're not necessarily wrong, just demonstrating a woeful ignorance of their subject matter and of how touchy a large number of UHA fans (fanatics?), regardless of gender, are concerning anyone messing with their baby.

What they seem completely oblivious to, or choose to ignore is just how little power the Committee actually has, and how thin a grip they have on that little which they do. They cannot dictate, they can attempt to lead, but in effect they can never do more than attempt to guide the masses and facilitate whatever it is the masses decide.

Individually or as a collective the Committee relies on the majority of participants to trust and respect them before they can function, as without it they may as well stand on the pierhead and shout at Bressa telling it what to do, and it'll have more effect.

Any change, however big or small needs to be known to have been sold to the vast majority before anybody on the Committee with any wit is going to be willing to stick their head above the parapet over it. It's one thing bringing in a change that pisses off up to a handful of squads and/or squad leaders, as if they feel strongly enough individual participants or squads can withdraw and there are plenty waiting in the wings to flll their boots.

However, UHA is big enough that it would only take as few as 10-15 squads breaking away to be able to form a rival UHA that could be big enough to be successful, and than what? In true 'This town ain't big enough for the both of us' style, there would be a period of rivalry and in the end at least one, perhaps both would fail.

Massive changes to tradition occurred something over a century ago, and the 'new' UHA that exists today won out in the end. Some may see, or claim that they see, the changes being proposed now as 'minor', but plenty of others will see them as equally massive to those which gave birth to UHA in the first place, as they completely rewrite the whole blueprint and baseline dynamic half of what UHA is based on.

History is rather starting to repeat itself on this, much of the gamble in creating UHA was in that it was a small number of vocal toon gentry who disapproved most of tar barrelling, not those who participated, and likewise the UHA blueprint was for the greater part the design of others than the working class who were the vast majority of the participants.

That gamble paid off in the end then as in time the working class embraced the 'big man's' plans. However, just because it went that way then that is no indication that what is being proposed now by what appears to largely be a vocal non-participating minority is any less of a gamble, or that their success is likely to mirror any previous 'success' by others.

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I have tried looking back but this is such a long thread I will ask this again.

Is there actually anything in the constitution of Lerwick UHA that says guizers must be male?

From my conversations with some involved, this is not the case, it is just tradition. If that is true, I just can't understand why the committee don't just say so and the whole issue disappears just like that.

If there is, then it is a simple and sensible thing to do to change it, then even if the squads themselves continue to be male only, there is no longer an issue.

The lack of any statement either way is baffling and in that sense the committee are the ones keeping this going.


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