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Lerwick Up Helly Aa


peeriebryan
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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
      11
    • No
      15
  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
      15
    • No
      11
  3. 3. The current ‘male only’ squad member demographic of Lerwick Up Helly-Aa is….

    • Sexist
      8
    • Traditional
      18


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Well, as a Shetlander who has done Up Helly Aa for 53 years, I don’t think anyone outside the Up Helly Aa tribe should assume they can just walk in and change things. A lot of people have invested a great deal of time and money and would not like to hand over their baby to people who have not served their time. Would you be allowed to go to any other ethnic community, and say, you can’t do that. This is Shetland, the guizers are normal kindly people, not misogynistic monsters. If you want to change a culture, get on the next flight to Kabul.  

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9 hours ago, EM said:

You think that is a fact?

It most certainly is not a fact, it is your opinion. Opinions are very different to facts and as I said earlier, this whole situation is not going to improve when people get facts and opinions mixed up.

I would also say I do not share your opinion.

I do believe it is a fact. Do you really suggest that if one fiddlebox carrier (this being the traditional way to join a squad) was a lass, anyone watching the procession would notice?

My opinion is that it is highly unlikely many, if any, females would actually join a squad anyway. 

Again, we are now on page 93 of this thread and nobody has actually stated females are not allowed in squads, so why on earth don't the committee just say that?

I agree with Ghostrider that there would still be those complaining but the difference is that it will no longer be an issue for the committee.

 

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1 hour ago, Spinner72 said:

........and nobody has actually stated females are not allowed in squads, so why on earth don't the committee just say that?

Technically, you're right. But in one post EM did state membership of the Lerwick UHA Guizers Association was open to males only, and in another, that only the UHA Committee had the ability to change the rules concerning membership of that Association, which pretty much says 'no female guizers', just in a roundabout way.

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On 19/02/2022 at 08:11, Bluemire said:

You have no idea what kind of life I have lived and this is an example of bullying. I have my own opinions as do you but I wasn't rude or obnoxious towards you. 

People who express opinions you disagree with are not bullying you.

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Yes that's true, there were three in my squad when I was Jarl, and a great many more at other times. With females in the other squads often outnumbering males from primary school upwards.

But the Lerwick UHA is a very different beast regarding numbers, for very good reason. Equality here would simply mean being able to join the same very long process boys do to one day possibly be in the Jarl squad.

Also, the tradition of the halls means, I am confident, the majority want to carry on playing the part in the festival that they already do.

3 hours ago, Ghostrider said:

Technically, you're right. But in one post EM did state membership of the Lerwick UHA Guizers Association was open to males only, and in another, that only the UHA Committee had the ability to change the rules concerning membership of that Association, which pretty much says 'no female guizers', just in a roundabout way.

Ah, I had missed that. I hadn't noticed the distinction between the Guizers Association and the Committee.

So by joining any squad you become a member of the Guizers Association?

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To get out in a squad you also have to be invited, if there is a vacancy. Each squad has a  capped number of places (depending on historical numbers) so very difficult for any new members to get in and there's usually a waiting list. Its unlikely there will be any new squads allowed  as capacity has been reached, unless a squad pulls out. Therefore anybody wanting to join in, male. female or something else will have difficulty. Our squad is based on the original families that set it up, so father to son etc. So if the committee says females are allowed, its the squads themselves who decide who they want in. So its not really one organisation to deal with but maybe 60+

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Exactly. That's why I believe it is a fact very little will change. Becoming a part of a squad in Lerwick is a long process, if the committee announce/clarify that it is OK for females to join squads, it could be years before anyone is actually involved, just the same as it is now for men.

Also, as you rightly say, it will be up to each individual squad (just like in all other Up Helly Aas) and so the current negativity and pressure on the Committee would vanish.

As mentioned above however, it may be that joining a squad means you join the Guizers Association (something no other UHA has to my knowledge) and it has a no male policy. Hopefully EM will clarify.

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6 hours ago, Spinner72 said:

So by joining any squad you become a member of the Guizers Association?

Presumably so, as its just about the only arrangement that is practical and makes sense, but as I can't recall having come across the Association prior to EM mentioning it, confirmation from him would be helpful.

On a different point entirely, while I won't argue that the Committee could have been more pro-active in addressing the protestors, I'm also beginning to wonder if the protestors themselves are not equally guilty of not approaching and handling any of this debacle as well as they might have.

Who the current Committee members are is no real secret, they were listed online last I noticed. Have any of the protestors ever tried to engage with and discuss the subject with either an individual member or the collective? From the public's view, there's no sign of it, its all been gesture protests in public and letters to the paper.

An apparent MO of trying to get weight of public opinion onside to force change, which is basically the waving a big stick at people approach. These aren't always a good idea, as often dangling the carrot in the first instance achieves better and more harmonious results.

The longer this rumbles on, the more I become convinced that in the minds' of at least most of the most vocal protestors, UHA is run on a similar relaxed, casual and informal basis to something like the Summer Carnival, and as a consequence it should be 'no bother' and 'no big deal' for the 'organisers' to mess with what and how it is.

While some rural UHAs may operate in such a manner, the LK one is about as far from that as you can get. Wheelsup used a phrase I'd forgotten, but which was regularly used by UHA enthusiasts when I was mixing among them regularly, and that is 'served their time'.

It really is a very exclusive club for all participants, regardless of role, where personal contribution, loyalty, longevity and consistency are the key attributes and only currency. Until someone has 'served their time', however it happens that they do so, they are just another face in the crowd, but when somebody has they have gained the respect and support of a number of other participants. Consequently without a broad support, or at least acceptance across the board, sudden/significant change, whether it be actual or theoretical just isn't going to happen, as there are too many within who if they have an opposing opinion, have the backing of too many others within for it to be forced through.

Whatever else anybody may think of the LK UHA, it is a enviable model for democracy. Things can only be messed with as far as all participants are willing to accept at any one given time, as the whole thing depends 100% on all participants willingly staying with the program to keep it from crossing the thin line between orderly and chaotic

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. We wir yarnin aboot dis danight. My faider is an ex Jarl o da Lerwick Up-Helly-Aa.  I've been going oot for more dan 30 years and grew up wi it through my faider and middir. 

Dirs no reasonable argument to stop women going oot. I've never seen a constitution neither has me faider. There's nothing to stop women going out as far as I know. 

(There is an argument for it being a totally private party where everyone is invited to squads,halls, hospitals  care homes but its not one I really use unless I want to wind fok up)

If you want to get oot into wir squad you either have a relative, you get invited, you ask a squad member.  

Can you mind Chewing the fat? Dey had a sketch Good guy-Onanist? Dats no what dey called it but am no sure I widna be censored but dats da basic criteria for wir squad. That's because if you misbehave, you're out.

Now we get multiple letters to the media from people who have never been to an Up Helly-Aa.  I've been accused of being comparable to murdering rapist, a homophobe, a racist and transphobic. 

To be compared to a sex offender is about as low as you can go. I'm celibate I don't get a letter in the LGBTQBLT whatsoever xyz. I really don't care what you do with your genitals as long as you have fun and nobody gets hurt (unless that's what they want) Me and the homos the non binary of a certain generation just want to be accepted as humans And we always have been in Up-Helly-Aa. And I  really haven't raped anyone. I've worn a few dresses in my day. Had a great time. (The anti brigade really don't like this-try it, you'll have ball!)The best clubs I'm been to? Gay clubs. Transphobic? Well the bar for that is pretty low. Adele said she loved being a woman.  And now she's transphobic.

I really dinna think we are far fae women going out in the lerwick up Helly-Aa but I do think the anti brigade will never be happy. They keep on attacking public figures like the Chief exec and da council Convener. Neither have anything to do with Up-Helly-Aa. 

And someone here said they had heard the Festival was a charity. As as far as I'm aware it is paid for by generous donations from local  businesses and the guisers who take part.

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Female squad members in Lerwick Up Helly Aa (2017 poll results)

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

  • Yes - 53.2% (58 votes)
  • No - 46.8% (51 votes)

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 - 45.9% (50 votes)
  • No - 54.1% (59 votes)

3. The current ‘male only’ squad member demographic of Lerwick Up Helly-Aa is….

  • Sexist - 39.45% (43 votes)
  • Traditional - 60.55% (66 votes)

109 members voted. The poll was opened in 2017. The poll was closed and reset in Feb 2022.

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I doot dis fellow is doin more harm tae his cause dan he is raisin support for it https://www.shetnews.co.uk/2022/03/04/uha-campaigner-turns-his-attention-to-community-safety-board/

I'm sure he tinks persistance will pay aff, and while I dunna necessarily disagree we him, I'm gettin a bit tired o him. If he had twartee of da weemin he's campaignin on behalf backin him up, den his points might be better received. 

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I know this will come out wrong, but despite my sympathy for women's rights, this feel like another incomer trying to tell the locals they are doing it all wrong. It makes you want to dig your heels in for another 20 years. And I am no really involved.

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