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Twitter erupts after UK student women’s event asks audience to wave ‘jazz hands,’ not clap

Twitter erupts after UK student women’s event asks audience to wave ‘jazz hands,’ not clap
A student women’s conference has asked its attendees not to clap as it causes anxiety, and instead urged the participants to wave “jazz hands.” The request caused a Twitter storm, with many mocking the decision as political correctness going overboard.

The clapping “ban” was declared by the National Union of Students (NUS) Women’s Campaign on Twitter, following a request by Oxford University, also on the social network.

It was in the framework of the annual Women’s Conference, which began on Tuesday.

“@nuswomcam please can we ask people to stop clapping but do feminist jazz hands? it’s triggering some peoples’ anxiety. thank you!” the tweet read.

@nuswomcam please can we ask people to stop clapping but do feminist jazz hands? it's triggering some peoples' anxiety. thank you!

— OUSUWomen'sCampaign (@womcam) March 24, 2015

Five minutes later, NUS tweeted that about some delegates “requesting that we move to jazz hands rather than clapping, as it’s triggering anxiety” and urged the attendees to “be mindful”.

Some delegates are requesting that we move to jazz hands rather than clapping, as it's triggering anxiety. Please be mindful! #nuswomen15

— NUS Women's Campaign (@nuswomcam) March 24, 2015

Earlier in the day, NUS had posted a warning about “whooping”.

Whooping is fun for some, but can be super inaccessible for others, so please try not to whoop! Jazz hands work just as well #nuswomen15

— NUS Women's Campaign (@nuswomcam) March 24, 2015

"The request was made by some delegates attending the conference. We strive to make NUS events accessible and enjoyable for all, so each request is considered," an NUS spokesperson said.

The move triggered criticism and mockery, with many arguing that it was taking political correctness too far.

@nuswomcam@Little_G2 hi, jazz hands can be triggering because of the quick movement of the hands. I vote blinking rapidly instead. Thanks

— Book Geek (@BookGeek_T) March 24, 2015

MOTION PASSED! #nuswomen15pic.twitter.com/fyDtTi8V45

— Lord Skip VC (@LordSkipVC) March 24, 2015

.@nuswomcam Terribly insensitive to people who don't like jazz, isn't it?

— Doug Powers (@ThePowersThatBe) March 24, 2015

However, some supported the step, telling BBC’s Newsbeat that waving jazz hands, the practice of waving your hands over your head popularized by the Occupy movement, was “a nice way to show solidarity.”

“Jazz hands are used throughout NUS in place of clapping as a way to show appreciation of someone’s point without interrupting or causing disturbance, as it can create anxiety,” Nona Buckley-Irvine, general secretary at the London School of Economics Students’ Union, said, the Washington Times reported.

If people clapping... literally clapping... "triggers" your anxiety, you are in for a lifetime of hurt.

— RB (@RBPundit) March 24, 2015

“I’m relatively new to this and it did feel odd at first, but once you’ve used jazz hands a couple of times it becomes a genuinely nice way to show solidarity with a point and it does add to creating a more inclusive atmosphere,” she said.

Clapping was not the only thing that caused issues for participants at the event, though.

One claimed that murmuring was "making things inaccessible," leading the NUS to issue an edict banning "chat" and "whooping."

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