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

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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.

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”.

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

"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.

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.

“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."