Well you might have guessed. It was only the killjoy feminists of Cambridge. Student Nina de Paula Hanika started a petition to cancel the jelly wrestling, calling the event "clearly sexist, misogynistic and completely inappropriate as entertainment for 2013."
The petition got 1174 signatures, with reasons for signing ranging from demands for equal jelly wrestling rights: "Get the boys in on it! Nothing wrong with a bit of jelly wrestling, but limiting it to women is sexist and gross." to the suggestion the event was surviving thanks to peer pressure: "It's not only degrading, but also nourishes this pathetic 'lad' culture, where lots of guys end up going along with these activities because they think it makes them look 'cool'. It's disgusting - I hope this petition will be enough to give some guys the confidence to break-away and say "no" to something that they must know deep-down is very outdated, pathetic and unnecessary. Stop being sheep."
In response to the petition the president of The Wyvern Drinking Society told the student paper The Tab: "In the light of the recent petition The Wyverns have decided to cancel the âjelly wrestlingâ at this yearâs garden party. We, as a society, are committed to ensuring all party-goers have the best time possible and understand the concerns of some of them."
All of a sudden, to me, a silly thing like jelly wrestling doesn't seem like such a silly thing.
I can't find anything online that could count as a 'threat' or 'anti-jelly vitriol'. So I can only assume the president is either A) very sensitive regarding petitions or B) trying to drum up more support for the new counter petition to reinstate the jelly wrestling, their battle cry to the first petition's accusation of misogyny being the old 'harmless fun' argument. It is always a good counter argument too create the impression that feminists and people who disagree with you are creating a fuss about nothing.
Cambridge University Students' Union Women's Campaign said the cancelling of the event is: "wonderful news". According to a former Cambridge student jelly wrestling is something offered at a number of balls (so fancy!) at the prestigious university. It is curious then that the focus is on this specific jelly wrestling event and nothing apparently said about the remaining men only Cambridge societies.
However it seems it does contribute to a problematic atmosphere at the university. Author and lecturer Zadie Smith has said she refuses to return to Cambridge due to the Cambridge Union due to the sexism she experienced there.
All of a sudden, to me, a silly thing like jelly wrestling doesn't seem like such a silly thing. The leaping to the Wyvern Society's defense over something so trivial as the cancelling of a jelly wrestling show doesn't seem so peculiar, it seem indicative of an assumed right to make women do what you want. The cash prize a creepy proof of apparent values.
The Wyvern president remains focused and on a mission: "We are keen to maintain our reputation as the biggest, loosest, naughtiest, silliest party that Cambridge has to offer." Phew. The Monster Raving Loony party remains safe in the knowledge it's got some marvellous future candidates coming.