If a young man wanted to dance with a woman who had caught his eye, it used to be the case that all he had to do was ask. But in this politically correct age, it seems that matters have become more complicated.
It’s not enough for sensitive members of today’s ‘snowflake generation’ that someone has agreed to a dance in the first place. Instead they must repeatedly check that their partner is ‘still into this’ after the music has started, and offer to stop otherwise.
Undergraduates at the Ivy League college Princeton were provided with detailed dancefloor instructions before their Orange and Black Ball (OBB) at the end of last term.
Undergraduates at the Ivy League college Princeton were provided with detailed dancefloor instructions before their Orange and Black Ball (OBB) at the end of last term
The advice came from a university body called the Sexual Harassment/Assault, Advising Resources & Education watchdog, known as SHARE. It said on its Facebook page: ‘Going to OBB this Friday? Planning to have a great time tearing up the dancefloor with your friends? Great! Check out some tips about what consent on the dancefloor looks like!’
In an accompanying poster, under the question: ‘What does consent on the dancefloor look like?’ is a silhouette of a dancing couple. Alongside are suggestions for how the conversation should unfold, with the question ‘Do you wanna dance?’ followed by possible responses such as ‘Absolutely!’ and ‘Yeah! Let’s do it!’
Students were told they must repeatedly check that their partner is ‘still into this’ after the music has started, and offer to stop otherwise
The lines ‘Hey, are you still into this? We can stop if you aren’t!’ illustrate how students can keep checking for consent even after the dance has begun, and are accompanied by warnings to frequently ‘check in’ with a partner and to wait for an answer.
But one British student at Princeton was sceptical about the guidance. Jens Clausen, 20, from Chelsea, West London, said: ‘It doesn’t have to be so blunt. There are ways of communicating the message without being so robotic. I think that most people can tell if the other person is enjoying themselves or not.’
However, Katie Massie, 19, said she liked the poster. ‘If you ask then you have an official decision about consent. I think it is important to ask and to double-check. Some people think it kills the sexiness. I think it makes you more comfortable.’
Ellen Scott-Young, 21, who organised the OBB, explained that the poster was created as part of an initiative at the university in New Jersey called UMatter, saying: ‘It is designed to promote responsible interpersonal behaviour on campus. We want our parties to be fun, safe events.’
A Princeton spokesman said: ‘This is not specific campus policy. It was created by a student to help foster a respectful campus environment.’