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Feminist Jazz Hands!

This is one of the funniest things I have read in quite some time.

Please can we ask people to stop clapping but do feminist jazz hands? it’s triggering some peoples’ anxiety. thank you!

My goodness what timorous fearful little things they are! Not exactly the sort of women who might be up for a spot of defending Kobani with some fellow Marxists then, eh? Truly the western world’s loonie left is vanishing up its own backside.

Well should I have the singular misfortune to find myself in a room with these delicate little flowers, I might be moved to make a somewhat different gesture rather than “Jazz Hands” as an alternative to clapping. Think this might ‘trigger some anxieties’?


44 comments to Feminist Jazz Hands!

  • Darrell

    Is that David Niven?

  • andyinsdca

    Why would you give them the peace sign?

    /stupid Yank

  • The Neon Madman

    Too many fingers. I would only need one.

  • Julie near Chicago

    That’s not the “peace sign,” whatever that is — think Churchill! It’s “V for Victory” — I hope.

    But, as a stupid Yank myself, what the heck is a Jazz Hand, feminist or otherwise?

  • Bod

    Uhhh, it’s all dependent on the orientation of the knuckles. Mr. Niven’s not channelling Churchill here.

  • Mr Ed

    The sign was known in England as a ‘Harvey Smith‘, after a show jumper and Yorkshireman known for his blunt manner and adopting the ‘V-sign’ reversed as a gesture as the antithesis of approbation, as it were.

    Surely clapping, being audible, and measureable, can therefore lead to grading of speeches and inequality? It will soon lead to claims for compensation, and under Ed Miliband’s People’s Administration, they will win.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Julie, Jazz Hands are a Yank thing – hence the reference to “jazz”, I suppose. It’s that thing you see in old musicals when dancers or singers hold their hands palms out and shake them quickly, particularly during the long note at the climax of a song.

    No doubt I’m missing something cultural here, but when I first saw Jazz Hands in recent times, as opposed to in old movies, I was really shocked because I associated the practice with the Black and White Minstrel Show, a TV programme of my youth which the BBC would like to forget. Having just checked Wikipedia I was astonished to realise that it lasted until 1978. The BBC probably keeps the tapes in a locked vault guarded by dragons. Anyway, the chorus of white guys done up in blackface that were a feature of every show used to do Jazz Hands. I didn’t know that was the name of it, but until recently I had scarcely seen anyone not in blackface do it.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Actually Julie, I am shocked that you had to ask what Jazz Hands are. Perry has provided a very informative link in which a young practitioner illustrates the correct way to perform this move. Kindly click on it right now.

  • Some real jazz clapping – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsFST-7Hx-Y

    Note the ending at the 5:30 mark.

  • Well that is odd – one link and I’m in moderation.

  • […] subject of Jazz Clapping came up at Samizdata. So I thought some REAL jazz clapping was in […]

  • Kevin B

    For those desperate to know ,there is a half-decent Wiki entry on the V-sign as insult which, sadly, debunks my favourite explanation; ‘The Agincourt Salute’. I think I’ll stick to that theory anyway since it can be used to wind up the French.

  • I have also heard some plausible debunking of the debunking Kevin

  • CaptDMO

    Oh, Jazz clapping?
    I guess THAT would explain the deafening silence for certain speakers at a feminist conferance.
    I can understand a “feminist” anxioty over failure to garner approval for ones “big ideas”.
    SEE! Silence PROVES “approval”. Let “the polls” reflect this!
    Can we use the approved (American) sign language gesture for “BULLSHIT” (yes, there is one) as well?

  • Too many fingers. I would only need one.

    No, the Mighty Forks are infinity superior to the Bird

  • TDK

    Someone hasn’t thought this through

    One of the most famous exponents of Jazz hands is Al Jolson, although trick is common for “black face” artists.

    I picture a whole audience of wimmin doing Al Jolson impressions – now that’s funny.

  • Mr Ed

    The Lefties that we are scorning have the last laugh, who ultimately funds this conference?

    Clue: T_x_ay_rs.

  • pete

    Well, if normal clapping makes some people anxious and worried it probably breaches the ‘safe space’ policy.

    We can’t have that.

  • Paul Marks

    Quite so – the French used to cut off the fingers of English prisoners, so they could not use the longbow any more.

    Show your fingers – you can still shoot the enemy dead.

    Note – most British (especially most English) victories have been “hold and shoot” victories, we do not to be good (culturally) at the charge (that is more Celtic).

    Although some victories have been won that way – for example Blenheim (1704) where the British cavalry noted the French cavalry (who greatly outnumbered them) trotting towards them – and instead of withdrawing or trotting into the fight, decided to do an insane headlong charge straight into the French (full Foxhunting mode).

    The French, taken by surprise by the speech and ferocity of the charge, broke and fled – and the battle turned in the British (and Imperial Hapsburg) favour.

    As for the “feminists” and their horror of “micro aggressions”.

    I am glad that no one has said it is “Political Correctness gone mad” – because P.C. (or “Critical Theory” – i.e. the Frankfurt School of Toytown Marxism) is wrong in PRINCIPLE.

    Saying “gone mad” implies that it is a good principle that has been taken too far – and it is not.

  • Mr Ed

    Only the Sage of Kettering could get from an NUS Wimmins’ Conference to Crécy, Agincourt and Blenheim in one post. 🙂

  • […] you’ve all by now heard the story about people at an NUS womens’ conference getting anxious because of all the clapping, and […]

  • RAB

    Nope, never of Jazz Hands before either. But I’m with Natalie and TDK, it sounds very much like Al Jolson and the Black and White Minstrels to me too. How incredibly un-PC!

    Besides, what of disabled speakers? What would a blind one make of it? Think everyone had gone home? These Wimmin just haven’t thought this through have they?

  • Laird

    RAB, I think this is what you need.

  • Laird that is simply… epic 😯

  • Runcie Balspune

    I’ve heard finger snaps are making a comeback.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Natalie, ah, all is now clear! Yes, given your explanation of the background, Perry’s link (well, the object of Perry’s link ) explains perfectly. Goodness, I’ve seen that one off & on since at least the mid-fifties.

    Cute kitten, also!

    Thank you. Ignorance is such an embarrassing state. :>))

  • Julie near Chicago

    I do understand Paul’s objection (“gone mad”). How about as a stop-gap we call this tremendously unimportant non-issue “stupidity on steroids,” with a large dollop of “attention whore” (sorry, folks) and “idle hands are the devil’s playground” thrown in?

  • The Pedant-General


    Well at least he – err…. – has b00bs.

    And whilst we’re not being helpful, can I express total astonishment that our illustrious tweetor should be an undergraduate at Wadham college? Some things never change.

  • Dom

    It’s called jazz hands, but it is really the ASL sign for applause. It was used by the OWS idiots, who called it up twinkles, and down twinkles, to indicate booing.

    The dope who started this also wrote the following nonsense

    Instead of writing this piece, I would much rather have written about the panel entitled ‘Educate, Agitate, Liberate: Fighting for Free Education’, where we had a discussion about how to move towards free education whilst not neglecting issues of the gender pay gap, and about how free education means much more than abolishing tuition fees. I would much rather have written about how the panel discussed that free education means education for liberation, which includes breaking the cycle of deprivation, it means including Further Education institutions as well as universities in the conversation, it means the liberation of Palestinian students who are unable to attend university due to the bombing of their homes and schools, and so much more.

  • Darrell

    Well, I say it’s David Niven. And yes, English archers was the first thing I thought of.

  • Laird

    Well, as long as we’re going to dignify the tweet by this twat by taking seriously anything she has to say, why is it that jazz hands (which, as has already been pointed out, dates back at least to Al Jolson in the 1920s) have somehow become a “feminist” thing? And if there really exist delicate flowers who are made anxious by the sound of clapping, whose fear of speaking in public (not an uncommon fear) is exacerbated by applause, why is that solely a “feminist” issue? This woman is a blatant “sexist” in the most fundamental meaning of that term: she sees everything through the lens of sex.

    And she clearly is so lacking in self-awareness that she doesn’t even realize that with this tweet she has descended into utter self-parody, and taken her so-called “movement” along with her.

  • Runcie Balspune

    but it is really the ASL sign for applause

    That is probably the principle, but the applause sign is not quite the same as the jazz hands. I’m not being technical, but if you are deaf these little things do actually matter.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Once again, Star Trek shows the way, with the pacifist ideology of the Argelians showing us that “aggressive” applause can be replaced by simple flashing lights.

  • bloke in spain

    Two fingers? Thought it was obvious. Universal sign for “see you next Tuesday” or to put it another way – “fork you”. Sometimes emphasised with index finger of the opposing hand.

  • CaptDMO

    If ONLY such feminists would evoke the Ellen James Society mode of admiration!

  • JohnW

    Feminist “art” today – I told you they are bonkers.

  • Dave R

    “Jazz hands” is a stage thing that is considered somewhat ridiculous.

    I occurs that the real reason for demanding “jazz hands” instead of applause is a lack of applause for the performance.

  • Richard Thomas

    I also am surprised that Julie doesn’t know about Jazz hands as I think the most recent popularization came from “Chicago” the musical


  • Mr Ed

    What, might one ask, would those spooked by clapping, have made of the actions of Noor Inayat Khan GC, an SOE agent murdered in Dachau after being bertrayed and captured by the Sicherheitsdienst in Paris in WW2?

    These NUS types should be ridiculed and their ideology exposed as nonsense, but dangerous nonsense.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Thank you for the link, Mr Ed. She was one of the ones, for sure.

  • simple flashing lights – ?

    How about a 1 or 2 KW hand held LED laser with a nice back pack mounted power supply. Pretty soon no one will see you clapping. Macro aggression will put an end to fears of micro aggression.

  • From another place and another time. Long ago and far away: