By Ben Carpenter, Second Year, Film and Television
It seems to me that people either crave or reject anonymity, the marmite of social constructs one might say. Anonymity is simultaneously tied to innocence, and a retainment of privacy in light of something negative.
Whether it’s making a weighted complaint and not wishing to receive backlash or providing evidence in court, anonymity is integral to the function of our society.
Justice often relies on anonymity to run its course. When evaluating the significance of anonymity with regards to cancel culture, and the barometer of Bristol student culture that is ‘Bristruths’, there are two sides to balance. The side of the innocent and the side of the supposed “aggressor”.
Cancel culture has been at an all-time high since the beginning of the ‘#metoo’ movement in 2017. With a world of media coverage and a range of victims making their claims anonymously, men at the top of the world’s most problematic entertainment industries began to fall and with their collapse ‘cancel culture’ began to boom.
With many claims being born and circulated out of the internet, people now had a new way of coming forward and addressing their truth on their own terms.
Whilst student society shares few similarities with the mess that is the entertainment industry, there are a few key aspects of the student bubble that echo that of the media. The most significant connecting piece for many students in Bristol is ‘Bristruths’.
Bristruths represents the unfiltered reality that many students face
With over 25,000 followers on Facebook and half a dozen anonymous posts a day, the page acts as the true student voice for many. An anonymous Twitter of sorts.
Whilst publications such as Epigram act as a more organised and collected thought outlet for the student body, Bristruths represents the unfiltered reality that many students face.
Whilst much of what you see on Bristruths is little more than complaints about lockdown and messy flatmates, every now and then a conversation emerges regarding nothing short of a hot topic.
The most significant connecting piece for many students in Bristol is ‘Bristruths’
From issues regarding political protests, anti-semitism, allegations of corrupt societies and class issues, you should never underestimate the significance of the platform.
With the University of Bristol recently being named one of the bottom 20 universities for state school admissions, it comes as no surprise that many students may also feel largely underrepresented in the student community.
With such a large amount of the student body coming to university from privileged backgrounds it is understandable that those who do not fit into this middle to upper class demographic may look for other means of expressing their feelings and finding a community that understands their perspective.
Many students may also feel largely underrepresented in the student community
Often this community can be found in Bristruths. Aside from the search for a community, Bristruths submissions are able to shed light on a range of other issues the university rarely addresses publicly.
For many students, formats such as Bristruths are their only opportunity for their voices and concerns to be heard. Furthermore, many students simply don’t have the ability to share their stories any other way than anonymously.
Having known students, myself included, that have had several experiences with the aforementioned issues, I know how scary it can be to find someone to talk to. And even when you may find another outlet for your frustrations, the last thing you want to do is have your name attached to issues that often hold unnecessary stigmas.
For example, how are students meant to tackle issues with society presidents, when the person you’re meant to complain to is the president themselves and the SU can do little about it?
In a world where straight white men rule and toxic masculinity overpowers many, who are we meant to go to when said toxicity starts to get under our skin? When the university refuses to take action on serious issues that affect students why shouldn’t we find a community online that is also seeking justice?
Whilst online submission formats are far from perfect, the student body may not be a body at all without a community to tether it. Bristruths is exactly that and should stay that way.
Featured Image: Courtesy of Bristruths
What are your thoughts on Bristruths? Let us know!