Has Lad Culture Gone Away?
Has Lad Culture Gone Away?
The battle against lad culture went to the next level in the last year as male and females alike joined together to turn their universities into safer places and to stamp out misogynism. There has barely been even word regarding sexist initiations but does this even mean anything today?
Feminist societies and students in universities across the United Kingdom have been at the forefront of the fight, tirelessly campaigning for the issue to be taken seriously and holding universities, nightclubs and fellow students accountable.
At Cardiff University, Vicky Chandler petitioned to have sexist comedian Dapper Laugh’s gig cancelled. This sparked the downfall of the self-proclaimed “lad” after the petition was accepted by the university and the gig was cancelled. Kent University’s students union pulled a promotional poster for its summer ball after the women’s campaign officer intervened and expressed disgust as the poster promoted rape culture. In Glasgow a nightclub angered students for use of violent and sexist imagery on a poster. Whilst a feminist students in Nottingham demanded action after university reps were filmed singing misogynistic chants about having sex with dead women.
Hattie Stamp the President of the Feminist Society at Bristol University stated that young people were becoming increasingly more aware of how essential feminism is, and getting involved in the movement. “As soon as you start to think about it, you realise that women and men are not equal and there are a lot of things in our society that need to change, and that can be really frustrating.” Stamp continues by stating that student feminist groups are a fantastic way to talk with people who feel the same. According to Stamp, a lot more students are openly calling themselves feminists and engaging in the movement than a few years ago.
What perhaps is more important is that “feminist fever” is spreading to male-dominated societies, and in particular sports clubs, many of whom have had a long and uneasy association with lad culture.
In 2013, Oxford University's rugby club organised a “free pussy” event where the members were instructed to spike their date’s drinks, whilst at Durham University, their rugby club caused a stir when news broke that they were playing a drinking game which allegedly involved members finishing the sentence “it’s not rape if…” In 2014, a fraternity at Edinburgh University was brought under scrutiny as its members discussed raping members of the feminist society.This shows that there is definitely no shortage of recent examples to show how lad culture has rooted itself within university society. Although, male students are increasingly playing their part in helping to spread the message that lad culture is now no longer acceptable.
A recent example of this would be the men’s rugby team at King’s College London who teamed up with the university newspaper, Roar News, to shoot a naked calendar and raise money for a domestic violence and abuse charity for LGBT communities.
In 2012 the National Union for students carried out research to show how prevailing lad culture in sports teams can prevent LGBT students from joining sports teams. The research revealed that over a third of female students had to deal with inappropriate touching and groping. Universities was slammed for failing to take appropriate action against lad culture and sexual harassment.
Alice Phillips, the Women’s Officer at Bristol University students union agrees that universities need to be doing a lot more, particularly regarding the training of staff to be able to deal with reports of sexual harassment and assault. Phillips continues by stating that university management need to make it clear that harassment and lad culture will not be tolerated within their institutions.
Pressure from students should help to prompt universities to crack down on lad culture. At Cardiff University the football team was banned from playing for two weeks after it delivered a presentation on how to sleep with women who have low self-esteem; to a group of female students. The London School of Economics disbanded it’s men’s rugby team after sexist and homophobic leaflets were distributed during a freshers fair. The leaflets branded women as slags, trollups and mingers and joked about banning “homosexual debauchery” from their initiation. Phillips argues that calling our fellow peers into question over their actions is crucial. At Stirling University, the men’s hockey club faced disciplinary action after it was filmed ridiculing a female student who dared to stand up to the group, who were chanting offensive lyrics about miscarriage. In Leeds students protested against Tequila UK, an events company which discussed the rape of students in order to promote its club night.
Unfortunately it seems that despite the best of efforts, lad culture is still very prominent in the some cultures today, particularly that of the United Kingdom. It is extremely sad and disheartening to realise that despite all the improvements in gender inequalities particularly in comparison to other cultures, that lad culture is still undermining society.
Nina is in her Honours year at The University of Strathclyde in Glasgow studying History. She loves keeping fit and healthy at the gym and singing to her hearts content. Because of Nina's love of all things history related, she has a passion for reading, writing and researching. Nina is the Editor-in-Chief for an online magazine for female students at Strathclyde called Her Campus Strath and wants to continue her passion for writing after graduation.