I went to a boys’ private school and I’m not a sexist bigot

My friends aren’t either

Delusional Clarissa Farr, high mistress of £22,000-a-year St Paul’s Girls’ School, in London, told The Sunday Times her top pupils were leaving “some of the most sought-after companies in the country” early in their careers.

She blamed this on a “laddish culture” cultivated by boys’ private schools, claiming her girls “do not want to stay.”

“Several young women have spoken about being mocked or frowned on by their managers because they have drawn attention to a laddish culture — of which the central ingredients are sexist attitudes, drink and football — which prevails among young male employees and which excludes them. It’s a low-level discrimination which undermines women.”

I’m not going to take issue with the girls leaving – I’m certain there’s a level of seedy sexism which still exists in the workplace – but I’m calling bullshit on this being the fault of private school boys.

My private school background doesn't make me a sexist or a bigot

My private school background doesn’t make me a sexist or a bigot

Firstly, if these girls are in the top companies as Farr suggests, the chances are they’ve been to university. The chances are her colleagues have been too, so has she asked all the offenders which school they went to and come to the conclusion they’re all from boys’ schools? I doubt it. University is surely a far more key factor than school, and if your attitudes don’t change in your three or more years at uni then something’s up.

It’s far more likely that if there’s a mysogynistic culture, it’s symptomatic of the highly sexualised world we live in, where we can watch Ex on the Beach and see yet another Geordie cretin trying to add to their tally of hundreds of girls.

Children are watching this at a younger and younger age and the evolutionary desire to shag everything in sight held by men and not women is fuelled by a society which promotes this, not a few boys studying geography and talking about the football scores.

I moved from a mixed school to a boys’ sixth form and, in my experience, if there was a sexist culture at any point, it came from the mixed school. Generally, I found, the boys at sixth form were far more concerned with their mates than they were pulling girls, and this resulted in a more respectful bunch of boys.

This isn’t to say the boys at the mixed school were anything but respectful and charming, but if I had to label one more “laddish”, the coed wins hands down.

That being said, did we talk about the football? Did we talk about the party last weekend, who slept with who and who was taken home early drunk? I’m sure it came up every now and again, yes. Do I think I’m a bigot for engaging in such conversation? Of course not.

Little tiny bigots

Little tiny bigots

I’m not comfortable with a world in which I’m shamed for talking about how Palace should’ve had a penalty against City at the weekend, and uncomfortable with the suggestion I’m somehow forcing women out of the workplace by talking about it.

I’m even less comfortable when people point the finger at me and tell me I’m causing these women to leave because I went to an all boys private school. The fault of women leaving lies in a university lad culture, a sexually charged society and a lack of education and understanding for young men generally, not private school boys.

My parents made a decision to pay for my school fees. I’m already branded a spoon-fed, middle class, elitist bell end – don’t add sexist bigot to the list.

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