Bollocks to Banter Culture

Pete Iwanciw fights back at the ‘lad culture’ of uni that intimidates many students.


“It’s all just a bit of fun and a joke.” This is perhaps the only argument in favour of the crude, misogynistic behaviour of many so-called ‘Lads’. And it’s not even a good one.

At the recent NUS conference in Sheffield, NUS National President Liam Burns once again brought up the issue of sexist behaviour within Lad culture.

He was clear about the NUS’s stance on such behaviour: it won’t be tolerated. Many students are made to feel uncomfortable at society socials because of this kind of behaviour, the sort that includes misogynistic jokes and excessive drinking.

binge drinking

The issue here isn’t the excessive binge drinking which is at the centre of many of these socials. Drinking is a staple element of student life. Save that problem for another day (some of you may be hungover at this very moment).

Yet the real issue is the attitude towards women which Lad culture seems to promote. In a society where gender inequality is still prevalent and many rape victims still feel embarrassed or ashamed about coming forward, students need to be shown that sexual abuse, and jokes about it, won’t be tolerated.

Exhibit A. Beneath a picture of a female football player on the Uni Lad Facebook page reads the caption, “If I was marking her id just stand there and wank”. These idiots need to be taught the appropriate standard of behaviour towards women (and then the subjunctive mood, clearly).

unilad jpg

MisogynistLAD

According to a 2010 NUS study, 14% of female students had been seriously physically or sexually assaulted and a further 68% had been sexually harassed. The numbers speak for themselves and Burns is right to tackle a culture which exacerbates this.

Furthermore, part of the problem, as the NUS sees it, is the many themed events like ‘Rappers and Slappers’ or ‘Pimps and Hoes’. Such events clearly perpetuate negative stereotypes regarding how women should be viewed in society.

They make many female students feel uncomfortable – especially Freshers. Given that starting university can be a difficult time for many students, this additional pressure to conform to demeaning standards can cause further stress and anxiety.

Scenes from a Cardiff “Pimps and Hoes” party described by feminist groups as “misogynistic”.

According to Chloe Vinden, the SU Women’s Rep at the University of Central Lancashire, an event such as a ‘Pimps and Hoes’ party is “derogatory and glamorizes things like [prostitution, misogyny, etc.]”. Couple with this the additional stress mentioned above, and you get a disgusting, unacceptable cocktail of gender norms and discrimination.

If a man behaves in a way which isn’t approved by members of the Lad community, he’s branded a “shitLAD”. Honestly, if someone thinks these attitudes towards women are acceptable, they’re pretty much a shit human being.

 

Have your say! Are ‘Pimps and Hoes’ parties really degrading to women, or is it harmless banter? Have you ever been made to feel uncomfortable because of lad culture? Do sites like UniLAD and Embarassing Nightclub Photos promote negative stereotypes of women?

Get involved in the debate and comment below!

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