For the few of you out there who are luckily unfamiliar with what lad culture is, it is “a group or “pack” mentality expressed in sport and heavy alcohol consumptions, and in “banter” which is “often sexist, misogynistic and homophobic””. Lad culture, or ‘bro’ culture in the US, is essentially the same as the ‘boys will be boys’ mentality in which anything stupid or harmful that a boy may do is easily dismissed as ‘banter’. It is an excuse for boys to get away with pretty much anything.
Lad culture is something that I thought that I might escape once I finished school but I’m afraid that I was mistaken. If anything it’s gotten worse since I started college. In recent years especially, lad culture has ingrained itself into university society. For example, when male students of Edinburgh University were caught talking about raping members of the feminist society and planning a “raping trip” abroad. Or like when members of the rugby club in Durham University were heard playing a drinking game in which they had to finish the sentence, “it’s not rape if…”.
I have experienced ‘lads’ encouraging rape culture like this numerous times throughout secondary school and college but yet when reported, little to nothing was ever done about it because “boys will be boys”. Some people may think that this is somewhat acceptable because they’re just talking about it and not actually doing anything but 1 in 4 students are “subjected to unwanted sexual advances” while two-thirds have to put up with unwanted sexual comments. So obviously, they’re not just talking about it.
Not only does lad culture appropriate misogyny and rape culture, but it also often racist and xenophobic. Only a few months ago, the hockey team of York University had an entire Twiter account filled with racist and misogynistic tweets such as “I love stabbing black people”; “oi lower race, down it” and “I’m going to Hindu hell aka Al-Qaeda”. Another tweets explained how one student wasn’t allowed to join because he was a “chinkeye”.
So why do so many young people think that this is acceptable behaviour? Any time you log onto Facebook or any social media site, it’s difficult to ignore the constant presence of pages such as the ‘LAD Bible’ or other more well known ‘lads’ such as Julien Blanc and Dapper Laughs.
Julien Blanc is an American ‘pick-up artist’ and uploads Youtube videos teaching men how to lower women’s self-esteem so they can have sex with them. Blanc is the epitome of a misogynistic and racist ‘lad’. He is now banned from the UK, Australia and Singapore and for good reasons. He was banned in 2014 after he uploaded a Youtube video called “White male fucks Asian Women in Tokyo (and the beautiful methods to it” in which he says “if you’re a white male, you can do what you want“. The video also shows him going through the streets of Tokyo, grabbing women and putting their faces in his crotch.
Closer to home, Dapper Laughs is a self-proclaimed lad and comedian. He is mainly known for his Vines which involve cat calling women in the street. One of his jokes is “if she cries, she’s just playing hard to get“. Last November, his now infamous TV show on ITV2 got cancelled after one series. It was cancelled after he told an audience member that she was “gagging for rape” during a live show.
I will never be able to understand how so many people can get away with their ignorant and immature actions because of lad culture. Throughout secondary school I have heard many jokes, threats and insults regarding rape, gender, race and sexual orientation yet I have never seen anything done about it when reported because “they’re just being lads“.
When I started college last year I expected most people to be at least somewhat mature and have respect for the people around them, unlike most of the boys that I spent secondary school with. While some of them did meet my expectations, many did not. Now because of lad culture, many people, especially boys, seem to refuse to grow up because they can so often excuse their immature actions with ‘banter’. Sexism is not banter. Homophobia is not banter. Racism is not banter. Harassment is not banter. Rape is not banter.