The Toxicity Of Lad Culture

Universities across the country have a problem, the problem of lad culture. It’s pervasive and damages the university experience and is faced by all students who are not gender conforming male’s who have a sense of alpha male entitlement. ‘Lad Culture’ and ‘Banter’ are a plague on campus, ranging from good old Male entitlement to full blown violence and rapes. It’s a very real problem, and it’s incredibly scary, and the fact it has not been addressed is telling. In-fact I would suggest there is a huge failing of universities to stop catering solely to the entitlement of straight white men. Whilst women, people of colour, LGBT people and other overlooked groups are often ignored as administrators pander to the whimsical desires of these men, the overlooked groups turn to creating safe spaces and societies. Whilst creating safe spaces is an important part of the healing process for people who feel unsafe on campus and acts as a brilliant way to discuss, meet and talk to people who you share something with it does not address the reason why we feel unsafe and it doesn’t deal with the problems in a way that makes the majority of the spaces we inhabit feel safe. If we want campuses to be safe spaces for all people we have to demand that the overwhelming pandering is stopped and that our needs are catered to before we begin catering to wants.

Universities are supposed to be places where everyone feels safe, in many ways campuses should be places of inclusion and somewhere we can let loose a little without the fears that come with doing so ‘in the real world’. Instead students union bars are not places to feel safe in when drunk, but places I feel like prey in to the ever watching male eye and constantly at risk, from the news as-well we can tell that campus’, especially at night, are hotbeds of rape and sexual assault. Campus’ are somewhere cat-calls are not uncommon, where hordes of steroid pumped and entitlement fuelled men prowl and stalk like they own the place and where these problems are relatively ignored. Where threats of and violence to females are not uncommon and anonymous hate to feminists “just a bit of fun” it’s no wonder so many people feel so unsafe, we’re left to fend for ourselves whilst this group of men receive celebration and support for perpetrating misogyny. I cannot help but view this as the flowering toxic head of gender, the manifestation of internalised male supremacy.

When we have a culture where one in four people at university have experienced unwanted sexual advances [1], sixty eight percent of female students have been sexually harassed [2] and fourteen percent of female students have experienced serious physical or sexual assault [2] it’s clear the problem is serious and that it’s women who’re taking most of the hits. The fact that these are the figures demonstrates the complete failure of universities to cater to the needs of their female students, more has to be done to protect people from male violence, and men have to be held accountable for their actions, I refuse to accept that ‘boy’s-will-be-boys’. The existence of facebook groups and websites that glorify this behaviour are also a concern to me, by promoting this lifestyle I see them as nothing less than active promoters of the perpetration of male violence and the subjugation of women. We have to hold the universities to account for this behaviour and we have to ensure there are clear routes to go down should someone experience violence or sexual harassment, the creation of initiatives to counter this behaviour also needs to happen, and universities need know this is expected of them. The continued denial of the problem by universities needs to stop, and the more we talk about it the more we can counter it, the more conversations we have on this topic the more we can improve the student experience and most importantly work to reverse the effects of toxic masculinity society creates.

[1] http://www.nus.org.uk/en/news/nus-research-reveals-one-in-four-students-suffer-unwelcome-sexual-advances/

[2] http://www.nus.org.uk/Global/NUS_hidden_marks_report_2nd_edition_web.pdf

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