Would you smash it?- Taking a stand against LAD culture

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Would you smash it?!
Just banter? Or is the LAD phenomenon breeding a generation of morally bankrupt mysogynists?

It is supposed to be one big joke. An opportunity for like minded university students to exchange tales of drunken revelry and bantiferous anecdotes. However, a series of recent events suggest that LAD culture is reaching its expiration date as the alleged ‘banter’ spewed from popular web pages such as ‘UniLAD’ is spawning a generation of degenerate neanderthals.

The genesis of the LAD can be found in webpages such as uniLAD, trueLAD and the LAD Bible. Here, young men receive expert advice on degenerate activities such as ‘faffing’ (FAF- f*** a fresher). The mysogynistic bile that flows daily from these pages advocates a lifestyle in which alcohol is considered holy water and women are little more than a sexual statistic.

Initially, these pages were created with the purpose of entertainment. Yet as the incoherent babble of nightclub queues is punctuated with cries of ‘Down it!’ and ‘Bag the pig!’ It would appear that such sites have laid down a mandate that university males must fulfil in order to prove their masculinity.

It is a most archaic interpretation of the male gender, sharing more of a resemblance with a pre pubescent gorilla than a functional member of society. Clad in their garish Hollister garb and fuelled on the petrol of Frosty Jack’s, LADs are required to persistently reassert their sexuality through debauched acts of promiscuity. Women function in the ideology of the LAD as little more than a component in a sexual equation. Evidence of this can be found emblazoned across trueLAD.com where conquests from the previous night are not granted the status of a name but merely a mark out of ten.

Relationships, the notion of actually relating to a member of the opposite sex simply for reasons beyond the need to mate, does not figure in the psyche of the LAD. These cavemen of the 21st century perceive boyfriend/girlfriend relationships as the sum of all fears. A relationship would mean leaving the herd. It may also mean the frightening and homoerotic possibility of an external display of emotion. Any shadow of emotion is deemed as weakness whilst men who do have girlfriends are worthless, lambasted for expressing a desire to seek more than a cocktail of STDs and a liver infection. This convoluted and immature attitude towards sex personifies the LAD mentality. It is an ideology that tells a man he is worthless if loved by a woman but committed if he ‘takes one for the team’ in having sex with a girl who is overweight.

It is precisely from this sexual facet of the LAD mentality that problems regarding LAD culture have begun to emerge. Earlier this year uniLAD tastelessly advised that as 85% of rapes went unreported a LAD’s odds were pretty good. In light of the volatile backlash this sexually deranged suggestion suffered, UniLAD eventually bowed to pressure from the wider internet community and issued a half apology. However, more disturbing than the initial poison UniLAD had issued was the catalogue of responses supporting the idea of rape. When Twitter user Sarah McAlpine questioned UniLAD over the morality of the incident she was met with the response ‘Are you a dyke?’ It would appear then that the notion of physically and emotionally violating a human being does not figure as perhaps toeing the line on the LAD’s moral compass.

LAD’s everywhere will no doubt guffaw with mirth that the UniLAD rape incident was ‘Just banter!’ and that those who cannot acknowledge the hilarity of rape are homosexuals (or women) who cannot take a joke. However, results from various studies suggest that so called ‘banter’ is having an increasingly dangerous impact on the mental wellbeing of young men as well as affecting the safety of women. In 2011 the results of a study gauging attitudes towards rape indicated that young men were unable to differentiate between the statements made by sex offenders and extracts from lads mags. Certainly, given the fact that 1 in 7 women will be sexually assaulted whilst at university it would appear that the sexual identity promoted by LAD culture transcends what can be considered as ‘banter’ and in fact poses a very real threat to people’s safety.

In spite of the mounting criticism of LAD culture the animalistic groans coming from the local off licence suggest that this most vulgar of circuses rumbles on. The popularity of sites such as uniLAD has been unprecedented with a reported 8000 visits a day and over 75000 Facebook fans. Browse any LAD’s news feed and it will be dripping with more more misogyny than a John McCririck appearance on Loose Women.

Lad Mags

But what of those young men who refuse to conform to laddism? Those whose ability to socialise does not gravitate around the satisfaction of their libido, or the altogether tempting prospect of yet another litre of Tesco’s cheapest cider? Unfortunately, these men are stigmatised by the masses of LADs who deem them as boring or weak. As they choose not to be defined by drinking feats or sexual promiscuity they are forced to the peripheries of the social sphere, their masculine status stripped from them for a display of what is in fact maturity.

Worryingly, a recent statistic revealed that men aged between 18-25 are three times more likely to commit suicide than women. Granted, this statistic cannot be directly attributed to LAD culture. It does however indicate that laddism is a potential factor in the sense that it heaps uneccesary pressure on young men at a time in their devlopment when they already face a labyrinth of concerns regarding the formation of their adult identity. The pressure to be a LAD pervades modern society, an inability to engage in the primary pursuits of these perverted cavemen wrongly emasculates some who are left in a state of disillusionment. But after all, this is just banter.

Alas. I know as a male authoring this article I will be condemned as the anti-LAD. Someone who seriously needs to get drunk and get laid. But as you once again vomit joyfully over your chinos and boat shoes as yet another night of carnage is concluded, consider perhaps the damaging effects your hilarious banter is having on society. This banter that will see 1 in 7 women sexually assaulted whilst at uni, this banter that considers rape a source of mirth, this banter that can be interpreted as a potential cause of suicide amongst young men. Just banter?

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Discussion37 Comments

  1. avatar

    Bravo! This is an article I’ve been awaiting for some time, I’m glad to see there are others who hate this pervasive “lad-banter-vom” culture. Don’t get me wrong, drinking and debauchery will always be a part of student culture, but I feel that it is less and less tastefully done and more and more premeditated. Time was when you’d wake up on a Saturday morning with a hang-over, think to yourself “Oh God! What did I do that for!?” and spend the rest of the day contemplating your youth and morality, because everyone does stupid stuff once in a while. Nowadays you’re more likely to wake up and rush to tell your mates just how you managed to ‘one-up’ them in the LAD rankings with your friday night antics. Sad thing is, most of these LADs probably do feel sorry for themselves, they’re just trapped in a culture that won’t let them say it.

  2. avatar

    I think the LAD culture has been something that has existed even beofre the time of Samuel pepys or even Shakespeare… Maybe even the Greek gods are a symptom of a longer lasting Misogynistic lifestyle. Although i do not agree with the LADS culture the websites are catering for a ‘banter’ need that already exists in society- they did not create it, but i do agree that it perpetuates it. I agree that it is dangerous especially belittling rape, although i can garuntee you that the Portswood rapist and other marauders of the night are not laddish banter seekers that are looking to fulfil their libido.

  3. avatar

    This is an excellent article and having been to two universities I have witnessed the effects of such culture quite differently depending on the average background of the students. At my old university I will adit guilt, even as a woman to laughing at pictures like the “offside” one you feature but I think there is a difference between thinking “This is the sort of thing really stupid men find funny. Let’s laugh at them” and “this is funny and true. Let’s laugh at it” and “banter is too woolly a phrase to cover either of those things. This is possibly the cause for the line that has been repeatedly crossed. It just goes to show how easily women’s rights could be revoked if enough people joked about it for long enough.

    Tom
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    This is a ridiculous argument from a ill-informed person

  4. avatar

    Ridiculous bullshit. Are you seriously trying to pay that 1 in 7 female university goers will be assaulted because some boys are loling about rape on the internet? Don’t be silly! And suicide?! As someone else said, these attitudes and jokes have existed throughout time. I cannot believe people are praising this over dramatic article that makes assumptions about correlations they have no evidence actually link together!

  5. avatar

    I’m sorry but this is just absurd. I despise LAD culture but this is ridiculous. I don’t subscribe to the LAD stereotype, but I have a perfectly fulfilling social life; I don’t feel ostracised by my generation for it. In fact, the majority of my generation seems to think the LAD stereotype is excessively vacuous, et cetera. You make it seem like everyone outside of it is rendered some Holden Caulfield-esque loner.
    You won’t aid your argument through absurd hyperbole. The ‘rape’ joke was a sick, unfunny joke, but it was a joke: not ‘advice’. As you put it. They are not actively advocating rape: they just have an terrible sense of humour.
    Your jumps of logic are also baffling. “a recent statistic revealed that men aged between 18-25 are three times more likely to commit suicide than women. Granted, this statistic cannot be directly attributed to LAD culture. It does however indicate that laddism is a potential factor”. How does it indicate this? Can you actually explain? There is massive amount of factors that contribute to this, the main one being psychological depression. It doesn’t seem the development of contemporary LAD culture has really exacerbated the problem; you phrase this as if it’s a key part.
    Rapists are the sick, ostracised loners of society. LADs manage to just get consensual sex, you get quite a lot of women that like them (tragically): the mentally disturbed people that rape women are hardly likely to be encouraged by jokes and LAD culture.
    It just seems to me that some people have pissed you personally off on a night out, and you’ve railed against these Tesco cider buying (perhaps give Owen Jones’ ‘Chav: the demonisation of the working class’ a read there a read there), chino & boat shoe wearing (are you attacking the lower or upper-middle classes?) stereotype as if it’s this innate plague over all of society, with just a few of us left outside of it.
    There is a good argument to be made here about the misogyny, vacuousness and violence that can follow LAD. You overdid it.

    Rory
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    Quick apology for ‘a read there’ somehow appearing twice in my comment.

    Jamie
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    Agree totally here. It seems impossible for critics of ‘LAD’ culture refuse, not to have a sense of humour, but to accept that other people have one different to theirs.
    Blindly argued, and spoiling any chance of a real debate about the possible concerns behind LAD culture by over-exaggerating and smearing everyone with the same brush.

  6. avatar
    Disgusted equalitist.

    Tom Gregory, never ever write again.

    This article is utter misandrist shite, and is probably why Femsoc are lapping it up here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/122255747808319/permalink/446408802059677/

    You have discussed how LADs follow a mysoginistic way of life yet are targetting men here and representing them as binary; you’re either a LAD or not.

    So what if guys want to go out and get completey wankered, sleep with loads of girls and brag about it? It sounds to me like you’re missing out on the action.

    Sarah
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    He isn’t discriminating about men, he’s written an article about LAD culture. LADs and men are two very different things. And why do you follow the Femsoc page, if you are obviously not a feminist?

  7. avatar

    Hmm. As a man who grew up around the explosion of ‘lads’ magazines I just want to say that those that voice such odorous ‘opinions’ on matters such as rape are in a very small majority. It is inaccurate to even talk of ‘lads’ in my opinion because frankly they’re just naive/moronic people who happen to pass as male.

    I assure you that men/people with any intelligence see these magazines and websites for what they really are and it would be wrong to associate the word ‘lad’ with wet-behind-the-ears knobs

  8. avatar
    Alexander James Green

    “But what of those young men who refuse to conform to laddism? ? Unfortunately, these men are stigmatised by the masses of LADs who deem them as boring or weak.”…..Pardon? What world is this?

    “These cavemen of the 21st century perceive boyfriend/girlfriend relationships as the sum of all fears. A relationship would mean leaving the herd. It may also mean the frightening and homoerotic possibility of an external display of emotion. Any shadow of emotion is deemed as weakness whilst men who do have girlfriends are worthless, lambasted for expressing a desire to seek more than a cocktail of STDs and a liver infection” …once again, what world is this?

    “Worryingly, a recent statistic revealed that men aged between 18-25 are three times more likely to commit suicide than women. Granted, this statistic cannot be directly attributed to LAD culture. It does however indicate that laddism is a potential factor in the sense that it heaps uneccesary pressure on young men at a time in their development”….evidence?

    Alexander James Green
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    Just to be clear, I feel there are many valid points in the article. Lad/Rape culture is dangerous with websites such as Unilad working as nothing more than a forum for misogynistic language and outdated patriarchial values paraded as ‘banter’. I have written about how this culture before and how damaging it is, as it also exists/ed Facebook (especially how it exist in University sports team, where you may be ostracised due to not buying into it)

    Nonetheless, it does seem to confer the idea that just if you wear hollister, you are a ‘LAD”. Wrong. You may still be a ‘lad’, but not have the same mygonist ideas that persist on such websites. You then confer that LADS are likely to commit sexual assault. Lad culture breeds some misogynist ideas, but that doesn’t mean that all these people treat women with disrespect and commit offences against them. That reads like an article of Daily Mail right-wing scaremongering. (It is like Rory said a demonization stereotype, similar to of which Owen Jones speaks of)

    And the examples above show your argument is fundamentally flawed; this could have been a good well-balanced article, but with such dangerous stereotyping, it just seems like you are having a personal rant about ‘Lads’ backed up with unfounded claims.

    Kellie
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    Agreed. Had some awesome ideas, but I think couldn’t quite execute them in a balanced and fair way.

    Rick Astly
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    Completely agree. You went too far.

  9. avatar

    Love this article! Ignore the negative remarks – this was written fantastically and I wish more people thought like you! Please write more 🙂

  10. avatar

    Bloke at work who is doing 20+ hours a week overtime so he can take his kids on their dream holiday to Florida. #DadLAD

    Tweet on myTrueLad. That’s not ‘banter’ or degrading to women!

    Good article though and a lot of good points. Was just in disagreement that sites such as MyTrueLad are a catalyst for this debauchery as the above tweet demonstrates.

    M J
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    but 1 tweet out of how many thousands of others?
    No, not all lads are misogynistic, not all people calling other people lads are referring to the shagging lots of people and drinking lots of booze stereotype *but* there are people who us the lad label to act like flatulent douche-wizards. Being immature and childish- got no problem with that but being direspectful (to put it mildly) to women as a whole, referring to them as a 7/10 or saggy tits dehumanised that individual, meaning women are taken less seriously as human beings. While we laugh these jokes up, we are encouraging people (a small small percentage of people) who genuinly think like this. Your laughter encourages them- it tells them that their opinions and behaviour are not only acceptable but also downright hilarious and the height of lad-dom. This kind of behaviour wouldn’t necessarily happen in a group, but on the internet where no-one can tell the tone of a comment and no-one’s there to say “mate, that’s not really on” then sexist BS perpetuates and filters down into everything.

    M J
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    A few more MyTrueLad tweets

    “Call every girl I meet a pet name (princess) so I don’t get their names mixed up! LearntfromhismistakesLAD”

    “When I dance with fat girls I try to get them to do star jumps to lose weight. #MrLADivator”

    And for balance:

    “My dad went on a cruise and carried a plastic sword with him at all times just in case pirates attacked. #CaptainJackLAD”

    Not all things that come out of MyTrueLad and other such sites are necessarily sexist but it’s no bad thing to pause and think about the things lad sites are saying and whether or not we’re really ok with that.

    Liam
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    Gossip magazines from the woman’s side really are no better…

    M J
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    Never said they were. Women’s glossy magazines are HORRIBLE. Really really horrible but mostly they attack women’s self esteem then try to sell them something to cure their ugliness/fatness/toxified skin/limp hair etc etc

    Liam
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    So objectifying them… Hook. Line. Sinker.

    M J
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    Right and objectification is ALWAYS bad. Did I give the impression I thought any differently?

  11. avatar

    I agree with some of your arguments, especially regarding the belittling of rape. However, I feel that you are completely exaggerating the effect of LAD banter; it is essentially not some animalistic unmoral behaviour trend rather just harmless humour and irony between males. Obviously, some goes too far.
    My second point regards the allegation; it is something that is being mentioned over and over again. However, what about equality? What about female magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Glamour that actually tell stories and encourage female promiscuous or the downgrading look they view males in? My argument is that before you start attacking the male culture, why don’t you also look at the female equivalent. Something that is growing equally!! Just consider the girly nights on the lash, where they drink using penis straws and take part in games that actually degrades males, etc before hitting the clubs with an equivalent approach that men are just for their own satisfaction and even objects.
    So take a step back and consider both sexes…..
    I would be interested to hear views on my opinion

    M J
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    Cosmo et al. have been around for a very long time, wheras the lad mag is relatively new on the scene. That comment does not endorse cosmo and their ilk, it’s just a fact.
    The content in “lads” mags vs “women’s” mags is VERY different. Womens magazines can be extremely harmful, but are usually harmful to women “50 ways to make sex awesome” also reads as “50 ways YOU’RE NOT DOING SEX RIGHT!!” again “get ahead at work” reads as “YOU’RE FAILING IN YOUR JOB” “Tips and tricks for that beach perfect bod” “YOU ARE DISGUSTING! STOP EATING BREAD! YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY THINK OF GOING OUT IN A BIKINI?!?!!” etc etc etc. every issue, every month, every magazine. And while yes, some of these magazines have a picture of a mostly naked man in them, there’s usually just one (picture). Which doesn’t make it excusable but doesn’t quite compare to the entirety of nuts or loaded or zoo (esp “special” editions ie beach babes, 100 sexiest women etc etc).

    You complain about ” [women having an attitude that] men are just for their own satisfaction and even objects” but have you seen an advertising hoarding recently? or ever? Women are treated as objects every.single.day. Women are constantly treated as objects, and in particular by lads magazines (eg phwoar she’s a 1 pinter). This doesn’t make the objectification of men ok and I by no way think that it’s acceptable but I’m just trying to provide some balance.
    Also, a group of gigglnig girls drinking through penis straws is often much less intimidating then a group of lads leering at you as you’re just trying to get served. While penis straws might make you feel uncomfortable, what makes women uncomfortable is being described as body parts – “great tits” “nice arse” “look at those legs” etc etc which happens a lot of the time. Also -pervy blokes dancing behind you or a friend, trying to grind their groin into you, when you haven’t asked them to, you haven’t even given them any hint you want their company- they just think they’re allowed to. Men touching you when you’re on a night out- grabbing your arse, grabbing you round the waist etc- these are things women have to deal with almost every time they go out and sometimes these blokes are egged on by their mates.
    If people in general would just connect their brains and think about how their behaviour affects other people then that’s be great and the more articles like this one give us pause for though, the better.

  12. avatar

    Would any of you fancy writing an article in response? Contact editor@soton.ac.uk if you’re up for it!

    Rory
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    I will once I remember my anger about this, it’s been drowned about by my anger about gun crime at the present moment.

  13. avatar

    First off, I broadly agree with the writer. LAD culture is basically shit. However, this is a pretty awful article, full of sweeping generalisations, false assumptions, exaggerations, written in such a frenzy that its points are barely discernable. This could get quite long.

    “It would appear that such sites have laid down a mandate that university males must fulfil in order to prove their masculinity.” Nope, it’s more a case of preaching to the choir. If a student is already inclined to have a LAD attitude, he will gravitate towards TrueLAD etc. If he initially doesn’t have LAD tendencies, it’s likely that he won’t be arsed with at all and carry on as normal. Essentially: the number of LAD isn’t really affected by the websites. At best it makes it more visible.

    “[s]haring more of a resemblance with a pre pubescent gorilla than a functional member of society.” Really? What a well thought-out and nuanced take.

    “Clad in their garish Hollister garb and fuelled on the petrol of Frosty Jack’s” Why would someone that can afford Hollister drink Frost Jacks? Do you know anything?

    “It may also mean the frightening and homoerotic possibility of an external display of emotion.” Men don’t like to display emotion. This is nothing new. And nor is it confined to the womanising variety.

    “[m]en who do have girlfriends are worthless, lambasted for expressing a desire to seek more than a cocktail of STDs and a liver infection.” Where are you even getting this from?

    “Certainly, given the fact that 1 in 7 women will be sexually assaulted whilst at university” Gonna have to provide a source for a stat as bold as that one, bud. It smacks of being twisted to support an agenda, which is supported by…

    “The popularity of sites such as uniLAD has been unprecedented with a reported 8000 visits a day and over 75000 Facebook fans.” 8000 hits a day is sod all.

    “Unfortunately, these men are stigmatised by the masses of LADs who deem them as boring or weak.” This is not relevant even slightly. Why would what LADs think make a difference to normal guys?

    “It does however indicate that laddism is a potential factor in the sense that it heaps uneccesary pressure on young men at a time in their devlopment when they already face a labyrinth of concerns regarding the formation of their adult identity”. NO IT DOESN’T. DO A COURSE IN STATISTICS. RIGHT AWAY. Christ.

    That paragraph on rape culture was spot on, though.

    Okay. A few things we need to remember. Having sex with lots of girls doesn’t automatically make one a LAD, or immature, or rapey. It goes both ways, just girls are more discrete about it. Describing this as mysogynistic is to forget that the girls also have a say in whether they choose to go home with someone. It would make more sense to look at what brings on this attitude at a deeper level.

    What this article really needs to do is to ascertain whether TrueLAD actually has a measurable effect over young men, instead of making assumptions and generalisations; working out which is the cause and which is the symptom. Then we need to ask if this culture makes males more likely to rape women. This article addresses neither of these questions adequately.

  14. avatar

    Congratulations sir, for being a beacon against the drudgery of the lad.
    As it started as a sub-culture it could be seen as maybe harmless fun or young boys going through the self destructive phase before hitting maturity.
    But now it is something far more insidious and more articles like this need to reach the publics eye

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