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.
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?