National debate of ‘Lad Culture’ continues

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The national conversation on the role and scale of ‘Lad Culture’ in higher education continued last week with a key debate held at the University of Exeter on the proposal “Lad Culture has been blown out of proportion.”

The University of Bath Students’ Union’s President Jordan Kenny took part in the debate, held to raise awareness of the University of Exeter’s anti-sexual harassment campaign #NeverOK, sitting on the side of the opposition. Mr Kenny sat next to Natalie Gyle, the Head of Communications at the Woman’s Resource Centre, whilst the proposition was represented by two members of the University of Exeter Debating Society, George Siddons and Lizzie Hobbs.

In a blunt exchange of opinion, Mr Siddons argued that ‘Lad Culture’ is “a scapegoat for problems already there”, continuing that “all the worst parts – chauvinism, sexism – existed long before the classification.”

A variety of actions have been taken against student groups across the country over the past year from the University of Exeter to the London School of Economics, most of which have been branded ‘Lad Culture’.

_MG_6422_CMYKAt the end of October, students at the University of Nottingham were fined £150 for a chant which made passing references to necrophilia and rape. The story came as a 21-year student at the same institution put his penis in the face of a girl sleeping at a house party before slapping her across the face with it.

The debate raised the issue of how to define ‘Lad Culture’. Those in favour of the proposition implied it was about “young men engaging with each other”, but Miss Gyle took the stance that “it appears to be white, middle class men who are getting a good education and have money, who [use]it as a backlash” to an increasingly equal society.

Meanwhile, Mr Kenny differentiated from Miss Gyle, claiming “’Lad Culture’ has transcended into parts of culture we haven’t seen it before”. He went on to say that ‘Lad Culture’ is “gender neutral” and “not exclusive to higher education”. As part of Mr Kenny’s tenure as Students’ Union President, he has pledged to tackle ‘Lad Culture’ at the University in all walks of life, “be it societies or sports clubs”.

Those arguing in favour of the motion claimed that the media have “cast a small minority under the giant umbrella of ‘Lad Culture’”, in reference to a growing number of stories appearing in news outlets.

Last month bathimpact reported on an alleged bus chant used by members of the University of Bath rugby team which made references to ‘rape’ and ‘miscarriages’ as well as obtaining footage showing University of Bath Football & Futsal team claiming to have drunk ‘piss’ during their ‘Welcome Drinks’.

Do you have any opinions on ‘Lad Culture’ and the extent to which it effects University? bathimpact would love to hear your views, either below the article, Facebook link or by email.

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Benjamin is the former Deputy Editor-in-Chief of bathimpact and covers stories on University of Bath, University of Bath Students' Union, Bath politics and student issues

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