Published on March 3, 2014 | by Ruby Sigurdardottir

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Laddism: Enough is enough

Ruby Sigurdardottir

Ruby is sick of being intimated by the ‘laddish’ behaviour displayed by some men [Linwei Li]

“Down it you fresher slut.”

A sentence that wouldn’t be out of place in a pornographic movie flashes up onto my Facebook homepage. It’s the start of the academic year, and an old friend of a friend from back home is preparing for one of many ‘Fresher’s Nights’.

But he’s not a fresher. He’s in his final year at university and, along with his other third-year friends, he plans to “abuse” the new female students.

In an ideal world, a comment like would cause outrage, complaints and even an arrest. Instead, this status receives 35 ‘likes’ from his equally misogynistic friends, and endless remarks of approval.

I, myself, swiftly hit ‘unfriend’ and try to erase the sickening display of chauvinism from my memory. But in today’s Nuts and Zoo saturated society, such blatant ‘laddism’ is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.

Intimidating

Another instance that comes to mind – and one that involved me personally – occurred recently at a music festival. I was making my way from my tent to the showers when I heard a group of beer-chugging, Jack Wills-wearing males shout ‘seven!’ I turned my head, and found that they were pointing at me.

There were six of them; loud, drunk and intimidating, and they had taken it upon themselves to ‘rate’ me, and the other girls who had the misfortune to walk past them, in front of the entire campsite. It was totally humiliating.

I know that my experience may sound tame, but when millions of girls have to contend with this laddish, brutish, behaviour on a daily basis, it can get a bit exhausting.

I for one am sick of having to walk past a group of young males with my head down, eyes fixed to the floor, in case I accidentally solicit any of their unwelcome comments, or worse, an uninvited grope.

I’m sick of seeing ‘Rate My Shag’ pages on social media, where university students share pictures and stories of their latest ‘conquests’.

And most of all, I’m sick of being made to feel small, just so some boys can feel big.

Respect

Can you imagine if it were the other way around? Men timidly scurrying past brash, catcalling women? No, because that scenario only materialises in Diet Coke adverts.

Obviously, the majority of men out there know how to treat a woman with respect; as an equal, and not an object to be leered at and degraded. However, my own personal experiences tell me first hand that lad culture is reaching epidemic levels.

Today, I’m lucky enough to go to an arts university where, with a 74 per cent female population, lad culture among male students has never really been able to culminate. Also, ‘artist’ and ‘lad’ don’t really seem to go hand in hand, luckily.

But in a society where 68 per cent of UK women students say they have experienced sexual harassment on their university campus, something drastic clearly needs to be done.

 

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