Thursday, 4 April 2013

LAD culture and Jack Rivlin's article

LAD culture, something we see everyday at University, from posts/pictures on Facebook to being shouted at, groped or objectified on campus or in a club. It should be obvious to anyone on campus that this LAD culture is inherently sexist, and these jokes are generally just passed off as 'banter'. If you protest or call them out on their sexism, the general response will be to 'get a sense of humour' or that you 'don't get the banter', or 'it's not sexist, it's just a joke', or even 'shut up and get back in the kitchen'. - I suppose at least that one shows that they realise they're being misogynistic (hopefully anyway), but it's still horrific language. This was common and general knowledge - LAD culture was about drinking until you're paralytic, doing idiotic things, and saying idiotic things that are generally sexist or homophobic - and in my experience from the LADs in halls last year, racist as well.

Then came along Jack Rivlin's article which can be read here in the Telegraph yesterday, protecting and frankly misunderstanding LAD culture and attempting to rip to shreds the NUS's report on the subject 'That's what she said'. Rivlin, who is the editor of the student newspaper the Tab, which is in my opinion the tabloid of student journalism.

He seems to be mansplaining a bit here, telling women what they shouldn't find sexist. And he clearly hasn't properly read the NUS report, maybe he read a summary on it, once, maybe. Maybe he just read the title and left it at that. But that may be giving him too much credit. His conclusion from whatever research he did (which is none I'm assuming), is that the NUS and us man-hating feminists (bringing up that old chestnut, eh Rivlin?) believes that LAD = Rapist.

It doesn't. Nowhere in report, pretty much no feminist, post-2nd wave feminism from the 1970s thinks that. Now I'm going to make this big, to emphasise it.

LAD =/= Rapist.

What LAD culture does do is support rape culture, by normalising rape and VAWG, making it something to laugh at, making jokes about women that make them seem like second-class citizens. The fact that Rivlin doesn't see this is really worrying. By perpetuating and supporting rape culture, it doesn't automatically make you a rapist. We know that, I'm sure you know that - then why doesn't Rivlin know that? & FYI just because you don't know anyone that has been 'slutdropped' doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. Slut-shaming is a massive problem and especially within LAD culture. They appear to love sex and yet any girl who feels the same (which they have every right to do) is a slut in their eyes.

My experiences and those of my female friends, as women, can tell Rivlin quite definitely that LAD culture is sexist - it's not the only place where sexism occurs, but with us and the NUS being concerned about Uni (because that is where we are); that is where we are going to write about! We're not jealous of these LADs because they are the 'cool kids in the playground' - that was something we all left behind in highschool, but it seems that Rivlin didn't. - We are trying to combat LAD culture in every way we can because it tries to humiliate, patronise, and knock the confidence of female students. If you're called a slut, or you are called a whale/pig/dog - that is going to hurt your confidence. Being called names, groped, harassed, assaulted just because of your gender is wrong, and this is something that LAD culture does. We are against LAD culture because it is misogynistic.

But then again with me being a feminist, that *obviously* means I hate men, so Rivlin and I; we're not going to see eye-to-eye right? Wrong. I, as Rivlin has also commented, know people who do call themselves as LADs and they don't make sexist jokes (well not when I'm around anyway) - but the few LADs that he knows (because he was once on his Uni's Rugby team and they didn't say anything he considers sexist), and the LADs that I know, cannot speak for the entire of the LAD subculture. The majority of the LADs at our Uni, and at other Uni's, do make sexist jokes, say sexist and misogynistic things, and do misogynistic things. I don't need a man to tell me to 'calm down' and that it's not sexist. IT IS SEXIST.

Or maybe I just don't 'get' the banter.

- Lauren Read (