[Aiden Perrins | Contributing Writer]
‘Lad culture’ is a term now commonly used to describe young men indulging in nights of heavy drinking and casual encounters with women.
This trend started in the early nineties in a backlash against feminism and coincided with the birth of brit pop. This was phased out like all trends, but then it suddenly made a comeback in the late noughties and today it is stronger than ever with websites such as theladbible.com and uniladmag.com essentially advertising the culture and portraying it as the way of life for all young men. They look at women like objects and show very little respect for them in many ways. The Lad Bible includes ‘commandments’ by which it suggests men should follow, such as ‘Thou shall spread the seed in as many females as possible’, ‘Thou shall drink beer and fornicate’ and ‘Thou shall always drink more than you can handle’.
Ashley Hogg, a 2nd year student, said: “You have all these lad bibles and that, and guys feel like they should follow it. They feel that to be a ‘lad’ they have to do this sort of thing to be accepted by others.”
The National Union of Students (NUS) have been forced into holding a summit about ‘lad culture‘ in universities because they feel that it is becoming a problem. NUS published a research paper about female student’s experiences of ‘lad culture’ which found: “Many reported misogynist jokes and ‘banter’ circulating in their friendship groups which made them feel uncomfortable.” This can be seen in universities up and down the country, or in fact any establishment where groups of young men are commonplace.
A lot of ‘lad culture’ is based around how they view women and openly making comments about their looks and appearance, often intended to just be joking around with their mates. Hogg added: “If there’s a group of lads and you go past them, they know you can hear when they say something. It can be simple such as ‘she’s fit’, or it could be horrible stuff like ‘she’s ugly’.”
Jade Tomlins, a 3rd year student, said: “I think ‘lad culture’ thinks it’s just a joke not to be taken seriously so that means it’s okay, but a lot of the time it’s just not funny”. This was echoed by 2nd year student Hayley Poppleton who said: “If I can see they are in a large group making jokes it makes me feel uncomfortable.”
However, Deepak Bhinder a 1st year student, noted: “Things that are offensive and demeaning to women that are said in ‘lad culture’ do tend to be jokes, genuine sexism in ‘lad culture’ are for the ****s, talking about who has the best rack is fair enough.”
Tim Guest, another first year student, although acknowledging ‘lad culture’ as being sometimes offensive, also pointed out other parts of the culture: “Sitting drinking beer and playing Fifa is just common interests with the same sex.”
Defending the point that out of everything that ‘lad culture’ entails, it is only a small part aimed at being derogatory towards women. A male member of thestudentroom.co.uk going by the name of Huskeris claimed: “99% of it is ‘lad on lad’ banter, or self inflicted; it’s the 1% where a girl is part of it where feminists, and therefore the media, lose their s***.”
Another male who calls himself Mankytoes said: “I guess you would say me and my friends at uni were part of ‘lad culture’”, just drinking and joking around and trying to pull girls. I never saw it as trying to be part of a culture, just doing what we found fun.”
The art of seduction
Lad culture and this idea of going out on the pull has meant there has been a massive surge of men joining a community who refer to themselves as pick-up artists (PUAs). PUAs are men who are trained in ‘the art of seduction’. They practice in approaching women and seducing them, first using openers and icebreakers. They then go on to routines or methods such as demonstrating high value (DHV), which most people know about anyway as it is essentially about being the alpha male of a group. The only difference is PUAs do it in a very conscious way, and some will even hang around good looking women to make themselves look like men who are seen as attractive by women. The theory being that if it looks like one girl finds a guy attractive, others will follow. Some will just work on their own confidence and way they present themselves. Any woman can tell you that a man with confidence, and who knows how to dress and present themselves in a positive way will almost always be attractive.
Recently, a PUA named Julien Blanc was deported from Australia and then banned from entering the United Kingdom because he was travelling the world teaching men his techniques to seduce women. Unfortunately these techniques were wrongful and included intimidation and emotional abuse. He charges extortionate amounts of money, often over £600 for a day, to teach these methods in seminars. On top of this he started a hashtag on Twitter entitled #chokinggirlsallovertheworld in which he took photos of himself with various girls in chokeholds. TIME magazine even labelled him as the most hated man in the world.
Jade Tomlins, speaking about the subject of PUAs, said: “They prey on the insecurities of vulnerable young men who end up sometimes paying anything for classes with them, for books etc. only to become as seedy as them.”
I asked members of pick-up-artist-forum.com how they view themselves, a user by the name of fudge_88 said: “A man who has obtained the power of choice when it comes to women through knowledge.”
Pick-up artists have defending their ways saying they are not about tricks, and as said by PEBBLE: “Pick up artists are not all Julien Blanc.”
One PUA who goes by the name breedlove465 says: “Calling PUA a trick is like saying that putting on cologne is a way of ‘tricking’ women because you are trying to attract them. No, you are simply presenting yourself as someone that will be attractive to women.” This method is essentially an advancement on wearing cologne or women wearing make-up, it is all in the name of being an attractive person.
In my opinion, guys will always want to sleep with girls. They don’t always want to settle down with someone, but to say that it’s only men who are like this is way off. Girls can be just as responsible for this culture by engaging in casual relationships. If lads want to have these casual relationships and what they’re doing is working then they aren’t going to stop. What do you think? Have your say in the comments below or on Twitter @TridentMediaUK!