I may have not been the only one who was a little bemused by Katie Gupwell’s ‘Can We Really Blame Everything on Lad Culture?’ article, in which she placed partial ownership on the women of the university for the behaviour of the ‘Lads’ of Loughborough. I felt that I needed to express my opinion on the matter, perhaps because I am in my third year and have attended enough FNDs to summarise not only the exact problem with this culture but also who is most to blame.
The extreme prevalence of masculine identity, vast amount of sport played at Loughborough University and the subsequent boy to girl ratio were reasons given to support the argument of a dominance of the typical ‘Lad’. It is a ludicrous proposal to justify the behaviour of these lads by suggesting that the girl is ‘just as equally to blame’ because of her appearance and willingness to partake in sexual activity. I have seen and heard enough cases to know that the behaviour and dress of a girl hardly factor into it.
The issue with this supposed culture is the type of boy a lad happens to be. Looking to Bryony Ford’s article ‘Body Image At Loughborough: Men’, she summarises that there is a pressure adorned on men to lift their body weight each week in Powerbase, partake in particularly delightful initiations and to consider themselves superior if they fit the build of a first XV Rugby player. Consequently, the inflated egos fitting such a description could lead some people to believe that they can behave how they wish on nights out as they are above others. Thus, when topped up with Union Jagerbombs, lads act as they wish, so often leading to women being at the receiving end of wandering hands and drunken leering.
The blaming of women’s clothing, particularly pointing to an excess of cleavage and an abundance of hot pants, is where the lad culture article lost some of its readers, and rightly so. To blame what women wear for why they receive an ‘underhanding’ (look it up) and many more unwanted advances is to repress women and to deny them of their sexuality. Why should the blame be partially pinned on them when lads are allowed to act as they wish?
For a woman to act purely sexually in a nightclub is the norm, for when else are you going to manage to have that conversation about yourself longer than a checklist of name, course, year with someone who you’ve just met. For a woman to dress in a manner in which she feels, not only comfortable, but attractive is welcomed but for people to take that dress code as a reason to harass is certainly not. It should of course be noted that if you show off more when you go out that you are liable to receive more attention, however the issue lies in the fact that some boys see this as an invitation to grab and grope and this should be addressed long before we think about telling women to change what they wear.
I have noted that at Loughborough even clothing choice is not a particular put-off for some. When working at Hey EWE, the fancy dress costumed women receive this harassment whether they are in a frog onesie or dressed as a scantily clad Superwoman. Even boyfriends aren’t a deterrent as I found out the other week in Echos, as I was not only with my girlfriend, but kissing her when a man decided to inappropriately grab her. Perhaps this is evidence enough to point towards the cultural obscenity rather than how women dress and behave.
It may be argued that women must avoid the pitfall of dressing up so scantily that they’ll only be viewed as sex objects. There is, however, perhaps too fine a line between dressing up to please yourself and dressing up to attract a certain type of attention, so it must simply be put that this ‘Lad culture’ needs to be addressed.
So guys, next time you’re knocking one (too many) back at an FND, take a moment to consider that grabbing that girl is firstly, not going to get you anywhere and secondly, will make you look like a pig. Perhaps you could buy her a drink instead?