Lecture Lad Culture in Higher Education

Contexts for sexual harassment and violence and developing models for challenge and change

Lecture by Dr Vanita Sundaram

Venue: University of York, York, United Kingdom P/L/002

Date and time: 7th March 2017, 18:30-19:30

Ahead of International Women’s Day, the University of York’s Dr Vanita Sundaram presented her leading research into the emergence of lad culture in higher education, what it is, what causes it and what can be done to address it.

Concerns about lad culture have been proliferating for a seemingly considerable amount of time. Headlines abound: ‘Can universities ever get rid of boozy, sexist lad culture?’ (Telegraph, 24/2/14); ‘Lad culture thrives in our neoliberal universities’ (Guardian, 15/10/2014); ‘Sexist lads’ culture is out of control at universities’ (Daily Mail, 16/9/14); ‘Lad culture: what can be done when it’s everywhere at university? (Independent, 6/1/15); and ‘Why ‘lad culture’ and ‘banter’ is destroying the lives of young men’ (Herald, 3/4/2016). Early reports tended to focus on anecdotal accounts of practices such as ‘slut dropping’ (where male students offer female students a lift home but then leave them stranded a long way from home) and ‘hazing’ (initiation ceremonies usually linked to male sports teams), as well as fancy dress parties with themes such as ‘pimps and hoes’ and ‘geeks and sluts’. Yet more recently, several other cases have been brought to light. These include the production and circulation of leaflets by the men’s rugby club at the London School of Economics and Political Science that had sexist and homophobic content, as well as students at the University of Nottingham singing a misogynistic chant that included a line about digging up a female corpse and having sex with it.

But is this a new phenomenon? And what can be done to address it? Join the York Union to explore these questions as well as information about details about the #USVreact project and training.