‘I’m gonna try and blog regularly’ hahahahahaha.
I wrote this thing for the Fems zine but the editor didn’t get my email :’) So here’s that thing:
(TW: discussions of rape)
Lad Culture <–> Rape Culture
This might seem like a pretty big leap to some; to go from ‘banter’ between lads to serious sexual assault; but it really isn’t all that difficult to see the link.
If we find talking about women as objects and ‘conquests’ acceptable, and describe it as ‘banter’, then that’s sending a pretty dangerous psychological message to impressionable teenagers; that women are theirs’ for the taking.
Just take the so-called ‘Prince of Notts’ on Instagram. He is a self-confessed ‘lad’, and it might be a ‘caricature’ created by his housemate, but, believe me, he means it when he says ‘who gives a bloody toss if a bit of skirt finds it offensive?’ That’s what girls are to ‘lads’ like these. If you need some more evidence you can also find the oh-so-inspiring and charming #DailyDoseofGashNeeded.
These comments unfortunately represent an attitude that is strongly engrained in university life across the country. The shocking statistics from Greater Manchester police put out in November last year that 30 rapes had been reported to them since the beginning of term, twice the number in the same time period in 2013, really puts into perspective the growing nature of this problem. The fact that Detective Inspector Damian Simpson from GMP’s Serious Sexual Offences Unit has said that the majority of these attacks have followed the same pattern, that being two students meeting on a night out, going home together, and ending up with the police making an arrest in the morning, just highlights further that it is a problem that is centred around the student population, and this is where change needs to occur.
The nation’s general attitude to rape was spotlighted when it came to the release from prison of ex-footballer and convicted rapist Ched Evans. The fact that this was a topic that was hotly debated on all media platforms shows that opinion is clearly divided when it comes to rape and rapists. Many believe that he should not be allowed to play football again, and others think he should be able to continue the job he did before he committed a crime and served his time (even though it was only half of his sentence). Whether we like it or not, footballers are in an influential position within society, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a convicted rapist in a position to be idolised.
The story of Evans’ crime is almost identical to those that Greater Manchester police have had reported to them, i.e. woman is drunk and not in a state to forcibly say no, and the man takes advantage of this. Allowing a public figure such as a footballer to continue in his profession after being convicted of such a crime gives the message that we as a society tolerate it. And this is how we come full circle: back to the prominence and acceptance of ‘lad culture’.