Beheading the Archbishop of Banterbury with the righteous sword of shouty, poetic activism

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Lad Culture = Banter Culture?

So, today, as research for the show, I attended the Tackling Lad Culture summit at Northumbria University. I'll have more detailed stuff to say about this tomorrow, but for now I want to make a very simple point.

For anyone wondering whether this show is just me having a personal whinge because I'm a humourless left-wing harpy, some statistics. According to the National Union of Students' 'Hidden Marks' survey in 2010:

1 in 3 respondents felt unsafe going back to university or college buildings after dark

2 in 3 respondents had experienced either verbal or non-verbal harassment

1 in 7 had experienced serious physical or sexual assault

A 2014 follow-up survey found that:

37% of female students and 12% of male students had experienced unwanted sexual advances

2/3 of respondents said they had seen students put up with unwanted sexual comments

2/3 of respondents said they had heard rape or sexual assault jokes on campus

But hey - it's all just banter, right?

The NUS are on to that. Alison Phipps, in her NUS report 'That's What She Said', described laddism as a 'pack mentality', evident in activities such as sport, heavy alcohol consumption and "'banter' which was often sexist, misogynist and homophobic" and which, at extremes, involves "rape supportive attitudes".

And the culture of banter is something students clearly feel afraid to speak out against, as evidenced by a response which Newcastle University Student Union representative Olivia Jeffery received to a survey she carried out for the summit, and which she shared with us:

"If you stand up to banter, you face further ridicule, and either don't have a sense of humour or don't have any balls."

Well, my show is going to stand up to banter, and my show is going to have both.

It seems a little cheesy to say this, but...if you're a student, and have been affected by any of the issues discussed in this post, you may want to look at the Hidden Marks website, set up in response to the 2010 NUS report referred to above. 

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