Lad culture

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Lad culture (also laddish culture and laddism) is a British and Irish subculture initially associated with the Britpop movement. [1] Arising in the early 1990s, the image of the "lad"—or "new lad"—was that of a generally middle class figure espousing attitudes typically attributed to the working classes. The subculture involves young men assuming an anti-intellectual position, shunning sensitivity in favour of drinking, violence and sexism. [2]

Contents

Origins

The term "new lad" was coined by journalist Sean O'Hagan in a 1993 article in Arena . [3] [4] [5]

Part of "the postmodern transformation of masculinity ... the 1990s 'new lad' was a clear reaction to the 'new man' ... most clearly embodied in current men's magazines, such as Maxim , FHM and Loaded , and marked by a return to hegemonic masculine values of male homosociality". [6] At a time when "men saw themselves as battered by feminism", [7] one could also consider that "laddishness is a response to humiliation and indignity ... the girl-power! girl-power! female triumphalism which echoes through the land". [8]

Lad culture grew beyond men's magazines to movies such as Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and to the TV sitcom Men Behaving Badly . [9] [10] Bottom , Al Murray's Happy Hour and They Think It's All Over are television programmes that present images of laddishness that are dominated by the male pastimes of drinking, watching football, and sex. These are presented as being ironic and "knowing" (the masthead of Loaded is "for men who should know better").

Postfeminism

The rise of the new lad coincided with a backlash against feminism by both men and women, and in particular against the figure of the new man as "one who has subjugated his masculinity in order to fulfill the needs of women ... this passive and insipid image". [11] At a time when "the stereotypes for men attentive to feminism were two: Eunuch, or Beast", [12] —and when women were increasingly feeling that "new men are fine in the kitchen, but who wants them in the bedroom?" [13] —the "new lad" image offered "a space of fun, consumption and sexual freedom for men", as well as "a refuge from the constraints and demands of marriage and nuclear family". [14]

Contrasting the two gender constructs, Tim Edwards, a sociologist at the University of Leicester, describes the new man as pro-feminist, albeit narcissistic, and the new lad as pre-feminist, and a reaction to second-wave feminism. [9] [15] The new man image failed to appeal to a wide readership whereas the more adolescent Lad culture appeals more to the ordinary man, says Edwards. [9] Social constraints also meant that "it is easier to be a lad rather than a new man in most workplaces". [16]

However, Edwards also points out that lad culture men's magazines of the 21st century contain little that is actually new. Noting a study of the history of Esquire , he observes that there is little substantially different between the new man Arena and GQ and the new lad Loaded et al. Both address assumed men's interests of cars, alcohol, sport, and women, and differ largely in that the latter have a more visual style. From this he infers that "the New Man and the New Lad are niches in the market more than anything else, often defined according to an array of lifestyle accessories", and concludes that the new lad image dominates the new man image simply because of its greater success at garnering advertising revenue for men's magazines.

Criticism

Lad culture has attracted criticism from feminist circles. For example, Germaine Greer critiques it in her 2000 book The Whole Woman; [9] [15] [17] while Kira Cochrane asserts that "it's a dark world that Loaded and the lad culture has bequeathed us". [18] Joanne Knowles of Liverpool John Moores University wrote that the "lad" displays "a pre-feminist and racist attitude to women as both sex objects and creatures from another species". [2]

A study by Gabrielle Ivinson of Cardiff University and Patricia Murphy of the Open University identified lad culture as a source of behavioural confusion, [19] and an investigation by Adrienne Katz linked it to suicide and depression. [10] A study of the architecture profession found that lad culture had a negative impact on women completing their professional education. [20] Commentator Helen Wilkinson believes that lad culture has affected politics and decreased the ability of women to participate. [21]

The UK's largest student union warned in a 2015 study that universities were failing to address the issue of lad culture, with almost half (49%) of all universities having no policy against discrimination due to sexuality, or anti-sexual harassment policies. [22]

Ladette

The word "ladette" has been coined to describe young women who take part in laddish behaviour. Ladettes are defined by the Concise Oxford Dictionary as: "Young women who behave in a boisterously assertive or crude manner and engage in heavy drinking sessions." [23]

Other locations

The term "lad" is also used in Australian youth culture to refer to the Eshay subculture which is more similar to the chav or football casual subcultures, rather than the middle class student subculture the term refers to in the United Kingdom. Australian lads wear a distinctive dress code, consisting of running caps and shoes combined with striped polo shirts and sports shorts. They frequently use pig latin phrases in conversation, [24] for example "Ad-lay" to refer to a fellow "Lad". Lad-rap is a growing underground hip hop scene in Australia. [25]

It is also sometimes used in Canada to refer to (primarily) university-aged men and young adults in a similar fashion to the British usage, with an emphasis on beer drinking.

There are many similarities with the American bro culture, which often celebrates binge drinking, sex, and may be associated with membership in college fraternities.

See also

Related Research Articles

Feminism is a range of social movements, political movements, and ideologies that aim to define and establish the political, economic, personal, and social equality of the sexes. Feminism incorporates the position that societies prioritize the male point of view, and that women are treated unjustly within those societies. Efforts to change that include fighting against gender stereotypes and establishing educational, professional, and interpersonal opportunities and outcomes for women that are equal to those for men.

Misandry is the hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against men or boys in general. Misandry may be manifested in numerous ways, including social exclusion, sexism, hostility, gynocentrism, belittling of men, violence against men, and sexual objectification.

Gender studies is an interdisciplinary academic field devoted to analysing gender identity and gendered representation. It includes women's studies, men's studies and queer studies. Its rise to prominence, especially in Western universities after 1990, has been noted as a success of deconstructionism. Sometimes, gender studies is offered together with study of sexuality. These disciplines study gender and sexuality in the fields of literature, linguistics, human geography, history, political science, archaeology, economics, sociology, psychology, anthropology, cinema, musicology, media studies, human development, law, public health and medicine. It also analyzes how race, ethnicity, location, class, nationality, and disability intersect with the categories of gender and sexuality.

<i>Butch</i> and <i>femme</i> Masculine and feminine identities in lesbians

Butch and femme are terms used in the lesbian subculture to ascribe or acknowledge a masculine (butch) or feminine (femme) identity with its associated traits, behaviors, styles, self-perception, and so on. The terms were founded in lesbian communities in the twentieth century. This concept has been called a "way to organize sexual relationships and gender and sexual identity". Butch-femme culture is not the sole form of a lesbian dyadic system, as there are many women in butch–butch and femme–femme relationships.

Masculinity Set of qualities, characteristics or roles associated with boys and men

Masculinity is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles associated with men and boys. Although masculinity is socially constructed, research indicates that some behaviors considered masculine are biologically influenced. To what extent masculinity is biologically or socially influenced is subject to debate. It is distinct from the definition of the biological male sex, as both males and females can exhibit masculine traits.

Femininity Set of qualities, characteristics or roles associated with girls and women

Femininity is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with women and girls. Although femininity is socially constructed, research indicates that some behaviors considered feminine are biologically influenced. To what extent femininity is biologically or socially influenced is subject to debate. It is distinct from the definition of the biological female sex, as both males and females can exhibit feminine traits.

The term postfeminism is used to describe reactions against contradictions and absences in feminism, especially second-wave feminism and third-wave feminism. The term postfeminism is sometimes confused with subsequent feminisms such as 4th-wave feminism, and xenofeminism.

Pro-feminism refers to support of the cause of feminism without implying that the supporter is a member of the feminist movement. The term is most often used in reference to men who actively support feminism and its efforts to bring about the political, economic, cultural, personal, and social equality of women with men. A number of pro-feminist men are involved in political activism, most often in the areas of gender equality, women's rights, and ending violence against women.

Antifeminism, also spelled anti-feminism, is opposition to some or all forms of feminism. In the late 19th century and early 20th century antifeminists opposed particular policy proposals for women's rights, such as the right to vote, educational opportunities, property rights, and access to birth control. In the mid and late 20th century antifeminists often opposed the right to abortion and, in the United States, the Equal Rights Amendment. In the early 21st century antifeminism has sometimes been an element of violent, far-right extremist acts.

Sociology of gender branch of the discipline of sociology

Sociology of gender is a prominent subfield of sociology. Social interaction directly correlated with sociology regarding social structure. One of the most important social structures is status. This is determined based on position that an individual possesses which effects how they will be treated by society. One of the most important statuses an individual claims is gender. Public discourse and the academic literature generally use the term gender for the perceived or projected (self-identified) masculinity or femininity of a person.

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Feminism is a broad term given to works of those scholars who have sought to bring gender concerns into the academic study of international politics and who have used feminist theory and sometimes queer theory to better understand global politics and international relations.

Since the 19th century, men have taken part in significant cultural and political responses to feminism within each "wave" of the movement. This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in a range of social relations, generally done through a "strategic leveraging" of male privilege. Feminist men have also argued alongside writers like Bell Hooks, however, that men's liberation from the socio-cultural constraints of sexism and gender roles is a necessary part of feminist activism and scholarship.

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Rosalind Clair Gill, is a British sociologist and feminist cultural theorist. She is currently Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at City, University of London. Gill is author or editor of ten books, and numerous articles and chapters, and her work has been translated into Chinese, German, Portuguese, Spanish and Turkish.

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Bethan Benwell, has been a senior lecturer in English Language and Linguistics, for the Division of Literature and Languages, at the University of Stirling since 2008.

References

  1. McCombe, J. (2014). “Common People”: Realism, class difference, and the male domestic sphere in Nick Hornby's Collision with Britpop. Modern Fiction Studies, 60(1), pp. 165-184. doi:10.2307/26421708
  2. 1 2 Dr Joanne Knowles in Kristina Nelson's Narcissism in High Fidelity (2004) p. 19 ISBN   0595318045
  3. Tim Adams (23 January 2005). "New kid on the newsstand". The Observer. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 20 November 2009.
  4. Michael Bracewell (June–August 1996). "A Boy's Own Story". Frieze . Frieze. Archived from the original on 24 October 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2009.
  5. Gill, Rosalind (2003), "Power and the production of subjects: a genealogy of the New Man and the New Lad", in Benwell, Bethan (ed.), Masculinity and men's lifestyle magazines, Oxford, UK Malden, MA, USA: Blackwell Publisher/Sociological Review, pp.  34–56, ISBN   9781405114639 pdf version Gender Institute, London School of Economics.
  6. Nylund, p. 9
  7. Faludi, Susan (2000). Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man. HarperCollins. p. 594. ISBN   978-0-380-72045-3.
  8. Weldon, p. 61
  9. 1 2 3 4 Tim Edwards (2006). Cultures of Masculinity . Routledge. pp.  39–42. ISBN   0-415-28480-5.
  10. 1 2 "Health: Lad culture blamed for suicides". BBC News . BBC. 1999-10-17.
  11. Knowles, Joanne Nick Hornby's High Fidelity (2002) pp. 16, 39 ISBN   0826453252
  12. Wolf, Naomi (1998). Promiscuities: The Secret Struggle For Womanhood. Random House of Canada. p. 222. ISBN   978-0-679-30942-0.
  13. Weldon, p. 69
  14. Genz, p. 142
  15. 1 2 Pamela Abbott; Claire Wallace; Melissa Tyler (2005). An Introduction to Sociology: Feminist Perspectives . Routledge. p.  354. ISBN   0-415-31258-2.
  16. Samantha Holland, Alternative Femininities (2004) p. 29 ISBN   1859738087
  17. Jackson, C. (2006). Lads and Ladettes in School: Gender and a Fear of Failure. Maidenhead: Open University Press. ISBN   0335225918.
  18. Kira Cochrane, "The dark world of lads' mags". Newstatesman.com. Retrieved on 2012-12-16.
  19. "Lad Culture and Boys' Confusion about Behaviour" (Press release). Leicester, England: The British Psychological Society. 2001-06-28. Archived from the original on 2007-03-11. Retrieved 2006-10-18.
  20. Gates, Charlie (2003-07-11). "Lad culture forces women to quit: RIBA-funded study looks at reasons behind profession's high female drop-out rate". Building Design. 1587. p. 3.
  21. Wilkinson, Helen (1998-08-07). "The day I fell out of love with Blair". New Statesman . 127. pp. 9–10.
  22. Joe Williams (27 July 2015). "British universities failing to tackle homophobic "lad culture"". PinkNews . Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  23. "Ladettes enter dictionary". BBC News. 12 July 2001.
  24. Sacha Molitorisz (7 January 2010). "Tribes of the Sydney". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  25. Rei Barker (2014-11-28). "Is Lad Rap Ready to Save Aussie Hip Hop?". Noisey (music by Vice). Retrieved 4 July 2016.

Bibliography