The Vagenda

You’re Not The Lad Culture Messiah, You’re a Very Naughty Boy

Morning, folks. Just in case you woke up this morning feeling unexpectedly chipper, allow me to immediately ruin it by drawing your attention to this festering pile of rape apologist bullshit from yesterday’s Telegraph. In it, someone called Jack Rivlin, editor of something called The Tab (which after a quick glance looks like the least fun ‘tab’ ever, placing as it does FAR behind ‘ecstasy’ ‘my neighbour’s cat, described informally’, and even ‘Shoreditch Tabernacle Baptist church’ in terms of preferred leisure activities) disputes the NUS report into ‘Lad Culture’ and the normalisation of sexual violence, all while being the owner of a particularly annoying foppish fringe, which stares at you moodily from his windswept byline picture like a latter day Heathcliff Linton. Cue low level buzz of irritation from lefties and feminists everywhere.
Now, I’m not going to savage Jack, being as he is a young whippersnapper who has already faced a certain amount of Twitter wrath already. I’m not angry, Jack, just disappointed, which we all know is way worse. You’re not the Lad Culture Messiah, you’re a very naughty boy.
Rivlin’s article reads like the quickly rustled up piece of churnalism it is. Find aspect of report you disagree with? Check. Construct straw woman? Check. Make poorly constructed case with no evidence put forward? Check.
All I have to ask is, why are the Telegraph paying this person, who is clearly not only a doofus but can’t construct even a basic piece of comment journalism, when they have just made 81 redundancies?
OK, so Jack’s point that sexism happens everywhere (even the SWP!) can stand. But that doesn’t ignore the fact that University Lad Culture sexism exists too. I mean, FFS, there are misogynists everywhere, and some of them are homosocial bellends with RP accents. ANYONE WHO’S BEEN TO UNI KNOWS THAT. By saying these shitbags don’t exist, Rivlin is like the kid in Peter Pan who doesn’t believe in fairies, except no rapists die each time he says it (more’s the pity). Oh and also: RAPISTS ARE REAL. So he’s not like that AT ALL, the prick. 
So thanks, Jack, for your little contribution to rape culture there. I’m sure if you have any intelligence, you’ll realise that being hailed by a Telegraph commenter as ‘a breath of fresh air’ who ‘finally gives men a voice’ is a damning indictment of your soul. You don’t need me to tell you that.
I hadn’t come across you Jack, having been busy with The Vagenda book. I’ll be keeping an eye on you from now on, though. Something tells me you’ll be the gift that keeps on giving.
God, I missed this. 

9 thoughts on “You’re Not The Lad Culture Messiah, You’re a Very Naughty Boy

  1. He doesn’t at any point say that rapists don’t exist, he’s simply saying that the majority of men, actually, are not rapists. My experience would tend to support this sentiment. I don’t think this article should in any way provoke the level of outrage that your upper-caseyness suggests.

  2. I’m a student at Cambridge, I’m a feminist and I don’t hate men (are we really back to the days where we have to add that disclaimer?) I have many wonderful male friends at University. However, I have found Cambridge a depressingly sexist place socially. The need for plenty of my lovely male friends to group off and turn into utter twats, asserting their alpha-maleness, making sexist jokes and objectifying women on a regular basis, has ramifications. The normalisation of jokes about rape and the overuse and abuse of the word “rape” trivialises it. This is of course not as bad as raping someone, but it is still not acceptable. Creating a loud, macho, pack atmosphere that makes misogynistic jokes about women, and claiming that this plays no part in furthering a culture of sexism, is nonsense.
    I agree with Jack – there is nothing wrong with getting smashed with your mates and having casual sex. Yet in Cambridge I would be looked down on if I did this (by boys and girls). Whereas my male counterparts would get a pat on the back and an ego boost for having “smashed” a girl.
    No, this isn’t particular to Cambridge posh boys. But yes, it is prevalent in Cambridge. I believe partly because Public School boys can tend to gravitate towards one another, and are used to thriving in exclusive alpha-male environments, they often continue to create them after school, through Oxbridge and then the City. The sad result of this is they often simply find it difficult to casually spend time with women – having fun, drinking, going out, whatever – and that they find a need to form a male pack instead. It just seems exhaustingly childish to me, and creates an unnecessary division and, as he puts it, “the lads are prominent, intimidating and socially dominant” leaving women, particularly in “Drinking Society” culture (don’t get me started on that one…) as the socially submissive, pretty objects they look to bang on a night out.
    And I am so sick of getting relegated from “mate” to “girl” and, apparently synonymously, “not fun”.
    Moreover, I have been surprised to gradually learn during my time at Cambridge that really a high proportion of my female friends have experienced some level of sexual intimidation or assault. Violence is fairly rare, though less rare than I would have hoped. But not taking no for an answer, and pressuring a girl to have sex, with varying degrees of emotional manipulation, seems to be shockingly frequent. I myself have certainly experienced it. An NUS survey found that 1 in 7 women have been the victim of serious sexual assault or serious physical violence while at university or college. If we were to factor in emotional pressure and manipulation on a woman to have sex, I strongly suspect this number would multiply. That’s potentially a huge proportion of University students who are someone’s son or brother, and I bet more than one of Jack’s mates. We can never prove it, but it just seems so blatantly obvious that the normalisation of this sexual pressure and manipulation is indebted to lad culture.
    Jack claims that the NUS “seem to genuinely think they can reverse millennia of violence and discrimination against women by forcing the football team to give up necking pints and start inviting the chess club to their socials.” OBVIOUSLY no one is saying that. But if these studies and debates mean that some men think twice about the implications and ramifications of the kind of culture they participate in, and the language and behaviour they are using, then that is surely a step in the right direction. And if it that self-reflection prevents just one woman from being sexually assaulted, then I don’t see how anyone can legitimately complain about it.

  3. My issue with this tradition of discourse is that it doesn’t make men or women look particularly strong. It is fairly insulting to assume that women would be so affected by this kind of “shanter”. You say that as a woman you would be criticised for having causal sex…by who? I would argue that it is the view of a particularly hair-brained group of men, who I personally took absolutely zero notice of during my time at university. In fact, there were just as many jokes about guys being sluts for sleeping around. But tbh these kind of glib remarks were not intended to be prescriptive or accusatory. In the same way I don’t believe they are generally meant by these groups of predatory men you mention. There was also a culture of making exceedingly casual racist remarks, despite no offence being intended and no racism behind it at all. I think a lot of it is flippant and ironic, and those who mean it, well, they don’t deserve your consideration and I really don’t believe that they are the majority. Of course, there are obviously groups who do take this too far, but I really don’t think it’s fair to suggest that this is the rule rather than the exception. This article and some of the comments make me more annoyed than the sexist comments because it suggests that women are victims, which I don’t accept.

  4. Many of the female drinking societies at Cambridge commend “getting smashed with your mates and having casual sex” too – had an interesting conversation with a supervisor about whether this counted as new wave feminism or not :s

  5. Pointing out a problem and working towards the solution of that doesn’t make one a victim. Feminists didn’t make women into victims, patriarchy put us in the situation we are now. Being active in pointing out inequalities and dangerous patterns is a very strong thing to do in todays society, considering the structures that it rests upon. Would you say that black people in the 60s in America were weak and made themselves into victims for marching down the streets and demanding a change in attitudes and structures? Would you suggest that gay people who ask for the right to marry and be treated the same way as straight people and have basic human rights are making themselves into victims?
    We will never stop the oppression by blaming the victims (Yes, I said it, the forbidden word) for being victims. Women are victims of a patriarchal system, simple as that. It does not mean we are weak, stupid or do not want for more. I’d say its rather the opposite. We are moving mountains despite having another fucking mountain on our backs.

    Btw, why would casual racist remarks be okay? That is a very stupid argument to make. “We thought it was okay to say offensive racist things, so why not sexist ones? We were just joking around.” Well, newsflash, discrimination isn’t funny.

  6. And what is this “situation” that we are in now then?By all means protest about the treatment of women, but I would argue that in the Western world there are now numerous mechanisms in place to protect women and ensure equality. Perhaps I have been lucky but I don’t feel in any way down trodden by the patriarchy you mention, or maybe that’s because I’ve been so indoctrinated by the system that keeps me shackled to the kitchen sink. the plight of women in many countries is ACTUALLY an issue. Maybe your time would be better spent protesting for them rather than being outraged by every single sexist remark. I’m not sure where you’re writing from, but for me it would be bordering on absolute narcissism to suggest that our plight can be compared to the plight of black people in 1960s America. I’m from Britain and there is absolutely nothing stopping me from acheiving what a man can. What are these basic human rights that we have been denied exactly? Youre giving examples of groups that I would say of course have reason to protest, but I don’t see how that in any way contradicts my previous comment as I never for a second said that.

    I also made it very clear that I’m not in any way a racist or discriminatory. My point about the “racist” remarks is that people can say things without it necessarily being intended to offend, etc. We can call our friends cunts, dicks and gays, because you know what it doesn’t make you in any way a misogynist, misandrist or homophobe. In fact humour about racism is often applied to demonstate the small mindedness of those who are ACTUALLY racist.

    I guess I dont have it in me to maintain the level of outrage that you can. It’s probably because I’m on my period and I bumped my head on the glass ceiling.