Lad Culture: A Rant by Cait O’ Sullivan

Over the past hundred years or so negative stereotypes of women have been thoroughly challenged and barriers of inequality have been broken. Expectations of females have changed for the better, but expectations of males, particularly teenage boys, seem to have become worse and worse.


Somewhere along the line some lovely human coined the term “lad”. This is a concept that has warped the meaning of “masculinity” and given these “lads” an undeniably bad reputation of sleeping around and generally treating women negatively for the sake of a few laughs. While this craze is understandable through puberty and peer pressure, the “lad” attitude doesn’t seem to be fading with age. I’m concerned that people have lost all their natural instinct, not just their manners or morals.


Back before we could read and write, man’s main aims included protecting women, caring for them and providing for them. Although this was thousands of years in the past, just a few hundred years ago the expectations of men were relatively similar to that. The Victorian description of a “real man” was to be respectful, sober, reliable, courteous, courageous and unemotional. These expectations have changed drastically. Now in the 21st Century, most women wouldn’t bat an eyelid at being spanked in nightclubs or rated out of ten. The only social pressure left in that short list of old and forgotten expectations, is to be unemotional. And from that list I think that was the only negative one there.


In my opinion “Lad culture” isn’t manly and it’s ultimately self-destructive. What is manly about not being able to hold down a successful relationship? What is manly about ruining someone’s self-confidence or feelings of self-worth?


Recently, one of my friends took it as a triumph that he pressured a girl into buying him a jumper. Have we really reached the point where it is taken as a victory to merely manipulate a female, no matter how small the effort is? To be called a “lad” and given a high five for just making a girl feel bad? What is going to happen if these boys want to go for a girl with moral standards, or low self-esteem?


I worry that this new attitude will destroy relationships before they even begin. With the habit of sleeping around becoming more and more acceptable, no one can ever be completely yours. I miss boys who aspired to be men, and I believe that being a “lad” is far from being a man. There are many lovely people out there, but there should be so many more.