Over the past week the pride I have in being a former student of the University of Stirling has taken a slight denting. Friends of mine who are still students have been sharing and commenting on the now notorious, "Stirling lads on a bus" video which has now received over 90,000 views on YouTube. I can only wish this was a video about young academic minds using public transport in their solidarity over environmental issues, alas it is far from it.
The video features a group of Stirling students chanting a supposedly harmless tune that takes makes light-hearted fun of miscarriages and features the line, "A Kit-Kat she wanted, a Chunky she got". It's also worth noting that those weren't the worst segments of the song either, but I do not wish to take my word limit up with such misogynistic and vile quotes.
The university prides itself on being a sport focused institution with successful sporting teams. However the social aspect of the student experience is very much dominated by the alpha-male sporting teams, whether that be in the Student Union or in the local bars. During my time, there were many occasions where similar chanting would take place by groups such as the hockey team and this would simply be brushed aside as lads having some "banter". Of course Stirling is not alone in this type of behaviour; however the focus on sport does allow this culture to imbed itself within the student community.
Unsurprisingly the incident on the Stirling bus has been defended by some as a "bit of fun". I personally find any attempts to pardon such disgusting behaviour as futile and hampers efforts to create a more equal society. There has been outpouring from various individuals that this outcrying is "feminism too far" - well you tell that to the girl who sat on the bus while a group of ignorant men chanted about the *hilarious* side to a miscarriage. The mere fact that people feel they can air these views in public shows that clearly the feminist cause is as relevant in 2013 as it was in the 1960s.
Moreover, this case in Stirling is not a one-off incident as high profile campaigns such as Everyday Sexism highlights. This lad culture is nothing more than the alpha male syndrome we see in the wild but replicated in everyday situations. Although I have never been one to partake in such laddish behaviour, I am in no way suggesting we should all opt for a culture of sobriety and Downton Abbey-like chivalry but simply respect and courtesy towards others.
The one positive result of the video going online has been the public outcry against such behaviour. A former Stirling student, Clyn Gallagher posed the poignant question: "Why are we still defending this with boys will be boys and it was only a joke?" This sums up the crux of what's happened at Stirling - we know this type of behaviour continues to take place yet we still tolerate it and pass it off as "banter".
So, to some of my fellow 'lads' of Britain I make this simple call to you - don't pretend that making sexist chants on a bus can be passed off as a "bit of a laugh". And no, I don't have a badge on my lapel titled, "Political Correctness Police" - but if you want to strut about like peacocks showing off who's got the largest set of feathers then don't do it in public for the world to see your idiotic behaviour.
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