I like to think of myself as a gentleman. Not in the top hat wearing, Bertie Wooster sense of the word, but in the more general sense. Even though I don't always succeed, I make an effort to be polite to everyone, and to respect those I disagree with. That's why the discovery of the sites LADBible and UniLAD make me want to throw something through a window.
For those of you who have the good fortune not to know what those sites are, count yourselves lucky and stay as far away from them as possible. I looked through them in the course of writing this piece and by the end I not only wanted to tear my own eyes out, but had a deep and burning disrespect for some members of my own gender.
A hold over from the mid-nineties lad culture, both of these sites are full of the type of immature banter, sexist jokes and encouragement of casual drunken violence that also permeates such magazines as Nuts and Zoo. However my problem with them stems not so much from the stereotypical image of guys - especially university guys - that they promulgate, but from their opinion of women.
Regularly referred to as "wenches" (a phrase I was fairly certain had fallen out of use in about 1776), according to these sites the only thing women are good for is sex, and the only thing that matters about them is where they fall on some imagined scale of attractiveness. Now I am far from a patriarchy destroying feminist, but as a gentleman with many female friends this view both disturbs and disgusts me.
Considering it's been around ninety years since women were first given the vote in the United Kingdom and considering that one of our longest serving Prime Ministers was a woman, these sorts of opinions and comments should really have gone the way of the dodo. Every girl I know is sharp, articulate and has a wide range of interests and opinions. Even the ones who do enjoy cliché things such as shopping are fiercely intelligent and I would never even consider viewing them as mere objects put on earth for my use.
This idea seems to stem from the idea of male privilege. That is, because males have been the dominant gender for the majority of human history, we are therefore at an advantage in society and more important. While it is true that men do have an advantage, I would never consider myself superior to anyone solely because I was born male. To suggest that men are superior to women just because they are men, is like suggesting that brunettes are superior to blondes just because they brunette. It's stupid and has no basis in fact.
Fortunately for me, the majority of my male friends seem to feel the same way and treat women with the respect that they deserve. But the fact that this "lad culture" still holds sway over anyone is a fact that seriously needs to be addressed.
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