THE BLOG
16/10/2013 09:56 BST | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

Leeds 'Freshers Violation' - Just A Drop In The Ocean

Earlier this week, Tequila, a favourite event at Mezz nightclub among students in Leeds, was the focus of media attention following a promotional video containing jokes about freshers being raped. The video was released to advertise Tequila's event 'Freshers Violation'...

Earlier this week, Tequila, a favourite event at Mezz nightclub among students in Leeds, was the focus of media attention following a promotional video containing jokes about freshers being raped. The video was released to advertise Tequila's event 'Freshers Violation'.

The video followed a host asking female freshers: 'how are you going to avoid being violated tonight?' It also featured students claiming that they were to rape freshers, with one student boasting: 'I'm going to fist a fresher.' Tequila's Facebook page for the event depicted a scantily clad girl with the words: 'take me' covering her bare breasts.

While this is a particularly extreme example of the attitudes of students towards girls and sex, it is not an isolated one. At the start of this year Exeter University students were caught on camera making love at the bar during the annual Safer Sex Ball - an event that students attend wearing little more than underwear.

While having sex on a night out in full view of CCTV cameras may be considered by some to be par for the course as a student, the latest scandal involving Mezz nightclub represents an entirely different, and more dangerous, view towards sex among young adults.

The most alarming thing is that, had the video not have garnered such negative attention, many young people wouldn't have found it all that outlandish. Although there was almost certainly no intention behind the lad's comments regarding rape, the fact that it is seen as little more than a slightly inappropriate joke speaks volumes.

Tequila is definitely not alone in its approach to marketing. Many nightclubs, particularly those in towns and cities densely populated by students, objectify girls and encourage promiscuity. It is true that nightclubs, besides being hubs for social intercourse, have long been a place to find a sexual partner for the night. That isn't really a problem while both parties are consenting.

The problem is that nightclubs are increasingly acting more and more like brothels. Women are degraded, as clearly evidenced by Tequila's Freshers Violation promise of 'violation cages' for girls. This kind of environment engenders misogynistic attitudes and dehumanises young women. It is almost as if every girl that enters Mezz nightclub is a legitimate, willing target for leering, groping lads looking to get their end away.

Quite rightly, Mezz nightclub has been criticised and condemned for hosting the 'Freshers Violation' event. But this case has only gathered such widespread attention because it is a serious example of harmful attitudes caught on camera. The fact is that this behaviour occurs countrywide on various student nights. Tequila were audacious in their advertising of 'rape culture' and so suffered as a result. The glorification of belittling attitudes towards women is a disease that has spread to virtually every student night event in towns and cities.

Once upon a time, the sight of all but naked girls gyrating around poles and on podiums was reserved for seedy strip clubs. Today, you would be hard tasked to avoid such eye-fulls on a night out in the biggest clubs across the country. Sexual expression is a wonderful thing, and all straight men can appreciate the beauty of a woman's body. But in many of our favourite student nightspots, the sexualisation of girls is being thrust upon us.

I believe that it is this kind of atmosphere that cultivates thoughtless comments and damaging attitudes towards women. Sex is something we all enjoy in its many different forms. But it doesn't have to be broadcast and advertised in the way that it is. Nothing is left to the imagination anymore and, even as a twenty-one year old male, I'm finding it rather tiresome and destructive.