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That’s what she said: Women students’ experiences of lad culture in higher education

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In 2010 NUS published the ‘Hidden Marks’ report which produced the staggering statistic that 68 per cent of respondents had been the victim of one or more kinds of sexual harassment on campus during their time as a student.

That’s What She Said’ builds on this revelation with an exploration of the depth of feeling surrounding the phenomenon of ‘lad culture’ and how this can facilitate negative student experiences. As such, the research contains analysis of data from interviews and focus groups with 40 women students from England and Scotland, exploring how ‘lad culture’ affects every area of student life to a greater or lesser degree.

  • ‘Lad culture’ was defined by our participants as a group or ‘pack’ mentality residing in activities such as sport and heavy alcohol consumption, and ‘banter’ which was often sexist, misogynist and homophobic.
  • Respondents described university education as ‘gendered’ and cited issues such as the characterisation/status of particular subjects, classroom interactions, and negative attitudes towards feminism and gender-related topics.
  • ‘Lad culture’ was thought to be particularly influential in the social side of university life. Extracurricular activities and sports in particular were singled out as key sites, and it was reported that sexism in such environments could spill over into sexual harassment and humiliation.
  • Nights out were described as key spaces in which ‘lad culture’ was in evidence. Participants highlighted that nightclub promoters (external to the students’ union) engaged in ‘lad culture’ as part of their business model.
  • For many participants, ‘lad culture’ had been significant in relation to their personal life. Many reported misogynist jokes and ‘banter’ circulating in their friendship groups which made them feel uncomfortable, and pressures to engage in profuse sexual relationships which made it difficult to establish and maintain commitments. Stories of sexual harassment and molestation were common, and there were also accounts of sexual violence.
  • Sexual harassment and violence were also very much related to ‘lad culture’. This included verbal harassment and ‘catcalling’, as well as physical harassment and sexual molestation. Groping in nightclubs was viewed by some as part of a ‘normal’ night out.



 editors comments   

Editor's comments - [  In this research 50 per cent of study participants identified "prevailing sexism, 'laddism' and a culture of harassment" at their [UK] universities.In light of the findings, NUS has called on Women and Equalities Minister Jo Swinson to convene a summit on ‘lad culture’.  ]  Reference this?Cryer, J. (2012). This page title in italics. Retrieved date, from In the text: Cryer (2012)


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Reference :   Phipps, A. Young, I. (2012). That’s what she said: Women students’ experiences of lad culture in higher education. London: NUS


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Download this file (That's what she said full report Final web.pdf)That's what she said full report Final web.pdf Phipps, A. Young, I. (2012). That’s what she said: Women students’ experiences of lad culture in higher education. London: NUS
Last Updated on Saturday, 23 March 2013 17:21  

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