For those of you who aren’t familiar with lad culture, take a quick look at this website.
Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
First observations? Nearly a quarter of a million likes on facebook. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t envy that kind of web presence, so well done to them in that respect. There is one small problem:
They are promoting a toxic set of beliefs.
I’m not gonna criticise them for what they normally get criticised for. I wholeheartedly support their right to make rape jokes and fat jokes and I’m glad that they are promoting masculinity over being a bitch. The problem I have is that, to be blunt, they have a pretty shitty definition of masculinity.
Broadly defined, masculinity is the combination of strength, courage, mastery and honour.
This definition is broad and abstract because it goes past the arguments over whether a good father or a master seducer is more manly – it’s chalk and cheese bro. But I digress, let’s see how the values uni-lad promotes measure up to this objective standard.
I’m not one to criticise getting intoxicated, and having low standards is kinda subjective, but I can’t get my head around the last one.
I get the distinct impression that a large proportion of young men aren’t going out, getting smashed and hitting on girls because they want to, but because they want to impress the top dog in their group. It’s something every lad knows, but no lad will admit.
They also encourage lying.
From How to Get a Regular Shag
Get yourself back home. Clean your room. Hoover your room. Put posters of mean looking rugby players everywhere. Buy two rugby balls; put one on the pillow and one on your desk. Eighty percent of girls at university are attracted to the ‘rugby lad’. Today, you are one of them.
If you were to put that much effort into being worth fucking rather than seeming worth fucking, you’d get hit in the face by a low flying vagina every time you stepped out the door. (H/T Frost)
This leads to the crux of my problem with that site, and with lad culture in general:
The manosphere promotes becoming better in order to gain progress towards a goal. Lad(ism?) promotes pretending to be better in order to gain approval from your mates.
My message to lads everywhere is this: there is more to life than clubbing and FIFA. Read a book, chat up women during the day (the whole needing alcohol to talk to girls thing is ridiculous), climb a mountain, write a blog, start a business. It doesn’t matter. But you and others like you are setting yourselves up for the prescribed life plan trodden by so many now divorced and unhappy men before you.
Normal kid at school -> uni partying hard and trying to shag lots of girls -> leave uni with a 2:2 and moderate alcohol dependency -> job -> dating -> wife -> kids -> more alcoholism -> divorce -> premature death.
You know why this happens? Because you seek approval. You didn’t stand out at school and reach your potential because you wanted to fit in with everyone else, now your every action is determined by what the lads will think and how many lad points downing that pint of piss, or having someone else’s shit rubbed over your face will win you (both of those happened to a rugby lad I know). As you get older you will live on the approval of you boss, your girlfriend, your wife and your kids. This is not masculinity, this is weakness. In particular a weakness that makes for a depressing and unfulfilling life.
There’s a lot of potential here, young men have realised that being a feminized little fag is wrong for the majority of them, but we need a better alternative than the current binge drinking, approval seeking culture we have now.
In summary – It’s good to promote masculinity, but you gotta be a man about it.