I was recently approached by a TV producer working on a documentary for Channel 4 about university, lad culture and campus assaults. The programme is still in the research stage, and they’re looking to speak to people who could explain what being a student is like in the modern university, and how they see issues like rape jokes, laddish banter, sexism on campus – and whether these have any connection to sexual assaults or a wider university culture.
They’ve managed to speak to a number of survivors of assaults, and women who see everyday sexism as part of a continuum with more serious incidents. At this stage they’d like to get a male perspective on the issue. There are various attitudes they expect they might find, and would be interested in talking to anyone who could explain their attitudes – or surprise them with a different perspective.
What’s the appeal of lad culture at university for men? Is it difficult to make friends and participate in the social and sports scene if you don’t go along with it? Is it something most guys don’t have a problem with? Do you think explicit banter about women is harmful, or just how men have always related to each other? Have you been part of a sports team where the camaraderie and initiations made you uncomfortable – or, on the contrary, was it a great part of your university experience? Did you do something you regretted at university, like tell a rape joke, say something misogynist in front of a group of friends, or come on too strong in a club whilst drunk?
Whatever your point of view, the producers would like to speak to men who can shed light on these questions at university. They have stressed that any stories told at this stage are entirely confidential, and intended to help them get an insight into the issues. They will also be looking for people who might want to be interviewed for the eventual programme, but talking to them now will in no way oblige you to take part. If you’d like to speak to them, do get in touch with me at jem[dot]bloomfield[at]hotmail[dot]co[dot]uk.