We will not be Slaves to Lad Culture

With cases of sexual harassment being recently reported at Slaves, Drenge and Foals performances, Alex Smith explores the wider issue of lad culture

7th December 2015

“Putting your hands all over any women without her permission is not on at any sort of concert. Going as far as putting your hand up her skirt forcing her to leave the venue and go home, ruining her night, is disgusting.” – Slaves, on the Cardiff gig (15th November)

Brought to their attention after their gig in Cardiff Students Union on the 15th of November, Slaves were informed of reports of sexual harassment during the performance, prompting this response on their Facebook page. Slaves however, are not the first band to bring this sort of thing to light. Foals and Drenge have also both recently commented on sexual harassment at their gigs, calling it out on social media and requesting victims inform them, or security.

It seems the fallout from university-centred lad culture is attacking music venues and gigs. In general, the relationship between gigs and universities is strong. Many students unions hold events, such as the Slaves example in question, and many attendees are usually of typical University age. In the last few years Dapper Laughs inspired groups of lads can be seen popping up all over campuses, prompting many questions about the situation in the media and even focus on the issue from the government.

The question is, why has there been such a rise of it occurring in music venues recently? Perhaps lad culture has spread so far that, like the aforementioned Dapper Laughs, many have half-heartedly reformed in the wake of a focus on Feminist values. This has possibly led to under-the-surface sexism and in the close proximity of a gig venue many men think they can get away with it. Of course it is not just limited to women, yet these are the vast number of cases reported.

Alternatively, perhaps harassment at gigs is starting to be focused on as an actual issue. Whereas before it would have been seen as collateral damage of attending a gig, people are starting take notice. It can no longer be dismissed as “oh there’s not enough space” or “they were just pushed into you”.  With a more responsive attitude from bands, this has definitely helped the case.

Perhaps lad culture has spread so far that, like the aforementioned Dapper Laughs, many have half-heartedly reformed in the wake of a focus on Feminist values

More than likely however, is that it is a combination of both of the above. Whatever the reasons, this deplorable act has been countered head-on by a group of five teenage girls called Girls Against.  Despite being relatively new, the group have amassed a great amount of support, hitting 6,500 followers on Twitter and the support of many acts such as Peace, whose gigs have similarly suffered this kind of harassment.

As well as being active online, they attend gigs, talk to people queuing for gigs and give out merchandise to promote their cause. All of this help shows girls, who may just brush off gig-related harassment, that it is a real issue and should be taken seriously. With rapid expansion occurring, Girls Against’s current goal is to eradicate sexual harassment at all gigs. Slaves have joined this cause wholeheartedly and have vowed to help end groping where they see it.

In the words of Peace frontman Harry Koisser- If you think this is ok then please I beg you do not go to gigs.

Alex Smith

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