In 2012, UK activist Laura Bates set up the Everyday Sexism Project to raise awareness of the banality of sexist practices facing girls and women, from schools and streets to universities and workplaces. Beginning with a website on which women were invited to post their experiences, this has become a viral international movement (Bates 2014). 2012 also saw a wave of media interest in sexism amongst UK students, with a variety of articles on the phenomenon of ‘lad culture’ citing activities such as sports initiations, sexist themed parties, the sexual pursuit of women freshers (termed ‘seal clubbing’ in one institution) and a culture of casual verbal and physical sexual harassment in the nighttime economy and student social space (Bates 2012, Kingsley 2012, Sherriff 2012). Following this, NUS commissioned the first national study of ‘lad culture’, which became the basis of a major campaign of lobbying and initiatives (Phipps and Young 2013). Since the 1970s, critical gender and sexuality education scholars had been studying white heterosexual ‘laddism’ as a problematic form of masculinity (Willis 1977, Francis 1999, Jackson 2003, Jackson and Dempster 2009). However, the NUS intervention and subsequent media coverage lifted ‘lad culture’ to the status of a national media debate in the UK.
New paper: Rape culture, lad culture and everyday sexism. Researching, conceptualizing and politicizing new mediations of gender and sexual violence (Phipps, Alison, Ringrose, Jessica, Renold, Emma and Jackson, Carolyn (2017) ‘Rape culture, lad culture and everyday sexism: researching, conceptualizing and politicizing new mediations of gender and sexual violence’ in Journal of Gender Studies DOI: 10.1080/09589236.2016.1266792)