Ditch the Label got a bunch of lads together to tell us what they really thought about ‘lad culture’…
We’ve all been on the receiving end of some laddish banter and most likely we’ve probably dished out our fair share of it, too. Every guy who ever lived has probably been told to “man up” by his mates and every guy who doesn’t like football has probably been teased for it at some point. There are good and bad sides to everything and there are good things about Lads and lad culture – the mateship, the bonding, the bants, but what about the not-so-fun side?
Research by Promundo (and commissioned by Lynx) revealed that more than 6 in 10 guys have been told a real man behaves a certain way – and it’s attitudes like this which fuel lad culture and makes men think they need to ‘man up’.
To help us get to the bottom of the truth behind lad culture, we asked these bloggers exactly what they think we should know about the lad mentality:
“I’d say that there’s nothing wrong with being a ‘lad’. But, there’s something very wrong if you’re not there for your friends. You might usually talk about football and beer, but…”
“At school and college I was never good at Football, which was a massive deal when it came to being one of the ‘lads’. Even the suggestion of a ‘kick about’ in the park was a total nightmare because I didn’t feel I was good enough. I would avoid the compulsory Football lessons in PE for fear of being picked last for a team. Even though I was good at other sports, this really knocked my self confidence at the time. Now I focus on the sports that I’m good at and most importantly that I enjoy. I love running and going to the gym.”
“The thing about this ‘lad culture’, is that you end up hiding most of yourself to showcase a very stereotyped and artificial part of you. Your friendships shouldn’t be artificial, and neither should your interests.”
“Coming out as a young gay man was incredibly scary as I was very conscious of how I was perceived by my peers. My best friend was a very stereotypical “lad” (sporty, etc) and I was worried I would be shunned by my friendship group. I thought they may suddenly feel that I was no longer “the same” as them.”
“Any culture that projects a false impression there’s only one valid way to “be” sets us all up to fail – suicide is the number 1 cause of young men in Britain, lad culture & the bravado makes it harder for guys to speak up when they need help.”
“I was bullied in primary school because I wasn’t seen as the masculine type and it affected my mental health at such young age. It took until my mid-teens to realise that no ones opinion of me should define my masculinity. Words that used to hurt and offend me, doesn’t even affect me anymore because I know who I am and I have peace knowing that. I believe that masculinity has evolved over the past few years but there is still a lot of work to do. I want to encourage every male especially black men that it’s okay to cry, to have a unique personality or style, to be different – you having emotions or being unique doesn’t make you any less of a man. Also, I want to encourage men to speak out and stand up for themselves.”
“‘Man up’ and ‘Be a man’ are two of the most dangerous phrases that can be said to any man. They stem from a twisted, incorrect belief that to be masculine you have to be emotionless, you have to wear emotional armour, show no weakness and have nothing phase you mentally.
We’re taught by society to bottle up our emotions and fit this mould of a man that no person ever will. The stereotypical masculine man does not talk about his emotions, until that’s changed…”
“I think that sorting people into boxes is a pretty dated concept. When I think of ‘lad culture’, I think of the 90’s and we have moved on a lot since then. Of course, it still exists to a degree but it’s much easier to be yourself and ‘different’ nowadays and I don’t think people feel as much pressure to conform which is amazing.”