Statement from CUSU Women’s Officer, Amelia Horgan, about the leaked email from Emmanuel’s drinking society, and lad culture at Cambridge.
While the email leak in question may have been a joke, or self-satire, it’s hardly hilarious. I don’t think, however, that we should spend too much time unpicking the layers of alleged irony in the email, instead we need to acknowledge the scope of everyday sexism and misogyny within our university community.
At the LSE a student rugby club decided to promote itself to students using misogyny, homophobia and classism. While this might seem like a one-off event, quickly resolved by the disbanding of the club, those of us who experience the casual bigotry of some self-proclaimed lads can confirm such behaviour to be a very regular occurrence.
Here at Cambridge ‘lad culture’ often plays itself out within drinking societies and sports clubs, normally involving a posturing, swaggering masculinity that declares rape jokes ‘banter’ and degrades women. Whether or not the Emmanuel Lions were ironically or satirically using the rhetoric of ‘lads’ doesn’t mean we don’t have a problem here.
Aside from daily harassment, unwanted comments, and ‘banter’, We’ve had drinking societies publicly singing about raping women, sexually aggressive initiations, through to racist may ball themes. We deserve better. We want to live and work in communities that are safe from sexism and harassment, where we feel safe and valued. Lad culture,when it appears in its most misogynist form, silences women along with those people who do not meet the boozy, banterous masculinity that lad culture enforces. We deserve to go about our lives, in our own homes and communities, without the threat or actuality of unwanted comments about our appearance or tediously unfunny sexist jokes.