"Laddish behaviour in UK Universities"

I am utterly astonished to hear of the appalling behaviour of some young men at UK universities against their fellow women students.

Misogyny, harassment and rape seem to be considered fair game.

Just what has gone wrong and how can it be that female students seem so intimidated that they feel that they can do very little about it.

I listened to the Woman’s Hour interview and the female students are now asking the Minister for Women to help and are hoping that their New Student Union President, a woman, will make this a major item of concern during her year of Presidency.

What do fellow SFNers think about this appalling state of affairs and just why has it raised its head at this time?

When I was young we were brought up to treat females like “ladies”, give up seats for them, open doors for them, and to tip hats or caps for them. We knew very little indeed about females. Girls never drank beer, it was at most wine and when I met an australian girl it shocked me that she asked for a beer! As the end of the sixties came girls didn’t want to be treated like ladies anymore, and sexual emancipation lost them their pedestal status. As Groucho said “Most men put their wifes on a pedestal. I prefer to put mine under!” Looking at my thirty something year old sons and their friends I really see that their generation is much better at ease with females than ours ever was. At the risk of causing howls of invective both I and my sons attended all boys schools during our teen years, so maybe we were more at risk! It’s OK to criticise boys who misbehave, and we all have, but surely it’s pretty incredible to suggest that females are always as pure as the driven snow? By the way I kept well clear of all the girls at my architectural college- the pubs and parties of Chelsea were a far more fertile hunting ground! I have to admit that we kept a certain chart on the kitchen door of our all male flat and it always takes two to tango.

Unfortunately Jane, there is revived interest inside universities. I avoided such 'clubs', albeit they did not want people like me anyway, but that is so long ago that one might wish the entire memory was lost.

I hardly think that the Bullingdon Club has been glorified, more likely vilified.

I also think the glorification of such base set ups as the Bullingdon Club and their behaviour is not a good example to set and that rock should be dropped herewith.

Absolutely Carolyn.

I think that the consumer society has a lot to account for, kids demand things from their parents who seem to scared of them to say no. They then go on with this attitude throughout their life, believing that they have a right to demand what they want without giving any thought to putting something In to that same society. It then comes as a terrible shock when they have to find a job and turn up and do what they are told.

I agree with you Brian that some kind of preparation for life after school should be compulsory. I seem to remember hearing that some schools had started doing that. They were teaching financial management as well as how to behave in social situations, which is really good manners, or thought for others or as Nick said the milk of human kindness.
This is a sad reflection on the state of parenting in the UK.

Oddly, and with my background of lower working class (which was an actual demographic classification in the UK in my 'yoof') I am still someone who walks on the outside of my wife, still open doors to ladies, and still entering my dotage give up my seat on public transport to ladies - much to the amusement of many I noted on my last visit to London a few years back.

Sorry to say, very rarely did I ever receive anything other than either a suspicious stare, or was completely ignored, and almost never any expression of courtesy in response (I do not include my wife in this).

As for physical strength, I rather question that, as there are plenty of ladies I have met with equal strength to men - and it is my wife who now opens the new jar of marmalade! Ditto re. emotional strength.

So far from me thinking of women as the 'weaker sex' in any sense of the word, the opposite is more often true. I am always stunned when I see TV footage of drunken girls lying in the gutter, screaming abuse on street marches, the vulgarity of the sometimes caught 'music videos', all of which I respectfully submit, does very little to enhance the image of a 'gentler sex' in need of special consideration.

Of course this is a broad brush, but generations surely inter-react with their own générations, and if an image is projected by some/many(?) of being as bad as the boys, then why should they be surprised at being regarded in that light and treated accordingly?

Again, that said, bullying, which I think is more the term that we are talking about, or sexual aggression has no place in any civilisation, and should be stamped on hard when it is discovered. I think Carolyn that laudable as the actions of your son appear to be, I don't see how that would change anything in the long or even shorter run.

Quite simply these yobs should have been 'sent-down' - I believe that is the expression for expulsion these days isn't it?

Yes, I have noted how my former 'live and let live' attitudes have hardened as I get ancient.

I do agree with most of what you have said, but is it really just boys that have been brought up so badly? I have seen an awful lot of girls acting digracefully and both my boys (22 &20) have carried girls home over their shoulder because they have been too drunk to be allowed into a taxi and their parents haven't come to fetch them.

By the way I have heard several times on radio and read in newspapers that course work favours girls. For some reason boys are meant to be better at retaining facts short-term and reproducing them in an exam setting, while girls are better at course work.

Of course life would be so much better and easier if we all treated each other with respect and it is difficult to understand why some young men think they can mistreat women. My son is in his first year at Loughborough Uni and has many female friends there. Just before Easter he was woken up by a tap on his door at 2am. A girl from the floor below had been followed back to halls by 2 boys who refused to leave her alone and she ws scared to open her own door incase they forced their way in, so she came to my son for help. He sensiby called the warden and they plus one other male student walked the intruders out and to their own halls. I am telling this story because it is a recent demonstration of appalling behaviour, but also illustrates that not ALL young men behave badly. Sam was here over the Easter break and received many calls on Skype from girls asking for help with their work and general chats. He has also shown several fellow students how to use the washing machines and how to cook pasta as it seems many parents seem to send their off spring away without first showing them some of the very basic survival skills. My eldest son went to Leeds and he too had several - male & female - who were ill equipped for life away from home.

I talked to both my boys as they were growing up and we discussed subjects that perhaps some parents might find a bit tricky to handle, but they both know that in general women are as capable, tough and intelligent as men, though physically not as strong. I would like to think that they will both look out for others less capable then themselves - male as well as female - and I know that others have been there to suppoert them when needed. It is not a matter of girls v boys, just good old common sense and respect all round.

So well said.

One heartening thing though - the feminist MEN who have responded to this. Well done to all of you - your daughters are lucky to have you as fathers.

I am speechless! What is going on? Perhaps we should apply that well known gauge : Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its women and children. I am paraphrasing here, I do not consider women to be "its weakest members" but on the otherhand I think this maxim can be called upon here.

I find this retrograde behaviour disgusting. Some of us put a lot of effort into ending sexism. It raged through teaching staff as well as male students. When we had a vote on whether our college should admit women a number of men tried to strong arm some of us into voting against. I was part of the rearguard action that won through and saw women admitted. I also willingly taught for women's only colleges. The most outstanding women and men are equal to each other and it is only men who need to come lower down the order to genuinely outstanding women who behave like this. There was a well known academic from Australia who was my ex's colleague and as strident her feminism, in fact she did more to equalise the status of men and women than most people I know. It appears that there are now few women willing to stick their necks out within the system the way there was two decades ago and now a new breed of spoiled brat males is running the roost again - or so though think. Time for bullying to end again and educated people to prove they are worthy of being called that. Numerically David may be right about numbers of women in British universities, but more women than men is hardly a reason for bullying them, something else is not right and it may well be that the preparation of young people for life after school is the solution. I also think that the present political class across the board without laying blame on a party is deeply implicated and that they should take a close look at themselves and bring about change from that source.

As a pre-pill old fart, I do remember the feminist movement in all its stridency, which curiously seems to be replicating itself in parts of the Gay Movement. Part of the problem seemed to me that women were not looking for equality at all, but superiority over men. I venture to suggest that this is still often the case.

I worked for two female bosses in my working career, and both seemed to want to be men, or more than men. It was if they had forgotten their own natural talents and adopted those of their male colleagues, and it was notably objectionable (as it was with a lot of men bosses I hasten to add).

Now I note a lot of aggression on the part of many women - and unncessarily so, as if eveything has to be 'an issue' that they must win. My second wife was a sexual predator I discovered after our divorce (dumb husband always being the last to know) and she wanted the best of both worlds, and indeed was a successful Director of a major Australian Hotel Chain, but was also the first to claim the perceived benefits of 'being a woman'. She was very clever and got away with it.

I understand that the same issues still apply and if women want to be like men then possibly they must play to the same rules?

None of the foregoing supports 'laddish' behaviour, but might just provide some insight as to why it might exist for some men?

If we have sexual equality why are the women putting up with this kind of behaviour? Equality should also mean respect and it seems that these young men are totally lacking in that.

I got it wrong Jane, it’s the " Milk of human kindness" the sentiment is the same

Jane, I totally support your cause in this and think it goes further in that we seem to have forgotten the essence of “the milk of human concord” between us all.

Young men seem to badly brought up and I take issue that course work favours girls.
As to the thought that young men are resentful, why because women have been asking for equality?

It is the fact that our supposedly clever women are too afraid to speak out and what has happened to women bringing up the men to have no respect for women. We are looking at violence against women in the “third world” and now seem to find it on our own doorstep.