Career Change: How ‘Laddism’ Deters Young Women’s Career Progress

The Gaming industry is now bigger than Hollywood in terms of its income and womens’ participation in what was a male only club is now half of all gamers. Gaming is riddled with caricatures of women as sex objects and this has alarmingly escalated to killing and hitting women in games for points, disguising them as prostitutes to make it acceptable. The gaming industry has been described as “toxic and hostile to women” and yet little attracts little criticism by wider society.

The British culture of laddism is not new but is still extremely pervasive. The sexist humour of many comedians today that some men and women laugh at serves to validate sexist behaviour and misogyny in society. Kirsty Wark in an Horizon program “Blurred Lines: The New Battle Of The Sexes” aired in May 2014, interviewed teenagers at a British school on the attitudes of girls and boys to sexual behaviour. Wark commented she was “shocked and distressed” by what she learned. At parties girls are regularly groped and feel they cannot speak up against it.

In school, girls hear sexist jokes daily and find that they are called sluts if they have the slightest interest in sex, whereas boys are regarded as men if they are very interested in sex. The societal culture of reducing women to sex objects and colluding in the acceptability of rape is having a devastating impact on our children in their formative years and this is where girls begin to learn not to aim high or to stand out for fear of being labelled negatively. As the culture of misogyny is widely prevalent today, young women’s career progression is being hampered.

The good news is that women in Britain are standing up to misogyny and fighting back. The Everyday Sexism Project forced Facebook last year to change its rules to forbid violent, misogynistic content on its site. Increasing numbers of people have challenged the attacks on Mary Beard. If we want our young people to grow up in a culture of mutual respect, Wark argues that we have to ensure that misogynistic views are not tolerated or gain a solid footing. Otherwise, she warns, “there will be destructive consequences for the next generation”.


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