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Why has society allowed 'lad humour', exacerbated by Dapper Laughs, to trivialise sexual abuse of women?

Updated on November 15, 2014

Dapper Laughs; a name splashed across social media, this week for all the right reasons. His sexism has finally been recognised and his career, shattered.

The happy-chappy who has been gracing our screens with his misogyny, his sexism and his 'banter' about rape.
The happy-chappy who has been gracing our screens with his misogyny, his sexism and his 'banter' about rape. | Source

Daniel O'Reilly, commonly known as Dapper Laughs, is a so-called comedian, and social media giant. Dapper Laughs became known on the social networking sites Facebook and Vine for his promotion of lad culture. O'Reilly has always pushed boundaries and his flippant comedy has kept thousands laughing. But his recent antics have seen his career hit rock bottom.

After O'Reilly found himself in the firing line of a row over sexism and abuse of the homeless; footage was released by The Mirror, showing Dapper Laughs engaging his audience in rape jokes at his London show and telling a member of the audience she was 'gagging for rape'. Comments such as those made by O'Reilly are usually labelled as harmless banter but they have far more significance and impact than that. They are poignant and offensive to not only sexual abuse victims; but to anyone who strives to live in a gender equal society.

The question here is; how has this been accepted and encouraged? Not just from O'Reilly, but from many other men and women alike, who all engage in 'banter' that sets out to trivialise and normalise the sexualisation and abuse of women. It's not a conundrum; with role models like Dapper Laughs, who's famous tag-lines include 'she knows' and 'proper moist', everyone is being blinded with comments and mantras that set out to normalise crude sexism.

Students seen protesting for the banning of lad's magazines on Tesco's shelves.
Students seen protesting for the banning of lad's magazines on Tesco's shelves.

What this lad culture teaches society is that is is socially acceptable to harass women; whether thats in the street, at work or at school. It gives permission to men to sexualise women and his Itv show 'On the Pull' only enforces this. O'Reilly lets young lads, who have issues with asking girls out, in on his 'expertise' encouraging them to harass women in the street. Because this lad humour is all about how women look and what their bodies can do, it teaches that a woman's body is more important than her brains, meaning women's accomplishments are lesser valued.

Dapper Laughs seeks to instil a sense of power within men, and abuses anyone who challenges him. However, he has been under increased pressure to change his persona completely after his actions became common knowledge. O'Reilly appeared on Newsnight where he promised that Dapper Laughs was a character of the past and he admitted that things should not have been said, he was regretful.

O'Reilly appeared on the BBC's Newsnight; apologising for his words and promising a complete character reform after 50,000 people, including reams of fellow comedians, signed a petition to get 'On the Pull' off our screens.
O'Reilly appeared on the BBC's Newsnight; apologising for his words and promising a complete character reform after 50,000 people, including reams of fellow comedians, signed a petition to get 'On the Pull' off our screens. | Source

Society has allowed lad humour to open doors for trivialisation of sexual abuse of women, because it has always been that way; women have always been viewed as the weaker, less important sex and the introduction of media only helps this case. Media has a corrosive affect on the way people think, allowing popular users to target society as a whole and engage people in a supposed 'bit of banter'. This gives those like O'Reilly free rein to make people laugh, because it is understood that comedy is there to challenge normalities. Dapper Laughs and his equally sexist fan-base have throughly abused this, letting people have a chuckle about women being raped and the size of his manhood, and telling his followers how to get rid of one night stands. How very un-funny.

Tales of misogynistic jokes, 'rape banter' and pressures to engage in sexual behaviour are rife within our society and through comedians such as O'Reilly, and channels like Itv, advocating this behaviour; derogatory beliefs and misogyny will not be leaving us. Equalities next step must be to ensure that girls and women are able to walk down the street without being fearful.

Should the problems surrounding sexism be addressed at an earlier age in schools?

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