Type of site
|Lad culture website for UK university students|
|Created by||James Street|
|Launched||April 2, 2010|
Uni Lad was a website promoting lad culture aimed at male university students in the United Kingdom. The site described itself as the "number one university student lad's magazine and guide to getting laid". It was founded in 2010 and reportedly had around 8,000 visitors per week and 75,000 fans on Facebook. The site attracted considerable critical comment in the press and on Twitter due to blatant misogyny and promotion of rape in some of the articles on the website.
Site ownership and management
Two men have been identified as being responsible for the site: Alex Partridge from Eastbourne and James Street, a student at the University of Plymouth. According to an FAQ on the website in 2010, the site was "created, designed and written by Alex Partridge" who is listed as being 21 years old and a student at Oxford Brookes University.
James Street is a web design student at the University of Plymouth and claims that he was responsible for the technical but not editorial aspects of the site, saying he was "not responsible for writing or checking the content that gets published".
Before the site was taken offline, it described itself as being "for when you are bored in the library" and "the 'tongue in cheek', article based solution to library boredom". The site also set up a 'Uni Ladette' page with "debauched disasters" from a "border-line alcoholic" female writer that they supposedly found in "a gutter, muttering something about needing to get laid and nursing her broken stilettos".
Articles that have been reported on in the press include:
- Sexual Mathematics – this article said that 75% of women aged 18–25 were "sluts" and advised readers that if a woman did not display any interest in having sex (which they described as "spread[ing] for your head"), "think about this mathematical statistic: 85 per cent of rape cases go unreported. That seems to be fairly good odds." The article concluded with a mock disclaimer: "Uni Lad does not condone rape without saying ‘surprise’."
- The Zebra Abortion – this article described how, following sex, the writer told his sexual partner to take the morning-after pill. After responding by saying she wanted to keep the pregnancy, the writer considers "performing an elbow drop on her vagina right there and then", but decides instead to "look around the room for a chair or table I can smash onto her stomach".
- How To Pull a Fresher – Another article on the website gave advice on "How To Pull a Fresher", noting that fresher students were "especially vulnerable".
- The Angry Shag – This story described a man, during sex, smashing a woman's face into a wall "to knock some sense into her".
The website also contained a 'shop' section that sold t-shirts with a variety of slogans, including a t-shirt fashioned in the style of the World War II-era Keep Calm and Carry On propaganda posters reading "Keep Calm – It Won't Take Long", a reference to rape.
Estelle Hart from the National Union of Students said that articles on the website promoted a "casual trivialisation of rape". In response to the suggestion that it was simply ironic or humorous, Hart argued that "a website referring to women as wenches and slags isn’t simply the harmless ‘banter’ the writers want us to believe".
A number of student newspapers published editorials condemning Uni Lad including those at Bristol University, the University of Birmingham, the University of Liverpool, and Newcastle University.
The BBC Radio 4 magazine show Woman's Hour interviewed a number of female students in Brighton who described the 'Sexual Mathematics' article as "vulgar" and were very critical of sexist comments and 'banter' on Facebook.
Sarah McAlpine wrote an article for The F-Word, a UK feminist blog, which argued that Uni Lad was "an entire culture summed up in one hideous website". The website TechRadar list it as one of the "10 most hated websites of all times".
Following the public reaction, Alex Partridge from Uni Lad said that the site "overstepped the mark" and "took things too far", and took the site down until they have "greatly improved" their editorial policies.
The University of Plymouth launched a disciplinary investigation against James Street who claims to be the designer of the site but not involved in the content. The University of Plymouth Students' Union released a statement saying that there "can be no question that some of the content published on the Unilad.com website is completely unacceptable and offensive in nature", but stating that they would not make any further comment on the matter due to the investigation that the university was leading.
- "Twitter fury over 'surprise rape' article gets UniLad suspended". The Week. 1 February 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- Aroesti, Rachel (7 February 2012). "Unilad culture – one big joke or seriously unfunny?". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- "Uni Lad website creator 'appalled' over rape comment". BBC News. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- "FAQ". Uni Lad. Archived from the original on 8 June 2010.
- "Uni Lad – Home". Uni Lad. Archived from the original on 1 February 2011.
- "Uni Ladette". Uni Lad. Archived from the original on 7 June 2010.
- Kidson, Millie. "UniLad: When ‘banter’ becomes dangerous?". LSMedia. Retrieved 5 February 2012.
- Morris, Rachel (2 February 2012). "UniLad shuts down over 'rape' article". TheNationalStudent. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- McAlpine, Sarah (5 February 2012). "Unilad: an entire culture summed up in one hideous website". The F-Word. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- McAuliffe, Naomi (1 February 2012). "Slogan T-shirts that help you spot a moronic misogynist, from Uni Lad". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- Millard, Neil (2 February 2012). "Fury at student website for 'condoning rape'". The Sun. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- Bernhardt, Lisa (13 February 2012). "UniLad.com goes temporarily offline after public outrage over rape jokes and misogynistic humour". The Courier Online. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
- Burley, Patrick (20 February 2012). "Why UniLad wasn’t just a problem for women". Epigram. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
- Balcombe, Alex (17 February 2012). "UniLad under scrutiny". Redbrick. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
- "Unilad and Lad's banter". Woman's Hour. BBC Radio 4. 21 February 2012. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
- Marshall, Gary (8 June 2012). "10 most hated websites of all time". TechRadar. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
- "UPSU Uni Lad Statement". University of Plymouth Students' Union. Retrieved 8 February 2012.