Type of site
|Website specialising in lad culture|
|Created by||James Street|
|Launched||April 2, 2010|
UniLad 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". It was founded in 2010.
Site ownership and management
Two men have been described 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 "borderline alcoholic" female writer that they supposedly found in "a gutter, muttering something about needing to get laid and nursing her broken stilettos".
The site attracted considerable critical comment in the press and on Twitter due to perceived promotion of rape in some of the articles on the website. Articles that have been reported on in the press include:
- Sexual Mathematics – 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 "spreading 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 – described how, following sex, the writer told his sexual partner to take the morning-after pill. After 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 – gave advice on how to sleep with a freshman, noting that they are "especially vulnerable".
- The Angry Shag – described the story of a man who, during sex, smashes 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 rape-themed T-shirt in the style of the World War II-era Keep Calm and Carry On propaganda posters reading "Keep Calm – It Won't Take Long".
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 listed it as one of the "10 most hated websites of all time".
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.
The UniLad Facebook page, by then with 300,000 fans, was taken over by Liam Harrington circa 2014. The rebranded Unilad grew to have 11.5 million Facebook likes by 2016, with a web presence at unilad.co.uk.
- "Twitter fury over 'surprise rape' article gets UniLad suspended". The Week. 1 February 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- "Uni Lad website creator 'appalled' over rape comment". BBC News. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
- "FAQ". Uni Lad.[dead link]
- "Uni Lad – Home". Uni Lad. Archived from the original on 1 February 2011.
- "Uni Ladette". Uni Lad.[dead link]
- 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.