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Lad culture (also Laddish culture and Laddism) is a subculture commonly associated with Britpop music of the 1990s.

It also involves a liking for alcoholic beverages (especially lager), football, fast cars and men's magazines.


The term New Lad was coined by journalist Sean O'Hagan in a 1993 article in Arena.The phenomenon described was reflected in Loaded and its subsequent imitators and, a reaction against the New Man culture, Lad culture, unlike the New Man image that did not reach far beyond various forms of journalism, reaches beyond men's magazines to movies such as Snatch and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and to the BBC TV sitcom, Men Behaving Badly.

Tim Edwards, a sociologist at the University of Leicestermarker, in particular describes the New Man as pro-feminist, albeit narcissistic, and the New Lad as pre-feminist, and a reaction to second-wave feminism.

The Men Behaving Badly and Fantasy Football League television programmes present images of Laddishness that are dominated by the male pastimes of drinking, watching football, and sex. These are presented as being ironic and "knowing". (The masthead of Loaded is "for men who should know better".)

Lad culture has attracted criticism from some feminist circles; for example, Germaine Greer critiques it in her book The Whole Woman (2000).

Edwards, on the other hand, says Lad culture men's magazines of the 21st century contain little that is actually new. Noting a study of the history of Esquire, he observes that there is little substantial different between the New Man Arena and GQ and the New Lad Loaded et al. Both address assumed men's interests of cars, alcohol, sport, and women, and differ largely in that the latter have a more visual style. From this he infers that "the New Man and the New Lad are niches in the market more than anything else, often defined according to an array of lifestyle accessories", and concludes that the New Lad image dominates the New Man image simply because of its greater success at garnering advertising revenue for men's magazines.

The New Man image failed to appeal to a wide readership. The more adolescent Lad culture appeals more to the ordinary man, says Edwards.


The word ladette has been coined to describe young women who emulate laddish behaviour. It is defined by the Concise Oxford Dictionary as:
Young women who behave in a boisterously assertive or crude manner and engage in heavy drinking sessions.


A study by Gabrielle Ivinson of Cardiff Universitymarker and Patricia Murphy of the Open Universitymarker has identified lad culture as a source of behavioural confusion, and a study by Adrienne Katz has linked it to suicide and depression.

A study of the architecture profession found that lad culture had a negative impact on women completing their professional education. Pundit Helen Wilkinson believes that lad culture has affected politics and decreased the ability of women to participate.

See also


Further reading

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