Male students were unable to tell the difference between sexist‘jokes’ in so-called lads’ mags and remarks about women by convicted rapists, according to a new study.
The researchers said that while lad culture had declined – along with the sales of the magazines – the supposedly more enlightened hipsters also had a tendency towards “the ‘ironic’ use of racist and sexist humour”.
And they said “consumption of hostile sexism” now mostly occurred online when young men watch pornography.
Hostile sexism appears to have become a decisive issue in the US presidential election, with support for Donald Trump slumping after a tape emerged of the Republican candidate saying he could do “anything” to women, including sexual assault.
Three studies, published in the journal Psychology of Men and Masculinities, were carried out into how sexism could be normalised among young men.
However, on being told this, they viewed the magazines as being less legitimate, the researchers reported.
Surrey University psychologist Professor Peter Hegarty, who led the studies, said: “Sales of lads’ mags have declined significantly in recent years, with several ceasing publication, but ‘lad culture’ and the normalisation of sexism is still a major concern, particularly on university campuses and online.
“These latest studies demonstrate how a concrete source of social influence (lads’ mags) can shape the expression of a prejudice that is generally considered unacceptable in an egalitarian society.