Debate over the acceptability of 'locker room banter' hasn't been far from the headlines this week following the circulation of leaking recordings featuring Donald Trump.
And while the general consensus suggests that the presidential candidate's misogynistic attitude was egomaniacal at best and predatorial at worst, there is a lingering undercurrent which implies the conversation was nothing more than a form of 'lad banter'.
And while countless find the latter attitude hard to comprehend, recent studies have shown that the line – for some – is incredibly blurred.
According to three studies published in the journal of Psychology of Men and Masculinities, hundreds of male students were unable to differentiate between comments made by convicted rapists and 'jokes' featured within lad-oriented magazines.
From 'If the girl you’ve taken for a drink won’t spread for your head, think about this mathematical statistic: 85 per cent of rape cases go unreported' to 'You know girls in general are all right. But some of them are b*tches. The b*tches are the type that need to have it stuffed to them hard and heavy', the men surveyed were unable to decide which category the comment fell under.
As it happens, the latter comment was the only one made by a convicted rapist while the rest were standard fodder found in magazines aimed at men.
While acknowledging that the circulation of lads mags has waned in recent years, researchers are keen to remind the public that the culture itself still exists.
"Our findings may be useful in applied attempts to engender critical thinking among young men in such contexts where equal treatment of women is a social norm, but sexism remains relevant to young men’s sexual socialization."
According to The Independent, Surrey University psychologist Professor Peter Hegarty feels the study confirms a worrying truth.
"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," he asserted.