August 06, 2008

I'd Rather See Ladd Mags

From BBC NEWS | UK: Lad mags 'linked to social ills'

Loath though I am to side with the Tories over, well, almost anything, I find much compelling in a recent speech by Conservative MP Michael Gove.
"Titles such as Nuts and Zoo paint a picture of women as permanently, lasciviously, uncomplicatedly available," he said.

"We should ask those who make profits out of revelling in, or encouraging, selfish irresponsibility among young men what they think they're doing.

"They celebrate thrill-seeking and instant gratification without ever allowing any thought of responsibility towards others, or commitment, to intrude."
I'm slightly less comfortable with his attempt to link the magazines to "relationship breakdown and fatherless children" — as if a magazine alone could do that! — and of course, a spokesman for lad mags (what a job, eh?) latched on to this second, more unreasonable suggestion in his rebuttal. Deftly ignoring the core issue — which is, natch, that lad mags are fucking disgusting — Jonathan Shephard said:
"Michael Gove raises deep and complex social issues which reach far wider than simply reading a magazine. To try to create an unsubstantiated cause or link between these issues and men's magazines is unrealistic. "
That's a bit of a cop out, I'd say, since these magazines are still part of the deep and complex culture that produces them, and reining in their worst offences certainly wouldn't do any harm. I'm not talking about pornography, really, but about the misogynistic attitude underpinning these magazines. At least Playboy publishes Joyce Carol Oates occasionally, you know? Nuts and Zoo are more like Hustler without all the vaginas.

Let's just take a brief sample from the Nuts website, shall we? On the front page alone you are invited to see "Ronaldo's NEW Babe Topless", to "Assess My Breasts" (yes, I had to read it twice, too), and to start a fight ("Fighting hurts! Have you got what it takes?!"). Zoo's isn't much better, offering "75 Real Girls In Bikinis!", "100 Best Bloggers' Boobs!", the "Top 20 Football Feuds!", and, of course, the eternal existential question: "Sammy Braddy: Britain's Best Boobs?".

(Obviously it's possible that all of the people who buy Nuts/Zoo consume it with as critical an eye as I do, and thus the magazines do not contribute to negative attitudes towards women as much as it might seem. But if the comments on that last article are anything to go by, it seems unlikely: "No way! Seren's boobs are the best in Britain, hands down, no contest! . . . Those nipples are rank! Same with the face!" opines one; "Why aren't more women so attractive," laments another. "It a curse for us all.")

And perhaps I'm just feeling a little jaded because of all the drunken twats that take up permanent residence in Edinburgh at this time of year, but when you have to encounter walking Nuts magazines on a daily basis, you really begin to wonder if maybe we shouldn't be a little more concerned about the generation they're breeding.

As usual, I am slightly horrified by the old crankpot I seem to be becoming.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

http://www.magazines.com/magcom/covers/0/06/451/0064512.jpg

They must be in league/written by the same person.
It's enough to turn my immature beard grey.

Possibly the most dubiously framed poll I've seen in the yellow press.

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