September 11, 2007


From The Guardian: Girl, 14, appeared topless in FHM
FHM has been censured by the Press Complaints Commission after it published a topless photo of a 14-year-old girl without her consent.
Quick! Humorous and topical list of things FHM could stand for!

For Hot Minors
Fourteen? Hardly Matters
Felonies Have Materialised
Flustered Her Mother

And, my personal favourite:

For Humbert Magazine

Okay, back to the story.
FHM said it received around 1,200 photos of women either topless or wearing lingerie for publication each week. It added that it was "extremely surprised" to learn that the girl was 14…
Well, I'll bet. I mean, I'm sure they have pretty rigourous procedures to make sure that the anonymous pornography they get sent is above board.
It added that it was "extremely surprised" to learn that the girl was 14 "as she certainly appeared to be older", the PCC reported in its ruling today.
Oh, okay. So in the above sentence "pretty rigourous procedures" should be replaced with "Sweaty Joe".

Folks, I don't mean to get all alarmist conservative on you, but this just seems like it demands more than a slap on the wrists from the Press Complaints Commission. As far as I can tell, although the complaint was upheld, FHM is obliged to do, um, nothing; they've agreed not to republish or syndicate the picture (what saints!), and have offered to write a private letter of apology to the girl (the generosity!), but otherwise face no punishment whatsoever.

This is hardly surprising, as apparently the greatest sanction the PCC can actually enforce on any publication is that
the editor is obliged to publish the Commission’s criticisms in full and with due prominence.
This is much preferable to fines or legal action because, apparently, it means that
editors have to publicise to their staff, rivals and readers that they have broken the rules agreed by all editors. Such a sanction – which calls into question an editor's professional judgement – is a far greater deterrent than fines.
No, see, what calls into question the editor's professional judgement is the fact that he publishes photos of fourteen-year-olds topless – in fact, that he publishes photos of women using an honour system for photo releases:
The magazine had been informed that the complainants’ daughter was in a cohabiting relationship with the person who submitted the photograph and, in those circumstances, no further enquiries about the image were made.
So, basically, all a man needs to do is take a picture of a woman, with or without her consent, then send it in to FHM with a note saying, "It's cool, bro, I'm banging her," and FHM will be happy with that. Doesn't that seem a little, I don't know, MIDDLE AGES to anyone? How does something so flagrantly sexist manage to pass itself off as "harmless fun for the lads"?

I would say I was going to boycott FHM, but considering I don't buy it anyway that wouldn't be much of a statement. Any bright ideas, anyone?

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