I’m going to attempt to make this post about my experiences of working at a ‘lads mag’, without hopefully offending too many people or rocking the feminist boat too much. I’m well aware it’s a sensitive subject, particularly following on from the responses to recent articles written by previous editors featured in National newspapers. I’m just going to be as honest about it as I can, express my thoughts on the subject and then probably turn the laptop off, eat some muesli and watch Family Guy.
When giving the answer “I work at Nuts magazine”, to the standard night-out question of “So what do you do?”, I get one of the following four responses;
1) *Rolls eyes* “So you’re a glamour model then? You don’t have to say you work there, you can just say you get your tits out”.
This particularly riles me. Unless I give the answer “licking Spencer from Made In Chelsea’s arsecrack ’til it’s clean” then I don’t believe anyone’s in a position to judge how I earn my money. If indeed I did just get my breasts out, and the gentleman I was talking to deemed that something to look down on, then he should make his excuses and leave politely. Not only that, ‘Chris’, you’ve got the charisma of a wank-sock lying over a damp flannel, so the fact you’ve made the assumption I’m not worth talking to leaves me rampantly chirpy and free to dance like a newborn calf with my friends without you lingering like the smell of Joop.
2) “Fuckin’ hell, bet it’s a bit of a nightmare working there isn’t it?”
Nope. Just to confirm, I don’t walk past my colleagues’ desks in the morning only to have them slap my arsecheeks or bellow anything about my ample bosom. I don’t have to make a little nest under my desk out of tampons and skipping ropes while my co-workers jeer and loudly drop the word ‘pussy’ into conversation while staring at me. They don’t walk around grabbing their crotches, telling me to make tea…or ANYTHING YOU MIGHT CONSIDER SEXIST. They’re normal men. Some are married, some aren’t. Some like sport, some don’t. Some like films, some like books, some like music. It’s weird but *sometimes* we have conversations about topics other than breasts and it’s all very nice. There are certain members of staff who play some absolutely abysmal tracks on the office ipod but that’s as offensive as it gets.
3) “How can you be happy knowing you’re objectifying women? Fair enough men work there, men are idiots. But YOU, you’re a girl”
This is always tough. Tough because when people ask what I do, it’s predominantly on a night out when they’ve been drinking and are therefore far more likely to squeal their wine breath over me and cause a wheelbarrow load of drama, both of which I like to avoid. Secondly, I’m not terribly good at confrontation and tend to become more shy than I normally am (or turn all ‘Dover’ and threaten to break their face if I’ve had gin). Finally, because I like to think I’m a feminist.
I personally have no problem with ladies getting naked and don’t feel lads mags exploit them. I just don’t. Nor, to my knowledge, do any of the women who get naked (though, strangely enough, they never actually seem to be consulted during these debates). I don’t feel that we objectify women…I think men are visual, like to see women in very little underwear and luckily there are women who are happy enough with their bodies to be photographed doing so. I, along with another girl, manage the Nuts Twitter account, and we have girls of all sizes sending in photos to get retweeted, which in turn usually earns them a positive response with our male followers. Should I consider any feedback foul or just plain ignorant then I tend to block the user and ask the girl to block them too. If I receive anything that’s sexist then I reply with something cutting. We then in turn nearly always receive an apology or desperate back-track, and the matter gets settled very quickly.
It’s often suggested that lads mags are encouraging the sexualisation of women, causing those involved to strive for the risky ‘champagne lifestyle’ and bombarding adolescent males with images of soft porn to the point that they see females solely as a organism of which to pump. Without getting into a huge debate, all I can confirm is that from talking to our readers, they all seem to be very aware that women are women, that they should be treated with respect and that they don’t exist only to be banged over a sofa in Oceana. Yes, there are idiots about…but I don’t think there’s a direct link between looking at images of women on a weekly basis and being a gimp.
The girls who get naked, do so because they want to…and why is it anyone’s business to stop them? I don’t personally want to be a glamour model, but I also don’t want to be a binman or an investment banker or a keyring or a Christmas tree. No I don’t hope that my daughter* becomes a glamour model, but there are hundreds of other professions I hope she doesn’t go into as well…however, should I have to choose between her being a happy glamour model or a miserable something else, then I’d rather she be happy. (*disclaimer: I don’t actually have a daughter).
4) “Oh what a surprise they got YOU working there”
I didn’t get hired because I have breasts. They didn’t hire me so they can gradually grind me down, shove me in a body stocking and plonk me in the magazine. I wear Converse to work, normally have croissant in my hair and talk about poo on average 6 times a day. I got hired to do the job that I do.
To conclude; in my world people are free to do what they want when they want, providing no-one gets hurt in the process. Everyone loves a chance to stick their oar in nowadays, and I genuinely can’t understand someone’s desire to be involved in what others are doing for no reason other than to moan. I’m not suggesting I love everything in the world of glamour, the fact that some of the girls act mind numbingly dense irritates me beyond belief…but there are women all over Britain who do that. I just won’t go to the pub with them.
Yes, I work at Nuts. And I like it.
(I’ll probably get the sack now)