Keep The Lads’ Mags


‘Lads’ mags promote sexist attitudes and behaviours. They normalise the idea that it’s acceptable to treat women like sex objects.’

The above quote comes from the mouths of UK Feminista and their #losetheladsmags campaign. And to me, a past Nuts employee and feminist, it’s way off the mark.

Women (and men) all over Twitter are currently getting themselves into a bare boobed clusterf*ck on essentially, the right to show the female form. It’s been suggested that supermarket staff can successfully sue employers in respect of forceful exposure to pornographic material and that environments where these sorts of magazines are hostile and offensive. In my mind, this is a gross overreaction. I find salmon a huge threat to my wellbeing but I’m not about to kick off #losethesalmonitsmellslikerottingbilge campaign.

As a feminist, I don’t much care for men shouting at me to whack my flaps out when I’ve popped out to grab some loo roll from Tescos. I don’t appreciate being called a slutbucket or whorebadger. I’m not keen on the negativity put upon the promiscuity of women, while men are free to pump a whole catalogue of vaginas and get a high five from their mate Darren. But what I have absolutely no problem with, are grown women choosing to take their clothes off for money, for a specific audience to enjoy looking at them in their own homes.

Having spoken to Nuts’ readers on numerous occasions over Twitter, I can safely say none have ever appeared sexist or given the impression they view women as a walking set of norks. Some, strangely, idolise glamour models… but that’s their prerogative. I like Marlon Brando, some bloke in Wigan likes Lucy Pinder bent over a motorbike. It’s a matter of personal taste.

And where does it stop? If certain individuals aren’t happy with publications featuring breasts, do we also ban Men’s Health & Men’s Fitness showing naked chests? Do we stop Torso Of The Week in Heat? They’re all bodies. And if UK Feminista want us all to be treated as equals, then photos of scantily clad men shouldn’t be readily available for women to get frothy over either.

In a day and age where magazines supposedly ‘for the sisterhood’ circle rippling cellulite and suggest ways in which to not look like such a massive fat biffah, lads’ mags are at the other end of the spectrum. They promote curves and feature happy models. Yes they’re airbrushed and might still portray unattainable figures, but at least their waif-like thighs aren’t torn to shreds by the vitriolic words of other women.

If I were to really pick holes, it would be that the girls maybe aren’t given enough of a voice within the mags themselves. I wholeheartedly believe that readers would jump at the chance to dribble over hot women with something to say, rather than a voiceless set of tits… and maybe that’s something to look at. On the other hand, I still feel as though a certain cluster of feminists would get their knickers in a twist over any sort of opinion coming from a woman who shaves her beef cave and wears make-up. But it’d be nice to give it a go.

As women, we shouldn’t feel as though we can’t have smokin’ bodies we want to show off. You shouldn’t be considered a certain type of woman if you like being sexy. We should all be able to whip off our clothes and recite Proust. And if men want to stick around while we do so, then that’s just wonderful. I vote save the lads’ mags… they’re harmless, tongue-in-cheek and a great promoter of the sh*ttest tattoos currently in existence in the UK. Leave ’em be.

  1. Gavin said:

    I think it’s a really interesting issue. I never really thought about how they portray a more realistic figure, not just the insanely skinny models that are in girls magazines.

  2. Gavin said:

    Also, well written, as per usual SJV.

  3. Steve said:

    Great stuff, instructive and made me laugh – shame that publications like the Guardian don’t give more space to libertarian feminists such as yourself rather than the moral majority types who dominate there – but keep writing and we can but hope

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