According to a study recently conducted in England, most people can’t tell the difference between quotes from British “lad’s mags” and interviews with convicted rapists.
Take a moment to digest just how appalling that is.
The research conducted by psychologists from Middlesex University and the University of Surrey also revealed that most men who took part in the study identified themselves more with the language expressed by the convicted rapists. There’s some insight into the world of men’s magazines that you probably could have done without.
In Australia, the circulation figures for these magazines are dropping. Figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulation show that Zoo Weekly lost a quarter of its circulation in a year and FHM’s figures were down over 19%.
Warning: the information contained below may be confronting to some readers. For those who have experienced abuse and need counselling services please visit these national services or the NSW Rape Crisis Centre.
Psychologists presented men between the ages of 18 and 46 with a range of statements taken from magazines and from convicted rapists and gave the men different information about the source of the quotes.
Many of the rapists who were quoted in the study talked about coercing women into sex or having sex with them even though they were unwilling. The men’s magazines did the same. Take a look for yourself. These are the quotes used in the study:
1. There’s a certain way you can tell that a girl wants to have sex . . . The way they dress, they flaunt themselves.
2. Some girls walk around in short-shorts . . . showing their body off . . . It just starts a man thinking that if he gets something like that, what can he do with it?
3. A girl may like anal sex because it makes her feel incredibly naughty and she likes feeling like a dirty slut. If this is the case, you can try all sorts of humiliating acts to help live out her filthy fantasy.
4. Mascara running down the cheeks means they’ve just been crying, and it was probably your fault . . . but you can cheer up the miserable beauty with a bit of the old in and out.
5. What burns me up sometimes about girls is dick-teasers. They lead a man on and then shut him off right there.
6. Filthy talk can be such a turn on for a girl . . . no one wants to be shagged by a mouse . . . A few compliments won’t do any harm either . . . ‘I bet you want it from behind you dirty whore’ . . .
7. You know girls in general are all right. But some of them are bitches . . . The bitches are the type that . . . need to have it stuffed to them hard and heavy.
8. Escorts . . . they know exactly how to turn a man on. I’ve given up on girlfriends. They don’t know how to satisfy me, but escorts do.
9. You’ll find most girls will be reluctant about going to bed with somebody or crawling in the back seat of a car . . . But you can usually seduce them, and they’ll do it willingly.
10. There’s nothing quite like a woman standing in the dock accused of murder in a sex game gone wrong . . . The possibility of murder does bring a certain frisson to the bedroom.
11. Girls ask for it by wearing these mini-skirts and hotpants . . . they’re just displaying their body . . . Whether they realise it or not they’re saying, ‘Hey, I’ve got a beautiful body, and it’s yours if you want it.’
12. You do not want to be caught red-handed . . . go and smash her on a park bench. That used to be my trick.
13. Some women are domineering, but I think it’s more or less the man who should put his foot down. The man is supposed to be the man. If he acts the man, the woman won’t be domineering.
14. I think if a law is passed, there should be a dress code . . . When girls dress in those short skirts and things like that, they’re just asking for it.
15. Girls love being tied up . . . it gives them the chance to be the helpless victim.
16. I think girls are like plasticine, if you warm them up you can do anything you want with them.
The researchers also asked a separate group of women and men aged between 19 and 30 to rank the quotes on how derogatory they were. Both men and women rated the quotes from men’s magazines as somewhat more derogatory.
Lead researcher from Middlesex University, Dr Miranda Horvath says: “We were surprised that participants identified more with the rapists’ quotes, and we are concerned that the legitimisation strategies that rapists deploy when they talk about women are more familiar to these young men than we had anticipated.”
“These magazines support the legitimisation of sexist attitudes and behaviours and need to be more responsible about their portrayal of women, both in words and images. They give the appearance that sexism is acceptable and normal – when really it should be rejected and challenged. Rapists try to justify their actions, suggesting that women lead men on, or want sex even when they say no, and there is clearly something wrong when people feel the sort of language used in a lads’ mag could have come from a convicted rapist.”
This is just a little bit of what these men’s magazines are offering the Australian reader:
What do you think of men’s magazines? Do you come across them often?
Oh, and those answers for the quotes: 1. Rapist, 2. Rapist, 3. Lad mag, 4. Lad mag, 5. Rapist, 6. Lad mag, 7. Rapist, 8. Lad mag, 9. Rapist, 10. Lad mag, 11. Rapist, 12. Lad mag, 13. Rapist, 14. Rapist, 15. Lad mag, 16. Lad mag