The demonization of “lad’s mags” isn’t about equality or respect. It’s a sexist assault on healthy masculinity.
For the past few months Britain’s feminist community have taken affront with men’s magazines.
According to their Lose The Lads Mags campaign, publications such as Nuts, Loaded and Zoo objectify women while green-lighting domestic violence in a nation of misogynistic men.
In a bid to have these titles banned, activists are using equality legislation to scare retailers into submission, arguing they’ll face legal action if they disobey their orders.
So far, they’ve had some success. Earlier this month, it was revealed that The Co-Op have removed weekly title Nuts from their shelves because it refused to be bullied into a modesty bag, even though their covers have consciously been more conservative in recent weeks.
The magazine’s publisher, IPC Inspire, eloquently described the supermarket’s ultimatum as ‘an unreasonable attempt to prevent shoppers from freely browsing a legal magazine that is already displayed according to Home Office guidelines’.
Meanwhile, IPC’s managing Director, Paul Williams, added: ‘The objection that niche lobby groups have against certain sectors of the media should not mean that the right to purchase a perfectly legal product is restricted for the over half a million readers.
‘This is no longer a question of whether you like men’s magazines, it’s a question of how far you can restrict the public’s ability to consume free and legal media before it becomes censorship.’
And he’s right. Because this campaign has nothing to do with equality – it’s simply another fashionable attack on our young men.
In the same week that The Guardian’s Suzanne Moore wrote a creepy, cruel, boy-bashing guide on how males should manage their penises – printed in what is supposedly our country’s most progressive and big-hearted newspaper – we’re told that only women need protection from sexism in the big, bad media. Clearly not.
Despite the fact we live in a post-sexual revolution society, where people can enjoy the human body without shame, here we have women taking a moral standpoint on men’s free choice as adults.
Yes people, it may be 2013, but we’ve swapped the repression of women for the repression of men.
Ironically, what these women fail to realise is that it’s their actions that are sexist, not the magazines they despise.
When Stephen Fry made a throw-away comment about female sexuality in 2010, he was attacked by countless women who said he had no right to voice an opinion.
Apparently, female sexuality is sacred and not up for discussion – especially by men. After all, that would be patriarchal oppression.
Yet, in a blatant example of hypocrisy and double-standards, here we have women telling men how and when they should consume their own sexual pleasures.
Fortunately, anybody with a brain appreciates that lads mags are a celebration of male sexuality, not a chauvinistic plot against women.
In fact, these magazines are much more about men than they are the opposite sex, which is probably why they’re being targeted in the first place. Anything enjoyed by men is now considered sexist.
To be fair, the most compelling part of this movement’s argument is that children should be guarded from explicit images, which is of course true – but their defence is incomplete.
Because if children need protecting from inappropriate material, shouldn’t this also include posters for Hollywood movie Magic Mike? David Beckham in his pants? Men casually being obliterated in computer games?
They should probably also be shielded by pop stars who promote girl power whilst standing in their pants.
And if so-called ‘lads mags’ are the building block for domestic violence, how do these campaigners explain the rates of spousal abuse in lesbian relationships?
LGBT charity Broken Rainbow show that rates of abuse between gay females are the same as heterosexual couples. Yet they don’t have a lads mag in sight.
This abuse is often non-physical too. More than 40 per cent of women who took part in the Broken Rainbow study confessed that that they’d been humiliated, degraded, insulted or verbally harassed by their female partner. Worse still, 12 per cent had been pressured into sexual activity.
Disturbingly, the women at LoseTheLadsMags.com overlooked this.
Quite frankly, these feminists – both male and female – need to get their priorities in order. If they’re really so dedicated to gender equality and fairness, they should be addressing the bigger, more pernicious issues that underline society: the fact that three million UK men have no access to their children, the worrying trend of schools nationally failing boys and the painful reality that young men’s suicide rates are at a ten-year high (for a reason: misandry).
Last month, women gathered at London’s Trafalgar Square to protest the current feminist hot-topic of female circumcision – commonly referred to as FGM.
There they demanded an end to the genital mutilation of girls, and only girls, despite the fact that millions of baby boys are routinely circumcised across the world each year. Many of whom suffer infections, damage to the penis and even death.
Only this week the media obsessed over the worrying case of barrister Robert Colover, who described a 13 year-old sex attack victim as ‘predatory’, but earlier this year a judge allowed a female paedophile to walk free from court saying: ‘it was a one-off…and your [male] victims have largely recovered.’
Unsurprisingly, there was no CPS review and no backlash – especially from veterans of the gender war.
Which begs a very important question: if feminism is such a benevolent force for good, as lads mags protesters say, why has it done nothing to change men’s disadvantages in the 40 years it has been the political and social status quo?
The life expectancy gap rages while the pay gap closes, even though they are manifestations of the same thing. Home Office statistics prove that men are at least 40 per cent victims of domestic violence, but not one UK shelter exists for men.
There is also a huge sentencing disparity in criminal courts, which sees men get longer sentences for exactly the same crimes.
And while it may be true that women suffer most when it comes to being sex objects, the world equally objectifies men as success objects – just look at WAG culture. The divorce courts are no better: men are constantly objectified as walking cash points and sperm donors.
Quite frankly, I’m more concerned that our young people will see this rather than a woman with no clothes on.
We are perilously close to becoming a society that wants women treated equally – except when they’re treated better. But if we’re ever going to achieve equality, this approach is never going to work.
Lads mags may not be tasteful or even sexy, but their existence must be tolerated. If only to reiterate that male sexuality is perfectly fine exactly how it is.
This article was originally posted at MailOnline and is reposted here with permission of Mr. Lloyd