Recently I saw a campaigner for “Say No To Lads Mags” on BBC Breakfast attacking magazines such as FHM, Nuts and Zoo, accusing them of effectively ruining the minds of men and damaging society. I don’t read lads mags and I can understand the angle of this campaign, but it was a wholly one-sided argument.

Lads mags are ruining men, setting unrealistic expectations and objectifying women, she said. While not saying I agree or disagree, I can understand her concerns. But what about the other side of the coin? Aren’t gossip mags and such weekly publications not effectively doing the same thing to their female demographic?

For starters, both magazine types set out unrealistic expectations of women. Lads mags use glamour models with unfeasible bouncy bits and ask them frivolous and sometimes intimate questions while getting them to pout in sultry poses. Then you have the gossip mags, who seem to have their own ideal female image in mind, frequently pointing out everything wrong with female celebs, highlighting unfavourable wobbly bits with an ominous red circle and using images snapped as they try to go about their lives.

Not to mention the simple “six tips” features to obtain the perfect bikini body or tailored tush to further drive home how far away from perfection you really are. Lets be fair, gossiping is hardly ever flattering and isn’t exactly something to be proud of, but it is human nature, sure. Just not one of the good aspects of human nature, like the desire it takes to go for a jog or creating the perfect cupcake (I realise the two are a little counterproductive).

Gossip mags vs lads mags

The photography aspect is another crucial aspect in this journalistic war. Models in FHM and Zoo get a decent pay day for their photos, and are revered by the editors and readers as celebrities who can do no wrong. While many of the images of celebrities in gossip mags are snapped by unscrupulous paparazzi scum bags with absolutely no moral compass, hiding in bushes and invading private lives, as the victim (and they are a victim) gets paid nada. The models know exactly what they are getting themselves in for as it is their chosen career, but Holly Willoughby doesn’t have much say in the matter when the bulbs flash as she tries to buy some milk at her local shop.

If I was to make a decision as to which magazine is more damaging, I think I can quite confidently say that the gossip mongers do significantly more damage to the female image. Lads mags do not pretend to be something they are not. They know what they are and they cater to a basic human instinct; the desire to see someone they are sexually attracted to looking sexually attractive. Besides, I am pretty sure I have seen shots of Ryan Gosling with his chiseled body on show for the appreciation of lusting eyes, but these images aren’t a problem. Besides, dayum that boy works out!

These magazines for gentlemen tend to be placed out of direct line of sight in shops, away from the view of children, covered up so to cause as little offense as possible and sometimes actually hidden away with pornographic magazines. Shops generally DO try to reduce offence caused, but gossip mags can be placed anywhere they like. For parents who don’t want their children reading such titles, do some parenting and worry more about the copy of The Sun placed by the entrance of the shop. And for cashiers who are offended by seeing a female body, grow up.

Earlier I said that I was not agreeing or disagreeing with the Say No To Lads Mags campaign. But after careful consideration and appreciating the concerns put forward, I disagree. The media attention is wholly unwarranted and saying that lads mags are responsible for destroying the image of women is like saying Grand Theft Auto is responsible for murderers doing their murdering. It’s bollocks.

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