Here’s a seemingly easy test: where is this quote from: a lads’ mag or a convicted rapist?
“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.”
If you thought it was from a rapist, you’d be wrong. This statement, from either Zoo, Nuts, Loaded or FHM was one of the samples used in a study into hostile sexist attitudes.
When psychologists from Middlesex University and the University of Surrey presented people with descriptions of women, most who took part couldn’t tell whether they were said by a rapist or in a magazine.
Dr Miranda Horvath, one of the lead researchers said: “There is clearly something wrong when people feel the sort of language used in a lads’ mag could have come from a convicted rapist.
“These magazines 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.”
Men aged 18-46 were presented with quotes from both a rapist and a lads’ mag and asked which one they agree with.
In this test, most men agreed with the rapist’s description of a woman, only changing their minds when the source of the quote was revealed.
Concerns about these magazines’ effect haven’t gone unnoticed, however. From February 2012, UK supermarkets and petrol stations have agreed to put lads’ mags on the top shelf, installing “modesty boards” to hide the covers.
Dr Horvath added: “A lot of debate around the regulation of lads’ mags has been to do with how they affect children but less has been said about the influence they have on their intended audience of young men and the women with whom those men socialise.”