Be sexually attractive or respected – pick one

// 14 September 2007

Rosie Boycott, co-founder of Spare Rib magazine has joined the lads mag debate in The Daily Mail.

Every month, magazines such as FHM, and now Zoo and Nuts, serve up page after page of breasts, bottoms and sexual titillation.

No women write for these magazines, unless you count the strange agony aunts who answer readers’ sexual queries.

These tend to be stern-looking women with horn-rimmed glasses and a lot of cleavage, and they dispense their smutty advice in a clinically pornographic tone.

Leafing through one recently, the only ‘real’ woman I found was the recordbreaking yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur, who was dragged through the mud and described in highly offensive terms (which I don’t want to repeat here).

The other women on their pages are known only by their first names and they are always quoted as being “hot and ready”.

The message these mags transmit is clear: women are there to be used sexually for men’s pleasure and all women – secretly or not – are longing for rough sex and plenty of it.

Boycott continues to explore the theme of women offering themselves as meat for these lads mags in much the same way as the piece by Decca Aitkenhead in The Times that I blogged yesterday. I found myself silently cheering her, looking forward to writing a blog post along the lines of, “The Daily Mail gets something right for a change! Hurrah!” That was, until I got to the conclusion of the article:

This current generation of young women who believe they will find any sort of satisfaction, emotional or sexual, through allowing themselves to become the sex objects of young men’s fantasies are fueling a sorry state of affairs.

They want to be taken seriously, but, by behaving like this, no one can blame the young men who treat them like sex objects and little else.

We couldn’t possibly expect men, those neanderthal slaves to their own libidos, to take us seriously if we pose in a bikini. Asking to be respected in spite of being desired sexually would be far too much to ask. That’s right girls – don’t leave the house in anything more revealing than a burqa or you’ll never be seen as anything other than tits and arse, because hey, they can’t help it, they’re just men.

This is only a small step away from, “They’re just asking to be raped.”

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