Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Boys own

The front cover of Nuts this week has the coverline 'Grace strips off' followed by 'When breasts escape', but that isn't pornographic, is it?

Labour MP Claire Curtis-Thomas wants to push legislation through Parliament that could banish lads' Zoo, Nuts and FHM to the top shelf in newsagents.

The Periodical Publisher's Association, and the industry's, defence is that these magazines are not top-shelf magazines.

Curtis-Thomas argues some of these magazines, which are currently overseen by a voluntary deal, are degrading to and objectify women.

Curtis-Thomas wants a new regulatory body to oversee the sale of sexually explicit magazines, which are not "top shelf". Nuts and Zoo are certainly sexually explicit.

The PPA argues that lads magazines "do not contain pornographic material".

So no problem with this week's Zoo: headlined "World Cup Babes", and subtitled "Kit-Off Special. 15 Pages of End to End Lady Action" or Grace, heaven forbid, getting her kit off as she eeks out her five minutes of post ‘Big Brother’ fame.

So what is pornographic? There is nothing in Zoo, Nuts and FHM apart from a few jokes and endless pages of women with clothes, with a few clothes and without them.

If Nuts and Zoo didn't have semi naked girls on the front cover they would be out of business.

As magazines go, they make a lot of cash, but really they are just extended magazine versions of The Sun's Page 3 and nothing much to be particularly proud of.

One recent issue of Zoo magazine included descriptions of sexual acts in the Dictionary of Porn, which the MP described as being "so graphic and repulsive I am prevented from quoting it on the floor of the House of Commons".

Everyone knows that Nuts and Zoo are read by schoolboys and teenagers. You see them on the bus gathered in groups of two or three. It's possibly no surprise the magazines are sold alongside the Beano and other kids magazines and the publishers know this. Even Viz, the paragon of bad taste, carries a warning to newsagents that it is not for sale to children.

So there is a question as to whether there should be unrestricted access to such magazines by kids.

Maybe a trip to the top shelf or just below it should be forced on publishers. Zoo and Nuts make Playboy look tame by comparison., and it seems to lack end to end action these days. Maybe after a move up the newsagents’ walls, they would produce something less approaching hardcore.

No one is advocating censorship, but Curtis-Thomas is right in talking about safeguards. It isn't censorship.

Surely, there must be a market for a mass market men's magazine that doesn't rely on acres of naked flesh? Seriously there must be, although finding that sellable formula is proving tricky, just look at the fate of Jack.


At 1:54 PM, Anonymous lads mag fan said...

It's not a problem if some of these mags get moved up the shelf, but theres a huge difference between the likes of Zoo and Nuts and the original lads mags of FHM, GQ and Maxim.

If all of these titles go skywards, what next, custom car mag, or biker mags, they all use the same tactics to sell their mags..

Where do you draw the line....

At 2:21 PM, Anonymous lads mag feminist said...

The difference with these mags is that the focus is on the women and their bodies, and not on the gadgets, cars, bikes, whatever.

Essentially, what is generally shown on the front of porn mags (ie boobs and not a lot else, unless its in a cover) is the same as what is on the front of Nuts, Zoo, Maxim, Loaded et al. So I'm not sure they have a leg to stand on.

I bet the PPA are worried - once it becomes acceptable to reach for the top shelf in your local corner shop, surely sales of porn will rise and these mags will slump...

At 3:04 PM, Anonymous lads mag fan said... said...

I don't see how sales of porn will rise as a result, as I would guess most just use the internet...

There will be a huge slump in sales of lads mags as people will not want to be seen reaching for that top shelf incase people think they are going for the porn and not the lads mag, plus if it does go that way what happens to supermarkets, where do they stand on the top shelf issue.

I see no-ones even mention the contents of Cosmo and the like... basically porn without pictures!!!

At 5:03 PM, Anonymous lads mag feminist said...

Oh come on, Cosmo isn't porn! And it's exactly the pictures we're talking about here...

At 10:48 AM, Anonymous Russell Brand said...

I've seen plenty of Cosmo covers containing the word 'orgasm' over the last few years- surely this is the sort of thing that leads to awkward questions from kids?

The fact is Zoo and Nuts aren't porn, they're just weekly versions of Loaded. Yeah there are birds in their pants in there- just as there are topless men in Cosmo. But there's also plenty of footie, cars and the sort of hideous injuries typically seen in FHM.

I don't see how Grace from Big Brother not exposing her breasts is any more pornographic than the full frontal page 3 of The Sun. Should this be on the top shelf?

If kids want to see naked women they can go online and see far worse things than a Big Brother bird coyly covered up.

At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Claire Short said...

This is just another attack on masculinity isn't it?

What do Zoo and Nuts say about women? Are they demeaning Grace? Is it even possible to demean someone who's walked around in their pants on national television?

If we move Zoo and Nuts to the top shelf can we also move all those teengirl titles up there too? All those articles on how to give blow jobs and 'position of the week' are just as detrimental to society.

Alternatively why not see this as what it really is? A silly season story.


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