She looked much older

fhm

Here we go again, with more moral bafflement from me. The lads mag FHM (a copy of which I can honestly say I haven’t looked at since I worked at Emap, where it’s pubished, in 1997, but its lurid covers assail my eyes as I walk past WHSmith) has had its well-exercised knuckles rapped by the Press Complaints Commission for publishing a topless picture of a 14-year-old girl without her consent. Its crimes seem to have been ones of privacy and protection of children. Fair enough. But what is actually going on here? The mag says, in its defence, that it believed the photo to be of an over-16 year old, as that’s what the bloke who sent it in told them. (He also said it was his live-in girlfriend. Let’s assume that was a lie too, since it was a photo of a 14 year-old girl. I’m not a lawyer, but I can see something wrong with that picture.) The PCC said, “the decision to publish the picture of the girl without adequately establishing consent represented a serious intrusion into her private life.” I’m taking from everything I’ve read that she didn’t mind the picture being taken, but she objected to it being submitted to a magazine, hence the “distress”. But how were FHM to establish whether the bloke who sent it in was lying or not? Call him up? It’s just a bloke sending a pic to a magazine. A sleazy one, but no more than that, on the surface of it, and these mags do put out requests for such material. Supply and demand etc. FHM, like all the other men’s mags, can no longer rely on famous women to strip off, and have thus invented their own celebrities. Somebody called Keeley is always mentioned by Nuts or Zoo. They’re even prepared to see the tits of non-famous women, or girls, if it helps to fill those pages. Suddenly, door policy is non-existent. Presumably, they would print a picture of a corpse’s breasts, as long as the rest of the body was cropped. Breasts, it seems, are breasts, in this non-judgmental world.

At any rate, the question we should be asking – to quote Woody Allen on the Holocaust – is not why it happened, but why it doesn’t happen more often. They apparently get sent 1,200 similar camera-phone and digitial snaps of topless “honeys” every week. Every week! Many of them from the self-empowering ladies themselves, but some from boyfriends. Who knew that “Readers’ Wives” would go mainstream in this technological age? Such sections used to mark a “gentlemen’s magazine” out as the scuzzier type, didn’t it? That they’d happily print Boots-shocking snaps of women hoiking their skirts up behind the bedroom door? Now it’s perfectly acceptable, apparently, indeed encouraged. But what are these 1,200 women doing flashing their tits every week? Do they all think a modelling contract will be the result? Are Jordan and Paris Hilton really such powerful role models to young women? Or have we crossed a moral line where exposure on this “playful” level is now the norm? A report I read about the “Son Of God” paedophile recently caught (aged 28, lived with parents, but had a girlfriend) made horrifying reading, not just about how guiltless some of these active paedophiles are (we’re talking about live sex and torture, beamed round dedicated rings of damaged men), but how easy it is for them to groom young girls, and how quickly, apparently, kids whose parents are downstairs, unaware, will “expose themselves” on webcams to strangers. Are we really all going to hell now? Is it all over? (I just went to the FHM website to grab the picture above. I was invited to “enjoy the view” – for some reason, I was unable to do this. What a fuddy-duddy I must be.)

Also, the magazine got off pretty lightly. The PCC got really tough and said FHM “should have been much quicker to recognise the damage that publication would have caused the girl, and offered to publish an apology or take other steps to remedy the situation.” Yes, that apology would have made everything alright, wouldn’t it? They might have done it unwittingly, but they have published child pornography, about which I assumed we still took a dim view. Were they fined? No. “More stringent measures have been put in place to ensure the provenance of pictures”, we’re told. That’s OK then. Carry on.

64 thoughts on “She looked much older

  1. Surely the real crime has been comitted by the boyfriend who has got off scott free. Firstly, he lied about her age and secondly knowingly submitted for publication an image of an underage girl. Perhaps it is cynical to suggest that the girl might have known he was going to send in the picture, but changed her tone once it was published and/or parents saw it.

  2. Surely the real crime has been comitted by the boyfriend who has got off scott free. Firstly, he lied about her age and secondly knowingly submitted for publication an image of an underage girl. Perhaps it is cynical to suggest that the girl might have known he was going to send in the picture, but changed her tone once it was published and/or parents saw it.

  3. Andrew I don’t think you get the point. It’s all meant to be ironic! So that makes it ok. To be honest I agree with you that this sending in of topless girlfriend pics is an unwelcome development in the lad mag industry. For some reason I find it even more disturbing than the idea of “readers wives” in magazines, probably because it makes it all the more mainstream. I like to see a pair of breasts as much as the next man, but I’d much rather leave it to the “professionals” than some bloke’s girlfriend/ex who probably didn’t even know the pic would end up online or in a magazine. I agree with the previous poster that the guy who took and submitted this pic really should be taken in and charged with something or other!On another note, am I the only person to be concerned at the current front cover of FHM? The girl on the front is absolutely stunning – incredibly pretty and a nice body – but the problem is that she’s an actress that plays a 16 year old school cheerleader in “Heroes”. I presume the actress is older than that, but it still feels wrong to fancy her!

  4. Andrew I don’t think you get the point. It’s all meant to be ironic! So that makes it ok. To be honest I agree with you that this sending in of topless girlfriend pics is an unwelcome development in the lad mag industry. For some reason I find it even more disturbing than the idea of “readers wives” in magazines, probably because it makes it all the more mainstream. I like to see a pair of breasts as much as the next man, but I’d much rather leave it to the “professionals” than some bloke’s girlfriend/ex who probably didn’t even know the pic would end up online or in a magazine. I agree with the previous poster that the guy who took and submitted this pic really should be taken in and charged with something or other!On another note, am I the only person to be concerned at the current front cover of FHM? The girl on the front is absolutely stunning – incredibly pretty and a nice body – but the problem is that she’s an actress that plays a 16 year old school cheerleader in “Heroes”. I presume the actress is older than that, but it still feels wrong to fancy her!

  5. I wish FHM would show an interest in my tits. I’ve been sending in snaps of my considerable rack for years and not one sniff of a thankyou, let alone publication of my melons. The fact I’m a slightly overweight 28 year old man shouldn’t have any bearing on the issue. Tits are tits.

  6. I wish FHM would show an interest in my tits. I’ve been sending in snaps of my considerable rack for years and not one sniff of a thankyou, let alone publication of my melons. The fact I’m a slightly overweight 28 year old man shouldn’t have any bearing on the issue. Tits are tits.

  7. I’m in agreement with Jonathan Ross when he says that FHM/Loaded and the like are porn for cowards that are bought by people who don’t have the guts to purchase a “real man’s” top-shelf mag. And now it seems that the likes of Razzle or whatever take more care verifying the ages of reader-submitted snaps than FHM do.(I made a similar point in a similar thread here some months ago so excuse repetition).

  8. I’m in agreement with Jonathan Ross when he says that FHM/Loaded and the like are porn for cowards that are bought by people who don’t have the guts to purchase a “real man’s” top-shelf mag. And now it seems that the likes of Razzle or whatever take more care verifying the ages of reader-submitted snaps than FHM do.(I made a similar point in a similar thread here some months ago so excuse repetition).

  9. Yes, Razzle would have to have a model agreement certifying the age of their models. Our High Street Honeys could be 12, and, as this horrible error points out, look 18 and get pictured in a lad’s jazz mag. It’s a lovely thing for a young woman to aspire to; the first time you get your knockers seen in a tiny, out-of-focus picture in a crappy magazine, isn’t it?

  10. Yes, Razzle would have to have a model agreement certifying the age of their models. Our High Street Honeys could be 12, and, as this horrible error points out, look 18 and get pictured in a lad’s jazz mag. It’s a lovely thing for a young woman to aspire to; the first time you get your knockers seen in a tiny, out-of-focus picture in a crappy magazine, isn’t it?

  11. What depresses me about the coverage of this horrible business is that if this girl was over age, apparently the fact that her boyfriend sent a naked photo of her to a magazine without her knowledge and consent wouldn’t have been a big deal. Andrew, you asked “But how were FHM to establish whether the bloke who sent it in was lying or not? Call him up?” How about calling the actual girl up for once, and ensuring that the women themselves are always the ones consenting to the publication of these tacky photos? How about asking for proof of age, if necessary? As Clair said above, porn magazines have to do that. If obtaining consent from the girls in the photos is not possible, then they shouldn’t publish them. As it is, it seems like the magazine assumes someone’s boyfriend is capable of speaking for them.As for why so many women and girls submit photos themselves, I suppose it’s probably because we live in a society where women are increasingly expected to present themselves in a hyper-sexual way from an early(ish) age, and a sort of tabloid/soft-porn version of sexiness has become incredibly mainstream. It’s pretty depressing, really.

  12. What depresses me about the coverage of this horrible business is that if this girl was over age, apparently the fact that her boyfriend sent a naked photo of her to a magazine without her knowledge and consent wouldn’t have been a big deal. Andrew, you asked “But how were FHM to establish whether the bloke who sent it in was lying or not? Call him up?” How about calling the actual girl up for once, and ensuring that the women themselves are always the ones consenting to the publication of these tacky photos? How about asking for proof of age, if necessary? As Clair said above, porn magazines have to do that. If obtaining consent from the girls in the photos is not possible, then they shouldn’t publish them. As it is, it seems like the magazine assumes someone’s boyfriend is capable of speaking for them.As for why so many women and girls submit photos themselves, I suppose it’s probably because we live in a society where women are increasingly expected to present themselves in a hyper-sexual way from an early(ish) age, and a sort of tabloid/soft-porn version of sexiness has become incredibly mainstream. It’s pretty depressing, really.

  13. Well said, Stellanova. It’s not just a pressure to be sexualised, it’s a pressure to be constantly, indiscriminately and visibly sexualised, “gagging for it” at all times. I know full well how hard it could be for a 14-year old to feel she could say “piss off” to her 18-year old boyfriend when he’s waving his phone camera at her and instructing her to impersonate Jordan ( and what hope is there when THAT bag of silicone’s “autobiography” tops the book charts for months on end?).FHM got caught out this time, but I bet she’s not the only under-age girl they’ve “featured” over the years. Well done, chaps.

  14. Well said, Stellanova. It’s not just a pressure to be sexualised, it’s a pressure to be constantly, indiscriminately and visibly sexualised, “gagging for it” at all times. I know full well how hard it could be for a 14-year old to feel she could say “piss off” to her 18-year old boyfriend when he’s waving his phone camera at her and instructing her to impersonate Jordan ( and what hope is there when THAT bag of silicone’s “autobiography” tops the book charts for months on end?).FHM got caught out this time, but I bet she’s not the only under-age girl they’ve “featured” over the years. Well done, chaps.

  15. I’ve just been checking my web traffic, Andrew, and I bet yours is the same – visits from lots of people Googling for the said FHM pictures. And as I write this, there’s a programme on ITV2 where a 17-year-old boy is claiming that from the age of 11, he was dating women in their twenties ‘and I only had sex with about half of them’. Where do you start to sort out attitudes like that?

  16. I’ve just been checking my web traffic, Andrew, and I bet yours is the same – visits from lots of people Googling for the said FHM pictures. And as I write this, there’s a programme on ITV2 where a 17-year-old boy is claiming that from the age of 11, he was dating women in their twenties ‘and I only had sex with about half of them’. Where do you start to sort out attitudes like that?

  17. In response to Tristan’s thread about the mag cover I reckon you’re referring to Hayden Panettiere who plays Claire, the indestructible cheerleader in Heroes. She just turned 18 (last month I think). On a recent publicity tour in the UK homophobic sex pest Chris Moyles harrassed her in his typical sleazy fashion. Ironically she joked that it was ok as she is now legal.Hmmm…

  18. In response to Tristan’s thread about the mag cover I reckon you’re referring to Hayden Panettiere who plays Claire, the indestructible cheerleader in Heroes. She just turned 18 (last month I think). On a recent publicity tour in the UK homophobic sex pest Chris Moyles harrassed her in his typical sleazy fashion. Ironically she joked that it was ok as she is now legal.Hmmm…

  19. Sorry to bombard this thread. I should maybe point out that I didn’t actually hear the above mentioned interview before anyone corrects me. My mate told me about it. I know, I should check my sources before posting.

  20. Sorry to bombard this thread. I should maybe point out that I didn’t actually hear the above mentioned interview before anyone corrects me. My mate told me about it. I know, I should check my sources before posting.

  21. I defended lad’s mags in a past thread, but this is plainly shocking. All mags should have to get age of consent proof from girls before publishing their pictures. And obviously something has to be done to stop young girls being sexualised by popular culture.

  22. I defended lad’s mags in a past thread, but this is plainly shocking. All mags should have to get age of consent proof from girls before publishing their pictures. And obviously something has to be done to stop young girls being sexualised by popular culture.

  23. In reference to Stellanova’s point, I only suggested that it would be impossible for FHM to verify from the bloke who sent the picture in how old the girl in it was. For them to check, they’d need proof of ID, birth certificate, something like that. Even if the girl herself had claimed to be 16, she could also have been lying. (In this case, she was unaware the picture was being submitted, so this is irrelevant.) All this proves is that it’s very hard to police 1,200 submissions a week, if, that is, you want to keep publishing such pictures at the same rate. I wasn’t suggesting the girl in question was “owned” in some way by this bloke, or that she had no rights – in fact, the opposite. Her rights had been taken by this scummy chap. He’s the villain in this. FHM help create the climate but their inbox would be empty were it not for those 1,200 submissions. Wouldn’t it be great if readers, men and women alike, just stopped sending them in.

  24. In reference to Stellanova’s point, I only suggested that it would be impossible for FHM to verify from the bloke who sent the picture in how old the girl in it was. For them to check, they’d need proof of ID, birth certificate, something like that. Even if the girl herself had claimed to be 16, she could also have been lying. (In this case, she was unaware the picture was being submitted, so this is irrelevant.) All this proves is that it’s very hard to police 1,200 submissions a week, if, that is, you want to keep publishing such pictures at the same rate. I wasn’t suggesting the girl in question was “owned” in some way by this bloke, or that she had no rights – in fact, the opposite. Her rights had been taken by this scummy chap. He’s the villain in this. FHM help create the climate but their inbox would be empty were it not for those 1,200 submissions. Wouldn’t it be great if readers, men and women alike, just stopped sending them in.

  25. As for the Claire The Cheerleader issue. She’s supposed to be 16 on the programme. The actress is older, as is always the case. So in fancying her, you are fancying a 17-year-old. Andrew Simpson played the 15-year-old boy in Notes On A Scandal, a film about a paedophilic relationship between a schoolboy and a 35-year-old teacher. He was 16 when he filmed the scenes. (Not that he actually had sex in them, clearly.) Was it OK to fancy him? He’s a good-looking boy – that was the whole point. The fact is: the media is so geared towards heterosexual male fantasies about women/girls, he didn’t appear on any magazine covers, as far as I know. That’s because women’s magazines have women on, and so do men’s magazines. So questions like the Chris Moyles one (wasn’t he just as lecherous over Charlotte Church when she turned legal?) don’t arise when the shoe is on the other foot. (Interestingly, if Notes On A Scandal had been about a 35-year old male teacher seducing a 15-year-old girl, it would have been seen as much more pervy than the other way around.)

  26. As for the Claire The Cheerleader issue. She’s supposed to be 16 on the programme. The actress is older, as is always the case. So in fancying her, you are fancying a 17-year-old. Andrew Simpson played the 15-year-old boy in Notes On A Scandal, a film about a paedophilic relationship between a schoolboy and a 35-year-old teacher. He was 16 when he filmed the scenes. (Not that he actually had sex in them, clearly.) Was it OK to fancy him? He’s a good-looking boy – that was the whole point. The fact is: the media is so geared towards heterosexual male fantasies about women/girls, he didn’t appear on any magazine covers, as far as I know. That’s because women’s magazines have women on, and so do men’s magazines. So questions like the Chris Moyles one (wasn’t he just as lecherous over Charlotte Church when she turned legal?) don’t arise when the shoe is on the other foot. (Interestingly, if Notes On A Scandal had been about a 35-year old male teacher seducing a 15-year-old girl, it would have been seen as much more pervy than the other way around.)

  27. Slightly bothered by your classifications of when it is “OK” to fancy someone i.e. on their 16th birthday, but not on the day before. Surely, whether you fancy someone or not is entirely dependent on what Clement and La Frenais call your “loins”, and not the calendar. All the date does is give us a legal framework to police when it is legally acceptable to pursue such a desire. Personally, I think it’s still pretty creepy for a 35 year old to be seducing a 16 year old, whether it’s legal or not. I also commend the general point of your blog, and despair of the climate where questioning the desirability of having tits and ass thrust at us (!) night and day is seen as horribly killjoy and anachronistic. It’s political incorrectness gone mad!

  28. Slightly bothered by your classifications of when it is “OK” to fancy someone i.e. on their 16th birthday, but not on the day before. Surely, whether you fancy someone or not is entirely dependent on what Clement and La Frenais call your “loins”, and not the calendar. All the date does is give us a legal framework to police when it is legally acceptable to pursue such a desire. Personally, I think it’s still pretty creepy for a 35 year old to be seducing a 16 year old, whether it’s legal or not. I also commend the general point of your blog, and despair of the climate where questioning the desirability of having tits and ass thrust at us (!) night and day is seen as horribly killjoy and anachronistic. It’s political incorrectness gone mad!

  29. 18 is still pretty young (I’m 28), but there’s no doubt that she’s very pretty.I wonder if her age/character’s age has made FHM careful about the pic they’ve used of her on the cover. I haven’t seen an FHM in ages, but she looks far more clothed than you’d usually expect from an FHM cover. Did anyone hear the item on Today on wednesday morning? Someone from NUTS TV vs a feminist academic. To be honest, I kinda felt sorry for the woman from NUTS – such an easy target, and she got ripped to shreds. She was trying to persuade us that NUTS really respects women. Hmmmmm. Does anyone know when all this sending in pics of girlfriends started in FHM? I’d be interested to see if it coincides with the launch of NUTS and ZOO, which meant the established mags had to sink even further just to compete.

  30. 18 is still pretty young (I’m 28), but there’s no doubt that she’s very pretty.I wonder if her age/character’s age has made FHM careful about the pic they’ve used of her on the cover. I haven’t seen an FHM in ages, but she looks far more clothed than you’d usually expect from an FHM cover. Did anyone hear the item on Today on wednesday morning? Someone from NUTS TV vs a feminist academic. To be honest, I kinda felt sorry for the woman from NUTS – such an easy target, and she got ripped to shreds. She was trying to persuade us that NUTS really respects women. Hmmmmm. Does anyone know when all this sending in pics of girlfriends started in FHM? I’d be interested to see if it coincides with the launch of NUTS and ZOO, which meant the established mags had to sink even further just to compete.

  31. Bingethink, I don’t make the rules. But just as with the amount of moisturiser you’re allowed to take onto a plane, you have to draw the line somewhere. Even when I was growing up, some kids “did it” before their 16th birthday, but I suspect that number has increased over the years, what with the sexual climate and the fact that girls are menstruating earlier, statistically (that’s true, isn’t it?). I’m not saying it’s “OK” to fancy somebody the day they turn 16 – that’s definitely straying into Chris Moyles territory, somewhere I never want to go! But it is legally “OK”. I may have been legally “OK” when I turned 16 in 1981, but I can promise you I was nowhere near mature enough to have sex.

  32. Bingethink, I don’t make the rules. But just as with the amount of moisturiser you’re allowed to take onto a plane, you have to draw the line somewhere. Even when I was growing up, some kids “did it” before their 16th birthday, but I suspect that number has increased over the years, what with the sexual climate and the fact that girls are menstruating earlier, statistically (that’s true, isn’t it?). I’m not saying it’s “OK” to fancy somebody the day they turn 16 – that’s definitely straying into Chris Moyles territory, somewhere I never want to go! But it is legally “OK”. I may have been legally “OK” when I turned 16 in 1981, but I can promise you I was nowhere near mature enough to have sex.

  33. I didn’t hear the Today debate, Tristan, but it was quoted in Decca Aikenhead’s column in today’s Guardian. This is a really good read on the whole subject, as she basically says it’s time for women to stop having the same feminist argument while willingly supplying the pictures and sexualising pre-teens and treating pole-dancing as a bit of fun. Have a look and see what you think.

  34. I didn’t hear the Today debate, Tristan, but it was quoted in Decca Aikenhead’s column in today’s Guardian. This is a really good read on the whole subject, as she basically says it’s time for women to stop having the same feminist argument while willingly supplying the pictures and sexualising pre-teens and treating pole-dancing as a bit of fun. Have a look and see what you think.

  35. Oh, and FHM’s High Street Honeys was launched in 2002. As I understand it, this is a nationwide search for ordinary “girls-next-door”. They gets thousands of entries every year. It’s not quite Readers’ Wives, but it paved the way for the send-us-your-tits era.

  36. Oh, and FHM’s High Street Honeys was launched in 2002. As I understand it, this is a nationwide search for ordinary “girls-next-door”. They gets thousands of entries every year. It’s not quite Readers’ Wives, but it paved the way for the send-us-your-tits era.

  37. It’s not only FHM and similar publictions.Mainstream media friendly organisation “Rear of the Year” gave their award to Charlotte Church when she was just…16. Yep, that means the judges, voters etc were assessing, appraising and selecting her ass when she was…15. Feels wrong, doesn’t it.This was in 2002. This comp gets mainstream coverage (TV and all) because ‘it’s a bit of fun, innit’, and ‘it’s all for charidee’. But really by sexualising the ‘test case’ 15 year old contestant in this way it was only a matter of time before rear of the year became tits of the year which is what you have now.And don’t anyone give me that old ‘but she was willing, judge’ line, we’ve heard that one before I think.

  38. It’s not only FHM and similar publictions.Mainstream media friendly organisation “Rear of the Year” gave their award to Charlotte Church when she was just…16. Yep, that means the judges, voters etc were assessing, appraising and selecting her ass when she was…15. Feels wrong, doesn’t it.This was in 2002. This comp gets mainstream coverage (TV and all) because ‘it’s a bit of fun, innit’, and ‘it’s all for charidee’. But really by sexualising the ‘test case’ 15 year old contestant in this way it was only a matter of time before rear of the year became tits of the year which is what you have now.And don’t anyone give me that old ‘but she was willing, judge’ line, we’ve heard that one before I think.

  39. Just read the article, and agree with aspects of it, particularly the pre-teen playboy merchendise!But reading the comments after it is pretty interesting too (and so far nobody’s managed to link it back to Iraq or Israel/Palestine – though I’m sure they will!). One of the best has been posted by Annuska:”You’d think women didn’t have sexual desires, did not have fantasies, did not derive pleasure from such fantasies. You’d think women were always and only spooked and threatened by a sexual gaze, as if the only possible subtext of it was violence and violation. But it isn’t. There is a world of difference between sizing up women and approving them only if they conform to some culture-specified norm and finding this or that specific woman hot. Going into Topshop and finding out that I can be deemed acceptable only if I look like Kate Moss is far more oppressive than somebody following me with his (or her, for that matter) eyes on the street. And there is no hint of sexual desire in the first. And while we’re at it, how do we explain the gay male obsession with pectorals and looks? Who is oppressed and objectified here? And how do we explain lesbian porn? Or do feminists who see the hand of the patriarchy in every inch of naked flesh ignore the existence of female (gay or het) consumption of porn? There are plenty of instance of oppression in the world. There is no need to assume it when it is not at all obvious. Why is two teenagers filming themselves having sex obligatory a male oppressing a female? Why not respect a woman’s agency, and allow the possibility that the girl might have derived just as much pleasure from exhibitionism? Because the world will condemn her and not him? Then the problem is not with two teenagers having sex on camera, it is with the double standards, isn’t it?Offering headless shots of human torsos, male or female, is a sad shallow way to look at sex. Homemade sex videos are more likely to be two people who think they are hot and daring and probably derive some pleasure from their exhibitionism. Maybe, both as humans and as feminists, we should concentrate on teaching people that sexual desire is legitimate, that sexual behaviour does not define the whole of a person (ie a girl who has sex on camera is neither a slut nor automatically assumed to be deprived of agency), and that people can be hot whatever size, shape or form they are. Man do not have more sexual drive than women. Human beings are a continuum, and there are men with low sex drive and women with high sex drive. Neither of these things have anything to do with oppression, while the assumption that women MUST or ALWAYS DO have a low sex drive seems to me to have lots more to do with it.”Now, I find myself agreeing with all of that, but still find the lad mag culture a bit disturing, and it’s got me wondering whether there’s a class thing involved. After all, if “Erotic Review” or “Desire” magazines started a section where people could send in pictures would we have such a problem with it? I imagine the readership and contributors would be considerably more middle class than those of Nuts or FHM. Do we not trust the “proles” to enjoy a bit of exhibitionism without it being exploitative?I know I’d be less concerned about those more “high brow” magazines, but I’m not 100% confortable with felling that way. Does it make me a snob?

  40. Just read the article, and agree with aspects of it, particularly the pre-teen playboy merchendise!But reading the comments after it is pretty interesting too (and so far nobody’s managed to link it back to Iraq or Israel/Palestine – though I’m sure they will!). One of the best has been posted by Annuska:”You’d think women didn’t have sexual desires, did not have fantasies, did not derive pleasure from such fantasies. You’d think women were always and only spooked and threatened by a sexual gaze, as if the only possible subtext of it was violence and violation. But it isn’t. There is a world of difference between sizing up women and approving them only if they conform to some culture-specified norm and finding this or that specific woman hot. Going into Topshop and finding out that I can be deemed acceptable only if I look like Kate Moss is far more oppressive than somebody following me with his (or her, for that matter) eyes on the street. And there is no hint of sexual desire in the first. And while we’re at it, how do we explain the gay male obsession with pectorals and looks? Who is oppressed and objectified here? And how do we explain lesbian porn? Or do feminists who see the hand of the patriarchy in every inch of naked flesh ignore the existence of female (gay or het) consumption of porn? There are plenty of instance of oppression in the world. There is no need to assume it when it is not at all obvious. Why is two teenagers filming themselves having sex obligatory a male oppressing a female? Why not respect a woman’s agency, and allow the possibility that the girl might have derived just as much pleasure from exhibitionism? Because the world will condemn her and not him? Then the problem is not with two teenagers having sex on camera, it is with the double standards, isn’t it?Offering headless shots of human torsos, male or female, is a sad shallow way to look at sex. Homemade sex videos are more likely to be two people who think they are hot and daring and probably derive some pleasure from their exhibitionism. Maybe, both as humans and as feminists, we should concentrate on teaching people that sexual desire is legitimate, that sexual behaviour does not define the whole of a person (ie a girl who has sex on camera is neither a slut nor automatically assumed to be deprived of agency), and that people can be hot whatever size, shape or form they are. Man do not have more sexual drive than women. Human beings are a continuum, and there are men with low sex drive and women with high sex drive. Neither of these things have anything to do with oppression, while the assumption that women MUST or ALWAYS DO have a low sex drive seems to me to have lots more to do with it.”Now, I find myself agreeing with all of that, but still find the lad mag culture a bit disturing, and it’s got me wondering whether there’s a class thing involved. After all, if “Erotic Review” or “Desire” magazines started a section where people could send in pictures would we have such a problem with it? I imagine the readership and contributors would be considerably more middle class than those of Nuts or FHM. Do we not trust the “proles” to enjoy a bit of exhibitionism without it being exploitative?I know I’d be less concerned about those more “high brow” magazines, but I’m not 100% confortable with felling that way. Does it make me a snob?

  41. Does anyone remember the Brass Eye “Paedogedden” special? That had an hilarious song at the end entitled “One Day” which seems to fit in nicely with this post.I watched some NUTS TV last night. I’d like to clarify that I wasn’t doing so out of enjoyment but I feel it is important to know one’s enemy. Needless to say it was shite. I would find it hard to comprehend that anyone would have enjoyed it, including the type of meat headed imbecile it was aimed at. Fingers crossed it will be off the air soon to free up more valuable band width.

  42. Does anyone remember the Brass Eye “Paedogedden” special? That had an hilarious song at the end entitled “One Day” which seems to fit in nicely with this post.I watched some NUTS TV last night. I’d like to clarify that I wasn’t doing so out of enjoyment but I feel it is important to know one’s enemy. Needless to say it was shite. I would find it hard to comprehend that anyone would have enjoyed it, including the type of meat headed imbecile it was aimed at. Fingers crossed it will be off the air soon to free up more valuable band width.

  43. I’ve written about this in a previous post, Assassin Prince. Here’s the difference, though, in case it’s not clear: when I was a boy, I found some Mayfairs that Dad had in the garage. They were for men. You had to be an adult to purchase them, and they were on the top shelf. There was no middle ground between these magazines and the other magazines stacked beneath them. They had naked women in, the other magazines did not. These images captivated me as they might any boy with as yet-unformed heterosexual urges and curiosities. I knew they were secret, and not for me. This was part of the excitement.A boy the same age as I was has Nuts and Zoo actually aimed at him now. There’s no shame or secrecy – these mags are on the middle shelf! And they contain not just pictures of undressed ladies, but two undressed ladies touching each others’ breasts. Also, the ladies’ breasts in Mayfair were not inflated by artificial means into huge barrage balloons, thus creating an impossible ideal for impressionable young girls to live up to and further objectifying their bodies. Things have moved on a lot since the 70s, is my point, and not in a good way. So the difference between Mayfair of 30 years ago with Nuts of today is vast. I suspect you already know this, Assassin. That’s not to let my dad, or me, off the hook, but it’s the environment and the culture that’s changed for the worst.

  44. I’ve written about this in a previous post, Assassin Prince. Here’s the difference, though, in case it’s not clear: when I was a boy, I found some Mayfairs that Dad had in the garage. They were for men. You had to be an adult to purchase them, and they were on the top shelf. There was no middle ground between these magazines and the other magazines stacked beneath them. They had naked women in, the other magazines did not. These images captivated me as they might any boy with as yet-unformed heterosexual urges and curiosities. I knew they were secret, and not for me. This was part of the excitement.A boy the same age as I was has Nuts and Zoo actually aimed at him now. There’s no shame or secrecy – these mags are on the middle shelf! And they contain not just pictures of undressed ladies, but two undressed ladies touching each others’ breasts. Also, the ladies’ breasts in Mayfair were not inflated by artificial means into huge barrage balloons, thus creating an impossible ideal for impressionable young girls to live up to and further objectifying their bodies. Things have moved on a lot since the 70s, is my point, and not in a good way. So the difference between Mayfair of 30 years ago with Nuts of today is vast. I suspect you already know this, Assassin. That’s not to let my dad, or me, off the hook, but it’s the environment and the culture that’s changed for the worst.

  45. The worst thing is that not only do girls send topless pictures in but they read them thinking that the editorial slant of them is what guys want and what some of them strive for. This is not good news for me!

  46. The worst thing is that not only do girls send topless pictures in but they read them thinking that the editorial slant of them is what guys want and what some of them strive for. This is not good news for me!

  47. Andrew Collins I don’t know why you think I know anything about the difference between Mayfair in the 70s and Nuts and Zoo today, I am completely oblivious to all such publications and anyone that says I’ve been feeding the ducks furiously for the last 30 years and that nakedrussians.com is my second favourite website after this one is a liar.

  48. Andrew Collins I don’t know why you think I know anything about the difference between Mayfair in the 70s and Nuts and Zoo today, I am completely oblivious to all such publications and anyone that says I’ve been feeding the ducks furiously for the last 30 years and that nakedrussians.com is my second favourite website after this one is a liar.

  49. I wasn’t suggesting the girl in question was “owned” in some way by this bloke, or that she had no rights – in fact, the opposite. Her rights had been taken by this scummy chap.Sorry, Andrew, my criticism wasn’t meant to be aimed at you, but the general media coverage of the story. I was just annoyed by the way, when the story was reported in what I will reluctantly refer to as the mainstream media, this incident was depicted as being wrong because she was underage, and that if she hadn’t been so young, it wouldn’t have been an issue. FHM are the ones who seem to think that if a man says his girlfriend consents to the photos being printed, then that’s fine, because obviously he can speak for her.I do agree with a lot of what Decca Aikenhead says, although she’s basically paraphrasing Ariel Levy’s (excellent) book Female Chauvinist Pigs, which came out a year or so ago – I’m surprised she didn’t mention it (you can read the introduction to Levy’s book here. I do think women have to accept responsibility for perpetuating these images; I’m a feminist, but I disagree with some feminists who believe that we automatically can’t criticise other women’s choices.At the same time, as was mentioned above, there really is so much pressure on girls and women these days to present themselves as sexy and, as ishouldbeworking said, gagging for it, that these ideas are quite hard to escape, especially as any criticism of gender roles is still often dismissed as “taking things too seriously” or being a scary man-hater. I’m 32 now, and my best friends and I spent the late ’80s and early ’90s happily, and scruffily, wearing vast old-men’s-cardigans from M&S, flowery frocks, wooly tights and vast Docs, classy ensembles that would be worn both on Saturday afternoons when we would sit in a cafe for hours reading the NME (and I have fond memories of your stuff from that era, Andrew!) and going to our local teenage indie disco. We were, we thought, dressed up, but we didn’t have to be tanned and perfectly groomed and constantly sexually available (and yes, we did want boys to fancy us, but it was generally assumed that the sort of cardigan-wearing boys who went to late ’80s/early ’90s indie discos in Dublin would have to accept what we thought looked cool, and besides, they didn’t seem to mind girls in Docs and cardigans). Today’s teenage girls do seem to be under way more pressure to dress up in a sexy way, and to be defined by their looks, and all this from a much earlier age. I agree with Aikenhead that women shouldn’t buy magazines like Heat, that exist almost solely to poke out other women’s flaws, but until a mass boycott drives those rags out of business, they’re are part of a general cultural climate that could be quite hard to resist, especially when not just Heat but Nuts is at child-eye-level in the newsagents. And more little girls will grow up thinking female sexuality=looking like a porn star. Of course, it would help if their parents didn’t buy them those awful t-shirts with pseudo-sexy and looks-fixated slogans.God, I do sound like an old grandma now – “it was all better in my day!” Oh dear.

  50. I wasn’t suggesting the girl in question was “owned” in some way by this bloke, or that she had no rights – in fact, the opposite. Her rights had been taken by this scummy chap.Sorry, Andrew, my criticism wasn’t meant to be aimed at you, but the general media coverage of the story. I was just annoyed by the way, when the story was reported in what I will reluctantly refer to as the mainstream media, this incident was depicted as being wrong because she was underage, and that if she hadn’t been so young, it wouldn’t have been an issue. FHM are the ones who seem to think that if a man says his girlfriend consents to the photos being printed, then that’s fine, because obviously he can speak for her.I do agree with a lot of what Decca Aikenhead says, although she’s basically paraphrasing Ariel Levy’s (excellent) book Female Chauvinist Pigs, which came out a year or so ago – I’m surprised she didn’t mention it (you can read the introduction to Levy’s book here. I do think women have to accept responsibility for perpetuating these images; I’m a feminist, but I disagree with some feminists who believe that we automatically can’t criticise other women’s choices.At the same time, as was mentioned above, there really is so much pressure on girls and women these days to present themselves as sexy and, as ishouldbeworking said, gagging for it, that these ideas are quite hard to escape, especially as any criticism of gender roles is still often dismissed as “taking things too seriously” or being a scary man-hater. I’m 32 now, and my best friends and I spent the late ’80s and early ’90s happily, and scruffily, wearing vast old-men’s-cardigans from M&S, flowery frocks, wooly tights and vast Docs, classy ensembles that would be worn both on Saturday afternoons when we would sit in a cafe for hours reading the NME (and I have fond memories of your stuff from that era, Andrew!) and going to our local teenage indie disco. We were, we thought, dressed up, but we didn’t have to be tanned and perfectly groomed and constantly sexually available (and yes, we did want boys to fancy us, but it was generally assumed that the sort of cardigan-wearing boys who went to late ’80s/early ’90s indie discos in Dublin would have to accept what we thought looked cool, and besides, they didn’t seem to mind girls in Docs and cardigans). Today’s teenage girls do seem to be under way more pressure to dress up in a sexy way, and to be defined by their looks, and all this from a much earlier age. I agree with Aikenhead that women shouldn’t buy magazines like Heat, that exist almost solely to poke out other women’s flaws, but until a mass boycott drives those rags out of business, they’re are part of a general cultural climate that could be quite hard to resist, especially when not just Heat but Nuts is at child-eye-level in the newsagents. And more little girls will grow up thinking female sexuality=looking like a porn star. Of course, it would help if their parents didn’t buy them those awful t-shirts with pseudo-sexy and looks-fixated slogans.God, I do sound like an old grandma now – “it was all better in my day!” Oh dear.

  51. But it was ‘all better in our day’! There’s a bit in the film Kidulthood (about today’s London teens) where the worst insult a boy can throw at his ex-girlfriend is ‘I’ll tell everyone you’re a crap shag!’. She is, of course, devastated. In my day, you’d be ashamed if you didn’t have the new Smiths album.

  52. But it was ‘all better in our day’! There’s a bit in the film Kidulthood (about today’s London teens) where the worst insult a boy can throw at his ex-girlfriend is ‘I’ll tell everyone you’re a crap shag!’. She is, of course, devastated. In my day, you’d be ashamed if you didn’t have the new Smiths album.

  53. Andrew- would you be ok with Nuts and Zoo if they restricted their sale to the over eighteens? I’d support this. But I’d guess teenage boys would argue that girls mags are full of sex and that they deserve an equivalent.

  54. Andrew- would you be ok with Nuts and Zoo if they restricted their sale to the over eighteens? I’d support this. But I’d guess teenage boys would argue that girls mags are full of sex and that they deserve an equivalent.

  55. The last time I actually looked through a copy of FHM it hadn’t yet reduced its name to initials and there wasn’t, as far as I can remember, a single picture of a woman other than in the ads. Fortunately the lack of such material has in no way impeded my masturbatory habits in the interim.”The rules” in these areas have always struck me as arbitrary and a bit odd. But I suppose there has to be some point at which sex becomes legal and before which it isn’t. I’m not sure how long it’s been the law that two 16 year olds can decide to have sex and/or marry each other, but it’s certainly been so for quite a while. It used to be the case that most 15 and 16 year olds were in full-time employment. Now that everybody’s clever (which is just as well because there just aren’t the jobs for 15-21 year olds anymore, and paying them all benefits would cost a fortune), that 16 age limit is starting to look a little young. I personally think that voting, driving, drinking, all sex, marriage, and possibly talking should all become legal at 18 at the least, and 21 if it were at all possible. But I suspect that like Christina Aguilera, the genie isn’t going back into the bottle any time soon.Still, if a 16 year old is deemed old enough to make the decision that someone close to his or her age is a suitable sexual partner, then he or she is old enough to make the same decision about someone who’s, say, 35. And while I would question quite what a 35 year old is going to find to love in a 16 year old, I have to say I’ve wondered pretty much the same thing about every couple I’ve ever known.

  56. The last time I actually looked through a copy of FHM it hadn’t yet reduced its name to initials and there wasn’t, as far as I can remember, a single picture of a woman other than in the ads. Fortunately the lack of such material has in no way impeded my masturbatory habits in the interim.”The rules” in these areas have always struck me as arbitrary and a bit odd. But I suppose there has to be some point at which sex becomes legal and before which it isn’t. I’m not sure how long it’s been the law that two 16 year olds can decide to have sex and/or marry each other, but it’s certainly been so for quite a while. It used to be the case that most 15 and 16 year olds were in full-time employment. Now that everybody’s clever (which is just as well because there just aren’t the jobs for 15-21 year olds anymore, and paying them all benefits would cost a fortune), that 16 age limit is starting to look a little young. I personally think that voting, driving, drinking, all sex, marriage, and possibly talking should all become legal at 18 at the least, and 21 if it were at all possible. But I suspect that like Christina Aguilera, the genie isn’t going back into the bottle any time soon.Still, if a 16 year old is deemed old enough to make the decision that someone close to his or her age is a suitable sexual partner, then he or she is old enough to make the same decision about someone who’s, say, 35. And while I would question quite what a 35 year old is going to find to love in a 16 year old, I have to say I’ve wondered pretty much the same thing about every couple I’ve ever known.

  57. The reference to Kate Moss above is interesting, because I would guess that most men do not fantasise about Kate Moss. Men do not like skinny women. If you made a comparison between magazines that show women for women (Cosmo etc) and those that show women for men then I bet the healthier women are in the mens mags.What I am driving at is th “pressure to look a certain way” that young women/girls are under is driven by other women not men. A 20 year old women who is a size 14 (average size) will be incredibly attractive to a man.

  58. The reference to Kate Moss above is interesting, because I would guess that most men do not fantasise about Kate Moss. Men do not like skinny women. If you made a comparison between magazines that show women for women (Cosmo etc) and those that show women for men then I bet the healthier women are in the mens mags.What I am driving at is th “pressure to look a certain way” that young women/girls are under is driven by other women not men. A 20 year old women who is a size 14 (average size) will be incredibly attractive to a man.

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