The Universities of Surrey and Middlesex last week published findings of a study they had carried out in conjunction with the University of Middlesex, to be published in the British Journal of Psychology, which have slowly begun to ride their way through the waves of the Internet, with many major outlets reporting on the study this week. The findings are horrific; Jezebel summarises them below:
Researchers gave a group of men and women quotes from the British lad mags FHM, Loaded, Nuts and Zoo, as well as excerpts from interviews with actual convicted rapists originally published in the book The Rapist Files.
The participants couldn’t reliably identify which statements came from magazines and which from rapists — what’s more, they rated the magazine quotes as slightly more derogatory than the statements made by men serving time for raping women.
The researchers also showed both sets of quotes to a separate group of men — the men were more likely to identify with the rapists’ statements than the lad mag excerpts.
The only slightly bright spot in the study: when researchers randomly (and sometimes incorrectly) labelled the quotes as coming from either rapists or magazines, the men were more likely to identify with the ones allegedly drawn from mags. At least they didn’t want to agree with rapists.
Again, Jezebel shared on their blog the statements used by researchers with their groups which were shared by Middlesex University. They don’t make for easy reading, but provide insight into the monstruous message available in lads’ mags.
1. There’s a certain way you can tell that a girl wants to have sex . . . The way they dress, they flaunt themselves.
2. Some girls walk around in short-shorts . . . showing their body off . . . It just starts a man thinking that if he gets something like that, what can he do with it?
3. 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.
4. Mascara running down the cheeks means they’ve just been crying, and it was probably your fault . . . but you can cheer up the miserable beauty with a bit of the old in and out.
5. What burns me up sometimes about girls is dick-teasers. They lead a man on and then shut him off right there.
6. Filthy talk can be such a turn on for a girl . . . no one wants to be shagged by a mouse . . . A few compliments won’t do any harm either . . . ‘I bet you want it from behind you dirty whore’ . . .
7. You know girls in general are all right. But some of them are bitches . . . The bitches are the type that . . . need to have it stuffed to them hard and heavy.
8. Escorts . . . they know exactly how to turn a man on. I’ve given up on girlfriends. They don’t know how to satisfy me, but escorts do.
9. You’ll find most girls will be reluctant about going to bed with somebody or crawling in the back seat of a car . . . But you can usually seduce them, and they’ll do it willingly.
10. There’s nothing quite like a woman standing in the dock accused of murder in a sex game gone wrong . . . The possibility of murder does bring a certain frisson to the bedroom.
11. Girls ask for it by wearing these mini-skirts and hotpants . . . they’re just displaying their body . . . Whether they realise it or not they’re saying, ‘Hey, I’ve got a beautiful body, and it’s yours if you want it.’
12. You do not want to be caught red-handed . . . go and smash her on a park bench. That used to be my trick.
13. Some women are domineering, but I think it’s more or less the man who should put his foot down. The man is supposed to be the man. If he acts the man, the woman won’t be domineering.
14. I think if a law is passed, there should be a dress code . . . When girls dress in those short skirts and things like that, they’re just asking for it.
15. Girls love being tied up . . . it gives them the chance to be the helpless victim.
16. I think girls are like plasticine, if you warm them up you can do anything you want with them.
I have blogged recently about the problem of rape in NI; and it makes my blood boil. That rapists think these things is disgusting and tragic. That lads’ mags teach men to think these things is irresponsible as well as disgusting and tragic.
When I posted an article on the study on Twitter, a male follower got in touch to raise the (valid) point of women objectifying themselves; men not being alone in the problem. I whole-heartedly agree and think that magazines for women instigate and perpetuate the problem through their content as well.
For now, though, lads’ mags are a problem. Men, reclaim the word ‘lads’ – we know this isn’t who you are. Don’t buy the mags, and please provide, through your speech, attitude and actions, an alternative (thank you to the many of you who are doing so already). We’re with you on this.
Protect children from harmful lads’ mags here.