“It’s never acceptable to wear your victim’s socks.” In one swift sentence, FHM manages to normalise rape and sexual violence, the implied acts to which someone linked to the reader would have become a victim.
And just like that, victimhood becomes a joke. The trivialisation of rape and sexual violence in subtle, and in this case, not-so-subtle ways makes the world a more dangerous place for the vulnerable.
And those vulnerable to this kind of violence: who are they?
The ad, first highlighted on Twitter this afternoon by @seja75, places girlfriends, mothers and victims – essentially, all women – into one category; something which highlights the general lack of respect shown to women throughout the magazine’s content, not least in its pornographic imagery.
It seems sexually arousing images aren’t enough anymore. In text, we are free to declare that women are now all potential victims of rape, and rape is now normal, trivial.
This is not OK. It is this kind of content that silently seeps its way into the deep pores of society, over time producing a culture in which the degradation and victimisation of human beings – here, women – is acceptable. What may seem like a joke in a popular magazine’s fashion feature is much more poisonous on further inspection.
What can we do? In similar instances in the past, public pressure has been effective in communicating a clear, united message of unacceptance which has often led to retractions or public apologies. In October of this year, the Twittersphere united against an offensive t-shirt from Next which was removed from their website in an afternoon.
Rape and the normalisation/trivialisation of rape are not OK. FHM needs to hear that. You have a voice.
Can you help?
Editor Joe Barnes @BarnesFHM
Phone: +44 2072958534
FHM are owned by Bauer Media who also own many other publications: @bauermedianews
It’s never acceptable to wear your victim’s socks? FHM, it’s never acceptable to make light of rape.
UPDATE: Tuesday evening, 4th December.
Bauer Media have issued the following statement:
It is unclear as to how the comment could have been interpreted in another way. Perhaps a little more pressure is needed for a fuller apology demonstrating an understanding of the harm such comments can cause.