So as Lose The Lad's Mags campaign makes advances ahead of their 24th August action day it is time to start asking some important questions. These apply regardless of whether we're talking about the "modesty bag" solution favoured by the Co-Op and Tesco or the full on ban on lad's mags proposed by the campaign.
1. How much cleavage is too much?
As we look to the future and the possibility (though slim given the falling popularity and circulation figures of magazines) that a new magazine may come out that is found by some to be as equally onerous as a "lad's mag", we must consider what criteria we use to decide whether it is acceptable for normal sale or needs to be restricted.
What level of cleavage is acceptable? How much of a leg can be shown? Who is the judge of this criteria? What are their motives? Will we need some sort of new organisation to review magazines before they go on sale to make sure they are within the guidelines? Will the women in the photographs be asked for their opinion? Will these criteria be equally applied to all magazines like Cosmo etc or is it only certain magazines?
2. When does the Lose The Gay Mags campaign begin?
"As a male I would prefer a more positive image of women in the media, where they are equal to men" #whyisigned #losetheladsmagsWell they aren't really equal to men unless similarly sexualised images of men, as contained in most editions of Gay Times and Attitude (and especially in their Naked specials), are treated in the same way. Though, in my personal opinion, they also contain some brilliant articles they are heavily sexualised publications (just check out the back of Gay Times) and promote a poor body image to young gay guys (if you think along those lines).
— UK Feminista (@UK_Feminista) August 6, 2013
If sexualised images of women cause men to be more likely to physically or sexually abuse women, then surely the same must apply to gay men. Thus such magazines should be controlled as well. Any suggestion otherwise would surely be a form of anti-gay prejudice on a couple of levels:
i) young gay guys aren't in need of protection of the display of sexualised images of men when girls are.
ii) suggests gay men aren't as "dangerous" as straight men which, though in our favour, is a way of saying gay guys aren't "real men"
So don't be homophobes, ban gay mags too!
3. With a focus on such images are we to extend the same requirements we decide in question 1 to all forms of media and beyond?
So if sexualised images of women aren't allowed on magazines, will we extend the requirements to cover or remove such images to newspapers, the internet (a really tough version of the Great Firewall of Cameron?), advertising (just as some Muslim men take to blacktaping over adverts), television (Baywatch!) and beyond?
Will women need to cover up in public? Now that we've established that it is the way that women dress and look that causes sexism, violence and a whole host of other evils (victim blaming of the highest order) surely we need to enforce standards of dress in public? No bikinis, no short skirts. The basic "women are asking for it" sort of stuff, right? Just to be on the safe side.
4. As we've now decided women don't get to do what they wish with their bodies or choose their career freely, what else can't a woman choose?
Wannabe topless models pleading to save the Lads Mags from extinction cos without them they'll have no future job.A career at Greggs awaits.No modelling, no sex work. If we accept these are things that women shouldn't be able to choose (and I'd hope you feel the same about men) then I wonder what else we might need to restrict for the greater good? Many Christians have, in the last few days, joined the battle on social media to help lose the lad's mags. I'm sure they could think of one or two things that women shouldn't be able to do.
— Warren Hall (@MrLasso) August 4, 2013
5. What will be the standard for success?
As with any initiative, we must have a goal. When will we celebrate the defeat of the lad's mags? When we notice a related drop in rapes against women or domestic violence? When women break through the glass ceiling of a business thanks to the evil magazines being removed? We need to know so we can scientifically check the results. Because this campaign isn't about dogma but real, detectable improvements in the quality of women's lives, isn't it?*
*unless said women rely on or wish to be modelling