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Re-assessing men's magazines

By Matthew Holloway - posted Friday, 23 December 2011

A new study to be published in the British journal of Psychology is set to have massive ramifications and has already kick started a re-assessment of soft core pornography.

The study by Psychologists from Middlesex University and the University of Surrey, showed participants quotes from men's magazines such as FHM, Loaded, and Zoo.

The participants were also shown quotes from convicted sex offenders which were taken from 'The Rapist Files: Interviews with Convicted Rapists written by Sussman & Bordwell


Participants were not informed which source the quotes came from, they were asked to assess for themselves based on the content.

Most participants were unable to distinguish the source of the quotes; the study also revealed that most male participants identified more strongly with the language expressed by the convicted rapists.

Dr Miranda Horvath from Middlesex University said:"We were surprised that participants identified more with the rapists' quotes, and we are concerned that the legitimisation strategies that rapists deploy when they talk about women are more familiar to these young men than we had anticipated."

The study has already had an impact in the UK where retailers have agreed to move all men's magazines to top shelves and censor front covers.

This issue has been big in the UK for a number of years; the release of this study will contribute immensely to the push for classification of men's magazines.

Going back to 2008 Labour MP Claire Curtis-Thomas called for men's magazines to be classified as pornography "The Sport or Zoo or Nuts are far harder, more sexually explicit, the women in these magazines are dehumanised."


Curtis-Thomas went on to say; "Zoo's Dictionary of Sex goes beyond anything we consider normal. You wouldn't think of defecating on a human being. Yet this is the type of 'education' made available in this literature."

Specific concerns lead Curtis-Thomas to initiate a report into the matter stating her concerns about the ease of access to the material and the detrimental impact it could have on young males.

The report surveyed students and found that 100% of girls found images in men's magazines to be offensive, only 11% of males felt the same and one-fifth admitted that the material encouraged them to see women as sex objects.

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About the Author

Matthew Holloway is a freelance writer and social justice advocate from Tasmania, where he stood for state and federal parliament and co-founded Tasmanians for Transparency. He has previously written for Tasmanian Times and Eureka Street, Matthew currently lives in Melbourne where he works as a Counsellor in Aboriginal Health and a Social Worker in Catholic social services.

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