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Last Updated: Friday, 2 December 2005, 11:23 GMT
'What are lad mags doing to us?'
Lad mag
It's not just women ill-served by glossy magazines full of scantily-clad lovelies, but the men - and boys - who read them, says Kate Smurthwaite in our new Readers' Column. If you'd like to write a column, tell us using the form below.

I hate lad mags.

The writers refer to women as if they were animals or prized possession. One article might explain how to "train" a girlfriend; another refers to breast augmentation surgery as a "refit" and breasts as "air-bags".

One magazine's notorious "Win a boob job for your girlfriend" competition [censured as irresponsible by the Advertising Standards Authority in October] shows similar disregard for women's wellbeing. Hardly surprising, given that we're characterised as indecisive, irrational, excessively talkative, and obsessed with our appearance.

Karen
A friend's 11-year-old came home with a topless picture of Jordan on his mobile phone
Kate Smurthwaite, London

The editors say their photos of scantily-clad women are titillating rather than actual porn. Women displayed for the purpose of sexually exciting readers IS porn. These magazines average 70 topless photos per issue - that's more than Playboy.

Or they say it's soft rather than hard core porn, as they stop short of the pubic region. We shouldn't distinguish between the two on anatomical terms; both can be degrading. These photos often allude to violence - women tied up, for instance - or domination.

Bit of fun

Lad mags like to give the impression that women are desperate to slip between their covers, with pages of readers' photos, many said to have been sent in by the women themselves.

Abi signs autographs for crowd of men
I'm fine with the glamour photography, but it's strange walking into the village Co-op and seeing my daughter on the cover of FHM
Sue Titmuss, mother of Abi
And one magazine runs a "Street Strip Challenge", asking passers-by to pose in their pants. The message is clear - normal women know it's just a cheeky bit of fun, and if you don't think so, you're prudish.

With readers as young as 10- to 12-year-old boys, according to some surveys, what type of men will result? A friend's 11-year-old came home with a topless picture of Jordan on his mobile phone last week.

Unlike glossy magazines for girls and women, there is little mention of contraception, STDs, unwanted pregnancy or, heaven forbid, responsibility for others' feelings.

Sure, if I don't like them, I don't have to read them. But they are impossible to avoid - at newsagents, on flights, trains and in the doctor's waiting room.

These magazines should be consigned to shuttered shops, away from the general public who may not want to read them for religious or moral reasons. Or just because they are in poor taste.


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