I just stumbled upon an article that got published a week ago. It is video by Laura Pintur and was produced by Bill code (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/video/2015/may/21/lads-mags-sexist-zoo-magazine-supermarkets-collective-shout-video). The article is decently made, although one could wonder how something this serious would be brought with such a smile, but that is beside the point. She has started an offensive against Zoo Magazine. Now for the most, I stay away from these magazines. Zoo is just the bottom of the barrel and it competes with a score of magazines that are slightly better (Maxim and FHM) for example. I have read a few in the past and I personally preferred the UK editions as they were more playful in wordplay and were overall slightly better written.
But back to Zoo magazine. The first thing I noticed was the tag ‘Feminism’ at the bottom. Now, I need you to take that word and stamp it in your brain!
Now let’s look at the video!
She quotes a few things, yet the part at 00:19 puzzled me “cut your ex’s face, than nobody will want her”. It is part of a response in the ‘Ask Danny!’ column. So now we get to the part where we revise the word ‘feminism’. You see article 33 of the NSW Crimes act will categorise the act of slicing a face as ‘Wounding or grievous bodily harm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm’. Wounding any person in such a way is a crime and comes with a maximum of ‘Imprisonment for 25 years’, so is it feminism, or just plain criminal?
Now we get the other side. This is not last week, Laura Pintur is grabbing back to an event that happened (was published) on the 5th of May 2010. There were all kinds of apologies and the quote “Zoo and Danny Dyer condemn any violence against women. A donation will be made to Women’s Aid” was published. Danny Dyer stated “This is totally out of order, I am totally devastated. I have been completely misquoted. This is not the advice I would give any member of the public I do not condone violence against women“, yet what was exactly quoted? That remains a question.
In addition to Laura Pintur I need to add, why did you not do your homework? If you need to grasp back to events 5 years old, what did you not find in Zoo magazine? I am much more on hand of Ceri Goddard, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, who said: “It is appalling that a writer thought this acceptable and that the editor let it through“, which makes me wonder how the editor (and if) it was read to begin with!
What is much more recent is the ANZAC day issue with the girl in the red bikini and a poppy, which got labelled “gross, disgusting and idiotic” on social media. I will agree on Gross and idiotic, less disgusted. My grandfather was in WW1 (not in Gallipoli), so I feel my view is valid. I will assume, she was pretty through Photoshop, which makes her an unreal and virtual individual!
I did very much like the response on Twitter by a man called Richard Bright, his view: “@sallywhyte @BernardKeane Exploit women for $, exploit diggers for $. It’s almost as if the mag is dedicated to unprincipled pursuit of $“, and this is a surprise….how?
When we go to the Zoo Weekly page we see: “So it’s little wonder we reach almost 500,000 Aussie men every issue. They turn to us to see the hottest Australian women, have a laugh and stay ahead of the pack when it comes to what’s hot in the worlds of sport, gaming, entertainment and gadgets“. So a weekly magazine that hits 500K readers on a weekly base is not something that is going away any day soon.
Then we see the comparison between the Zoo comments and rapists. So, did you do any work on this Laura? You see, this was shown in the article by Anna North, an article found on Jezebel.com, which has the ample title ‘Can You Tell the Difference between a Men’s Magazine and a Rapist?‘ (at http://jezebel.com/5866602/can-you-tell-the-difference-between-a-mens-magazine-and-a-rapist), which was published in September 2011. This does not invalidate Laura’s view at all, but the smiling face in her video is a lot less mysterious now. What she did not elaborate on is the part that Jezebel (Anna North) did have a decent handle on, and takes time to properly go over the materials in her article.
“The men didn’t want to agree with rapists”, is a quote that makes perfect sense, in addition, Dr Miranda Horvath and Dr Peter Hegarty found the results disturbing. The powerful addition is: “There is a fundamental concern that the content of such magazines normalises the treatment of women as sexual objects. We are not killjoys or prudes who think that there should be no sexual information and media for young people. But are teenage boys and young men best prepared for fulfilling love and sex when they normalise views about women that are disturbingly close to those mirrored in the language of sexual offenders?”
The article shows 16 quotes, with at the bottom a list whether the quote came from a magazine or a rapist. I found the list disturbing because it was hard to tell which was which, this in addition gets me back to the issue how the editor let the Danny Dyer quote get by in the first place?
You see, my view in all this is entirely different. I do not hide behind feminism and I find the quotes equally if not more disturbing. You see, you the reader (no matter which gender) are just consumer, product to purchase ‘a’ magazine. There is one for the He’s of the planet and one for the She’s of the planet. The younger male group is all about sex (and cars and footie). They say that the younger male thinks of sex at least five times a minute every single day (even more when he has his eyes closed), apparently women think of sex with regularity too, but I have no true source that can be regarded as ‘reliable’ here. You see, the issue people forget is that magazines are not about making sex objects, or building the world of misogyny, magazines are about one thing only, they are about profit!
There was a study years ago that gave the notion that single man and single women are 35% more likely to buy a glossy magazine. 35% is a lot! So we see that those male editions would focus on the sex premise of threesomes and other artistically tantalising events of a carnal nature. There are loads of articles written not with the scientific notion of accuracy, but with the scientific eye of keeping people reading and nudging them towards a path where the man makes his ‘perfect’ choice, which is a woman that is so unlikely to exist, which will allow for him to remain single for a lot longer, which of course is good for magazine revenue.
The ladies might have read articles in the air of: ‘wait for that right one, that Brad Pitt, so suave and so good looking, so fashionable’. I am phrasing this in my own way, but that is what some of these articles add up to. Guess what, if he looks like Brad Pitt and is Suave and sophisticated like Brad Pitt, then it is either Brad Pitt or George Clooney and both are taken! Whilst you wait on that impossible guy, going out with the girls, scoping the field for that man, 5-10 years passed by and soon you are out of options and your biological clock will soon be shutting down! Do not fret ladies, the men are in a similar position. The magazines like Zoo, Loaded, Maxim and similar magazines, give that raunchy woman, boobs with a matching thigh region like a porn star, they are about naughty dances, dressing up and bringing their girlfriend to rile you both up with lap dances and then they get the night of their life! It is all innuendo, but the men are getting deceived just as much (perhaps even more). Photo shopped women in cheerleader outfits, or in their high school skirt with transparent top. All fake image to prevent both sides to actually look around and get talking to that decent woman who looks nothing like a porn star, but is likely warm, well-articulated and passionate (once you get to know her). You ladies are ignoring these men at bar because they look slightly clumsy (they are just nervous because you do look a lot better than they bargained for) and whilst these two wars of confusion are going on, each on their own lawn, neither party will receive any feedback on the attempt to communicate! Now if you (that man or woman) are remaining single on purpose than that is just fine! It is your choice! No one will think less of you!
Back to the initial issue. I think Laura Pintur’s video is debatable, not because of her approach, but the fact that she comes with 5 year old material (which was used by other sources), including a fair bit based on an article by Anna North (Jezebel.com). I do not oppose her goals and if Zoo is lost from all the shelves I will not lose a moments sleep on it. However, she did not do her research in a proper way and she should have mentioned her sources, as the video is quite close to Plagiarism (as I see it). In addition, Zoo was not that original on that Boob job raffle, which made the news in 2005 (at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4377968.stm), yet now we see the interesting part. When we look in the Sydney Morning Herald (at http://www.smh.com.au/national/boob-job-competition-outrages-experts-20070813-t2o.html), we see that Zoo is doing it again, only not in the UK, now they are trying it in Australia. Here we have ourselves an issue. The Sydney Morning Herald one quote states “A publicist for the magazine said the surgeon was still yet to be confirmed. Asked if she was aware that such a competition may be illegal, she said ‘that may be the case but that’s something the winner can sort out directly’“, so the spokesperson was asked regarding the legality of the issue. Now I wonder, if sales are gained by advertising something illegal, should there not be harsh consequences?
So Perhaps Laura Pintur might have added to her article that the magazine has possibly engaged into illegal activities, is that not an excellent additional reason to bar Zoo Weekly from the shelves of Supermarkets?
My issue remains that the bulk of these examples are years old, which definitely dulls the ‘bang’ of the article.