Psychologists from Middlesex University and the University of Surrey claim that, far from being harmless or ironic fun, lads' mags could be legitimising hostile sexist attitudes.
The researchers claim that when presented with [out of context, carefully selected, and nebulous] descriptions of women taken from lads' mags, and comments about women made by convicted rapists, most people who took part in the study could not
distinguish the source of the quotes.
The research due to be published in the British Journal of Psychology also revealed that most men who took part in the study identified themselves more with the language expressed by the convicted rapists.
Psychologists presented men between the ages of 18 and 46 with a range of statements taken from magazines and from convicted rapists in the study, and gave the men different information about the source of the quotes. Men identified more with the
comments made by rapists more than the quotes made in lads' mags, but men identified more with quotes said to have been drawn from lads' mags more than those said to have been comments by convicted rapists.
The researchers also asked a separate group of women and men aged between 19 and 30 to rank the quotes on how derogatory they were, and to try to identify the source of the quotes. Men and women rated the quotes from lads' mags as somewhat more
derogatory, and could categorize the quotes by source little better than chance.
Dr Miranda Horvath and Dr Peter Hegarty argue that the findings are consistent with the possibility that lads' mags normalise hostile sexism, by making it seem more acceptable when its source is a popular magazine.
Horvath, lead researcher 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.
Horvath, is concerned that lads' magazine editors are not working hard enough to moderate the content of their magazines: A lot of debate around the regulation of lads' mags has been to do with how they affect children but less has been said
about the influence they have on their intended audience of young men and the women with whom those men socialise.
These magazines support the legitimisation of sexist attitudes and behaviours and need to be more responsible about their portrayal of women, both in words and images. They give the appearance that sexism is acceptable and normal - when really
it should be rejected and challenged. Rapists try to justify their actions, suggesting that women lead men on, or want sex even when they say no, and there is clearly something wrong when people feel the sort of language used in a lads' mag could
have come from a convicted rapist.
Hegarty, of the University of Surrey's Psychology Department, added: 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? He added that young men should be given credible sex education and not have to rely on lads' mags as a source of information as they grow up.
As of last week the following publications are freely and legally available in Ireland: Razzle, Mayfair, Men Only, Escort and Club International.
You may have assumed that such publications are already available in Ireland, since the general lifting of the ban on high-street pornography in the mid-Nineties. However, these have all been hit with specific bans going right back to 1935 when
Razzle first started publishing.
Anyway, as of last week, these publications will be available here. They may have been sold anyway, but the publishers decided to regularise the whole thing and appealed to the Censorship of Publications Appeals Board (CPAB). This is a
five-person State body, chaired by solicitor Paula Mullooly, and whose members (four women and one man) go unpaid for their curious task. This is the first time the CPAB has met since 2005.
Yara Mashour has made it her business to break taboos. As editor in chief of Lilac, an Arab magazine based in Israel, she has set out to challenge customs and tradition - and her latest milestone is perhaps her biggest triumph to date.
This month's Lilac, for the first time ever, sees an Arab magazine featuring a model in a bikini on its front cover. The model in question is an Arab Israeli, Huda Naccache, from Haifa.
In an exclusive interview with MailOnline, Yara said:
Since I established [Lilac] in Nazareth, Israel 10 years ago, I set out to break taboos regarding women in society... I worked on empowering and liberating [women].
Huda is the first Arab model to appear on the cover of an Arabic magazine in a bikini. Lilac is the first Arabic magazine to show a cover with a bikini!
I don't recall this being done elsewhere in the Arab world.
Yara admits, [authorities] might censor it and refuse to allow it to be distributed. Some Arab countries like Lebanon shouldn't ban it, they are very liberal. The only barrier there is the political one... Written in Arabic, with some
English inserts because the new and young generation prefer reading English, the magazine targets Arabs in Israel, as well as Palestinians in the West Bank. The title is also on sale in neighbouring Jordan.
Censors in China have attempted to purge an essay written by prominent artist and dissident Ai Weiwei by manually tearing the pages of the article from a weekly news magazine.
The essay, which appears in the September 5 issue of Newsweek, urges Chinese citizens to speak out against what he says is the government's denial of basic rights. He also blasts the Chinese judicial system as being untrustworthy.
However, the article was still accessible online to English speakers.
Ai was understood to be barred from speaking to media or leaving Beijing after being released from jail in June. The internationally renowned artist was detained for almost three months after being charged with tax evasion.
A court in the Venezuelan capital Caracas has issued a temporary injunction to prohibit the publication and circulation of satirical magazine 6to Poder after it published a cover with six Venezuelan government officials portrayed as
The Intelligence Service arrested the magazine's editor, Dinorah Giron, and put out a warrant for the arrest of the president of the publishing company, Leocenis Garcia.
A judge has this week lifted a week-old court ruling banning the distribution of 6to Poder . However, the weekly was still prohibited from referring to the case in print or from publishing similar content.
Foreskin Man is not a typical comic-book superhero, and neither is his choice of adversaries - doctors who practice circumcision and Orthodox Jews who support the religious ritual.
The comic books are produced to support activist Matthew Hess, of San Diego, who has managed to put a measure on San Francisco's ballot in November that would make it illegal to perform a circumcision on a boy under 18 without medical need.
Hess is the founder of MGMbill, a national organisation pushing to outlaw circumcision on boys under the age of 18. MGM stands for Male Genital Mutilation.
Hess said he launched his campaign in 2003 but had been getting a lot of glazed eyes until he created Foreskin Man. The first issue, in which Foreskin Man confronts Dr. Mutilator, was viewed as kind of weird, he said, but the second
issue has sent Internet traffic soaring. This is generating a lot of attention that is pushing people to look into this a little bit more, Hess told The Associated Press: The more you look into it, the worse it gets. It is a serious
human rights violation. Now a lot of people are going to learn about circumcision and be thinking about it before the November ballot.
In the comic's second issue, the mohel (a specialist in Jewish ritual circumcision) barges into a San Diego home, snatches a baby boy from his mother, and proceeds to circumcise the infant on a pool table before being stopped by Foreskin Man.
Now Hess is being accused of anti-semitism over his use of imagery.
The (Monster) mohel has a dark complexion, hook nose and is practically drooling at the thought of apparently doing harm to a child, said Nancy Appel, associate director of the Anti-Defamation League: He even has claws on his
fingertips. He is blood thirsty just like the grotesque Jewish stereotypes that appeared in Nazi propaganda. It's absolutely a direct parallel.
Playboy magazine re-launched in South Africa after a 16-year absence at the end of March.
But already the editor of Playboy South Africa has resigned because he believes it should not be sold in sex shops.
Peter Piegl quit on May 23 after being in charge for only three issues. he said: My vision is that it is a lifestyle magazine . He posted on Facebook that his editorial vision was being compromised by negotiations about having the
magazine distributed in sex shops.
The magazine's general manager, Karen von Wielligh, confirmed that the publishers had signed a three-month deal with the Adultworld sex shop chain, but said this would not detract from the magazine's classiness .
Two major U.S. book retailers have censored an image of andogynous male model Andre Pejic in case customers confuse him for a woman.
The Serbian-born catwalk star, 19, appears topless on the cover of glossy magazine Dossier. But both Barnes & Noble and Borders have demanded that issues of the magazine come wrapped in opaque plastic.
Barnes & Noble said that though it understood that Mr Pejic was male and not female, the model is young and it could be deemed as a naked female.
Dossier co-founder and creative director Skye Parrott told Jezebel.com that the directive came as a shock:
We knew that this cover presented a very strong, androgynous image, and that could make some people uncomfortable. That's partly why we chose it. I guess it has made someone pretty uncomfortable.
Nobody I know has ever heard of anything like this happening, she said. Especially with a guy. Guys are shirtless on magazine covers all the time. [It poses] a very interesting question of gender.
A request made by the Turkish Telecommunications Directorate, or TIB, to ban a total of 138 words from Turkish Internet domain names has no legal basis and has left companies unsure of what action to take, according to experts.
Providing a list and urging companies to take action to ban sites that contain the words and threatening to punish them if they don't has no legal grounds, Yaman Akdeniz, a cyber-rights activist and a law professor at Istanbul Bilgi
University, told the Hu rriyet Daily News. Akdeniz said no authority could decide that an action was illegal just by association.
The TIB cited the Internet ban law number 5651 and related legislation as the legal ground for its request. The law, however, does not authorize firms to take action related to banning websites.
The hosting company is not responsible for controlling the content of the websites it provides domains to or researching/exploring on whether there is any illegal activity or not. They are responsible for removing illegal content when they are
informed and there is the technical possibility of doing so, according to Article 5 of the law.
The list of banned words has caused many scratching of heads
The effect of the TIB's request could see the closure of many websites that include a number of words. For example, the website donanimalemi.com (hardwareworld.com) could be banned because the domain name has the word animal in it;
likewise, sanaldestekunitesi.com, (virtualsupportunit.com) could be closed down because of the word anal. Websites will also be forbidden from using the number 31 in their domain names because it is slang for male masturbation.
Some banned English words include beat, escort, homemade, hot, nubile, free and teen. Some other English words would also be banned because of their meanings in Turkish: pic, short for
picture, is banned because it means bastard in Turkish. The past tense of the verb get is also banned because got means butt in Turkish. Haydar, a very common Alevi name for men, is also banned because it means penis
Gay , naked, confession, high school student, breath and forbidden are some of the other banned words.
Safermedia has voiced supposed concerns over a shot of Mariah Carey on the front of OK! magazine.
The pregnant singer is on the front cover of the latest edition of the celebrity gossip magazine with her belly exposed and her husband, Nick Cannon, covering her cleavage with his hands.
The group is asking people to write letters of complaint to the magazine's publishers and the Press Complaints Commission.
Safermedia claim that the advert demeans women and sexualises pregnancy and motherhood unnecessarily . This is an unusually explicit cover for OK! Magazine ... and is another example of pornography becoming increasingly
mainstream in all forms of the media.
The up market magazine, Vanity Fair has wound up locals with an article panning the Gulf city state of Dubai. The magazine's April edition is on sale in bookshops but with the three pages of the column headlined Dubai on Empty removed.
The UAE newspaper censors of the National Media Council denied censoring the magazine. Local sources suggested the action against the Dubai-bashing article may have been at the initiative of magazine distributors rather than a case of formal
The missing piece was written by A.A. Gill who commented:
There is no greater compliment for a journalist than to be hand-censored. If anyone has any doubt about what I wrote about Dubai, the fact that you can't read it in Dubai makes the case.
The article slams Dubai and its expat and Emirati residents, as well as its giant shopping malls, its treatment of workers and legal system. Gill even belittles the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building that is the pride and joy of Dubai.
The writer of a controversial short story must realise that there is God above everything and everyone, who is surely greater than the greatest of egos, Attorney General Peter Grech said in his appeal against the writer's acquittal.
Alex Vella Gera was accused of distributing pornography and offending public morals through his short story Li Tkisser Sewwi, which was published in the October 2009 edition of student newspaper Ir-Realta . The newspaper's editor,
Mark Camilleri, was similarly charged.
Both were acquitted by Magistrate Audrey Demicoli on March 14. In her decison, the magistrate noted that the story adopted an in your face style to make readers uncomfortable and make them think, and said that the writing could not be
considered pornographic or obscene under the legal definition -- which states that obscene material is that which simply aims to corrupt its reader.
The magistrate added noted that the prosecution did not prove what public morals were or how these were offended. She also said that the 2 were exercising their freedom of expression, and that the newspaper's intended audience, university and
Junior College students, were mature enough to process it.
But the Attorney General has filed an appeal against both acquittals, stating that Magistrate Demicoli's verdict was erroneous and unreasonable. He dismissed claims that the writing in question had any artistic merit or was in the general
interest, stating, at one point, that not every writer could compare himself to DH Lawrence, Oscar Wilde and James Joyce.
This writing is, from start to finish, without pause, without a change in style, an explicit reproduction of sexual acts, including some violent ones, anal and vaginal, with a clear erotic meaning apart from a detailed description of sexual
organs and diseases with disgusting consequences which are the result of sexual abuse, Grech wrote in his appeal.
He said that freedom of expression was far from absolute and could be made to bow down completely in the interest of defence, public security, public order, morality, public decency and public health.
He also criticised the drawing attached to the controversial story, a tube of glue, stating that it was evocative and could be understood as a representation of a phallic symbol with semen coming out of it.
He insisted that the charges brought against Vella Gera were proven beyond doubt, and urged the Court to find him guilty and sentence him accordingly.
New Zealand's easily offended Green Party has reported a free magazine to the Censor's Office, after it displayed photos of young topless women in bondage.
Vice is an international lifestyle magazine which is distributed freely in clothes shops, music stores and cafes.
The Green Party claims the photos are very disturbing and have violent and sinister undertones. Its Women's Affairs spokesperson, Catherine Delahunty, says the magazine could have easily been picked up by underage individuals. She claims the
photos send a negative message to young people.
The Labour Party welcomed the acquittal of Mark Camilleri, editor of student newspaper Ir-Realta and writer Alex Vella Gera, who had been accused of publishing pornographic and obscene material.
The party said it felt that the law against the distribution of porn and obscene material should be used for their purpose only, and not to threaten imprisonment for authors and writers. It urged the government not to appeal the sentence and
instead to modernise the laws on freedom of artistic expression, in agreement with the opposition.
Following the court judgement, Camilleri said an apology was the least that University Rector Juanito Camilleri could do after having reported the case, and added that it would be good if he stepped down.
Vella Gera described the verdict as a step for freedom of expression in Malta and said artists would therefore not feel they should resort to self-censorship.
Vella Gera had written the article entitled Li tkisser sewwi, a graphic piece of fiction about sexual violence. The 1,300-word story was a first-person narrative by a sex-craved Maltese man who spoke in degrading and sexual terms
about women, whom he treats like objects.
The newspaper was distributed at the University before being banned and reported to the police by Prof Camilleri. The editor and the writer were accused of distributing obscene or pornographic material and for undermining public morals or
decency, under both the Criminal Code and the Press Act.
The court said the prosecution had produced no evidence to define public morality in Malta and how it had been infringed. The court felt that public morality was something which changed over time, and what offended public morals 20 or 30 years
ago did not necessarily do so now as realities changed, including the media.
Furthermore, the publication was limited to students of the University and the Junior College, who were mature students who had free access to a variety of media including books, newspapers and the internet.
It had not been shown how Ir-Realta offended their morality. The writer had exercised his freedom of expression through a literary work and no crime had resulted, the court said.
A new Scottish Parliament report has criticised newsagents and other shops that place lad's mags for sale at a child's eye view.
Research commissioned by the Public Petitions Committee found that many shops were in breach of their own guidelines, which say that such titles should be not displayed at children's eye level or below, to ensure that they are not in the
direct sight and reach of children .
However, the report by George Street Research, found 59% of 'lads' mags' observed during the fieldwork displayed at a height of 1.5m or less are being displayed with no obvious attempt to hide the front covers.
Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, the Co-op group and BP petrol stations have agreed to put the magazines behind plain covers or on the top shelf following nutter pressure.
But WHSmith said the measures went too far. The National Federation of Retail Newsagents has also refused, saying it is not in a position to tell independent corner shops how to operate.
The moves come after on going campaigning, most recently by Mumsnet, which found 'enormous' unease in a survey of mothers about the publications and their images of scantily-clad women.
But WHSmith said its existing restrictions were sufficient to protect children. We have a strict display policy in place that requires men's lifestyle magazine titles be displayed at minimum height of 1.2 metres, equivalent to the average
adult chest/shoulder height, a spokesman said.
The policy requires men's lifestyle magazines to be displayed away from children's or women's magazines, and away from other product ranges which children may be shopping for, e.g. toys and stationery.
Justine Roberts, founder of Mumsnet, which is running the Let Girls Be Girls campaign against the sexualisation of children through advertising, clothing and music, said the store's stance was frustrating . It's great that so many
retailers are supporting Mumsnet's campaign. But it's frustrating that WHSmith are arguing that shelf height of 1.2m, that of an eight-year-old child, is a sufficient barrier.
Asda has ordered compulsory modesty boards for the magazines and changed its policy so publishers can no longer pay to have magazines displayed at the front of stores. Tesco is rolling out nationwide a trial in which the titles are put at
the back of the top shelf.
When the first editions of gay magazine Fun arrived at his stand in New Delhi, Ram Naresh displayed it discreetly to avoid giving offence -- but customers have ensured every month is a sell-out.
The glossy publication, launched in July, combines pictures of young models posing in underwear with articles on what to wear on a swingers' date, explicit sexual problems, and the latest cars and gadgets.
We consistently run out of copies, said Naresh. I will have to order more as there's enough of an audience for magazines like these.
Gay sex was legalised in 2009 and there are now at least eight print and online magazines aimed at lesbians and gays in India.
These include Jiah (Heart), an Internet publication started last year. Jiah , which is staffed by volunteers, steers clear of nude photograph spreads and bedroom fantasies in favour of poetry and gay-friendly travel guides.