There I was idly reading the Guardian today when I came across an article about lads magazines. Of course being a Guardian article, the main concern was that civilisation as we know it is about to come crashing down around our ears because a fourteen year old boy in Gwent laughs at a tit joke in Nuts. Whilst I don't mind a bit of crude humour, I am often irritated by some of the nastier stuff. I get round this by not reading lads mags and not shagging men who talk about women as if they are particularly loathsome animals. If the rest of the female population would stop letting the side down and rutting with these beasts, they'd soon start showing a bit of respect.
Anyway I've wondered off the point somewhat, what struck me about the article was this:
'Strict guidelines govern the sexual content of all girls' titles that have 25% of their readers under the age of 16: under-age intercourse is heavily discouraged and every mention of sex comes with joyless advice about STDs and abortion. The Teenage Magazine Advisory Panel was set up to enforce this code. No such rules apply to boys' magazines, and while weekly men's magazine publishers would deny that their titles are aimed at young teens, young teens undeniably buy them.'
Am I detecting something of a double standard here? Why is behaviour such as fighting, underage sex and underage drinking regarded as ten times worse when women are responsible? I used to really hate the answers given on problem pages in teenage girls magazines, they were always so soul destroyingly boring. For example an anguished fourteen year old would write in wondering if her boyfriend would lose all respect for her if she gives him the blow job he's been pestering her for since they first met 3 hours ago. The answer would always come back along the lines of, you are underage if you perform this disgusting act you're sure to get pregnant/ go mad/ die of aids/get syphilis/ have your home surrounded by an angry mob screaming cocksucker through your letterbox. If you wait until your sixteen and he says he loves you beforehand and you've discussed it with your parents and all your teachers you should be alright. How I longed to read a sensible answer like, fourteen year old boys are incapable of respecting anything with their cock in it's mouth. Try keeping your glasses on so he'll at least think you are intelligent whilst you're sucking him off. Oh by the way he'll tell all his friends and they'll all want one too, try thinking of them as practice and you'll have an enviable technique which will prove useful in securing favours throughout your adult life.
I have very mixed feelings about this though, on the one hand the addresses and phone numbers of various clinics and advice lines available in teenage girls magazines are a useful resource for their readers and it would be good if this type of information was available to boys too. If boys were encouraged to behave a bit more responsibly it might forever end the ridiculous assertion that devious girls 'get themselves pregnant'. Any time I hear that phrase I roll my eyes to the heavens and launch into the birds and the bees. However, just because the message sent to young girls is that their sexuality is a massive and dangerous problem that must be managed and contained does not mean that boys should be treated to similar sermons with the same tedious regularity. Perhaps it's time to stop preaching at the girls, let's face it teenage boys need more cold water poured over them than teenage girls who have the risk of unwanted pregnancy to keep them in line.
I'm not sure a compulsory code is necessary either, magazines aimed and teenagers do not just have to interest their target readers, they also have to get by the parents. I have to say if I had a son I wouldn't be particularly worried about him reading these magazines unless I heard him use the word 'funbags'. Anyone who calls tits funbags is a childish creep and likely to wear comedy socks in the belief they let people know what a crazy guy he is.
Another curious thing I spotted in the Guardian article was the editor of Nuts claiming he finds porn 'appalling'. Does he actually look at his own magazine? Is the man an idiot? Apparently as Nuts only shows mildly titillating imagery and is for 'normal people' it's not porn. Since when did normal people not look at porn? I must say there seems to be a hell of a lot of porn produced considering it is only looked at by abnormal people. Soft porn is still porn no matter how you dress it up. I wish people would be more honest about these things.