Now psychologists from Middlesex University and the University of Surrey have made the alarming discovery that when presented with quotes from lad mags and convicted rapists describing women, the majority of people taking part could not distinguish the sources of the quotes.
Yawn, you might think, lad mags are all about bombast and swagger and everybody knows it’s a bit of a joke. FHM, Loaded, Nuts and Zoo, the magazines used for this study are hardly held up as pillars of society, they just pick sports personalities of the year. Ok, how do you feel about this finding?
Dr Miranda Hovarth, lead researcher from Middlesex University commented on the results, “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.”
Fellow researcher Dr Peter Hegarty from the University of Surrey added, “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?”
Short answer: no.
What do most people, male or female, ultimately hope for? To be in a fulfilling and loving relationship. The language these magazines use set young men up to be angry at young women who don’t make it their life ambition to be a High Street Honey.
But it’s not just teenage boys and young men who are having their relationships with women manipulated by language. In America and the UK this year police have brought out campaigns aimed at combating rape. Both campaigns concern the alcohol intake of young women.
In the UK Derbyshire Police are telling young people, “Gauge your behaviour”. Fine, everything in moderation Derbyshire Police. However, what you might not know about drinking to excess is that there is a fine line between being tipsy and being a victim. The gauge on the advert shows an arrow going from Sober to Tipsy to Victim.
Tory Cabinet Member for Public Health Councillor Carol Hart said of the campaign: “excessive drinking by some can spoil it for others”. Which is true. But this is a campaign concerning rape, and is all too easy to read as ‘rape victims spoil it for others’
Again, yes, sadly this can be a result of drinking too much, but why are we moving the blame on from the rape victim to the friends?! Why is it ANYBODY but the rapist we are looking to blame? These adverts display a disturbing urge to point the finger anywhere other than the rapist.
What it comes down to is the still-ingrained Damsel in Distress mind-set. Instead of helping the damsel to build a staircase to escape, the damsel is chastised for being in the tower in the first place. Telling a rape victim they shouldn’t have had that drink or worn that skirt is akin to asking Snow White if she has considered simply not having an evil stepmother.
This is not helping the damsel take control; it is blaming her and relieving the evil stepmother/witch/troll of responsibility. Who, after all, was only having a bit of a laugh, GEE.