With the final issue of FHM hitting the shelves this week, the death knell on the lads mag phenomenon was no doubt met with a cheer from many. The 90s lad culture of days gone by has long been seen as bullish and outdated, fodder only for those of a sweaty disposition sporting a pair of dark glasses and a floor length beige mac.
The news was the latest in a long line of closures for the doomed genre, with Nuts bowing out last year and Loaded being passed from publisher to publisher like a shiny, lubed up beach ball.
Yes, no doubt many are rejoicing at the news, and I'd feel the same way if I thought the closure of these publications had anything to do with a shifting perception of attitudes towards women and sexuality.
The closure of lads mags has absolutely bugger all to do with a feminist victory
The feminist in me wishes that the demise of circulation figures across the lads titles represented a victory for modern attitudes to women. Sadly, this isn't the case. Lads magazine culture has demised due to the fact that all of the sexual gratification you could ever wish for is now living on the internet. For me, that's a far scarier proposition. Gone are the days when buying a Crunchie and copy of FHM would be paired with the sweaty fear that you'd bump into your auntie's pal at the checkout and she'd give you a look like she's just caught you peeping through the girls changing room windows. The truth of the matter is that the world of nudity now lives in a private, unregulated, digital world. Browse away my friend - the only thing you've got to worry about is clearing your browsing history.
The days before the proper Internet were a simpler time
Lads titles represented a more innocent time, and while definitely far from an ideal feminist scenario, I'd far rather be chatted up by a guy whose just read "Banter birds in a bar - top five tips" than be sent a dick pic from across the way at All Bar One. Tinder, Happen: casual hookups are but a swipe away. Gone is the notion of a bit of hard graft and a few dinners; if they're not putting out, keep swiping. This goes for both sexes. The closure of lads mags represents the rise of digital and in particular, digital dating. We're longing for the days or being hit on the back of the head by a flying elastic band.
Like it or not, 90s lads mags projected a more positive body image message than we're fed today
Stay with me people. I came to this conclusion last Christmas - I'd headed home and caught up with my friends where we ended up at a party at my friends parents house. We all ended up in his teenage bedroom laughing hysterically at old photos, however also on the wall were lads mags posters galore from the late 90s.
In particular, the image below struck me. Yes, its sexualising women. Yes, it's a feminist nightmare. HOWEVER. These women are real - curvy, slim, tall, short, but most importantly, un-retouched and natural. As women today we are bombarded with completely unrealistic ideals for our bodies and faces. Photoshop has rendered our role models completely unachievable, with young girls being overwhelmed with unattainable nonsense. These women have their breasts out yes, but have you ever seen a Nicki Minaj video? Ever watched Miley gyrating wearing plasters over her nipples and smoking marijuana on camera? I know which side of the evil fence I'm on.
The closure of any print title means a loss of jobs and a sad day for journalists
Our media consumption habits have altered so dramatically that traditional media has suffered irretrievably, and journalists and media professionals are bearing these losses personally. The printed format has taken a serious knock, with digital editions of traditional magazines yet to have their day in the sun. Instant news, quick fire journalism and social media have taken over traditional long form investigative reporting - a sad day in anyone's book.
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