Kira Cochrane is the “women’s editor” of The Guardian. We love The Guardian. They linked to Ruthless back when we were even less popular than we are today. However, “women’s editor” is as intellectually ominous as “no spin zone” or “intelligent design.” I like some women writers, of course, but very few of them who are primarily concerned with “women’s” issues or specifically female perspectives. I don’t like the idea that a paper needs a designated female viewpoint, either. (Doesn’t The Guardian already have an astrology section?) Someone who takes it upon themselves to provide views from a political identity will general do so in a humorless, sanctimonious and hyperbolic fashion. So it goes with Kira Chochrane, who will be the subject of multiple editions of hackwatch. Let’s see how long it takes for Kira to carelessly throw around the word ‘misogyny.’
When Maxim magazine launched in 1995, “lad culture” was all the rage. Men Behaving Badly was on TV, Oasis dominated the charts, and Loaded magazine was flying high, dedicated to “the pursuit of sex, drink and football”. Maxim had similar ambitions. Its first issue was described by the Guardian’s media section as containing “the usual revelations that beer is good for you [and] sexy women are supposed to be looked at”.
And here we go. “Sexy women are supposed to be looked at?” Obviously, in the original context, this is meant to be a nearly meaningless assertion, yet Cochrane wants to question it. Sexy women are looked at. There’s no “supposed to” about it. Men are visually stimulated, looking for good genes, human reproduction, evolution, empirical data, science, and all those bad things. Perhaps only religious maniacs are so unrealistic as feminists in their denial of natural behavior, yet even they recognize the realities before denying them. If sexy women aren’t to be looked at, they put drapes on them, they don’t insist that men recalibrate themselves to be physically attracted to knowledge of The Koran.
The men’s magazine sector was booming, and in many of the leading titles old-fashioned values – often outright sexism – were dressed up as ironic, funny and cool. This approach made it very difficult for anyone to protest. If you didn’t like the focus on birds and beer, you were easily classed as a frump and a drudge. In fact, if you didn’t like it, you just weren’t getting it (nudge, nudge).
Liking “birds and beer” are “old-fashioned values?” Those tastes barely constitute values at all. I suppose allowing magazines to focus on these things constitutes a minimal amount of liberalism. Anyway, most magazines focus on specific things, so we’re not talking about a world view or a positive system of values. It’s not as if someone who likes Car and Driver should be expected to side with the Decepticons when they invade. They just like cars. As to your other assertion, I agree that your job would certainly be easier if men weren’t so devious as to conspire to have a sense of humor in order to preemptively undermine your joyless harping.
To be fair, in the mid-90s, the lads’ mags generally had less nudity than they do now.
But as time went on, covers featuring male celebrities were scrapped in favour of semi-naked female models, and this trend reached its zenith with the launch of weekly titles Nuts and Zoo in 2004. These were initially a huge hit, and they quickly took sexism to unexpected lows. Zoo ran a competition to “win a boob job for your girlfriend”, while Nuts held their Real Girl Roadshow, in which women were encouraged to pose semi-naked for the cameras. In Sheffield, they accidentally snapped a topless 14-year-old.
This would be an embarrassment to one of those Brit tabloids that treat Robbie Williams and Scary Spice as celebrities. Assuming that taking a sexy shot of a 14-year-old is sexist, and not something else, how can doing it by accident possibly be construed as sexist? Is it racist to accidentally spill black paint on your face? Can you also, for example, be an accidental Jew? “I didn’t know it was the kosher meal, I just bought it because it was cheape… oh shit, I am going to hell.”
Lads’ mag sales have been plummeting for a while now, and it’s hard to mourn the losses. The mistake would be to think that the decline of these magazines reflects a decline in misogyny. It’s likely readers are migrating online, where they can find much more hardcore material, much more cheaply.
Well, she almost made it to the end of her most recent column without the misogyny crutch. Men liking porn and the female form constitutes misogyny. If you like looking at hot women having sex, you hate women. Granted, some porn is genuinely misogynistic, but only in the sense that some sparkling wine is Champagne.