Rape, rhetoric and research: a reluctant defence of lad mags

Who wants to be an apologist for lad mags? Not me. Reading them (which I do semi-regularly for work reasons) is a distinctly grimy and tedious experience, thanks to their special mix of joyless boobery, football news I’ve already heard and summaries of things I saw on the internet weeks ago.

Remember when Zoo got monstered over a Danny Dyer advice column that suggested a correspondent “cut [his] ex’s face”? I posted the horrified twitpic that started that round of outrage. I don’t like lad mags, and they probably wouldn’t like me much, if they had any opinion on me at all. So I basically hate having to say what I’m about to say, but: lad mags have been treated unfairly in the most recent accounts of their vileness. Continue reading

Running away from the voices

I like to run. When I started running semi-seriously, I would go out in the evening for a couple of miles of huffing and puffing – sometimes alone, sometimes with friends. I usually ran two or three times a week, and (this is an estimate because I never kept a diary of it) once or twice a fortnight my run would be attended by some form of moronic heckling.

Sometimes, that meant a car horn beeping as the vehicle came up behind me. Sometimes, a driver or a passer-by shouting something leery or critical. Bizarrely, a pizza delivery moped once made two circuits of the park so the kid riding it could bark – proper, gutteral dog barks – at me and the friends I was running with. Continue reading

[Comment is free] Listen to the boys, not just the girls

This piece was originally published by the Guardian

A lot of words get spilt over the inner lives of girls in the UK. Have they been over-sexualised by Bratz dolls and padded training bras? Do they aspire to have productive lives, or have they all been seduced by glamour and celebrity? Now the Girl Guides has released a detailed and thoughtful survey, showing that girls value their friends, are close to their mothers, worry about the environment but are nearly all happy most of the time. Continue reading