Student Considers “Lads’ Mag” Ban Motion

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A Southampton University student is considering bringing a motion to Union Council, the highest decision making body in the students’ union, to ban the sale of “lads’ mags” in the SUSU shop, the Wessex Scene can reveal.

The motion, which has not yet been formally submitted to Union Council via the SUSU website, was mooted by Laur Evans in the Southampton University Feminist Society group on Facebook.

Ms. Evans posted on the group that a ban on so-called “lads’ mags” from the shop would be on the basis that “soft porn is a subtler aspect of rape culture, and people don’t appreciate that cumulatively it leads to a sexist, homophobic and violent society.”

Magazines such as FHM and Nuts would face the axe if the motion was passed by Union Council.

Ms. Evans, who helped set up FemSoc last year and was part of the team that contributed to the society picking up an Excellence in Volunteering Award for Innovation, does not plan to submit the motion without further discussion with students.

Anyone interested in adding their opinion to this issue can do so below. The University of Southampton Feminist Society can be found here.

If you wish to submit an idea to Union Council, you can do so by clicking here.

Update: The University of Southampton Feminist Society would like to clarify that the mooted motion is from an individual, and not the society itself.

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Discussion201 Comments

  1. avatar

    Was following this discussion the other day in the group. Some pretty extreme views put forward. I don’t think anyone actually buys them from the Union shop, so to be honest I don’t think anyone would miss them, although I know that a hell of a lot of people are going to object to the claim that they contribute to any sort of ‘rape culture’.

    Joe Tait
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    If you genuinely believe they don’t sell any, why do they stock them?
    What is the relevance of your claim that “a hell of a lot of people are going to object”? It is hardly a closed issue, and if they do object then they will not be able to do so definitively.

  2. avatar

    FemSoc or ThoughtPoliceSoc?

    Rhiannon
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    Hello, I’d just like to point out (yet again) that FemSoc are not actually currently spearheading this campaign. The articles clearly cites Laur Evans as an individual.
    Whether or not members of FemSoc want to support Laur is up to them, but please refrain from your casual and unfounded negative comments about our society.

    Joe Tait
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    In favour of freedom for magazines or freedom to rape?

  3. avatar

    To Andre, and any other reader who feels there is no real correlation between lad’s mags and rape culture, please read the following link:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/the-womens-blog-with-jane-martinson/2011/dec/09/lad-mags-rapists-study

    ‘A new study reveals the public find it hard to differentiate between the language used by convicted sex offenders and mainstream magazines’

    Andre Pusey
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    That’s fine, but by passing THIS motion at THIS Union, it is inferring that OUR students are influenced by lad mags in OUR shop to rape people. Are our students raping people? I don’t think so. This seems like an issue that, if you have an opposition to lads’ mags, you should bring it up where it is affecting… ie in the country, not at our union, because it isn’t affecting us here.

    Aaron
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    http://www.wessexscene.co.uk/news/2012/01/02/southampton-woman-sexually-assaulted/

    http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/9288454.Stalker_sexually_assaulting_women_in_city/

    http://www.wessexscene.co.uk/features/2011/10/24/how-safe-is-southampton-2/

    “Violent attacks on students, men and women are a weekly occurrence, the statistics showing a higher than normal crime rate for the city, with 31.6 in 1000 people having reported having violence committed against them, compared to the national average of 14.8 in 1000 people. Sexual assaults are higher than average by 0.8 and the amount of criminal damage that is reported is almost double.”

    Well it definitely happens on our doorstep.

    Andre Pusey
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    Yes Aaron, but you’re missing the point. THOSE arseholes who have raped people in Southampton are NOT students of our university. Therefore, banning them in the Union shop is pointless, misguided and unnecessary. You’re aiming at the wrong place.

    Emily
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    Do you think that when the students from this University graduate they go into some form of limbo? No, they leave and then go out into the world being mentioned – the door stop. Those men that are committing those horrific crimes, do you think none of them went to University? A University with a shop selling soft-porn magazines?

    Andre Pusey
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    Well I’m not sure about whether or not the rapists have gone to university, as I have no evidence either way. I’d hope (and expect) that only a very small percentage would have gone to university. The big issue I have with this is that there is no real effective way to prove that there is any link between the purchase of soft porn magazines and rape. If I was convinced that there was a link, then there would obviously be a problem and I would support this motion fully. There are so many other things that could push someone from any university to become a rapist, and there’s no way to prove that soft porn mags are one of these.

    Thomas Steadman
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    And blaming every rape and attack on students who buy Lad’s mags in SUSU shop is a little extreme. And of course it happens on our doorsteps. If you can show me a city in the UK the size of SOuthampton, especially with such a large student prescence, where rape and sexual assualts don’t occur then i’ll eat my words.
    Its the culture of today – horrible things like that occur. Banning two magazines from one small shop in the middle of a university 5 minutes from a high street is never ever gonna change a thing.

    Andre Pusey
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    Again, they will argue that it shows that SUSU is opposed to that sort of thing, and takes a moral stance against rape culture etc. which is a fair point they make, but not everyone does oppose lads’ mags which is the issue.

    Thomas Steadman
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    I agree such a stance would be admirable, however a more effective way and a better way of communicating the message would be to run self defence lessons for anyone who feels worried, give out rape alarms for free etc. Not take a pointless stance in the union shop which will have little or no effect on the wider student body then resentment towards busybodies.

    Ed Wood
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    Why is it the responsibility of the victim to protect him/herself with alarms and self-defence lessons? Not to mention that most rapists are known to the victim rather than random attacks, so measures like that wouldn’t help in most attacks anyway. If there’s something people can do to stop the normalisation of rape and sexual abuse in the first place, and getting rid of mags that do this would be a good first step.

    Joe Tait
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    You can’t verifiably claim that no students at this university have committed rape. The number of rapes that are reported are incredibly low (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/mar/13/rape-convictions-low), so you have hardly anyway of making that claim.

    From the tone of the rest of your comment it seems that you think that the removal of these goods could be good in other places(“you’re aiming at the wrong place”). Were should this be placed?

    “The big issue I have with this is that there is no real effective way to prove that there is any link between the purchase of soft porn magazines and rape. ” Would you accept medical treatment on the grounds that it has not been shown to do harm? How is this not directly comparable?

    “And blaming every rape and attack on students who buy Lad’s mags in SUSU shop is a little extreme. ” Who has done this?

    “If you can show me a city in the UK the size of SOuthampton, especially with such a large student prescence, where rape and sexual assualts don’t occur then i’ll eat my words.” This wouldn’t demonstrate that lads mags have any effect on rape, so why would you eat your words?

    “not everyone does oppose lads’ mags which is the issue.” There are many things that not everyone opposes, it does not mean the union will give way to want they want.

    “not everyone does oppose lads’ mags which is the issue.” Not everyone opposes them not selling them. Why is that not an issue to you?

    ” a more effective way and a better way of communicating the message would be to run self defence lessons for anyone who feels worried, give out rape alarms for free etc.” We are not in an either/or situation.

    “little or no effect on the wider student body”. Do you not think that little effect is worth it when it comes to stopping rape?

    Joe
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    Why are there always people trying to infringe on the rights of others? People can make their own decision as to whether to buy a soft porn magazine or not. Because a few studies show statistically there may be a link does not make it conclusive, and certainly not important. People will always make their own choices in life, and you can not, and SHOULD not make them do any differently. You can’t control every aspect of people’s lives that MIGHT lead them to do something morally wrong, and if you believe we should, then you are very much the one who’s morals are mixed up.

    Joe Tait
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    Many drugs are currently illegal due to the fact that this MIGHT lead them to do something morally wrong.

    People have to checks before working with children because otherwise it MIGHT lead to something morally wrong.

    People have to be over a certain age to buy knives because they MIGHT do something morally wrong.

    Are all of these laws ridiculous?

    “Why are there always people trying to infringe on the rights of others?” If one believes that people buying a product will cause them to harm others then of course they should have a say. For example, if I threaten to stab you, then it is reasonable for the police to say that I should not be allowed a knife, as there is a correlation between threats to stab and actual stabbings. Where is the flaw in this argument?

    “Because a few studies show statistically there may be a link does not make it conclusive, and certainly not important. ” In this case studies show conflicting results, hence they are certainly not conclusive. However, if they were, to say they are not important is pretty sick. To say they are unimportant is to say that people being raped is a worth while price to pay for people to view these magazines, which is abhorrent.

    Boyce
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    A totally meaningless study. See: http://graunwatch.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/the-feminist-agenda/

    Jonny
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    Implying “rape culture” wouldn’t exist without lad’s mags.

    They’ll stop making them when people stop buying them.

    Joe Tait
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    I don’t think that implication was that it wouldn’t exist, just that it could worsen it, and that that is a worthy enough reason to stop selling them.

    Charlotte
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    The article mention brushes over one VERY important point:
    That the men questioned adjusted their views if finding out if it came from a rapist.
    There is a MASSIVE difference between a man in a consentual relationship liking sex which, for example, may be rough, to a man who enjoys having rough sex with strangers who are resisting him.
    I quote (from the article):
    “A girl may like anal sex because it makes her feel incredibly naughty and she likes feeling like a dirty slut. If this is the case, you can try all sorts of humiliating acts to help live out her filthy fantasy.”
    Key word here: ‘fantasy’!
    The differences here between what she wants, and what a sick rapist would do. A normal person would want to ‘help her live out her filthy fantasy’, a rapist would violently FORCE their own fantasy upon someone else.
    Words used to associate sex do sometimes sound aggressive – it does NOT mean that the sex in unconsentual or harmful to either of the parties involved.

    Emma
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    Your rationale of that is quite scary. Actually read it, a dirty slut you can try to humiliate? Does that sound like something most women would want from a relationship? I’m not saying people aren’t into their kinks, what I’m saying is this text isn’t about embracing that. It’s about emphasising the man’s power over the “dirty slut” to humiliate her. Would you call the person you’re in love with a dirty slut? No, and neither would most of the general public.
    The point I’m trying to make it of course they all changed their mind when they realised a rapist said it – and rightly so. But the fact still remains that before reality hit they genuinely thought the sentence was from a magazine I’m sure many of them buy. This isn’t something we should be promoting.

    Charlotte
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    The woman in question clearly did want to feel like a ‘dirty slut’. That was the entire point behind her fantasy. That was what she wanted out of her sex life, and the man who had sex with her enjoyed indulging it. If he did love her, then I’m sure he was only going to try and facilitate her sexual fantasy. People who have less than average sex lives can be in love too… Just because the “general public”, according to you, don’t feel this way, doesn’t mean people can’t. I’m sure there’s a lot people get up to which they don’t announce to the world.
    The fact they did change their minds is vitally important. If people don’t enjoy humiliation fantasies, feeling like a ‘dirty slut’ or anal sex is their business, and they have no right to stop others from reading about it. Likewise, people do not have the right to force it upon them. That is called rape and it is legally and ethically wrong. Sex wise lads mags provide advice and amusing anecdotes, they don’t plaster pornography all over our SU or force sex upon anybody.

    Charlotte
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    Oh, and by ‘less than average’ I did not mean to infer that these people have worst sex lives than those with more “normal” sex lives! To be honest, it sounds like the girl in question knows what she wants and is open enough with her sexual partner to explore it.

    Emma
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    I would agree if this was a sex advice column we were talking about, but it wasn’t. If this was a case of a man asking for help fulfilling these fantasies, they hey – let your freak flag fly! However the context it was written in was sex tips for men. I’m aware it does say “if this is the case” implying if she’s into then continue with this, but honestly most people I think will just read past that. It furthers the belief that women are these sexually thirsty creatures who all want sex 24/7, because that’s what men want us to be. Obviously some women do want that – good for them and I hope they have an energetic boyfriend! But I think for the most part people either can’t or don’t want to be having sex all the time.

    Boooring
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    Emma, some girls do indeed really enjoy sex and have a very high sex drive. They even try stuff like domination, sometimes as dominant, sometimes as being dominated. It’s called a fantasy. People like you who make them feel abnormal (you’re jealous maybe?) are the problem, not their sex life. And I think this kind of literature is just not directed to you, but to the kind of people who indeed are likely to have this kind of fantasies.

    So please stick to faking in a classic missionary position with lights off once a month, and don’t label people who enjoy something different as pervs and sluts, thanks.

    Emma
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    I didn’t label anyone a slut – in fact that’s what the article does! My sexual experiences are not of your concern, thank you very much – and I have no problem with a women’s sexuality being explored. However, I don’t think that’s what this lad’s mag is aiming at, at all.

    Also, there is no reason to bring this down to insults. It only invalidates your argument.

    Courtney
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    Bring it back on topic they say a so called “study” shows that it links an increase in rape to an increase in the sale of so called lads mags but it doesn’t at all it just proves that the people who write for them are using language which they shouldn’t and most of it seems to be taken in quotes so is probably out of context. It just shows that we need changes in who and how articles in these magazines are written and the sale probably has no conclusive link to rape in any way. Unless someone can show otherwise which i doubt they can as for selling them in the university some sales figures might be a good idea personally i doubt they have that many sales and if so removing them would not really be an issue if some people take offence i am sure people will just buy them elsewhere if they want them.

  4. avatar

    I agree that the objectification of women in the media is completely out of hand but this is probably a step too far. For one thing they contribute such a tiny percentage to the constant bombardment of this kind of culture.

    Smoking is bad for my health and the health of those around me, cigarette butts litter the street and the factories manufacturing these products are contributing to the slow, inevitable death of our beautiful planet.
    Are they going to stop selling those too?

    Joe Tait
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    With regards to your point about it being a small percentage, I don’t think there is any one main thing that could be combated. Also, it is a particularly easy thing to act on.

    In terms of where to stop, then that is always a difficult question. However, I don’t think that not selling cigarettes on campus would be a bad thing.

    Joe Tait
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    Apologies for the triple negative!

  5. avatar

    I find FemSoc’s repeated attempts to force their opinions and ideology onto the student body somewhat unpalatable. Nestle boycott, fair enough they are a pretty evil company. But an attempt to curtail freedom of speech is a step too far in my opinion. Should we ban Cosmo et al for perpetuating body image issues? Or any other publication whose viewpoint we do not agree with? No. People have a right to read whatever they want and formulate their own opinion. This idea proposal must go no further than being a proposal.
    On a side note, I would be interested to see how many lads’ mags are actually bought at SUSU shop

    Rhiannon
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    Hi there

    I’d like to make clear to you that your hostility towards FemSoc is rather unfair. FemSoc as a group are currently not pushing this motion forward, and as far as I am concerned the idea that we are ‘repeatedly forcing opinions’ is pure hyperbole and unfounded. The article clearly cites Laur as in individual as the instigator of this motion, not FemSoc, despite the issue first being raised on our facebook page.

    Emily
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    Frankly I think banning cosmo is a brilliant idea. If I see one more headline about how to lose 5lbs in a week I’ll burn the copy myself. Your venom for feminists, however, is exceptionally worrying.

    Joe Tait
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    In the form that this has been brought up I would not classify this as a freedom of speech issue. If the question to be asked is should we stop selling them on the grounds that they increase the chance of sexual assault it is an issue of incitement to violence, or whatever the proper term is.

    In terms of cosmo, there could be a cause for negative impacts on peoples mental and physical health, for example causing or worsening eating disorders.

    “Or any other publication whose viewpoint we do not agree with?” This is not the point, and is misleading. The point is not that the opinion is disagreed with (I don’t even know how an image of a naked woman is an “opinion”), but with the effect that it may have.

  6. avatar

    People are allowed to read a magazine if they want to surely? This is censorship in the extreme. Don’t like? Then don’t buy it rather than inflicting your opinions on other people.

    Joe Tait
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    The point being made is that there is a risk that the magazines encourage violence towards women. If this is the case then not buying it will not help.
    And to continue to sell it would be to inflict your opinion that women should be more likely to be subject to sexual assault (I am not saying that you consciously hold such and opinion, but the net result is the equivalent to if you did).

  7. avatar

    Once again FemSoc are launching a motion which has little or no support in the student population. As with the Nestle motion this is trying to tell students how to think and act.
    The ability to choose what I want to buy and look at is one which the previous generation fought for. If these are banned then what next? Cosmo for objectifying men and encouraging unhealthy body complexes, Mens Health for making people who don’t have six packs feel unfit, Glossy mags for a poor cultural stance? Yes Lad’s mags are pretty bad, but there are very few sold as students aren’t really 14 yr old boys any more. And FHM isn’t a lads mag.
    I like to think that Soton students have a smidgen of sense. If they don’t like it they won’t buy it. If it doesn’t get bought the shop won’t stock it as they won’t make money. Throwing a hissy fit over some magazines that don’t fit doesn’t help FemSoc shake the fact that they are starting to gain a reputation for standing against free speech and choice which in turn affects any respect and sway they would have with the student body if they ever stood for something which mattered to members of the university.

    Rhiannon
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    Hello, I’m the president of FemSoc and I’d like to clarify a few points.

    a) femsoc as a group are not endorsing this campaign at present

    b) the nestle boycott did have support from the students, and we have a 1200 signature strong petition to back that up.

    Luke O'Brien
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    But couldn’t get enough people to *actually* turn up to the EGM/AGM to vote for the boycott

    Rhiannon
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    Sure, because SO many students vote in things like the elections normally.
    Motions are passed with less ‘in-person’ support than the nestle boycott all the time.
    Why the snarky comments about the boycott anyway? This discussion is about a completely different issue.

    Andre Pusey
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    You brought up the boycott! Don’t start an argument with a pathetic losing comment like “We had x signatures”… YOU LOST, DEAL WITH IT.

    Rhiannon
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    I’m not interested in engaging with you any further after this, Andre but if you read Luke’s comment it was clearly him that brought up the nestle boycott, I was merely pointing out a few factual errors.
    Your hostility towards me here is totally out of place and generally baffling.b

    Andre Pusey
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    The Nestlé boycott is dead and buried. It was NOT passed at the AGM, therefore the students do NOT support it. It was open for everyone to attend, and regardless of a petition (much easier to sign and going over a long period of time) it was NOT passed where it needs to be. You can have a million signatures to stop a war but unless Parliament decide to, it doesn’t matter.

    Thomas Steadman
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    I’d like to clarify why I have termed FemSoc in my comment. The article itself named FemSoc, and it is being discussed upon the society facebook site. If you were not willing to support the motion you would have requested any discussion take place on her personal page. I am part of the editor team for the Soton Tab and I know that as soon as we publish anything calling for something to happen with the university it means we as a website support the claim. If the storm against the comments had not blown up I really doubt we would be having this discussion. If you don’t like things being taken out of context then don’t air them in the public eye.
    Oh and in terms of nestle with a university as large as this is I don’t feel that a signature of 1200 is that great a statement of university opinion, especially as those opposing numbered much greater.

    Rhiannon
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    Many things are discussed on the facebook page, some of which turn into campaigns and some of which don’t.
    The article above clearly states Laur as an individual, not FemSoc as a group.
    Please don’t lecture me on what should and should not happen on yes a public page, but one that generates a lot of debate and discussion on varied topics, between people with differing views. It is not comparable to your website.

    Ciarán McManus
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    Funny that you are objecting to the ban on the basis of free speech yet in this instance you’re advocating the idea of censorship on a university society’s Facebook page via blacklisting a topic from discussion. A facebook group is very different from an internet publication, so the comparisons between that and the Tab are null. If the constituent members of that group wish to discuss the merits or otherwise of any particular motion, they have the right to do so without it being the official party line. Members should be able to discuss whatever they want without fear of recriminations; this is free speech.

    Jess Stewart
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    As a member of FemSoc I’d like to wade in on yet another vilification of the society that nobody has actually taken the time to really understand. Aligning everything that is posted on the FemSoc facebook page is, in my view, a little similar to saying that everything posted on the Wessex Scene accurately reflects the views of its contributors as a whole. This is quite clearly a ridiculous assumption to make, so why is it ok to say the same thing to us?

    FemSoc is a society made up of free thinking individuals. We all think along the same paradigm but there are differences of opinion that we share and discuss with one another. It’s generally accepted that we will support one another insofar as this support doesn’t go against our own views. The facebook page is a way of promoting awareness of issues along a feminist strain whilst allowing the opportunity for a dialogue to be opened up. I don’t know where people have got this idea of us as a load of angry zombies bent on castration or other such nonsense.

    Basically, if you have no interest in feminist topics, don’t look at the page. If you don’t agree with the motion, don’t support it. I’d like to think that we all came to be at this university because we have our own ideas and personalities, can respect the diversity of opinion in society as a whole and can articulate our differences without being offensive. I think we’re all well aware of the idea of constructive criticism.

    Thomas Steadman
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    Before i get branded mr anti-feminist i would like to say i am in a way a feminist, i feel that women should be treated the same as men in every sense. But you have yourself said why there should never have even been contemplated this motion. Your last paragraph says exactly why supporting said motion should never be put forward. We are old enough to make our own decisions.
    I also agree that not everyone in the society has the same opinions. The problem is your public face. Things like this make you appear worse then you actually are and in turn push away more moserate people from even contemplating getting involved.
    This is not meant to become an anti-feminist take on what has happened and i sincerely apologise myself for making it travel in that direction. However by not one member of the site saying the motion is extreme or un-needed you have failed to create the impression that femsoc isn’t in full agreement with the motion and that was what i was trying to get across.

    Rhiannon
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    This article has been up for less than half a day, I’m sure there will be some serious discussion from members of femsoc in the comments that follow over the next couple of days- pardon us for possibly having other things to do this afternoon and not dropping everything in order to comment.
    And in fact I believe I have created the impression that FemSoc is not as a group in full agreement- by actually stating numerous times that it is not, and requesting that Jamie make the point specifically in the article in an edit.

    Please refrain from giving your condescending advice about improving femsoc’s ‘public face’. Any negativity we face is caused by hostility towards feminism in general, by such things as articles which are not written by us. Other than this campaign (which I have pointed out has nothing to do with FemSoc as a group) and the Nestle boycott (which wasn’t run by FemSoc, just a lot of its members) please provide evidence for your case that we ‘appear worse than we are’. I don’t see that FemSoc itself does anything that could cause people to react negatively to us. The all-pervasive, outdated and ridiculous idea that feminism is about man-hating and restricting people of their choices has nothing to do with us, and everything to do with the representation of feminism in society.
    For people that bother to pay attention, we raise a lot of money for charity, campaign for things like ‘stop rape in Nicaragua’ and ‘end domestic violence’ and ‘gay marriage rights’, provide weekly meetings about important topics, including but not limited to Transgender issues, Female Genital Mutilation and Reproductive rights, put on film screenings and collaborate with other societies like Islamic Soc, Hindu Soc and LGBT, to create debate and understanding.
    These are just SOME of the things that we as a society do. Nothing there says to me that we are in anyway creating a bad ‘public face’.
    For anybody reading, please step back from your assumptions and conclusions about FemSoc based on stereotypes and vague anti-feminist rhetoric.
    Feminism and the Feminist Society is about equality, full stop. That’s gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, and anything else you can think of. Anything that suggests otherwise is a lie and nothing to do with Feminism. Thank you.

    Joe Tait
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    “Once again FemSoc are launching a motion which has little or no support in the student population”. Fallacious statement one, as pointed out by Rhiannon.

    “As with the Nestle motion this is trying to tell students how to think and act.” In what way did the motion tell people how to think or act? The motion, if passed in it’s entirety, rather than the rather odd half and half approach that was taken, would have said that the student body as a whole thinks that Nestle’s behaviour is wrong and as such does not wish to aid and abet that behaviour by way of financial support.

    “The ability to choose what I want to buy and look at is one which the previous generation fought for.” That was two generations ago now, the last generation fought for the right, among other things, for there not to be racism (and this generation is still fighting that battle). Are you against this? Regardless, this comment has little or no relevance in the debate.

    “Cosmo for objectifying men and encouraging unhealthy body complexes, Mens Health for making people who don’t have six packs feel unfit, Glossy mags for a poor cultural stance?” Yes, probably not, dependent. Do you realise that the point being made is that when it affects other people, those people need to be considered. In a similar manner, if leaflets promoting violence towards a political or ethnic group were being distributed, people could give the potential outcome of this as reason to stop them.

    “Yes Lad’s mags are pretty bad, but there are very few sold as students aren’t really 14 yr old boys any more.” There are presumably enough sold to make them profitable to stock.

    “FHM isn’t a lad’s mag”. Lad’s mag is hardly a well defined term, so this statement is somewhat pointless.

    Last paragraph – again, you don’t seem to recognise that the point being made is that it affects other people in a way that they don’t have control over. If you think that rapists ask women if they bought “Lad’s mags” before doing anything then you’re arguments are correct (in your frame work). Otherwise they are wrong.

    “But couldn’t get enough people to *actually* turn up to the EGM/AGM to vote for the boycott”. The AGM did not have enough people turn up to make it binding. How many of the sabb elections (past and present) would have been different if people had to turn up at a single event to vote. Obviously I can’t give you statistics, and you may disagree, but I think that a significant number would have been different, and I don’t feel that an AGM vote is the most representative poll of the student body. Regardless, as Andre points out later (in a different manner than that which I might choose, inadvertently pointing out the flaws in our govt) that is in the past, not very relevant to this, and indeed, the motion in full was not passed.

    @Thomas Steadman – Just to confirm, you think that if a society lets members discuss publicly their opinions on something that means the society MUST support their claims. That is what you are claiming.

    “especially as those opposing numbered much greater” One tenuous argument that I can see could be made to support this claim, I imagine you will have a difficult time spotting. Regardless, it clearly can not be asserted as a fact (unless you had some very sly petitioning going on!)

    “We are old enough to make our own decisions.” Not on drugs, because they lead to social harm (that is generally a bigger reason than personal harm). What is the difference here?

  8. avatar

    May as well stop selling all those girl’s magazines with the topless men in, too.

    Andre Pusey
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    Another point I will be making in Council. It’s always one standard for women and another for men, in their opinion.

    Joe Tait
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    Next one or will it have to be the one after? I will second it if you need?

    Jean
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    Because there so very many of them. In fact I think you’ll find the most successful magazine featuring naked men on the cover is Men’s Health.

    Joe Tait
    avatar

    Best point so far 🙂

    Chris Houghton
    avatar

    I guess this goes to show that you can get a load of thumbs up on your comments even though you haven’t taken the time to write an essay.

  9. avatar

    There’s a strong correlation here between this motion and the Nestle one, and I take the same stance here as I did with that one.
    I agree that these magazines are terrible and are detrimental to a number of feminist causes. The Guardian article regarding the language of these mags and that of a sex offender is shocking.
    However, the decision that the sale of these publications is wrong is one that needs to be made freely by each individual. Forcing this ban on people will do nothing to tackle people’s perception. People will simply go elsewhere to buy them.
    I know that Miss Evans is trying to fight the liberal cause in considering this motion, but the real issue of liberalism lies in preserving free choice.
    The way I see it, a ban is not an option. We should run a campaign raising awareness of this cause- which I would fully support. If sales figures don’t go down, then people either aren’t getting the message, or we have to accept simply that people like to buy these magazines.
    The choice of whether to buy or not belongs to each individual and is not to be enforced by a body.

    Joe Tait
    avatar

    “However, the decision that the sale of these publications is wrong is one that needs to be made freely by each individual. ” What “free” choice do individuals who may be affected (raped) due to these sales have? I would guess that you would reply (perhaps among other things) that as people will buy them elsewhere, we won’t affect this. Regardless, your point about people buying them elsewhere does need an answer, which I think comprises of two main points.

    One, we don’t know that.
    Two, we are normalising the idea of people buying them. If people see a product regularly they will not find it odd or question it. In fact, this is one of the main arguments/reasons for said correlation.

    Separately, if we agree that there is a correlation, then I don’t see how, by continuing to sell the magazines we are saying anything other than, quite literally “The enjoyment some people derive from lad’s mags is greater than the displeasure of those sexually assaulted”.

    Obviously agree with running an awareness campaign.

    “The choice of whether to buy or not belongs to each individual and is not to be enforced by a body.” Many things are illegal due to risks they pose to others (eg many drugs). This is a body telling us what to buy or not. Similarly, the union does not sell alcohol. Are you opposed to this?

  10. avatar

    Interesting. Just throwing this out there…if a motion were to be formulated, wouldn’t it be more of ‘ we think SUSU shouldn’t endorse these magazines by stocking them’ rather than ‘you can’t read lad mags full stop’. Same distinction that council went round in circles over with Nestle.
    I’m not swayed either way, just hope there is a proper debate about the issue not the semantics.

    James Bidewell
    avatar

    What’s all this talk about Nestle? I don’t think I’ve been living under a rock these past few months but haven’t heard about any controversies regarding them. I do like their chocolate.

    Joe Tait
    avatar

    Nestle have are one of the most boycotted companies in the world, and they have been campaigned against for about 35-40 years now. There are myriad of humanitarian, animal welfare and environmental reasons for this. The main one that was put posited last year, when I put forward a motion for the union to join the boycott is their innapropriate promotion of formula milk. An estimated 1.4 million infants die each year in developing countries due to using formula milk rather than breast milk, and Nestle have a 40% market share in the industry (considerably more than anyone else), as well as a track record of flouting World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines on the use of formula milk for the past 25 years, when the guidelines were introduced.

  11. avatar

    A point of reference I have just been informed of: Swansea Student Union have banned “lads’ mags” from their shop for over a year.

    Dom Kullander
    avatar

    Put that in the article statto!

  12. avatar

    I’d like to clarify that at present that the Feminist Society as a group is not pushing this motion forward. The issue at the moment purely Laur Evans’s and those who wish to support her in her campaign.
    Although it was raised on the FemSoc facebook page, please remember that the society is made up of a lot of different people with differing opinions on many issues.

    Andre Pusey
    avatar

    Good point well made.

    Jamie Chadd
    avatar

    Hi Rhiannon. I’m disappointed as you are that others are jumping to the conclusion that this is a femsoc-backed motion. The details regarding the society were for reference and context only.

    Rhiannon
    avatar

    Could you edit and make a point at the end for clarity by any chance? It’s going to get a bit tiresome.

    Jamie Chadd
    avatar

    Hi Rhiannon. The article has been duly update. No problem. I appreciate your earlier point that the article never intended to cite Femsoc as the instigator of this debate. All the best.

  13. avatar

    Even though i’m a feminist I don’t see how getting rid of lad mags would solve anything. Let’s be honest, masturbation is just part of human nature; give the poor guys a break! If they don’t get to buy the mags from the union shop, they’ll just get them elsewhere, or even just go straight to watching porn which one could argue would make this counter-productive seeing is that leads more to rape than a few images in a magazine…

    Andre Pusey
    avatar

    Very true. If anything this softens the blow.

    Emily
    avatar

    I can 100% say this – you are not a feminist.

    Andre Pusey
    avatar

    I don’t think that’s fair to say. I was having a discussion with Chloe and Rhiannon a while ago, and they said to me “Do you believe that women should have equal rights to men?”, or words to that effect. I of course answered “Yes”, to which their response was “Then you are a feminist.” It seems to be that simple.

    My point being… Maddie seems to be saying that the sale of magazines is not leading to a rape culture, and is something that men need for natural purposes. Which I believe is true. Just because she believes that, does not mean she is not a feminist.

    Emily
    avatar

    You’re right – I was harsh. I just whole-heartedly disagree with the notion that women being naked, getting their tits out for men to masturbate to is something we should be accepting as normal practice. Masturbation is normal, obviously – no one is arguing that. But does that mean women should be paraded as sex objects while feminists just sit back and go “well they need their release – it’s fine!” I would argue not.

    Andre Pusey
    avatar

    Hmm… it is very difficult, because it’s not like men are looking at these images and thinking of women as sex objects, but it’s very hard to actually argue that as there’s no other way of looking at it. It’s just natural for heterosexual men to find women attractive, and for people who need to consume pornography as they do not have an active sex life, these are the only kinds of things they can use. But I guess it is fair to say that feminists don’t sit back and let this happen, you’re right.

    Emily
    avatar

    I would agree that there isn’t any other way to look at the women in those magazines other than sex objects – but you make a fair point about men finding women attractive so surely it’s fair for them to look at them? It’s a tricky subject, but men have masturbated without visual aids before. I mean – they have their imagination? Again, it’s a really tricky subject.

    Chloe
    avatar

    If you’re happy to classify yourself a feminist, Andre, then why the abuse for the Feminist Society? Is that not inadvertently abusing yourself? You said yourself that you followed this conversation in the group – you have to request to join the group. So you’re a member of FemSoc?

    Vincent
    avatar

    Joining the group might be on request, but reading its wall is available to everyone.

    I’d also like to add that Femsoc doesn’t have a monopoly on feminism.

    Oh and btw, some women do actually watch porn or read soft if not hard porn magazines. And enjoy it. So they might not be feminists according to your definition, but for me they are more than girls who prefer to adapt their sex life to the “normal” consensus by fear of being labelled as slut.

    Chloe
    avatar

    Vincent, no idea where that came from – of course I’m not insinuating that the definition of feminism thereby declares that person doesn’t participate in watching porn/raunchy sex and all the rest of it.

    Thanks for telling me that some women watch porn, what an insight. Being a woman who watches some porn/reads pornographic literature, I’d have never have known that myself…

    Andre Pusey
    avatar

    Chloe, as Vincent said I just read the wall as friends of mine are in the group so it pops up on my ticker (ridiculous stalker feature). I have tried not to abuse FemSoc, only attack the idea and motion itself. Plus I don’t consider myself a feminist, but by your definition I am so I just wanted to point out that I’m not a feminist hater or anything… basically I wanted to make sure no one thought I objected to it. Equality is the ultimate goal, I agree.

    Joe Tait
    avatar

    @Maddie – Interesting point, and I really couldn’t say whether the effect of making some guys watch porn would outweigh the effect that such magazines have as a gateway in to porn (plenty of guys can masturbate without porn), as well as the normalising effect of regularly seeing pornography in a public place. I guess the fact is that we can’t do anything (or at least very very little) about stuff on the internet, so if we agree that porn has a bad affect (I am not assuming you do btw), then all we can do as a union is this.

    “Maddie seems to be saying that the sale of magazines is not leading to a rape culture, and is something that men need for natural purposes.” Just to clarify, she said it may lead to people watching porn, which could be even worse, rather than magazines do not contribute in any way to rape culture. Just cos that could be read in as though they had absolutely no effect.

    “t’s not like men are looking at these images and thinking of women as sex objects” Actually, various studies have shown the brain activity associated to porn/soft porn is that associated with objects, not people. Similarly, read about how it causes them to think of women as an “animalification” of a person – http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/experiments-in-philosophy/201111/does-pornography-treat-women-objects

    “need to consume pornography as they do not have an active sex life” In what sense is this a need for a normal person? As food and water? Porn as not always been as universally accessible as it is now (nor is it now in other parts of the world). How did single men survive before this?

    “I’d also like to add that Femsoc doesn’t have a monopoly on feminism.” Was never claimed.

    @Vincent – what is the point of your last point?

    Vincent
    avatar

    It was just to remember people that not only boys are reading/watching porn (and so far lad’s mags=soft porn), and thanks Chloe for pointing out it’s not incompatible with feminism.

    It would make it tricky for Femsoc to back a ban on it, since even feminists have different stances on it. I suppose this puts an end to the polemics about Femsoc wanting this or that.

  14. avatar

    Since when did porn lead to rape?

    Emily
    avatar

    Because in rape women are used purely as objects, where they’re usually thrown about and often abused. When men orgasm to the sight of a women being physically used in such a way it internalises a view of women as sexual objects and nothing more. Now I’m not saying porn = rape, otherwise most men would be rapists. What I am saying is it is a contributing factor. Ted Bundy, one of America’s most prolific and vile serial killers was once quoted as saying something along the lines of “if you want to stop more men like me, don’t ban the catcher in the rye, ban pornography”. This coming from a man who raped and murdered multiple women in the most sadistic ways possible.

    Andre Pusey
    avatar

    I think the majority of people who are going to rape women would do so whether or not they had access to pornography. Watching pornography does not encourage men to consider raping women; I believe there are psychological factors at work that wouldn’t be controllable, and also upbringing and family beliefs play a part too.

    Emily
    avatar

    So you think the culture of women being judged on their looks, being degraded to sexual objects whose only use is their vagina, and if they have sex consensually then they’re ‘a slut’ or ‘asking for it’ – you don’t think that mentality could at all point contribute to the rape culture we live in? At the end of the day when a women is sexually assault the first reaction, whether people admit it or not, is doubt (well what was she wearing? Was she drunk? She did flirt?). This is due to the images and rhetoric we’re exposed to on a daily basis.

    Andre Pusey
    avatar

    I don’t think that is the first reaction of people. Some may say that, yeah, but in my opinion that would be very wrong to think. My first reaction, and that of my respected peers, would be “I hope she’s okay, it’s horrible to hear that this happened.” I am personally disgusted and want to kill the rapist when I hear of such events.

    Emily
    avatar

    Well that’s brilliant o hear – sadly the same can’t be said for Jurys and Judge’s :/
    But to my earlier point – can you honestly say it doesn’t contribute to it at all? We may differ on the levels of influence but surely you can see it does have some affect?

    John
    avatar

    You could argue that porn also acts as a vent for potential rapists, a way to indulge in their fantasies without harming anyone. You could argue porn leads to less rape.

    But that’s not the point, the point is we don’t know either way. To argue that it does without any evidence to support the claim just pollutes the debate.

    This extends to the overall discussion about the Lads magazines. Until it’s proved conclusively or otherwise we can only speculate on whether they increase the propensity for rape among men. So banning them based on speculation, rather than factual (conclusive) evidence, is not a good decision .

    Also quoting something Ted Bundy said as evidence that porn leads to rape is just silly.

    Emily
    avatar

    Rape isn’t about sexual attraction – at all. Most rapes are committed by people the victim knows, not to mention elderly rapes and pedophilia.
    It’s purely based on power. Hence me link to porn – women are seen to be powerless objects that have things done TO them. They don’t have sex, they get fucked, pounded, cream-pied, etc. Porn isn’t a view of equal sex, it’s a view of a big powerful man, fucking a powerless and subsequently worthless girl.
    And I wasn’t quoting him as empirical proof that porn leads to rape, not at all. I merely thought it was an interesting quote considering our topic.

    John
    avatar

    I just think if we honestly asked ‘would rape crimes decrease if porn was banned?’ we’d probably answer no.

    Consider that they banned violent porn in the UK a couple of years ago and the number of rapes per year has increased since then. Maybe the ban influenced that increase?

    Rhiannon
    avatar

    Can you provide statistics to back up this claim? That actual rape increased, or REPORTS of rape increased? Those are two different things.

    Emily
    avatar

    I’d be interested in seeing statistics too, only because it wasn’t something I was aware of.

    John
    avatar

    http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/crime-research/hosb1011/hosb1011?view=Binary

    On page 43 it lists the relevant stuff (I think).

    You’re right that the reporting of rape is a lot better than it used to be.

    And my claim isn’t important, it was more to highlight that we can’t really say with any certainty whether porn (or lads mags) have any tangible affect on the incidence of rape.

    Emma
    avatar

    I think maybe we need to shift the focus from whether porn = rape (because at the end of the day we cannot empirically prove that), and shift it to something someone mentioned later on in this post. Often when men do rape, their “excuses” are something along the lines of she was asking for it, she was drunk, she was a slut, she was wearing a short skirt etc. And this culture of slut shaming is heavily influenced by lad’s mags, which then in turn increase the rape culture we live in. When we pick up a lad’s mag, we’re told women’s main contributions are tits, ass and sex poses. It doesn’t obviously state “this is all women are good for” (although I’d argue it does just without a banner), but the language it uses does reiterate that women are for sex. Sex, sex and lots of sex! So when men try to justify away rape, or make the women seem somehow untrustworthy it is a lot easier thanks to lad’s mags.

    I’m not sure I was completely coherent with that – do you see my point?

    Joe Tait
    avatar

    It’s a contentious issue, and not resolved, but, for example, the surgeon general in the US has written about why he thinks it has lead to rape – http://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/NN/B/C/K/W/ and http://profiles.nlm.nih.gov/NN/B/C/K/V/

    @Andre, whilst it is brilliant that you have various beliefs, if you are able to get an education at a university then surely you are capable of using evidence and researching before forming opinions. Do you choose not to do this or does it not cross your mind?

    “I am personally disgusted and want to kill the rapist when I hear of such events.” Why do you wish to kill them?

    @John, thank you so much for being the ONLY person so far to actually do some research. Thank you!

    @Emma – good point

    Andre Pusey
    avatar

    I haven’t taken the time and effort to find statistics for any of my claims because I haven’t seen any statistics in favour of the (potential) motion itself. I agree though, it would probably help.

    And why would I want to kill the rapist? Maybe that’s a bit extreme, but my point is that rape is one of the most horrid and harmful acts a person can commit on somebody. It offends me to be labelled as someone who “glorifies” or even “supports” rape, as I am anything but that. I have extreme, outspoken views, as you can see, and that applies to this as well.

    But thanks for the calculated comments, Joe. Appreciated.

    Joe Tait
    avatar

    I think it is a fair assumption that people who are going to take action on something would normally have a reason. They would rarely repeat information or articles that are likely to already be known by the people they are discussing with. This would normally be done after the very vague “what do people of a generally similar view think” stage. The lack of statistics was obviously exacerbated by the fact that article publicised it at a highly premature stage, to say the least.

    Regardless, I don’t see why someone else choosing not use evidence is good reason for you not to do so.

    I am glad that you at least concede that wishing to kill people is “a bit extreme”. It certainly is one of the worst things someone can do. However, I would point out that if you don’t research things and then make claims, you do risk inadvertently supporting something. In this case it is not clear as to how effective such a ban would be, but if it was well evidenced and borne out by studies, you would, albeit inadvertently and marginally, encouraging rape. Just to stress, at no point do I think you would ever WANT to do that, I am just pointing out the risks of not researching anything.

    The Wikipedia page for social effects of pornography is quite interesting and seems to give a reasonable overview.

  15. avatar

    FemSoc in “publicity stunt to put on their CV post-graudation” shocker.

    Chloe
    avatar

    How many times, Dhanesh, this isn’t “FemSoc” this is one student who is a feminist. Get the hell over it.

  16. avatar

    I think regardless of people’s views, people should realise that feminists aren’t the enemy. They weren’t even the ones proposing this ban. Feminists are striving for equality between the sexes – who can legitimately argue against that?

    Chloe
    avatar

    Too true, Sarah, too true

    Andre Pusey
    avatar

    Many people, though, myself included, fail to see how a ban on lads’ mags actually contributes to equality between sexes. I agree with equality, of course, but there are many magazines out there for women similar to ‘lad mags’. And I know they’re not being sold in the Union shop, which is why they aren’t being discussed here, but would they feel the same about those? It’s up to the women who work as models if they want to do that.

    Sarah
    avatar

    This isn’t a feminist endorsed ban – this is one woman, who merely discussed the possibility of it on a Facebook site. Feminism, just like every other civil movement, has it’s diversity. There are many objects people disagree on! I myself don’t think they should be banned – I don’t see how that would change anything. I think an overhaul of the whole media cycle needs to be seriously considered, because frankly I’m sick of it.
    In regards to the reverse where men are sexually objectified, obviously I can only speak for myself and not the movement but feminism is equality after all. One rule for all, so the same would be said. I would however point out that the proportion of lads mags to gals mags (?) is not equal at all. If you walk into a corner shop, you’re likely to see a fair few half naked women. Men – not so much. Oddly enough, you’ll probably see it on the cover of men’s health. Would you want that to be removed too (out of interest)?

    Andre Pusey
    avatar

    That’s true, there are of course a lot more lads’ mags than the opposite. And no, I wouldn’t want that to be removed, because I believe that’s the publisher’s choice of marketing for the magazine, which they believe is effective and necessary. And saying “too” is misleading, because I believe lads’ mags and gals’ mags, as you’ve referred to them, should be sold freely.

    Sarah
    avatar

    Fair enough – at the end of the say we’ll have to agree to disagree. So long as we’re clear that feminists = not the enemy 🙂

    Andre Pusey
    avatar

    No, of course they’re not. Just some things they say I disagree with, as is the way I guess with everyone everywhere!

    Chloe
    avatar

    Sarah, you’re awesome. Come along to FemSoc!

    Joe Tait
    avatar

    @Andre, yes I would say gals mags are bad too

    “publisher’s choice of marketing for the magazine, which they believe is effective and necessary. ” What does necessary mean to you out of interest? Just a genuine question?

    Andre Pusey
    avatar

    “Necessary” in this context means that the publisher believes putting naked women on the front cover and in the pages of his/her magazine will sell copies. Which it probably does. I believe that’s their prerogative, to put what they want in their mags.

    Joe Tait
    avatar

    That is fair enough. Obviously I assume you would balance this with potential harm to society, and societies prerogative to protect itself, in the same way as you would presumably abhor and criticise a magazine inciting racial hatred to “sell copies” or because it is “what they want in their mags”.

    I am not claiming the necessary evidence has been demonstrated, but just pointing out that there are many more necessary things than someone profiting from a potentially harmful magazine.

    Andre Pusey
    avatar

    Yeah, of course. I agree.

  17. avatar

    Whilst I do believe there is something wrong and quite poisonous about porn (of all types) in the attitude it takes and then encourages towards women, I don’t think banning lad’s mags will help. I think people should still have the right to chose. What I would prefer to see is an awareness campaign that tackles the heart of the issue.

    If nothing else, I hope that this motion proposal will make more people stop and think about the messages we consume when we read / watch porn, what kind of society it is building for our future generations.

  18. avatar

    So I’ve been revising all day and have managed to miss all this “hype”, so slightly late, I’ll wade into the somewhat murky depths of this debate.

    For the millionth time, “FemSoc” isn’t backing this motion as a society – as several people have said very eloquently, this isn’t a society based motion, just one that was casually discussed on our facebook page. FemSoc is full of diverse opinions, some will be for and some will be against so to all of the commenters who’ve been abusive, stop branding us together please. This would be deemed highly offensive if you replaced “feminist students” with “Muslim students” or “Black students” – make no assumptions on behalf of an entire community of people, thanks very much.

    I don’t even know how this article has sprung up other than someone reading the initial facebook post, as nothing has been made official by the motion starter. It’s currently an idea, why the need to write such a conclusive article? The subheading in the side bar says “the topic is being discussed amongst students” – many things are discussed amongst students but don’t require a Wessex Scene article. I know news can be a bit sparse but come on…

    Personally, I hate LadsMags. I think they are corrosive and offensive and pathetic. But I wouldn’t want to boycott them at the union, otherwise we should be boycotting The Sun, The Star and any other newspapers which seek to objectify women. Detestable publications but freedom of speech, for sure.

    Luke – “I find FemSoc’s repeated attempts to force their opinions and ideology onto the student body somewhat unpalatable.” – you said that you could understand the Nestle boycott and since this isn’t our motion, which opinions and ideologies exactly are we forcing onto the student body? Because that makes approximately zero. Please, give me some examples of the “unpalatable” notions we “force” upon you? In our society meetings we discuss racial/gender/human inequality across many areas – is that what you’re referring to?

  19. avatar

    Oh lord whatever side of this debate you’re on, please at least have the self-respect and decency not to fetishise your sacred right to choose to buy what you want or pretend that what gets decided in SUSU council represents the will of the students (unless you think that Southampton students really are all inspid apolitical milquetoasts, in which case feel free to believe that SUSU represents them down to a tee).

    Mind you, that’s just a request to raise the standard of debate here rather than taking any particular side in the argument. You don’t have to be a libertarian nutjob who thinks Southampton students are inherently far nicer and less likely to rape than all those scruffy towny types to think that SUSU shouldn’t stop selling Lads’ Mags. I’m not personally convinced that stopping selling Lads’ Mags is the right approach either – I used to be more persuaded of the importance of symbolic gestures (every little helps in the name of a good cause) but I’m growing to think that tweaking little things at the edges can often be a distraction from making real change, or sometimes even a step in the wrong direction (for instance, it’s sometimes suggested there is a class element to the specific singling out of Lads’ Mags). So I think there’s space to engage critically with the arguments for not selling lads’ mags – and it can be done without saying completely ludicrous things!

    Christine
    avatar

    OK, I have never made a comment on here before but hello! I have been reading these comments best as I can and a few things have been particularly bothering
    1. The term feminist is as diverse as the term religion or political belief. Just because one femsoccer wants something DOESN’T mean the entire feminist society, both of the uni and worldwide, wants the same thing.
    2. In no way shape or form are these motions about forcing an ideology on someone, they are intended to open up debate and get people interested.
    3. Wayyy eariler somebody mentioned that apparently the whole student body rejected the idea of the Nestle boycott. Well not the entire student body came to the AGM, infact while there were 1300 signatures in favour, it came down to a mere 140 or so people voting. And it wasn’t a landslide for the people objecting it, it was something like 80 vs 60. So really? The whole student body against the boycott?
    4. People against lad mags are not asserting that lad mags and porn always result in rape, HOWEVER it contributes to a culture in which women (who have the absolute right to choose their career, whether it be stripping, porn, glamour modelling etc) are actually mistreated in their chosen career. If anybody is going to go down the ‘it’s empowering, it’s not harmful’ route, then the women in these careers need to be treated much better. Look at the statistics of the trauma which follows these careers and it’s self explanitory. The point I think this idea of getting rid of them from the SUSU shop is a stand about the way in which women are treated in these professions as well as trying to raise awareness of the wider issue.
    Lastly, whoever said that feminists just like to have it their own way and ignore the rights of men, well, rape culture and objectification affects men too.

    Have you stratified your sample properly?
    avatar

    “women (who have the absolute right to choose their career, whether it be stripping, porn, glamour modelling etc) are actually mistreated in their chosen career.”

    To compare, watch http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/13040300.

    Mistreatment is going to be endemic in vulnerable populations like sex-trafficked women, dirt poor people, etc. But I would argue that in a socialist country such as ours women always have the free choice to leave the sex industry. I’d imagine that high-visibility magazines such as the ones under discussion are the most heavily regulated pornographic medium.

    I’d genuinely like to see those trauma statistics and see what countries/populations they refer to.

    Finally, a bitter point: women are paid several times what men are paid in the porn industry, so men, by comparison, don’t have the “free choice” of whether to make it a career or not, unless they go gay, I suppose.

    Chris Houghton
    avatar

    Thanks Andy, before your comment I had never heard the word “milquetoasts” before. And I used to edit The Tab!

    I guess that’s to be expected…

    Sick of Nonsense
    avatar

    Couldn’t agree more Andy.

    SUSU council represents a small minority of students who think they’re politicians.

    Friend
    avatar

    I like you Andy. Let’s be friends.

  20. avatar

    1) Women still suffer a range of inequalities in modern society, including shocking rates of sexual violence
    2) The general social image of women as sexualised male-pleasuring objects is a major causal component of this latter fact. Look at the justifications rapists offer for their crimes if you dispute this.
    3) Lads mags make a notable contribution to this objectification of women. Even of they don’t “cause” individual rapes, they are a causal element in the culture that increases levels of sexual violence against women.
    4) The union should avoid selling things that make a notable contribution to a social culture which increases levels of sexual violence against women.

    That runs pretty clearly to me. I don’t expect this resolution to pass, but the ignorance of most of the objections to it shows what an important awareness raising role it will play.

    Emma
    avatar

    Brilliant.

  21. avatar

    Yet again the minority trying to all the shots!! Why would people buy these magazines for the soft porn alone, when it’s available via the Internet FOR FREE!!?? Why stop at the student union, there’s many other shops that sell these mags near Uni. Why stop at lads mags? Why not get ‘the sun’ taken off the shelves aswell? We live in a free society, what gives any individual the right to dictate what anyone chooses to read. GET A LIFE!!!!

    George
    avatar

    The minority trying to call all the shots? Someone sounds bitter.

    Joe Tait
    avatar

    As members of the union, we are proprietors of the shops, and if we choose to sell something that encourages rape, we are encouraging rape. If you wish to encourage rape you are a bad person. Just throwing that out there.

    And just to clarify, if selling a product affects other people, without them having a say (which rape victims rarely do, btw) then where is the freedom for the rape victims?

    Sick of Nonsense
    avatar

    Point is, they DON’T encourage rape.

    Stop getting over excited because of an poor piece of writing you’ve read in the Guardian.

    Sick of Nonsense
    avatar

    *a

    Emma
    avatar

    Could you please point me in the direction of empirical proof that has made you SO certain that pornography has no influence on sexual assaults, or how men view women? Please?

    Joe Tait
    avatar

    Whom are you to assert that? The research according to experts in the area (of which I would guess, due to the sheer probability of it, you are not counted among) the contradictory. I was not directly saying that, without doubt, we have proof that it causes rape. On the flip side, no part of his argument seemed to be claiming that it didn’t.

    The defense he was giving appeared to be one he would use regardless of whether it would cause rape, as though if the Sun newspaper were a cause of rape it is too incredible an institution to stop. That was what I was criticising, the argument put forward. I am not claiming there are not other valid arguments to make the point.

    And, as I have said somewhere else, the wiki article regarding effect of pornography on society seems to give a decent overview.

  22. avatar

    Interesting debate. My views;

    Surely by blaming men’s mag’s for rape/ abuse of women it is taking away the blame or some of the blame from where it belongs; with men who treat women in that way. I don’t think an ordinary male student with no desire to rape a women will read nuts and suddenly decide, wow I should go out and rape someone. Why shift the blame to magazines?

    People should step up and take responsibility for what they do and the way the act. When a person is bitchy do we blame heat magazine, when someone is superficial do we blame Vogue?

    Rather than censorship what students choose to read, maybe an awareness campaign about the central issues would be a more worthy use of time?

    Emma
    avatar

    I don’t think anyone is explicitly saying porn = rape. What we’re saying is in contributes to a culture where rape is not only prevalent, but easy gotten away with due to how women are viewed when it comes to sex.

  23. avatar

    Well as a man, I find this motion extremely disrespectful.

    A barrage of constant criticism of our ways is tiring, but the line is definitely crossed when notions of agressiveness or rape are targeted at male students.

    What the hell do people want? Do you want us to hang our heads in shame and be apologetic for being men, as our rape rates are higher?

    MOST MEN on this page feel the same way, that this takes the mickey and is disrespectful. However, most men are too stoic to kick up a fuss.

    Some women’s magazine aren’t angelic, either. Shall a ban for these be considered, too?

    That is all.

    Richard
    avatar

    To summarise. “Too many men commit sex crimes, but to talk about it or try to address it is disrespectful to our male awesomeness”.

    Touche.

    Jonny
    avatar

    To summarise:

    “I will grossly over-simplify a perfectly reasonable point in the most facetious manner possible.”

    Touché

    Richard
    avatar

    I must be missing the reasonable point. I see (in order)
    1) Male victim complex
    2) A contradiction
    3) Invoking male superiority/privilege
    4) An argument from false equivalence.

    I think I did well to grossly simply all of those at the same time.

    Jonny
    avatar

    Try

    1. Distaste over the fact that the fight against rape culture is, in this case, manifested in a method that also manages to paint every male student with the same brush.
    2. An unwillingness to apologise for a crime for which he would be held guilty, as is every man, by this action.
    3. A perhaps poorly worded, but obvious reference to the most men who would read this article. Not most men in general.
    4. Pointing out blatant hypocrisy.

    Anon
    avatar

    Richard,

    I am a man who has never been agressive to a woman, who does not buy porn; hell, who disagrees with the concept of objectifying women for one night stands! I am somebody who people striving for male/female equality would respect.

    However, I feel a move like this is greatly generalising men and, as Jonny quite rightly put, paints men with the same brush. A brush which has dipped in the same bucket as rapists and women-beaters.

    So, Richard, I have the right to stand up and say that I feel men are being generalised in a bad light, and I feel that this motion consideration takes it too far.

    You tried to say I thought men were superior. I do not think so.
    You tried to say the exercising of my RIGHT to think this article was unfair against men was ‘male victim complex’. You are removing a man’s right to complain about gender discriminaton (yes, men can do it too!), but would freely allow women to complain instead.
    By saying ‘An argument from false equivalence.’, you failed to see my argument there was paralleled to the one being brought to Union Council!

    So, does it feel good to wrongly accuse me and slander me of being a chauvinist/border rapist? I fail to see where you are right and would rather not talk to somebody whose knee-jerk reaction is to slander me.

    Pot, kettle black. Oh, and ‘touche’ is spelt thus: Touché.

    Richard
    avatar

    1+2) Anyone who reads “lads mags contribute to rape culture” as “males are all complicit in rape” is either disingenuous or really is suffering from a victim complex. Dwell for a moment on how common a response that’s been. It’s actually quite interesting.
    3) Really – men are intrinsically stoic? And women ‘kick up a fuss’? Come on.
    4) I don’t like Vogue and Cosmo etc. But a) you can’t seriously say they are equivalent to Nuts/Zoo etc, and b) It’s not like they are bastions of feminism either. No-one here is rooting for them!

  24. avatar

    Guys, it’s Friday night and I’m still getting updates from this thread.
    Please go discuss this in the pub, you’ll probably all come to a conclusion sooner.

    Common Sense
    avatar

    Probably shouldn’t have clicked the box marked “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail” then.

    Commonest Sense
    avatar

    This article was published in the early afternoon, as was my first comment when I made the choice to follow the debate.

    Smarmy, cretinous comment is smarmy and cretinous.

  25. avatar

    After thinking about this issue in a more calculated way than my previous comments, I have written a full blog post on my views on the issue. I hope it is more clear, clear-headed and thorough than my previous efforts. Feel free to read and comment on the article over on the blog, check it out: http://andrepusey1.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/a-word-on-the-lads-mags-issue/.

    Andre Pusey
    avatar

    Not sure why I’m getting lots of dislikes, but thanks for the hits guys.

  26. avatar
    andrew - who are you to tell us this?

    regardless of this stupid motion – people should be able to purchase whatever they choose after all union shop profits go back to the union and therefore help us all out. it is natural that some people disagree with certain things, i dislike aeros and x-factor but i’m not going to try and pass a motion to spoil them for the rest of us.

    laur, if there really was an issue with these kind of magazines then i would expect the common law principles of this country to be tested and for judicial review if there really was a problem as you suggest. one can only assume that you have no trust in mankind? lads mag=rape, rap=gun crime, video games =murder etc? people are free to make their own choices and blaming a crime on anyone/thing except yourself is proposterous.

    James Bidewell
    avatar

    I dispute the early comment made by Aaron that the Grauniad article demonstrates a correlation between reading lads mags and likeliness to commit sexual assault. The article discusses how in an experiment people struggled to identify the source of a quotation as being from a convicted rapist or a lads mag. And also added that some of the quotations from the magazine articles were more extreme. This is not evidence.

    The comment above makes valid points: the Government would surely have passed legislation if there was incontrovertible evidence that ‘lads mags’ indirectly led to rape. And the comparison with video games and murder; rap and gun crime is very fitting.

    If these magazines are not breaking the law then they should be able to continue selling their merchandise. The Student Union can decide to stop selling them in its shop but this may lead to a slippery slope. They would equally be obliged to stop selling cigarettes as someone has already suggested, as these actually have been proven to damage the health of others. But big deal, I’d just go to the co-op up the road to buy my Royals and if I was a Zoo or Nuts reader (seriously do any Soton students read these?) I’d do the same.

    Also, interesting and semi-relevant video entitled “It’s only sexist when med do it”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JA4EPRbWhQ&feature=relmfu

    Emma
    avatar

    As a small note: it’s sexist regardless of gender. Men suffer sexism too, no feminist I’ve ever met has tried to disregard that. I’m a proud feminist and I’m for equality, so please don’t post that video as if it sums up the entire movement. I’m said it again: this whole article is based off of one person’s views. NOT femsocs.

    James Bidewell
    avatar

    Well I’ve already posted it and I didn’t say anything about it summing up feminism. But I like how you bring it back to Southampton femsoc, which I haven’t mentioned once. I wasn’t even aware Southampton had a feminist society until earlier today.

    My great-grandmother was a suffragist, but there is little comparison between that movement and modern day feminism. They were fighting for equal rights and a tangible goal of the right to vote. Women today are quite rightly on an equal footing to men with some notable exceptions I’m sure. And like that link I posted earlier suggests it seems to have swung in women’s favour. I look at modern day feminism and I often find it lacking in common sense. This case of lad mags is a perfect example, proposed by a feminist (not, as yet, Soton FemSoc I must stress), where reason and logic has been replaced with rashness and irrationality. Although this form of overly-sensitive, unthinking knee-jerk reaction seems to be commonplace in our society, not limited to the feminist movement.

    Emma
    avatar

    I’m sorry – it’s swung in women’s favour?! The rape conviction rate is 6%, largely to do with the culture we live in and it’s opinion of women. Women get paid on average 17% less than men for the exact same position, not to mention they routinely get passed over for promotion incase they at some point decide to have a child.
    Modern day feminism cannot be defined by Laur’s suggestion. Laur can be. Modern day feminism is purely for the equality of men and women, which I’m sorry we do not have!

    Joe Tait
    avatar

    “people should be able to purchase whatever they choose” – If there were booklets encourage hatred and harm to be caused to Jewish people, would you think that was okay? If these magazines cause people to assault others, then what choice do the people being assaulted have? None. So you don’t believe in choice for everyone (I would claim that it is not possible for this to be the case).

    “blaming a crime on anyone/thing except yourself is proposterous.” Yes, certainly the correlation between people how able people are to buy food and their propensity to steal food is a coincidence. I am astounded at your intellectual astuteness in seeing such a point.

    “i would expect the common law principles of this country to be tested and for judicial review if there really was a problem as you suggest.” Rape was legal in marriage twenty years ago. The legal system fails.

    “incontrovertible evidence that ‘lads mags’ indirectly led to rape. ” It is true that this doesn’t exist (to the best of my knowledge), but there is evidence both ways, and is it bad if we come to our own conclusion. Also, why do we not sell alcohol. If it is for social reasons then that is certainly not illegal.

    In a broader sense, I believe the point of unions is not just follow the law. Obviously they are obliged to do this, and not obliged to do more. But really, they are collections of people to represent the people in a stronger manner they could be if they were just individuals. So it is not unreasonable them us not to limit ourselves just to following the law. Also, being the unions shop, if most people did not want them to be stocked, to then continue doing so would be the equivalent of telling a shopkeeper what they must stock, bringing us back to the freedom of speech/harm done debate.

    Also, just to clarify, if there are equivalent magazines for women then obviously I would expect them to go to.

  27. avatar
    due for a refund?

    whilst respecting the fact that this laur girl is a feminist but this is not the view of femsoc, please tell me that femsoc don’t get any funding from the union for members wasting the general student populations time with quite frankly ridiculous motions?

    if so, i would like some kind of refund from my fees because as much as i agree with the ideals of feminism, the femsoc members motions to union council are personal crusades and waste a lot of peoples time in defending them.

    Jess Stewart
    avatar

    This university has a darts society.

    I don’t think anything more needs to be said on the matter.

    Kate
    avatar

    Erm….societies receive a small and limited budget, the majority of societies function through the hard work and dedication of volunteers. Its not like anyones on a WAGE here. And do you know what – what does it matter if they were? The point of being at University (as far as I can see anyway) is to learn from others, expand your mind, engage in debate … you might not agree with the views of Laur but isnt it good to see students actively engaging in a debate? This campus is woefully apathetic, and this is what University should be about – challenging each other, and becoming politically active individuals. I think its fantastic that its opened up the channels of debate on misogyny, the media and objectification.

    Kate
    avatar

    Also – seeing as the majority of people here are opposing Laur’s motion on the basis of ‘freedom of choice’ surely its within these same parameters of rights (freedom of speech?) that Laur and any other member of FemSoc/any other society should be able to protest/ set up debate on the issues they feel are important. You can choose to support, oppose or use your valuable time on something else.

  28. avatar

    Following the same ‘procedure’ surely they should surely ban other mags as well (for example all of the gossip, fashion and celeb mags aimed at the female audience) for causing eating disorders and self confidence issues.

    Emma
    avatar

    Genuinely, I would agree. I’m a feminist but think the ban would be futile – there needs to be an overhaul of the entire written media. I’m not optimistic enough to think this is really ever happen in whole, but I can hope. This would very much include the body shaming efforts of cosmo, heat, etc.

  29. avatar

    Freedom of mother EFFING choice!

    Oh, and lads mags don’t lead to condone/support/lead to/increase the odds of men raping. The Guardian article was appalling!

    This proposed ban is a massive insult to men and yet another example feminism’s double standards.

    (‘Feminism’ in FemSoc’s representation of movement).

    Emma
    avatar

    What empirical proof do you have that it doesn’t have any effect on sexual assault?
    Also, to which double standards are you referring to? I would hope you wouldn’t generous an entire movement but one person’s idea.

    Sick of Nonsense
    avatar

    Unfortunately I can’t escape the constant barrage of nonsense that FemSoc spew on a regular basis. If you don’t understand the implications that banning lads mags would have on male students at the university (or even females!), then there’s really no point in even bothering to have a conversation with you.

    Emma
    avatar

    So when you have absolutely nothing to back up your points, let alone explain intelligently your ideas you just insult? Okay, you have fun doing that.

    Sick of Nonsense
    avatar

    The only thing that the study implies is that some rapists talk the same way about women and female sexuality in the same way that some other non-rapists talk about women and female sexuality.

    Didn’t think this needed to be pointed out; apologies for not stating the obvious.

    Emma
    avatar

    I’ll copy and paste what I put below as it applies:

    I never said it was as simple as lad’s mags = rape. At all! All I’m say is it’s ignorant to 100% say there is absolutely no harm in the way women are portrayed in those magazines.
    I don’t think they should be banned – it’s futile. I think the whole of written media needs an overhaul, this includes cosmo and heat, etc. Those do just as much damage to a women’s view of herself, and I would argue zoo and nuts does to a man’s view of a woman.

    James Bidewell
    avatar

    As SoN has pointed out, the Graundian article had no evidence that lads mags = greater incidence of rape.

    So I could ask the same question to you, what evidence do you have that Zoo and the like is breeding a generation of rapists?

    And is Laur Evans contemplating getting music magazines that feature rap music banned from SUSU shop as well? Not only do certain rap songs encourage a gangster way of life but they are well known for their depiction of women as objects.

    In fact let’s ban everything that offends someone or has some minor unproven association with an undesirable aspect of human behaviour. Or we could just be sensible and decide that people have control over their actions and aren’t mindless idiots whose mush for brains is easily swayed by what other people say and intimate.

    Emma
    avatar

    I never said it was as simple as lad’s mags = rape. At all! All I’m say is it’s ignorant to 100% say there is absolutely no harm in the way women are portrayed in those magazines.
    Again, I am not Laur Evans. I do not know Laur Evans. I cannot speak for Laur Evans.
    What I can do is speak for myself. I don’t think they should be banned – it’s futile. I think the whole of written media needs an overhaul, this includes cosmo and heat, etc. Those do just as much damage to a women’s view of herself, and I would argue zoo and nuts does to a man’s view of a woman.

    Chloe
    avatar

    “Barrage of nonsense FemSoc spew on a regular basis” – I don’t know who you think we are, but we are a small society that holds regular meetings which discuss racial/gender/human equality. Unless you’ve been to our meetings (which by the sounds of it, you haven’t), I don’t know what barrage of nonsense you’ve been privy to.

    Joe Tait
    avatar

    Oh you’re are funny.

    The first comment to to contradict is the definitive claim that there is no link. There is lots of evidence both ways, so I don’t know on what grounds you boldly assert this.

    Freedom of choice – if you read the evidence (I am not holding my breath) and come to the conclusion that you think there is a chance it encourages sexual assault then I assume you will be equally vehement in pointing out that the people assaulted do not have a choice in the matter, or even in the purchasing of the things that may encourage it.

    A bad article does not make a point false. If I use the wrong reasoning to conclude that 1+1=2 it does not contradict the veracity of the statement.

    The last point – you refer men as a homogenous group, you don’t support or explain your claim, you treat all members of a society as one, your claim to insult men as whole is wrong (I am not insulted), as well as being a general non-statement.

    Sick of Nonsense
    avatar

    The ‘evidence’ is hugely speculative, so before you begin to patronise maybe you should read it properly.

    Didn’t think the last part needed an explanation. Honestly, get real.

    Sick of ignorant fools
    avatar

    You’re honestly just ridiculous.

    Joe Tait
    avatar

    YOU are the one who said “Because a few studies show statistically there may be a link does not make it conclusive, and certainly not important. “. I have pointed out that this is not a statement you can support. So whilst you can’t support your statements, I will happily patronise you, as your comments are as relevant as singing the song for Nelly the Elephant.

    The last point certainly does need explanation as to why you would hold such an opinion. You have made a statement about ALL men and about ALL feminists. There are few properties that I think would be true of all members of either community, and I certainly don’t think they would be very insightful ones. Your claims are spurious, ad hoc and pointless.

    Joe Tait
    avatar

    Didn’t press ctrl-v apparently – YOU are the one who said “lads mags don’t lead to condone/support/lead to/increase the odds of men raping.” (and certainly not the one to say what is in quotations above, apologies).

    Sick of Nonsense
    avatar

    I certainly didn’t make a comment about all feminists – I believe I specified the way Femsoc represents the movement. I know you lot like to think you represent all feminists, but that isn’t the case.

    You’ve also missed the point – I have said that supporting the potential motion is offensive to men. This is because of what the motion stands for, not me! If you thought of all men as individuals the whole lad mag proposition wouldn’t even be in existence.

    As for the Nelly the Elephant comment – nice attempt at wit. Close but no cigar.

    Rhiannon
    avatar

    Actually, FemSoc represents the group of people who are in the society, and nobody else.
    Could you tell me in which specific ways FemSoc represent the feminist movement in a negative way? I’m the President you see, and I rather think we represent feminism quite well.

    Joe Tait
    avatar

    My apologies, you did specify Fem soc. In that case you have still made a statement about ALL members of the society, which is still to wide a group for anything that is universally true of all members to be non-trivial.

    Being one of that lot, I in no way think I represent all feminists. For one, some (a small minority) feminists may well reject the idea that a man can be a feminist at all.

    As for it being offensive to men, I think you have missed the point. It points out a potential correlation between two events. In what manner do you propose that the shop differentiates between men to suppose that one is more likely to commit sex crimes? Given that that is not possible, if one were to think that said correlation also implies causation, a blanket ban is probably the most inoffensive way of doing it (assuming it included the equivalent magazines aimed at women, which I see no reason why it wouldn’t).

    As for the cigar comment – it is nice to see you so graciously admit that you were wrong on a point. And it was not an attempt at wit, the comment was genuinely that relevant.

    Sick of Nonsense
    avatar

    Refer to my comment below.

    Rhiannon
    avatar

    “I think this is the problem though.

    Genuinely, I’m sure you’re all kind-hearted people that mean well.

    However, a lot of your campaigns come across as painfully patronising, and I think a lot of people in the SU are tired of being treated like they need a moral compass.

    We’re (generally speaking) an intelligent bunch who can make our own decisions, and this is precisely what this boils down to.

    If people do believe that lads mags degrade women/instigate, encourage or provoke rape in ANY way, then they will make a decision from that.

    In my opinion, FemSoc should focus more on EDUCATING, instead of proposing bans/ideas from the onset.

    But that’s just my opinion.”

    For the VERY LAST TIME, because obviously you are unable to read and/or process information:
    This ‘proposal’ although it isn’t even a proposal, it’s a discussion, is NOT endorsed by FemSoc the group. If some members choose to support it, that’s up to them.
    Please keep your uninformed and ignorant opinions about our society to yourself. You clearly have no idea about what exactly we do, and are basing these claims on a) this one discussion and b) probably the Nestle boycott, which wasn’t run by FemSoc the group, just some of its members.

    You can take your assurance that we’re all ‘kind hearted people’ and your advice on how to run our society and shove it.
    I respectfully request that you refrain from discussing ‘FemSoc’ and their efforts. You’ve got zero notion about what we actually do.

    Bored.
    avatar

    Well this reply has proven that you’re neither kind-hearted nor do you mean well!

    When your representatives support notions such as this one, you have to accept that your society will be linked with it. Especially since the reasons backing the POTENTIAL proposal are backed up by alleged feminist ideals.

    The reputation of FemSoc isn’t great. I’m merely point out ways with which I feel it could be improved. (And I can assure you I’m not the only person that feels this way).

    Kate
    avatar

    Reading a lads mag doesn’t make you a rapist and I dont think anyones saying that. If thats how its been interpreted here then thats a real shame. But they massively contribute to the normalisation/ societal view that womens worth boils down to sex and sexiness. Its become socially acceptable for women to be seen as sex objects, their worth based largely on the way they look (and its not just mens mags here, take a look at music videos, advertising….)

    Real women are embedded in the interpersonal context...
    avatar

    ‘Twas ever thus – this is a biological fact. I myself, from the other side of the fence, wish I had the opportunity to coast through life on my looks as women can often do, particularly in more misogynist countries.

    Thankfully normal women have enough integrity not to do this, which is what leads to slut-shaming, as it’s called in the discourse.

    Most men, themselves, do not objectify women they meet in their daily life. Porn is heavily looks-based, and more extreme, because there is no way to situate the woman in the social hierarchy, because she’s just a picture. Most porn is a hell of a lot more extreme than real sex, because in real sex you are stimulated by the sexual response of the other person. For porn to measure up, this must be replaced by semi-taboo acts, which may be seen as objectification, e.g. double penetration, cumming on women’s faces. Most men watch this type of porn, but it is patently obvious that most men aren’t rapists/sexually aggressive in real life.

    Wow
    avatar

    “‘Twas ever thus – this is a biological fact. I myself, from the other side of the fence, wish I had the opportunity to coast through life on my looks as women can often do, particularly in more misogynist countries.”

    You are really misogynistic.

    Real women are embedded in the interpersonal context...
    avatar

    I apologise, that is misogynist, though I am being devil’s advocate to some degree. However, I feel that some feminist discourse, particularly the assumption that all men are rapists, is misandrist on the same level.

    And yes I do understand that it’s only a vocal minority who think that way. But the article is uncomfortably near that context.

    Real women are embedded in the interpersonal context...
    avatar

    Sorry, not the article, the proposal.

    Wow
    avatar

    I myself have never and will never think all men are rapists – I don’t think many people really do. What I think is that lad’s mags contribute to rape culture, which is completely different. It influences the views of millions of men, as does any form of media. Only the influence it has I would say is damaging, as it creates the view of women = sex objects. I’m not saying all men think that, not at all. But I am saying that’s the magazines put out there to those that are susceptible, and so in my eyes it’s damaging. Just in the same way cosmo etc is to a woman’s view of herself and her body.

    Chloe
    avatar

    If you know it’s only a minority that think that way (may I add, it’s a tinier minority than even warrants “minority” status) then why reference it as a logical reason to dislike or disrespect the feminist cause?

    Last year I was president of the feminist society and this year I am secretary. It’s safe to say that when it comes to feminism, I seriously know my shit. I have never met another human being, be they feminist or nay, that believes that “all men are rapists”.

    You have seriously got to start doing some research and start opening your eyes to the possibility that something you don’t feel comfortable with may actually be a good thing and your assumption is grounded upon absolutely no insightful thought or consideration. That goes for a lot of the commenters on this thread. The Feminist Society has campaigned for LGBT rights in marriage, international anti-rape legislation, more street lighting in dangerous areas of Portswood, healthy body image, healthy relationships – all of these ideologies backed up by the belief in equality. Feminists want EQUALITY. If you want to continue to vilify a group of people who are fighting for equal rights for all citizens, then there is something quite wrong with your sense of logic and humanity.

    Now can we please all have a cup of tea and discuss this like rational adults and stop perpetuating tired stereotypes – you really should know better.

    Real women are embedded in the interpersonal context...
    avatar

    Chloe, I agree with every cause you’ve listed there.

    I am also well aware that the vast majority of feminists don’t hold that minority view. I would be happy to describe myself as a feminist if it means equality.

    But THIS proposal to me seems too near the minority view that “all men are rapists”, if we are taking a universal male sexual response (the visual*) and shaming it by implying it contributes to rape culture. Is that a reasonable level of debate?

    *http://www.psych.ucsb.edu/~roney/other%20pdf%20readings/reserve%20readings/hamann.pdf, don’t know if that’ll do

    Sick of Nonsense
    avatar

    I think this is the problem though.

    Genuinely, I’m sure you’re all kind-hearted people that mean well.

    However, a lot of your campaigns come across as painfully patronising, and I think a lot of people in the SU are tired of being treated like they need a moral compass.

    We’re (generally speaking) an intelligent bunch who can make our own decisions, and this is precisely what this boils down to.

    If people do believe that lads mags degrade women/instigate, encourage or provoke rape in ANY way, then they will make a decision from that.

    In my opinion, FemSoc should focus more on EDUCATING, instead of proposing bans/ideas from the onset.

    But that’s just my opinion.

  30. avatar
    Begging for a genuine discussion

    Having read through these comments it appears that the people producing “knee jerk reactions” and double standards are the people blindly wittering about ‘consumer choice’ and ‘stop man-hating’.

    It’s clear that one side of the debate is calmly presenting the facts, trying to open a floor for intelligent, evidence based DISCUSSION about an issue. Thank goodness for the few people that are trying to do this, again, regardless of which side you are on.

    Nobody is forcing something through the Union without anybody having a say (as if that were even possible). So what are you making such a fuss about?!

    The fact that this open discussion incites such venomous comments which often miss the point and cite opinion in place of evidence suggests knee jerk defensiveness.

    Nobody is saying that all men are rapists.
    Nobody is saying that men who read lad’s mags are rapists and that rape wouldn’t exist without them.

    So why the defensive stance?

    James Bidewell
    avatar

    1) The proposal has no evidence that these magazines contribute to the incidence of rape.

    2) Freedom of speech: magazines should be allowed to write about what they choose as long as it doesn’t break the law.

    3) Freedom of choice: people should be able to choose what they read as they can think for themselves and then make decisions before and after reading such content. It is patronising to suggest male readers are so easily influenced by these magazines. And even if it is shown that some men do commit rape having previously read these articles should we really censor these publications because the lowest common denominator is an unbalanced, dangerous individual who is likely to have committed the offence due to a number of complicated and inextricable factors of which being of a Zoo is merely one?

    4) Banning any magazine from the SUSU shop because SUSU disagrees with its content would lead to the various other publications / merchandise ceasing to be stocked, where would the line be drawn as to what is acceptable and what isn’t? And who decides this?

    5) It is a pointless endeavour to ban these in the first place as there are numerous shops nearby who stock them.

    I can honestly say I’ve never even flicked through one of these magazines and I can’t see the attraction, but I do believe people can think for themselves and this idea of deciding what people can and can’t read is completely unpalatable in a civilised democracy such as the UK.

    Begging for a genuine discussion
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    1) It’s not actually a proposal – it’s just a small discussion on the FemSoc wall that has been broadcast as more concrete news. Secondly, there is an awful lot of evidence in psychological literature, and some has been quoted here. If you haven’t read it, please don’t pretend it isn’t there because it suits your argument.

    2) In principle, I wholeheartedly agree. However, Union Council is not a national decision making body, nobody is proposing a national ban – so I don’t see how this is a relevant point, especially given my original post, which you don’t seem to have read.

    3) I think this has missed the point a bit. As I originally said, nobody is suggesting that all men who have ever read Nuts, (or whatever) are rapists. That’s an extreme and bizarre statement. However, this sort of imagery does perpetuate rape CULTURE (sorry for caps, not sure how to underline/bold here) which is a different issue. I think there is a huge misunderstanding of what constitutes rape culture. It’s not limited to those who commit what is very obviously rape. It’s an exhaustive topic. I’m sure FemSoc would happily have a meeting to explain it, but the sad truth is that not enough people are genuinely interested, they just like a bit of casual feminist hating on a Saturday afternoon. If this isn’t the case, by all means request a meeting, or a cuppa (or a pint) with some of FemSoc. We love a chat with someone who is interested in hearing both sides to an argument before they disagree with it. Not many of the people on here are like that, it seems.

    4) Could, rather than would, is I think a crucial distinction here. Who decides – a democratic Union for goodness sake, who do you think! It’s as though you’re afraid that the suggestion of opening a SUSU discussion about one issue will inevitably lead to a Big Brother clampdown on everything and anything remotely controversial. Forgive me, this seems a little paranoid, and shows little respect or knowledge for the democratic procedures in place at the Union, or for the students, who as you so kindly put it, can think for themselves and are unlikely to let such Thought Police behavior happen. I can’t see anyone perpetuating that sort of behavior anyway, so I can’t see where your fear is coming from, unless you are too blinded by it to actually listen to what people are saying?

    5) This was a point bought up a lot in the Nestle debate – which regardless of the outcome raised an awful lot of awareness of the issues at hand. Awareness allows people to be informed should they choose to be, yet they can still go and buy a kit kat should they wish. What is the problem?!

    Of course people can think for themselves, the idea that they can’t because they can’t buy Nuts in the Union Shop defies belief and shows a certain patronising mentality towards “people” that I think you referred to in point 3).

    Joe Tait
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    One – thank you for forming logical conclusions and points.

    Two – to add to your reply to 3 and 4 ( I am not sure where this best fits) we also own the shop (being member sof the union) and freedom of choice for us as consumers is surely no greater (if not somewhat less imporant) than freedom of choice as purveyors of the shop. To force people to stock something the disagree with is surely also a matter of freedom of choice.

  31. avatar
    Wading Through Treacle

    These seem to be the main arguments against:

    1) Freedom of Consumer Choice
    If you’re talking about consumer choice and censorship – do you really think that the only place to buy soft porn is the Union Shop? This is a uni issue- it’s about the Union potentially backing a principle, as with fairtrade, for example, rather than your right (?- Seperate issue) to consume soft porn being taken away on a national level. It’s not about censorship, that just seems such a ludicrous point! (Plus, I’m completely bemused as to why people would pay for it when it’s all over the internet for free? Genuine question, genuine answers would be much appreciated).

    Side note: I’d like to point out, as to non FemSoc people it’s perhaps not widely known, that there is plenty of feminist porn out there! I invite you to go and look at it – check out Anna Span for example. Then look at your average “filthy sluts get what they deserve” and note the difference.

    2) Don’t Understand the Problem – Porn is Fine
    “dirty slut gets fucked” how can you NOT see that this is a small part of a larger problem treating women badly? For example, if you are a consumer of mainstream porn, have you ever felt uncomfortable in the slightest about such a video title? If you haven’t, which I’m guessing is true of quite a lot of people, then that perhaps reflects the normalisation of that sort of language, no?

    3) Double Standards, Double Standards!
    Yes, men do get objectified, if you think feminism doesn’t also apply to equality for men, you clearly have no knowledge of the feminist movement or it’s aims. Truthfully, the movement might be better off called Gender Equality-ism but that doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, and to those who are feminists, the two things are utterly synonymous so such a re-branding seems daft, just to placate those who feminist-hate without knowing anything about feminism.

    4) Feminists are a bunch of man-haters
    FemSoc, as an example, have had meetings about porn, including people from the industry come to talk and discuss it and what it means for gender equality, what the issues are with mainstream porn, whether it’s a problem, etc. We frequently talk about body image too, which is something that has been bought up a lot in these comments. When we do, it’s about both men and women, there have been meetings about how these issues affect men, talks given by men about how body image issues have affected them, as well as a short film shown about eating disorders amongst men. But honestly, that’s a diversion from the issue at hand, rather than a relevant counter argument. If you feel so strongly, go to a FemSoc meeting, there’s no castration initiation or man hating! Can’t help thinking a calm discussion over a pint, respecting each other’s points of view and actually engaging in a chat, would iron out a lot of what I can only brand misunderstandings.

    5) Lad’s Mags don’t contribute to Rape Culture
    I wont go into huge detail here because it’s been widely covered repeatedly already, but the idea that rape is a black and white issue involving vulnerable women being attacked by a stranger in a dark alley clearly misses the point. Perhaps it’s the inclusion of the word rape that brings up these images, but hopefully this is a rarer issue. I think basically every student will have come across rape culture, almost on a daily basis, but the normalisation means most people don’t give it a second thought. Perhaps a more eloquent femsoccer could elaborate if anybody is actually interested in what “rape culture” actually means to those condemning it.

    6) Prefix “I agree with equality but I’m not a feminist”
    Hard not to laugh at this. Feminism = Equality. That is it. That is why there is room for discussion amongst feminists – we all have different opinions on what constitutes equality, where the biggest discrepancies and issues are and what to do about it.

    A lot of people hesitate to call themselves feminist because of the stereotypes and assumptions it brings up – this thread is a golden example. Personally, I consider myself a human rights activist foremost. And the biggest problem that falls under the umbrella of human rights on a global level is infringement of women’s human rights. Women are approximately half the population, therefore issues that put women at a huge disadvantage, disadvantage society as a whole.

    By no means do I suggest that the only problems in the world are those which affect women exclusively. But it seems like a bloody good place to start, frankly.

    Dave
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    *sigh* ….and all of the above is why I chose to leave that silly country.

    Gosh, yeah stop selling the mags, that’ll mean there’ll be no rapists and those prone will never be able to get that mag….problem solved…Well done to all, you’ve cracked it!

    Again, *sigh*

    This isn’t even worth discussing.

    Wading Through Treacle
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    What country!?
    One where people make *sigh* completely irrelevant comments while putting their fingers in their ears and singing? Not surprised you left *sigh*

    If it’s not worth discussing, what are you doing here, besides not reading anything?

    UoBthoughts.
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    I’d also like to add that Unions for universities in their purest forms are based on the concept that all members of said union are equal and so I think that while there would be problems justifying the banning of certain magazines outside of the union it feels that while there are women who feel concerned/uncomfortable and while these magazines perpetuate stereotypes and encourage discriminatory language then equality inside the union can not be claimed. People who like lads mags and porn can find it in other places but the university should be a place where people feel safe and not objectified every time they enter the shop.

  32. avatar

    Voltaire said “I may disagree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. I’m gay, I am familiar with these magazines but I’m not likely to ever purchase one. This seems to be one rule for men and another for women. What about women’s magazines “Hunk of the Month”? “Torso of the week”? “Position of the week” ? These are all silly, cheeky, harmless nonsense, as is most of the tripe in lads magazines. It’s frankly insulting to the intelligence of men to suggest they are unable, or have trouble differentiating between the content, opinions and images published in Zoo or FHM and reality. Grow up!

    UoBthoughts.
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    I think it’s a huge problem making the false dichotomy of ‘women’s magazines are just as bad’ – a thing womens and mens magazines have in common

    They both feature mostly sexually attractive cisgendered women on the front with a normative body.

    Men’s magazines feature women throughout them as do women’s magazines. However, women’s magazines do NOT talk about treating men like sluts or any of the language that is comparible to that of rapists. Women’s magazines talk about topless men yes and they do show pictures of them but it’s not a constant bombardment, not to mention that naked bodies are not the MAIN point of offense. The MAIN problem is the disgusting language used along-side the pornographic images. However it’s false to claim that women’s magazines objectify men JUST as much because I think you’ll find that women’s magazines objectify women, teaching them how to be skinny and make this look good and this product will make you sensual etc.

    There is a big difference.

  33. avatar

    I hope this doesn’t go to council. Only because if the debate is as long and tedious as it is on this article I might hit old age before a decision gets made.

  34. avatar

    Every single person who believes that lad’s mags and porn in general contribute in any meaningful way to rape and non-existent “rape culture” is a misguided moron.

    By restricting the sale of these inherently harmless magazines, all you are doing is restricting the freedom and liberties of the innocent without making even the slightest impact on the issue you are attempting to tackle. You are only serving to slightly, yet unfairly, reduce the quality of life of the individuals that harmlessly peruse such magazines. Not only that, but you might actually be making the rape situation worse – an increase of porn in a society actually makes sexual assault rate go DOWN slightly.

    If you genuinely think that harmless access to porn is increasing the number of rapes in society, if you believe that rape has been “normalised” or if you truly think that there is some kind “rape culture” in today’s society, then there is something fundamentally wrong with you at a molecular level.

    Well then
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    Hopefully that’s the absolute end of this argument?? I don’t think there’s anything left to say that hasn’t already been said.

    Commonest Sense
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    I agree with everything you’ve said, but I think “fashionably late” would be an understatement.

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