Magazine 'filth' under attack

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The Independent Online
Women's magazines have become so obsessed with sex that they should be consigned to the top shelf, the boss of a leading model agency said yesterday.

Laraine Ashton, managing director of IMG Models, said that titles such as Cosmopolitan, Company and Marie Claire had degenerated into "filth".

And she warned that she would be urging her models to think twice before consenting to pose for the magazines.

Ms Ashton said: "We don't need to read 'How to have 15 orgasms' on the front cover of these magazines. It isn't education, it's filth. They belong on the top shelf. It isn't right to say that Cosmo has been doing it for so long that it is acceptable."

The 49-year-old agency chief, who was a top model in the Sixties, preserved her most withering criticism for a new magazine, Dazed and Confused.

She told London's Evening Standard: "I object to cheapness. Dazed and Confused lives up to its name, it is rubbish and I hope it goes out of business."

Ms Ashton added: "I believe girls and boys are being exploited by magazines for the sake of ever-increasing sales.

"To have a girl and a boy in a state of undress simulating sex is gruesome, as is driving past a bus stop and seeing a couple licking ice-cream off each other. A nude scene in the shower would be okay but there has to be a line drawn somewhere."

Her outburst provoked an angry response from magazine publishing sources who dismissed it as an attempt to raise the profile of the agency.

A spokeswoman for the National Magazine Company, which publishes Cosmopolitan and Company, refused to comment.

Rankin Waddell, publisher of Dazed and Confused, defended his current issue, which depicts a topless model licking a bloody axe. "It's misrepresentation. We are not a women's fashion magazine but a style magazine such as The Face or ID. Our shots are all concept shots based around women's issues. Women shouldn't cut themselves up in order to look better."