Nuts magazine did women no favours - and its closure was long overdue

Women's sexualised bodies seemed to be everywhere in my adolescent days

Share

I can’t say I’ll be shedding any tears about the prospect of Nuts folding. It was the first lads mag I was really aware of.  I would walk into newsagents as a teenager and my eyes would be immediately drawn to the top shelf, with all the girls proffering their breasts and bums, and I would dissect my own body and find it wanting.

Nuts Magazine was launched in January 2004 and had an average weekly circulation of over 300,000 when it was most popular. However, times have been hard for lads mags. Not only have they been targeted by UK Feminista and Object’s Lose the Lads Mags campaign, but they’ve also suffered because they are competing with internet pornography, which is much naughtier and can be accessed for free. In the second half of 2013, Nuts’ circulation had declined to just over 53,000 in print and 9,000 digital editions. Part of this decline has been attributed to the publisher’s decision to pull them from Co-Op stores rather than have them equipped with ‘modesty bags’ so that their covers would not be visible.

Lots of media affected the way I viewed my adolescent body, including fashion publications, catwalk models, pornography, advertisements for cologne, beer and clothes. The sexualized bodies of women seemed to be everywhere. Look like this, push up your tits, pout, and get the boys interested. I responded in two ways. I stopped eating, and when I was poor and at university, I gave up my bar job and started modelling. You get paid more if you take your top off. I don’t want to judge anyone’s decision to pose sans garments, but I never felt less like a person and more a sum of my body parts. I stopped because I wanted to say and do things rather than be looked at.

Lads mags like Nuts and Zoo contribute to a culture where women are seen as objects (to be acted upon) while men are the subjects who do the acting and enjoying of passive female bodies, displayed for their enjoyment. It’s simplistic and untrue to say that lads mags are ‘to blame’, but they must be read as part of a wider cultural context, where women are under constant scrutiny in terms of their appearance and sex appeal. If women are presented as sexualized objects ‘for the taking’, this strips them of complex personalities, desires, and the ability to live their lives free from harassment and unwanted sexual attention.

Women are still deemed to be ‘asking for it’ if they go out drinking, wearing short dresses.  My 16-year-old sister and I are unable to walk outside without being assailed with catcalls, whether I’m popping out for fags and milk, or she is on her way to school.

Even the name of Nuts conjures up a sense of reductive gender stereotyping. If you look at Bedroom Babe Lauren or Real Amateur Babes, you must have the erstwhile ‘nuts’ it takes to be a ‘real man’. Got nuts? Look at Nuts. In the real world, this is, of course, not the case. Just like women, men should not be reduced to the ‘titties, film and football’ approach favoured by lads mags.

Let’s stop presenting young men and women with a homogenous image of the unclothed female, available to fulfil male desires without (conveniently) displaying any of her own. As far as I’m concerned, Nuts can be consigned to the scrapheap without sadness.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The law is too hard on sexting teenagers

Memphis Barker
 

Obama must speak out – Americans are worried no one is listening to them

David Usborne
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game