An open letter to FHM, on why it’s not acceptable to refer to women as ‘victims’

Violence against women is no laughing matter, and features like this only make it worse. What does the magazine think it is trying to achieve with this stuff?

Zoe Stavri
Tuesday 04 December 2012 17:17

Dear FHM,

I get it. I really get it. You’re pretty sexist, and you think you're funny. I know this. You really don’t need to prove this by normalising violence against women.

In your “What Not To Wear” feature, you decided to be very droll by advising your readership not to wear women’s socks. Might I just point out that you’re really missing out here, as women’s socks tend to be a little softer than men’s socks, and if you buy the over-the-knee ones, your legs will be toasty all winter?

Sorry, I wandered off the point, there. Where was I? Oh yes, normalising violence against women, and how it really isn't cool.

See, at the end of the little slot, you advise your readers not to wear their “girlfriend/mother/victim’s socks”. You might think this is a light-hearted little joke, a friendly bit of fun. Banter, if you will.

If that’s the case, you’re wrong in the way only the truly humourless can be wrong. Have you thought at all about what a “victim” is, other than the butt of your edgy humour? Did you know that up to one in ten of your readers might have raped – maybe more than once – and shared a wry smile upon reading your little joke, while resolving not to steal the socks off of anyone he rapes in the future? Or that one in five of your readers are likely to think it’s all right to hit a woman, and you’ve just made that a little bit more acceptable?

Or maybe you think your little joke is much funnier because all of this happens. Perhaps you’re trying to market yourselves to that all-important “perpetrator” demographic by laughing along with them?

In your sad attempt to be edgy, that's the unintended consequence.

If that's the case, kindly desist. Emigrate, self-immolate, I don't care what you do, just stop. There is quite enough violence of women going on without you making it seem like it's all a bit of fun and having a victim is just as normal as having a girlfriend or mother.


Zoe (no hugs, kisses, and I’m not letting you anywhere near my socks)

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