May 5, 2010

UK lad-mag advises ex to "cut her face"

Thanks to UK ally, Quiet Riot Girl, for alerting me to this recent bit of advice offered in the UK lad-mag, The Zoo’s column, Ask Danny!.

Photograph provided by:

First, the lag mag advises the heart-broken young man to get wasted, bang every woman in his path and then break their hearts as a form revenge on his ex and all heart-breaking women out there.  As if that wasn’t tasteless and immature enough, this was followed with the option of cutting his ex’s  face so “no one will want her.”  Charming,  Danny Dyer.


This reprehensible and disturbing “advice” was met by a massive and justifiable twitter outcry:

One tweet, from blockbusterbuzz, said: “If this is meant to be a joke, it isn’t remotely funny. If it’s serious, it’s a criminal offence.”

Another, from hannahkaty, said: “To the people who think Danny Dyer is “funny” and “ironic”: Have a read of this?”

Domestic violence charities have also criticised Dyer for his “inexcusable” advice.

Sandra Horley, from Refuge, said: “It is all too easy to dismiss comments like these as a joke, but at Refuge we know that domestic violence takes lives and ruins lives.

“One woman in four experiences domestic violence at some point in her life.

“Two women are killed every week by a current or former partner. And these figures aren’t going down.

“One-in-eight young men believe it is OK to hit their girlfriend if she is nagging.

“Danny Dyer’s irresponsible and tasteless comments do nothing but reinforce these horrific attitudes. Shame on him.”

This was accompanied by swift action (yet another example of activism and advocacy immediately at work via social media outlets). As a result, The Zoo offered an apology, chalking it up to a “production error” and offered to make a donation to Women’s Aide.

Dr. Petra offers a comprehensive analysis that provides most of the answers to the questions asked.

Unfortunately there is a long history of lads’ magazines not taking relationships/sex issues seriously. From Zoo’s previous idea to ‘win your girlfriend some boobs’ through to their inclusion of non qualified advisors on their advice column they have form for sidelining relationships issues while presenting misogyny as ‘fun’. Myself and others have consistently offered to help provide frank sex and relationship advice men want, but men’s magazines remain resistant to this.

Zoo isn’t unique in this regard. When asked to address sexism or incorrect sex information in their pages lad’s magazines traditionally argue it is not their place to do so they are – in their words – about entertainment. They see having to present sex and women in non sexist ways as ‘boring’ or ‘worthy’ and argue their readers don’t want this. When you criticise them they make out you’re boring, ugly, or out of touch – and nowhere near cool enough to get their postmodern approach to sexuality.

Unsurprisingly lad’s magazines have historically approached sex/relationships issues either with complete silence, or with inaccurate advice, or with humour. There are some things, however, that just aren’t up for this treatment. And domestic violence is one of those issues.

As Dr. Petra points out, lad-mags in the UK and the United States don’t exactly have a reputation for offering meaningful, mature and sensitive advice when it comes to emotional and/or sexual relationships with women. Rather, they emphasize hegemonic masculinity‘s socially constructed tenants of hypersexuality, dominance and control. I recently posted a series of images advertising masculinity, many of these images taken from lad mags such as Maxim, Stuff (which has since ceased publication) and FHM.

Lad mags are part of a larger cultural conversation that speaks loudly to boys and men, shaping their framework of reality. Jokes about disposable women, dumping ex’s, banging as many women as possible (followed by rejection) and the threat of violence against women in the name of ownership and jealousy are far from casual jokes and entertainment.

April 17, 2009

A player is not born…

…he is made.

According to the website, Become A Player, men can learn the secret tools of the trade and “evolve” into a “real man” by becoming “a player” on this self-proclaimed “seduction mega-site.” One can learn some interesting things by browsing through this site and I am not talking about the men. I’m referring to heterosexual women.  This site is the first one out of 153,000,000 that Google pops up in the organic search when you search “how to become a player.” 153,000,000! And this site is tops.

So, what does this site offer?

Tips and tricks, a rule book, products that teach men how to become an “alpha male” (“how a strange discovery by a 22 year-old virgin can hypnotically draw women to you”), how to double their dating, boost their confidence, meet women online, learn the “seduction science,” “sexual mastery,” “deep inner game,” the art of approaching, and a guide that proclaims to teach men “all about women.”  The site also offers personal coaching and pick-up lines.  All this in order to “double your dating” and “evolve” into a “real man,” “the alpha male” that “the most beautiful women want.”  The banner at the top features a man with three women in line waiting for his attention.  This is the last stage of evolution.  The stage before is a man on his knees apparently begging a woman for her attention.  THAT is not a real man.He’s a pathetic creep with half a dick.  A real man is the cocky male that has his pick of the litter so to speak.  In fact the site even offers “cocky humor” for the budding cock-to-be.

Now, while this is interesting, slightly nauseating and, in many ways, down right stupid and silly men are clicking on this site and this site is not much different than the messages boys and men receive across the culture.  The main difference is that the site offers these messages in one concentrated package. And the messages, lame or gross as they might be, are similar to the messages heterosexual girls and women receive except with a twist.

Girls and women learn how to find and keep a man. How to please a man.  How to find a man to have a relationship with. Heterosexual men, on the flip side of the same gender socialization coin, learn how NOT to have a relationship.  Rather, they learn how to be independent, cocky players that bed multiple women at the same time or over time.

That’s why I say women have a lot to learn from this site. It helps explain why the men they are trying to “catch” or “trap” behave the way they do.  All around them, these boys and men learn how to avoid a relationship, that they should avoid a relationship and seek to sleep with as many women as possible.  Given these divergent and contradictory messages I can’t help but wonder how most heterosexual couples work. Oh, right, most don’t.


Go check out the site and pick up any “lad mag.”