Like it or not, the Lads Mags from the beginning of the century had a huge influence on the culture in the UK in how women were portrayed at the time. Now that we are in 2020 and the beginning of the century was twenty years ago, has anything changed in that time? To see I got a selection of magazines from that era.
Looking through the collection of FHM 100 Sexiest Women I couldn’t help but notice how white each year was. Yes, it was no surprise that the women were young but the number of women of colour is so low that you can count them with one hand.
Why is this important? Well, if the culture we are living in is judging the success of women from their sexual attraction to heterosexual men, then just seeing mainly white people, what does it say to someone who is not white? Can someone who was not born white be able to even compete in this race?
An optimist would argue that this was twenty years ago and with the magazines shutting up shop that things have changed. Yes, it is true that most of the Lads Mags from that era are no more but in that time the Internet has taken over that space.
What strikes me about the images in these magazines is how little the styling and the posing has not changed in the past twenty years. Skimpy clothing, underwear or nothing at all is still in fashion today. The provocative poses are still the order of the day today. All you need do is check out the online galleries of the well known model portfolio sites to confirm that this is the case.
I’m not arguing that we should ban these images or create an atmosphere where women being part of these images are penalised. What I’m saying is that in twenty years our visual language on this hasn’t changed. All I’m asking is why not?