This week has seen Co-Op request that lads mags Nuts Zoo and Front either provide a less graphic cover or supply a modesty bag if they want to continue to be displayed on their shelves.
Tesco have agreed a compromise about displaying the covers and only selling the agreed publications to over 18’s…
So what the real problem? Flesh in a word. It seems once again being naked is being linked with being offensive. The initial targets which are aimed at a readership of primarily young men. They are not porn and you may argue that they are the logical evolution of page 3 pin-ups. They are little more than titillation. Barely more than glossy air brushed pin-ups of scantily clad women. To be fair it seems an easy target.
So does this impact the gay world? Not yet. Looking across the newsstands to compare, publications such as GT and Attitude regularly publish covers where the male cover star is in similar states of undress. It’s almost become a cliché to see a sportsman or pop-star on the cover with nothing more than a cheeky smile and something covering their assets. Looking on a broader scale, men’s fitness magazines show models in a tiny pair of shorts displaying their perfectly sculpted body and telling the reader that they can get the body that they want in 6 easy steps. All of the examples show a similar or more amounts of flesh.
Please do not read this as a complaint.
So what is the difference between the different genders? Women are perceived as being vulnerable when naked but men are not.? Men are always strong and masculine; they aren’t sex objects. If a bunch of women go to see male strippers it’s seen as being a laugh and fun. If the genders are reversed it’s perceived as seedy. To be naked is normal, and for men and women who make a living from doing so, it is a choice. Are they being exploited? I don’t think so, to be near naked on the cover of a magazine is a great career move and brings publicity and attention. The true exploitation is of the readers’ expectations, we are being promised “Duncan James Naked” but what we are getting is nude.
I can understand that as retailers Tesco and Co-op would want to appeal to the broadest commercial market. By agreeing to cover up, they have appeased campaigners and are able to carry on selling the magazines. But the whole argument seems too close to moral outrage over nothing, are we really that offended at seeing naked people in this day and age?
How much are we really protecting children by covering up magazines when pop videos continue to push the envelope in terms of nudity and content?
A visit to any beach abroad would provide much more graphic imagery for free than the side boob and concealed nipples in the publications named.
When it comes to the male body it is more acceptable to show more, even George Clooney’s bat suit had nipples on it. Nightclub promotions on the gay scene are commonplace in featuring a naked man because of the links with hedonism.
We live in an increasingly body conscious society and we teach people to be proud of their own body shape and size, but the message seems to be just don’t show it for fear of offending others.
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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.