Why do lads’ mags offend more than the words of rapists?

Are sex offenders and lads’ mags using the same language? - University of Surrey - Guildford

A recent study carried out jointly by the universities of Middlesex and Surrey in the UK (press release above is from Surrey) have found that, when presented with quotes from lads’ magazines and from interviews with convicted rapists, men have difficulty working out which is which, is likely to identify more with a quote he believes is from a lads’ mag (which stands to reason, really) and often think that the quote from the lads’ mag is more offensive than the one from the rapist. Jezebel has a list of some of the quotes, with the answers at the end.

I’ve never read a “lads’ mag” in my life, so I wouldn’t know what’s in them and in what context these quotes appear. I agree that it’s disgusting that this sort of thing sells freely and perhaps that teenage boys as well as young men are being exposed to it. However, I wonder if they explored exactly why the lads’ mags discussed women and sex in more offensive terms than the rapists did?

Perhaps the reason is that the actual rapists came from a broad spectrum of social classes and many of them are middle-aged, milddle-class men who have not read many (or indeed any) of these magazines and are what you might call gentlemen if you didn’t know better. Lads’ mags are aimed at a particular demographic: young, single men of a particular mentality, who might well share the magazines among themselves or pin the pictures from them up on their walls, either at home or at work. Besides which, the lads’ mags are not actually referring to rape, so there is not the gravity to the situation and the writers feel free to talk about sex in ways that would not be acceptable in a prison group therapy session, or when spoken to a psychologist in a prison who he knows is certainly not “on the level” with him. The rapist also knows that to use brazenly offensive language about his own rapes might well prolong the time he spends inside.

Again, the fact that this kind of material sells to young men is a great cause for concern, but it stands to reason that a midde-class rapist will sound less crude and offensive when talking about his crimes to professionals in prison than a lads’ mag will, when it is their purpose to be crude.

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