27 April 2012
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Psychologists from Middlesex University and the University of Surrey found that when presented with descriptions of women taken from lads’ mags [FHM, Loaded, Nuts and Zoo], and comments about women made by convicted rapists, most people who took part in the study could not distinguish the source of the quotes.
The research due to be published in the British Journal of Psychology also revealed that most men who took part in the study identified themselves more with the language expressed by the convicted rapists.
Psychologists presented men between the ages of 18 and 46 with a range of statements taken from magazines and from convicted rapists in the study, and gave the men different information about the source of the quotes. Men identified more with the comments made by rapists more than the quotes made in lads’ mags, but men identified more with quotes said to have been drawn from lads’ mags more than those said to have been comments by convicted rapists. (“Read the full press release from University of Surrey”: 69535_are_sex_offenders_and_lads_mags_using_the_same_language)
Sadly, the results of this study are not too surprising to me. They fit pretty closely with the way I see teenage boys and young men talking and behaving at the community centre where I volunteer and at the college where I study.
If you are a parent or work with children or young people, I would love to have your thoughts. Do you see what this study has highlighted as a real problem? Is it widespread or relatively limited? Are you doing anything with your children to combat predatory and misogynistic attitudes in our culture? Do you have any examples of people who are teaching boys a better way?