Dude With a Duffle's Lad Mag Adventures (part #1)

After Ralph kicked the bucket last year, the lad-mag scene has been looking dire (thank you, Internets). Or has it? "Men read more magazines than they ever have, it's just that there are more magazines out there now and there's a lot more variety," FHM editor Guy Mosel recently told Mediaweek, "...the bigger picture of the market is that it's pretty robust and pretty healthy." Ha! Pretty robust and healthy, just like Jennifer Hawkins on the mag's October 150th issue cover, right?

Now, GWAS is not particularly inclined towards endorsing
magazines that sell themselves on provoking wet dreams and sexualising women to within an inch of their hot pink bikinis. This is dangerous Christian-feminist-blogger territory. But the mags do lend themselves to some interesting commentary about the current thinkings of men. Was it Tony Abbott who recently commented that "it's quite easy for blokes to lose their way"? Ah, yes. Who is leading them astray?

As such, Chris Steele (aka 'Dude with a Duffle') has taken it upon himself to keep a watch on these blokey journals; to rumble with these "bastions of class and journalistic integrity"; to peruse the type of publication that cons Julia Gillard's (not quite) step-daughter into posing for a cut-price $1.95 edition. Alas, not all men's mags are created equal. Your Zoos are not your GQs. So let's peek inside the boys' locker room. Take it away, Dude...

I’m nervously shuffling my weight from foot to foot in a Paddington newsagent; clutching Zoo, Ralph and FHM to my chest (upside down and reversed to avoid prying eyes, of course). The cashier looks like Brisbane’s most devout Hindu, and I think about explaining to her that “I don’t usually read these” and “I’m only reviewing them”. I haven’t even bought the bloody things yet and already a film of sleaze is blurring my vision. Who knows what untold horror lies inside these pages?

Part One: Zoo Weekly (September 6, 2010)
Lad mag status: biggest Aussie seller with 100,530 sales a week; 462,000 readers
"A Day in the Life of Lucy’s Boobs"
I’ll admit the title of this segment piqued my interest. I was intrigued to learn how a day perched on a female’s chest would pan out, but as I read on my interest disintegrated quicker than Heidi Montag’s nose. Less a ‘day in the life’, more a ‘meathead asking questions’, some of the gems they put to Lucy included:
- “Is the reason you’re in such great shape because it’s a massive effort to sit up in bed every morning with all that chest weight holding you down?
- “A good rack is the perfect serving dish. What’s the weirdest thing that has been eaten off your boobs?”
- “Is it fair that women can wear Wonder Bras, which are completely false advertising, but guys can’t wear a cucumber down their pants?”
Aside from the interviewer’s questionable knowledge of the Trade Practices Act and advertising law, what type of an oxygen thief puts a cucumber down their pants, let alone thinks about doing so, let alone asks a chick her opinion on it? If it’s the readers of this magazine, then both the very fabric of our society and your next tumbler of Hendricks is in trouble.

"50 Best Fights of 2010"
Allowing myself a well earned break from staring at Lucy’s self christened ‘chumbawumbas’, it was with pleasure I turned over to Zoo’s compendium of the 50 best fights this year. If I wasn’t already considering illegal activity after pages 1-10, this article could surely do the trick. Scant regard was paid to the sheer mind numbing entries such as #15 BP v The Ocean, #48 Calvin Harris v Portaloo and #16 The Taliban v Everyone. Sadly, the entirety of the article was not this flippant. Other entries ranged from the offensive (#21 Akermanis v ‘The Gays’) to the insensitive (#50 Greek Protesters v Riot Police) and the head-shakingly, face-palmingly ignorant (#47 The French v Burqas).

My patience wearing thin, I reluctantly turned to the next page. The headline was “$100 Challenge: Bobbing for Cherries in Piss.” That was about a week ago, and I’ve had no desire to pick up Zoo again anytime since.

Yours truly,


Will said...

I am a male too, and Zoo makes me sick.

Joni said...

It's great to hear a man's perspective on the lad mags. I personally dislike these magazines with a passion. The name 'Zoo' was particularly ill-chosen as it's one of the first words young children learn to read so their eyes are automatically drawn to it. Once I was in the newsagency with my young children and they were so excited when they saw the word 'zoo'. Their faces dropped when they saw the lady with no clothes on before I could do anything about it. I hate it that they saw this! Thanks for the great post - I look forward to reading the next one :) Joni xx

Talia Cain said...

Erica, maybe get "dude" to review Men's Style. Great publication, only a few "NO. F'ING. WA" moments when reading it.

Gabby said...

Loving seeing the lads' mags put under the microscope. I must confess I'm prone to sneaking a peek at what goes on in the big bad world of dude glossies so this was right up my alley. Hope to see more of these on GWAS in the future - highly entertaining!

Blanche said...

Great advertisement for Loveable (or not) seeing as though that cover shot is taken straight from their new campaign. Though, having seen the campaign I would say it is a whole lot more appealing to the reader of FHM then to a female in the market for a new bra. What were they thinking!

natashajean said...

I don't mind reading some of the men's mags sometimes, they can be funny in a slightly pathetic way, but Zoo just disgusts me. I honestly feel quite sick after reading it, and really concerned about the people who write for it.

Man said...

Mr Satchel Bloke, methinks you've left your sense of humour behind at Sunday school. Your criticism of the "50 biggest fights" feature is that it was flippant. Of course it was flippant. It's Zoo. Were you expecting "10 neato ways to get more out of your lip gloss"? It was also, at times, pretty funny. And surely their inclusion of the French burqa issue indicates the presence of a LACK of ignorance on their part? You missed the point I think champ.