Lad’s mag pretends to apologise
noun, plural a·pol·o·gies.
a written or spoken expression of one’s regret, remorse, or sorrow for having insulted, failed, injured, or wronged another
I find myself pondering the question: do the editors at Zoo Weekly Magazine understand what an apology is?
This week a Change.org petition, initiated by Collective Shout supporter Matt Darvas, a man who, with his family, cares passionately for refugees and is deeply engaged with refugee communities in Newcastle, NSW, resulted in an apology from Zoo for an appalling competition to find Australia’s sexiest boat person.
Zoo Weekly was asking female asylum seekers who had “swapped persecution for sexiness” to send in pictures — and joked about “shooting” them with a camera.
In the world of lad’s mags like Zoo, even female survivors of the most horrendous human rights violations on earth can be offered up as masturbatory material for its male readers. Hot refugee women for you to get off on! Brutalised beauties for your viewing pleasure!
Less than 24 hours after Matt launched the petition, and with 6000 signatures and growing, Zoo announced it was ditching its evil competition.
The apology, published on its website and hardcopy issue stated:
“ZOO Weekly regrets any offence caused to any of our readers, and to any asylum seeker or refugee and their families and supporters. We apologise for being insensitive.” — Tim Keen, editor of Zoo Weekly
Mr Keen, editor of jerk-off weekly, said the apology was extended to Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
Zoo had tried to persuade the Senator to pose for the magazine, promising to host “the next boatload” of asylum seekers in its office is she did so. She said no. But no matter. The editors just photoshopped her head onto the body of a bikini model. Problem solved! No consent required!
Nothing will stand in the way of Zoo reader’s ejaculatory fantasies – even a woman who says no. As ACP – publisher of Zoo – states,
“ACP Magazines leads the industry in knowing what matters the most to magazine buyers…”
Especially men who want to get off on female political leaders.
But wouldn’t an apology mean you’d take down the original post? To show you were serious? The July 2 piece featuring the hybrid Senator/lingerie model woman is still there. They haven’t removed it.
Which suggests they don’t really mean it. Regret, remorse, sorrow? Who actually believes that?
The same publishing house that brings you Australian Women’s Weekly, Women’s Day and Dolly (which recently took out the Federal Government’s inaugural positive body image awards) also churns Zoo’s special version of female degradation through the same printing presses.
Have the female editors and staff of these magazines, which claim to advance female equality, had anything to say about their stablemate’s treatment of female refugees and elected representatives. The condemnation should be loud and unequivocal.
Without any accountability to or discipline from ACP, Zoo continues to be enabled to continue this exploitative and sexist behavior.
See also: ‘Because all women must be brought to their knees’, MTR, October 26, 2010
‘Not on my life would I want any daughter of mine to be a topless model’: former lads mag editor shares his regrets
The day that summed up the sheer ludicrousness of what it meant to be the editor of Loaded, the most notorious ‘lads’ mag’ of all time, is one etched on my memory.
It was January 2004, and my team had been through our rivals’ magazines doing a ‘nipple count’ — meticulously tallying the number of bare nipples that appeared in one issue.
To our dismay, we’d been trumped by Maxim, who’d weighed in with a hefty 83 (which included one bare-chested man, but we let them have that).
‘Damn, they beat us this month,’ I announced. ‘What are we going to do about it?’
When one wag responded, ‘Why don’t we print 100 pairs of boobs, over six pages, in glorious close-up?’ we all whooped with delight and reported to the pub to celebrate.
So it was that we did a ‘We Love Boobs’ special, which notched up a then-record (although by today’s standards relatively tame) 200 nipples.
As an extra layer of schoolboy comedy, we decided to caption each picture with a jokey term for breasts. From ‘aardvarks’ to ‘Zeppelins’, we had it covered.
Sitting around a boardroom table with six other university-educated men trying to think up 100 comedy words for breasts summed up just how low British men’s magazines had sunk.