Yesterday IPC announced the closure of Nuts magazine. Comedian and political activist Kate Smurthwaite looks back on her relationship with lads mags and bids good riddance to Nuts.
Stop all the cocks, cut off the premium-rate X-rated barely-legal phone,
Prevent the misogynist columnist from barking, and don’t use the word “juicy” to talk about anything that isn’t fruit.
Nuts Magazine is dead. As a mark of disrespect, at twelve noon all teenage erections will hang at half mast.
When I started out on my rather unique (shall we say “portfolio”) career of comedy and political activism, journalism and debate, the lad mags were in their infancy. I was first noticed by the media directly because of them.
Not thanks to the traditional method of appearing in my underwear answering weird questions about when I’d lost my virginity or whether I’d ever kissed my female friends. Instead I saw a piece in The Guardian about the rise of these publications which casually suggested women weren’t too bothered.
Invigorated with rage, like Jim Davidson on a workplace diversity course, I scribbled down five hundred words for my blog and as a speculative afterthought submitted them to the BBC’s “reader column” email. They published it.
That night I was invited to appear on BBC 5 live to discuss the issue with an editor. It was the first of several hundred appearances I’ve made on the channel. And the beginning of my career as an opinionator and advocate for dozens of causes that has taken me onto shows from This Morning to, earlier this year, confronting Ken Clarke on Question Time.
I don’t remember which editor was my opponent that night was. I’ve met them all though. They are, without exception, patronising, arrogant, smug and dismissive.
Perhaps my least favourite is Martin Daubney, the man who suddenly turned against the industry when he saw how it affected his son. Shame he was so happy the throw everyone else’s daughters under the bus for the benefit of his own career first, eh?
He’s up against some serious competition. Piers Hernu once called me a “harridan” and a “battleaxe” live on BBC radio two, then as soon as the microphones were switched off winked and invited me for a drink! My hair has never needed washing quite so urgently.
Whoever it was, they stuck firmly to the same two boring old arguments they always use.
Firstly, that it is the demand for these magazines that drives their production. That people buy it so they must want it, so we’re all somehow duty bound to provide it. Well I’m glad to say that rhetoric is over. No-one wants your stupid magazine anymore. Tough luck.
Secondly, these sinister slime-balls always tell me it’s not an important issue, that there are bigger fish to fry for women’s rights and for human rights. On that point, Daubney, Hernu and current Nuts editor Dominic Smith, I quite agree.
I am off to fight those battles on ever-bigger and more global platforms wherever I can and you are consigned to the dustbin of history. Where you belonged all along.
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