Is media sexrsm_ endemic?

It's not just tabloids and lads mags that think sex sells. The posh papers are no better. Words: Doug Johnstone

Tits. And ass. Time was, if you wanted to get either of these things in abundance in print (and there’s nothing wrong with that necessarily, just so we understand each other from the off), there was a certain amount of ritual embarrassment involved. You had to go through the arduous task of humiliating yourself completely at the hands of your local newsagent in order to purchase one of your top shelf educational delights.

Then, of course, Loaded happened. Wayhey! thought leery lads everywhere, now I can buy a ‘proper’ magazine for men, with articles on footy, beer and shark-wrestling, and it’s got tits and ass too! With the phenomenal success of Loaded, the floodgates were opened, and in its wake came a whole host of sub-Loaded wank-fodder (yes, I understand sub- Loaded is a bizarre concept, but it exists; have you seen Front? Or Bizarre for that matter?).

With newsagents’ shelves starting to look like the Sultan of Hollyoaks’ harem, how could more intelligent publications and newspapers compete? Well, by sticking tits and ass all over their pages, that’s how. Which seems like a strange tactic at first glance. Surely the whole point of lads mags is that they’re meant for, well, lads. There seems very little pretension attached to such publications, they just put female skin on the front cover cos that’s more or less exactly what their target readership is after.

But isn’t the world of the arts more or less attractive to both sexes in equal measure? Isn‘t a new art exhibition or theatre production or film just as likely to be visited by possessors of either set of genitalia? The answer, of course, is yes. The problem is institutionalised sexism within the media.

As an example, let’s take. ooh I dunno, The List


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Which magazine would you buy?

magazine. By no means the worst offender in this field (in actual fact, Scottish newspapers arts coverage is far worse), there does still exist an element of ‘let’s get a good-looking lass on the cover whenever possible, preferably not wearing much’ about the publication. Take last fortnight’s issue. The four main features were Stanley Kubrick, Kate Hudson, Health Special and Celtic Connections. Concentrating on the two celebrities (as mags do. more personable you see). which one is miles more famous, with a lifetime of artistic endeavour behind him? That’ll be Stanley Kubrick. Which one is on the cover with a feather boa hiding her tits and her jeans unbuttoned? That’ll be Kate Hudson.

But let’s not pick on The List or I won’t get any more work off them (you ’re fired ed). The problem is everywhere and rife in media offices often still manned by middle-aged, pot-bellied, FHM-reading blokes, vicariously living out their second pubescence through their publications.

I’m no prude, and there’s no denying the old media adage that sex sells, but why does it have to be sex of one particular flavour? As this issue of The List highlights, sex comes in all shapes, sizes and inclinations, and the sooner that the folk in charge of arts publications realise this and provide a more eclectic range of images on their pages the better. Now what are the bets they stick a picture of a semi-clad lady alongside this article?


The Quotes

'She's like the phoenix. She'll rise again out of the ashes!

Comedian Bill Dewar has no fears for Karen Koren despite the Gilded Balloon’s fmancual strife.

‘I've had wonderful experiences with drugs. I mean, really wonderful. In teaching. Personal epiphanies. About life. About a different perspective. You know what I mean? Help with different perspectives that you have . . .

Keanu Reeves drones on while confessing that he has indulged in substance abuse. Possibly, while in the midst of a serious session. 'It's too cold.’

The Dalai Lama offers a pretty decent excuse for not dipping his tootsies in the Ganges along with millions of others during Kumbh Mela

' . . . relationships to nature. Relationships with the self. With other people. With events . . .

Keanu, six hours later.

’I call my bestial side Bjorn. He's got Viking horns and I imagine myself trying to bury him and he's in the grave and I've packed dirt real tight on him when suddenly his hand appears.’

Mel Gibson reveals that his dark side has a name. Or maybe he's just been hanging

too much with

Keanu recently.

Tommy Tiernan qr-ls back to what hl‘ does best

. ..8.II£tlst~li;i\sreb2001. ,

The Pipeline Coming quite soon...

He came, he saw, he made us laugh, he went away to do some rubbish telly and we doubted whether the magic could return. Now though, 1998 Perrier winner Tommy “man has chosen to go back on the road and do what he did best; stand on stage, open his heart and tell the funniest tales of struggling against the odds since Bill Hicks was noising up fundamentalist, corporate,

-' hypocritical America. Tommy « . comes to town-in'April . .7. Radical

in its own, pointless way was Big

'~ Brother. As you'd expect,‘a

second series of the ultimate

.. flatshare hellthas led to shedloads ~ of applications from wannabe

mini-celebs. We are told that

Scottish applicants have been among the most creative in trying to get a slot in the top ten; tapes have included strippers, dancers and even some bloke going about his everyday business in a gorilla suit. If you want to sneak in the backdoor, call 09001 447799 or log on to by 10 February. The show should go on sometime in the summer . . . Somewhat more thought- provoking telly comes from the pen of Jimmy McGovern. His new project, a drama based on Bloody Sunday, could be with us around the same time . . . It‘s been four years since her last venture around the nation's psychotic mind but

losley Rankine (aka Ruby, formerly Silverfish, and a lass who makes Shirley Manson seem like, . i g.- the template for shrinking violets ~, ' . everywhere) is back with a vengeance. A single is due out in. March, while an album with the, terribly erudite title of Short Staffed At The Gene Pool will be unleashed in April . . . 2001 may '- well be the official year of the, '. bizarre re-make; what with Sly. ' .‘ f " Stallone being Michael Caine tori.

. Got Carter, Mark Wather .' ,

become Chuck Heston for ..

OI'I'hoApes and

Mc‘l'lernan racing round'th'e -,.;Z. '

direct a post-millenni'alvetsidnpf.’ ,_‘ ‘. Rollerball. . " '