Express: 'Lads' mags make sexist jokes more acceptable, new research claims'

October 17, 2016
Man Tie Clark University

How do men regard sexist jokes in "lads' mags," the popular men's magazines found in Britain and the U.S.? Studies by Clark Psychology Assistant Professor Andrew Stewart, as well as colleagues at three universities in Europe, sought to answer that question. A number of newspapers, including the Express of London, reported the findings.

Here, an excerpt:

"The findings of the three studies, published in Psychology of Men and Masculinity, built on earlier research which helped to ignite a public debate about the role lads' mags were playing in normalizing sexist attitudes," according to the Express. "In the first, involving 81 British men aged between 18 and 50, participants were presented with sexist jokes both in and out of a lads' mag context. Young men — particularly those who scored lower on sexism measures — considered the jokes less hostile when they were in a lads' mag context, but not more ironic or funnier.

"A second study, involving 423 British men aged 18 to 30, aimed to identify the correlation between sexism and lads' mag consumption. 

"The findings revealed that if a man displays ambivalent sexism he is more likely to buy lads' mags than other men, but not more likely to indulge in other forms of direct sexual consumption such as paying for sex or going to strip clubs. 

"A third study conducted in the United States among 274 undergraduate students found that when shown evidence of the extreme hostility of content found in lads' mags, young men 'delegitimize' the magazines."

Stewart teamed with psychologists from the University of Surrey, Middlesex University London and Ghent University.