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“Lights on at the end of the party”: Are lads’ mags mainstreaming dangerous sexism?


Miranda A. H. Horvath, Forensic Psychological Services, Department of Psychology, Middlesex University, The Town Hall, The Burroughs, London NW4 4BT, UK (e-mail:


Research has suggested that some magazines targeted at young men –lads’ mags– are normalizing extreme sexist views by presenting those views in a mainstream context. Consistent with this view, young men in Study 1 (n = 90) identified more with derogatory quotes about women drawn from recent lads’ mags, and from interviews with convicted rapists, when those quotes were attributed to lads’ mags, than when they were attributed to convicted rapists. In Study 2, 40 young women and men could not reliably judge the source of those same quotes. While these participants sometimes voiced the belief that the content of lads’ mags was ‘normal’ while rapists’ talk was ‘extreme’, they categorized quotes from both sources as derogatory with equal frequency. Jointly, the two studies show an overlap in the content of convicted rapists’ talk and the contents of contemporary lads’ mags, and suggest that the framing of such content within lads’ mags may normalize it for young men.