University of Hertfordshire

From the same journal

By the same authors

Lads’ Mags and the Postfeminist Masquerade: The Aftermath of an Era of Inequality

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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalWomen's History Review
Early online date19 Aug 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Aug 2022


This Viewpoint considers the rise of lads’ mags and wider lad culture between 1996-2006 as a historically illuminating period that marked a shift in societal perceptions of gender equality and contributed towards a hostile perception of feminism. Themes of pornification, hypersexualisation and postfeminsim are explored within the context of recent debates on the representation of gender and sexuality in British popular culture. The key issue emerging from this analysis is that there has been a rebranding of sexism through a postfeminist discourse, referred to in this paper as the ‘postfeminist masquerade’, which has resulted in a wider politicisation of feminism concerned with representations of the female body. This politicisation has eroded debates on gender representation into a reductive binary, the ‘exploitative-liberating dichotomy’, and has consequently delimited contemporary engagements with feminism. Lads’ mags and wider lad culture are thus analysed as having perpetuated this binary and serve as a historical symbol of how the state of gender relations have been subjected to contestation amongst feminist activists, media commentators and academics since the turn of the twenty-first century.


© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial License (http://

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