A newsagent excursion brought this Great British phenomenon back to my attention, a few weeks ago:
Seeing this again, I did what I always do when confronted with it: I laughed.
Nothing brings me joy quite like casting eyes on the cover of a women’s weekly; there’s something about the juxtaposition of smiles and suffering that I find grotesquely fascinating…
Things get ever more amusing for me when I consider the target audience: working-class, twenty-to-fortysomething breeders; the types usually found bitching—ad nauseam—about the evils of video games, knife crime, and child sexualisation…
Then again, where would their target audience be without their Smelly Stepdads and Evil Uncle Erics to rouse some rancour in their repetitive lives? As butter-loving ex-punk John Lydon once said, anger is an energy: it rejuvenates, refocuses, reminds one of the life and breath coursing through them and all that could be done with it. On top of that, Poundshop Perverts grant the bovine breeders a certain oppositional legitimacy, a cheap ‘n’ easy way for the undistinguished to distinguish themselves as fine, upstanding citizens. Like choleric cleric Abu Qatada, or a guest on The Jeremy Kyle Show, the raping relatives serve as spittoons for the readers to e(mo)jaculate their bile and venom onto, thereby purifying themselves. (I suspect the urge to purge will be even stronger among a certain number of them, if rape fantasy findings hold any water; how many of those housefraus stroke more than their superegos during their weekly read?)
Thus, in a twisted kind of way, the molesting males perform a public service with every stepdaughter they sodomise.
As well as providing thrills ‘n’ therapy for the readership, such shenanigans keep the sensationalism-sellers financially comfy. Indeed, in a cultural climate which favours paedo-Pavlovianism over more sober insights, rich returns are assured…
…and, as the saying goes, they’re laughing all the way to the bank—not unlike their callous cover girls.
All that said, the last thing I wanna see is some tedious “BAN THESE MALICIOUS MAGS!” campaign infecting the nation. Like Prince Philip, Chat, That’s Life! and the rest of these women’s weeklies constitute an unrecognized and unwitting (?) contribution to British comedy. Pairing cackling cover girls with headlines of predatory phalli may not be the apex of sensitivity, but it still brings mirth to my blackened heart.