GCSE pupils could be analysing sexually explicit lads’ mags as part of a Media Studies course, it has emerged.
Teens could compare the ‘style and tone’ of magazines such as Nuts, FHM and Zoo, notorious for displaying semi-naked women on their covers. The latest edition of Zoo features “Britain’s sexiest blondes – 14 topless pages proving they really do have more fun!”
Family campaigners are outraged at the move by assessment body AQA. The news follows a survey last week which showed nearly nine in ten 14 to 17-year-olds had viewed pornography. And alarmingly almost one in five confessed to accessing pornography more than once a week – mostly online or via mobile phone.
The updated syllabus is currently being taught to children aged 14 to 16, with the first examinations due to take place next June. The examination requires students to “identify/describe targeting of specific markets by magazines and comics eg ‘lads’ mags’”. They should “analyse/interpret the relationship of content to target audience in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, social and educational background”.
Margaret Morrissey, Chairman of campaign group Parents Outloud, said: “If we want to bring back some vestige of normality for our teenagers then we have got to stop exposing them intentionally to such things.” An AQA spokesman insisted the magazines were not a compulsory part of the syllabus. Last year MP Claire Curtis-Thomas warned that notorious lads’ mags such as “Zoo”, and “Nuts” were little more than pornography and should be given age-appropriate 16 and 18 certificates. Mrs Curtis-Thomas voiced her concerns after commissioning The Top Shelf Report which recommended introducing “statutory guidelines that are comparable to the existing standards for video, film and television.”
In the report a sample of sixth-form students were surveyed and it found that 100 per cent of girls who looked at “The Daily Sport”, “Zoo” and “Nuts” expressed being angry, offended or upset by the images they contained. One fifth of male students sampled admitted that looking at this material encouraged them to see women as sex-objects.