Nuts magazine to close: Have the lads' mags lost?

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Nuts magazine has announced that it may soon be forced to close following a significant fall in sales.

A decline in the publishing industry, as well as specific campaigns against magazines carrying sexually explicit content, has meant a huge drop in readership for titles such as Nuts, Zoo and Front, which are primarily aimed at the men's market.

Pressure groups UK Feminista and Object launched a 'Lose the Lads' Mags' campaign back in May 2013, calling for supermarkets across Britain to stop selling magazines that they argue perpetuate the objectification of women.  And the campaign has only gone from strength to strength.

"Lads' mags promote sexist attitude and behaviours," the website reads.

"They normalise the idea that it's acceptable to treat women like sex objects. Yet despite widespread criticism over the years, high-street supermarkets and newsagents have continued to display and sell these degrading and harmful publications. But customers and shop employees don't have to put up with it any longer."

The Co-operative eventually pulled Zoo and Nuts from its shelves in September of last year after publishers refused to comply with regulations that required them to cover offending magazines up with opaque sleeves.

The latest news from Nuts comes as its publisher has announced a 30-day consultation with staff about a proposed closure.

"After ten years at the top of its market, we have taken the difficult decision to propose the closure of Nuts and exit the young men's lifestyle sector," Managing Director Paul Williams says.

According to The Guardian, Nuts weekly circulation in the latter half of 2013 was just 53,000 - a massive drop from 300,000 during its peak several years ago. The BBC reports that Nuts' readership has fallen by more than 70 per cent over the past eight years.

Lose the Lads Mags have celebrated this development, sending out a message to supporters that says: "For ten years Nuts has lined supermarket shelves with images portraying women as dehumanised sex objects. The research is all too clear on the consequences of this: attitudes that underpin violence against women."

Of the possible closure, they add: "It's big news. We thought you'd want to know."

Duncan Williams, Director of Publishing at Sorted – a wholesome monthly men's magazine that aims to "stimulate the mind rather than the libido" – has also expressed his delight. Bucking the trend of decline, Sorted has doubled its circulation in the past year to 40,000 subscribers.

"Sorted magazine continues to grow in circulation as rival titles in the men's lifestyle market decline or close altogether," he says.

"Underpinned with Christian ethics and filled with intelligent interviews and editorial, what was once thought to be a freak niche publication is now proving to be a popular mainstream front runner. As far as the publishing world is concerned, there is a new sheriff in town!"

Not everyone is quite so pleased, however. Many have noted that the closure of magazines like Nuts and Front does not signify a disinterest in their content, but rather that there is wider and cheaper access to more graphic pornography online. "Hardly a victory really, is it ladies?" writes Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett for The Guardian.

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