Volume 93, Issue 42

Friday, November 12, 1999


Weekend pass

Gryner comes full circle with latest release

Danko doesn't apologize for hardcore narcissism

Maxim just wants you to get laid

Ghetto rising up from the streets

Les Savy Fav keep on the up and up

Maxim just wants you to get laid

There are very few things in the world that I hate – bare feet, Jewel and the Boston Red Sox immediately spring to mind. However, out of these petty items, one thing continually stands above the rest as being particularly blood-boiling, something so pathetic and infuriating that it never ceases to raise my ire. I'm talking, of course, about Maxim magazine.

Now don't get me wrong – I'm not one of those caustically conservative tightwads who gets his boxers in a bunch at the sight of something even remotely controversial. Nor am I a reactionary knee-jerk feminist who deems every public flash of female flesh as a blatant and demeaning act of sexist proportions. That said, I think there's something covertly misogynistic about Maxim, something that extends beyond the typical accepted boundaries already established by magazines like Cosmopolitan, GQ or Vanity Fair.

My problems with Maxim do not stem from their constant objectification of women – media portrayal of women as sex objects is obviously something which extends far beyond the dirty work of a paltry rag like Maxim. My problem with the magazine has more to do with the subversive way in which they promote their own misogynistic ideals. Simply put, this is a magazine that's obsessed with getting laid.

In Maxim's world, to exist is to fuck and nothing (I mean nothing) should get in the way of that.

Therefore, you have features instructing readers how to "cop a feel" off of an "argumentative broad" and segments which explain how to turn a women on by convincing her that you're a rocket scientist. Nothing is sacred here. Lie to her, cheat, steal, victimize, do whatever – according to Maxim, all's fair in the name of getting laid.

Of course, regular readers might counter that I'm not seeing the humour in these articles. Defenders of Maxim might react by suggesting these features are meant to be ironic and tongue-in-cheek. That's fair, but as far as I'm concerned this argument only carries so much weight before it collapses upon itself in a confused heap. Let me explain.

Suppose, for example, that I went around campus telling racist jokes to random people under the guise of "irony." How many times could I tell a "tongue-in-cheek" joke about a Jewish, Polish or Muslim person before someone would eventually label me a racist? Would they be justified in doing so?

By continually colouring all of their writings with liberal doses of "irony" and "tongue-in-cheek" humour, Maxim is establishing a dangerous built-in defence that's difficult to diffuse. In many ways, this stealthy promotion of a blatantly chauvinistic ideal is far more destructive than the work of an unashamed misogynist (see Larry Flynt).

At least with Hustler, you know exactly what you're getting – a brazen and unflinching testosterone-laden slant on sex. Maxim is a different story altogether – it confuses the issue a great deal by dishing out veiled misogyny and then lying about it in the morning.

How true to form. How "ironic." How lame. How Maxim.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999