Teenage girls’ websites ‘copy lads’ mags’

Magazine websites aimed at teenage girls 'could damage body image'

The website versions of magazines aimed at teenage girls will be criticised today for copying the techniques of so-called lads’ mags by urging young girls to rate their own and others’ bodies.

According to a new report, young teenagers on one site are invited to give verdicts on ten parts of their bodies, including thighs, legs and breasts, with ratings ranging from ‘happy’ to ‘hate ’em’ and ‘ewwww’.

There are also polls comparing the breasts and bottoms of female celebrities and giving marks for pictures of ‘lush lads’, some of whom pose shirtless. The report says the websites are directly influenced by the lads’ magazine culture.

The research will be discussed at a conference today chaired by Cherie Booth focusing on the influence of the media on teenage girls. Titled ‘Am I Bovvered?: What are Teenage Girls Really Thinking?’, it is hosted by the campaign group Women In Journalism.

The event comes days after FHM magazine was condemned by the Press Complaints Commission for publishing a photo of a topless 14-year-old without her consent.

Fiona Bawdon, the author of the report, says the websites are tempting girls to engage in damaging body criticism, The Guardian reports. Features which encourage girls to post pictures of themselves and ask ‘How sexy am I?’ represent a ‘further blurring of the lines between teen sites and lad mag sites,’ she said.

She added: ‘Should a teen magazine really be encouraging young girls to think in terms of ‘hating’ their still developing bodies? It’s hard to see what possible purpose such a survey can serve, other than scoping the teen market for potential plastic surgery customers.’

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