This week’s more! cover, of Kim Kardashian in a bikini saying ‘I work hard for this body’ is about as close to a tits and teeth Lads Mag cover as you can get. Sometimes I wonder why I keep buying this shit, but then I remember that it’s for you guys, and that I can claim this expenditure against tax. And I don’t have to feel guilty about buying it, because it’s ‘work’. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.
more! is a magazine with barely any merit. It does what other women’s magazines do, but not as well, marketing itself as a synthesis of sex fashion and celebs. Like Cosmo and Glamour, it is written for teenagers, but pretends not to be. Yet the teenage angle is as transparent as a Eurovision stage costume. Every product placed within its pages by PRs is just the kind of tat that would have made my twelve year old self roll over and speak in tongues. It’s shiny, it’s brightly coloured, and, if it’s a beauty product, it smells like pistachio sundae.
more! is also obsessed with ‘pulling’ in a very teenage way. Much within its pages is concerned with getting you a man, or, perhaps more appropriately, a cute lad. So facial scrub gives you the clear skin needed to ‘bag a hottie’, the functional necessity of a swimsuit becomes part of your ‘poolside pulling style’ and a feather skirt will ‘tickle his fancy.’ A perfume is accompanied by the text ‘your man will love it!’
Then we get to the infamous position of the week, in which the more! staff creepily act out a sex move using Barbie and Ken dolls, for readers to try at home. Anyone familiar with the writings of Ernst Jentsch on the uncanny and the automaton will know just terrifyingly eerie this whole feature is. But I’m assuming more! are not and therefore don’t.
Basically, dolls are creepy because they resemble humans and there is a subconscious uncertainty present as to whether or not they might become sentient. Furthermore, Freud held that children fantasise about dolls coming to life. When we apply this to more! magazine’s ‘position of the fortnight’ aka an overtly sexual context, we can assume (ignoring the maxim that when you assume you make an ass out of U and ME) that the features team are enacting a pretty disturbing erotic fantasy. Add to this the fact that it won’t have been so long ago that more!’s readership were themselves playing with dolls and you end up with a veritable minestrone soup whose main ingredients are ‘ew’ and ‘fucking creepy.’
Much has been written about the ‘Living Doll’ and how it pervades our society, mainly by the excellent Natasha Walter. Certainly the idea of transforming women into dolls comes partly from the desire to plasticise those qualities which are so inherently feminine. If you’re plastic you can’t do much harm, except there’s always the uncertainty there that you could come to life and go all ‘Bride of Chucky’ on the patriarchy’s ass. By transforming the copulating figures into dolls, their humanity, and their physicality is alienated and the act of fucking becomes less threatening to more!’s teenage readership. These dolls are not made of blood and skin and sinew and discharge and jizz. They don’t even have genitals.
I really don’t think more! know what it’s like to be a teenage girl. When you’re a teenage girl, everything you know about sex comes from your friends, who are as ignorant as you in these matters but pretend not to be. You’ll probably have had one or two pathetically paltry sex education classes in which they tell you all about periods but absolutely nothing about how sex actually works in reality. They don’t tell you that women rarely orgasm from penetration and that your first time will probably involve 30 seconds of breathless rumpy pumpy as your lad of choice mounts you like an eager jack russel, and several days of wondering why you didn’t come. They don’t tell you that spaff is sticky and messy and that you probably will get it on you at some point, and that the appropriate response is probably not to jump up and flap your arms and go ‘ewewewewewewewEW.’ They don’t tell you shit.
The internet tells you shit, but not if you’re using your parents’ computer and they have netnannied you up to the hilt. Which is why some actual diagrams, if not photographs, of people getting down to it in a safe environment would be quite helpful.
What teenage girls really need is a clear picture of two people fucking.
In light of this it’s bizarre that more! dryhumps two plastic dolls together to illustrate sexual positions yet ‘Summer Sex Fantasies’ advises you on how to get spanked by your partner.
Really more!? Do you really think your readers are there yet? Back at school, when we all read more!, barely any of us had had so much as a cheeky finger. Spanking, role play and light bondage were certainly not on the agenda. It’s OK though, because the spanking picture more! uses is about as vanilla as you can get (see below) and thus devoid of any potential eroticism. They’re just chilling, having a lark, indulging in a bit of light S&M before they get bored and go off for a milkshake, yeah?
I can picture them now, in the milkshake bar. They’ve moved on from blindfolding, bondage and spanking and are onto the ‘sex with a stranger’ role playing fantasy. ‘You could dress up, or even wear a wig if you want to make it more realistic’ says more! She nips to the loo and dons a poundstretcher wig, then struts over to him as he slurps up the last of the banana globules through his curly straw. ‘Hellooooo’ she breathes sultrily down the back of his neck. He turns.
‘Why are you wearing a wig?’ he says, confused.
‘Shhhh, I’m being someone else. Like in the fantasy, yeah?’
‘Is that someone else Dame Edna?’
‘I’m a stranger. A sexy stranger. You are supposed to seduce me.’
‘But I like YOU,’ he says, puzzled, ‘and Dame Edna is a man.’
It ends with her stropping off, their relationship in tatters as he stands by the counter looking baffled and a little wistful. Of course, he tells everyone at school, and forever thus, or at least until she gets to university, she is known as ‘wiggy.’
‘Damn you, more!’ she curses, as she regards her teenage bedroom for the last time, ‘damn you to hell. Would that you had shown me how to engage in proper age-appropraite teenage sexual behaviour, none of this would ever have happened.’ And she waltzes off to pastures new, turns out the light, and shuts the door on her childhood, her dolls lined up mutely on the pink bedspread, inanimate and passive as ever.