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NSFW: Fetishizing War and Torture in MAN’S BOOK

The era of men’s adventure magazines was one of giving “warnings, how-to’s, and comforting memories of wartime” to the indoctrinated and traumatized soldiers of post-WWII America. Not surprisingly, instead of providing therapy and support for men returning from war, an industry popped up to help them cope by fetishizing the torture and rape of women (the same ones who’d been waiting for them during the war, and supporting them since they got home – oh, the irony). With taglines like “Revealed: Latest Lures of Man-Starved Wantons” and “Exposed: Teen Non-Virgin Cults of Forbidden Lusts,” magazines like Man’s Book promoted rape culture at its finest. Anyone who argues rape culture isn’t a thing, take a gander at the gallery of Man’s Book covers below, published between the 1950s and 1970s. They attempt to build up men’s confidence by turning women into literal sex slaves, which would be laughable if it wasn’t so effective – other and degrade the woman and center the man as the embodiment of power. It also reflects the reality that rape was a weapon during WWII, a tactic used by every army involved against “enemy” women, as well as coerced sex with soldiers in exchange for women’s protection and survival. History is written by “the victors” and our Western version minimizes the widespread dishonorable actions of the Allies, who are said to have raped thousands of German women after the fall of the Nazi Party in 1945, and focuses instead on the Axis of Evil rapists. But these Men’s Book covers, while they do position Nazi Germany and the Soviet Reds as the perpetrators, are clearly meant to turn on and titillate the American men reading them. Kinda telling on themselves with these.

Written By

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation.

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