Spa! magazine, whose weekly print edition regularly has cover shots of Japanese women bearing their cleavage, took things way too far in its story about “gyaranomi.” The term refers to drinking parties where men pay women to attend, the BBC reported.
Spa!’s article said the parties were popular among female college students, and even listed five universities where girls are “easily available.” It also explained how to “coax” women into having sex, based on their clothing and appearance.
One woman started a change.org petition asking for a retraction of the article, while accusing the tabloid of “sexualizing, objectifying and disrespecting women.” The campaign received more than 42,000 signatures as of Tuesday.
“We would like to apologize for using sensational language to appeal to readers about how they can become intimate with women,” the magazine stated.
Japanese sexism has gained more attention in the past year, particularly after a government investigation found medical schools had rigged exam scores to limit female admissions. The country ranks 110 out of 144 on the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index, which is surprisingly low for a wealthy country that’s also a major hub of global commerce.
A tradition of sexism isn’t any excuse to publish articles that espouse impairing women and raping them.
There may be a cautionary tale for U.S. magazines and websites that for years have published rankings of colleges as “the best party schools.” The subtext of these rankings has a nasty vein of date rape, even if it isn’t clearly articulated.
Playboy magazine, Niche.com and the Princeton Review have widely cited lists of top party schools, based on a variety of criteria.
For example, Princeton Review polls students on the use of alcohol and drugs, the number of hours spent studying each day outside of class and the popularity of Greek life. The University of Delaware is the top party school, followed by West Virginia University and Tulane, according to its ranking.The #Metoo movement and the recent Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings have raised awareness about sexual misconduct on campus — but don’t expect to see schools ranked on that key criterion any time soon.