Buh-Bye FHM: FHM & Zoo Close Publications

The fact that FHM and Smartasses Magazine both release Top 100’s should probably make us brothers. But it doesn’t, and frankly, we’re not sorry to see them go.

Buh-Bye! FHM & Zoo Close Publications | ArticlesSA Magazine

Early in John Elway’s career, I’m sure at some point he thanked Steve DeBerg for “paving the way” for him. At some other point in the near future, Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel will almost certainly thank Josh McCown for the same thing- because it’s the classy thing to do. So we here at Smartasses Magazine would be remiss for not following suit, and recognizing how FHM helped pave the way for getting “Top 100 Sexiest Women Alive” compendiums like ours, into the public eye in the first place. They did for 21 years what we have done for going on eleven. But sadly, only the title alone, of each of our mag’s cornerstone articles, is where the comparisons between they and we, both begin and end. They were a “lad’s mag“, while we are 51% female-run with a 49% female audience. Meaning, our criteria and incentive for said lists is worlds, if not galaxies apart, and frankly, despite respecting their pioneership, we’re neither surprised they are gone, nor sad to see them go.

If that sentiment shocks you, because you’re under some misguided belief that this one similarity makes us and them, somehow, “brothers in female ogling”, or whatever erroneous tag you wish to apply to it, you couldn’t be more wrong. If nothing else, there is of course the most obvious, and most base reason we’re glad they’re closing their doors due to being “particularly vulnerable to online competition”. Which simply is, because we are an insanely huge part of that aforementioned competition. Though we’d like to believe we are above ceremonious gloating.



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If you want to get technical, in that Mountain Dew consuming web-administrator kind of way, we could give you a myriad of truly technical reasons why they failed- online ease being one of them. If you didn’t want to get in your car and find a store that actually carried their publication, to peruse their yearly Top 100 on the day it came out, you were sunk. If you tried to Google it, as most people in this day and age are wont to do, you found yourself in an endless circle of spam sites, blowing up your laptop speakers with incredibly loud and impossible to mute E! type videos, while having to yank your startled cat out of the rafters for the effort. It was annoying. Furthermore, facts being what they are, facts, we slaughtered them in Google rank for two years straight… and we’re the little guy. That alone should tell you something.

Furthermore, at some point, they ceased being innovative. Though many would remark that imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, despite the fact that they came before us, all too often, a non A-List gal who was flying under everyone’s radar would get some plaudits on our annual Top 100 on some given St Patrick’s Day, and then miraculously appear between the pages of their glossy’s 100 a few months later- yet, despite the lack of original thought, and to a lesser degree, theft, because of their longevity in the field and large advertising budget, they’d get all the credit for the “find”. They even boasted, regularly, about how their annual Top 100 “helped propel the careers of many actresses, musicians and models” which was true, but often from the back of our coat tails. Then again, Maxim and AskMen are guilty of habitually cherry-picking us and taking the credit as well, so it’s not as if it’s abnormal. But with respect to all that, despite the way it sounds, this article is neither about our sour grapes nor us kicking someone when they are down, because truthfully, if a gal gets more recognition because of us? That’s what we’re all about. Which segues perfectly into the precise difference between how they did things, and how we do things.

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“The magazine industry has been particularly vulnerable to online competition.”

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Objectification

It’s no secret, their Top 100 was built entirely around putting bodies on exhibit. Ours, conversely, is built upon putting women on a throne. While they asked you to leer at bikini-clad birds pouring frothy tankards of Natty Light while submissively shaking her breasts for beach-combing man-children, we were busy glorifying female real estate moguls and women who otherwise stood for something. They, by other editors not unlike myself, were often referred to as a tool to “keep girls in their place” while we chose instead, to be a conduit for those who wish to embrace women’s independence and power. See the contrariety? Galaxies apart. They objectify, we edify. Which in and of itself, by design, reiterates our previous point– If our small little illumination of a gal helps her land inside the cover of a high profile publication which ensuingly skyrockets her career as a result? Then we were probably correct in assuming she deserved that high degree of acclaim in the first place, and are pleased as punch we were a part of constructing her golden pedestal. Which is a long, roundabout way of saying, that we knew the end was nigh for For Him Magazine. To that end, the fact is that objectification has never really been in style to begin with, but it’s been extremely out of style since around the time of the boom in social media.

To be totally fair however, to a degree, there was a period in time where we were just as guilty as the other guys, in why or how a certain female celebrity or three became someone we rubbernecked over. But at some point, we also grew up. The humor we feature on this magazine and on our weekly radio show has never been low-brow nor appealing to those who enjoy the lowest common denominator of amusement. Which made it stand to reason that the women we appreciated shouldn’t either. Kim Kardashian may have one of the most symmetrically beautiful faces on the planet, but she’s just as arguably one of the most despicable people to ever grace it as well. Yet she was regularly emblazoned upon their cover. Sure, her hair and skin may be “sexy”. But whining her one-percenter drama is not sexy. Pandering for ass-selfie after ass-selfie is not sexy. Her codependency is incredibly not sexy, and check-and-mate… slaughtering rabbits to line the inside of her slippers is most certainly, not sexy either. To dumb it down to the charcoal, one must beg the question, “Why on Earth does she deserve even a crumb of recognition?” The answer is, there is no reason, other than her looks. Objectification, not edification. Though Kimmy deserves neither. 

Circa 2012, we eventually figured out that exalting the Kardashians, and poor excuses for female role models not unlike her, was not what we wanted to be about. Any number of things go into why a woman is sexy– style, attitude, how she sets the standard for generations on the way up, and among other things, otherwise “owning it”. I.E. – Setting the trends. Breaking the glass ceiling. Or being a woman who wants to. It’s not all about looks, and shame on FHM (and you too, Maxim) for not realizing it. AskMen figured it out last year. Oh, and speaking of “bunnies”, another popular men’s gazette also realized that it would be prudent, to the desired outcome of staying on the cutting edge of what educated people genuinely want, to lose the al-fresco spreads for a less-exhibitionistic format earlier this year as well. Hey, it’s a step.

FHM never did figure it out. Now they’re gone, and I for one say it’s as good for the state of humanity as smoking being banned from public places. Kudos to the masses for not supporting their outdated, neanderthal attitude towards women. – Jade Desiree



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