Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Why I support the rights of women

By Steve Legg

If I’m honest, I don’t really understand why anyone wouldn’t support the rights of women. There’s more depth to the debate than that, of course; but on one level, what kind person doesn’t treat everyone with respect?

The thing is, I love women. Let me qualify that: I’m a dad raising five women, a husband partnered by a simply brilliant woman, and I was raised by the first women I ever loved – my mum. Each of these women is amazing in their unique way and I love to watch them reach their potential; to grow and develop and aim high. I don’t like to see them boxed in by other people’s opinions, ignored because they’re ‘just women’ or leered at, because alongside being outstanding they happen to be stunners.

As a Christian I’ve chosen to follow a God who, when he came to earth as a man, went out of his way to honour women, who respected them regardless of their background, marital status or profession, and who empowered women to go out and change the worlds they lived in, even though culturally that was incomprehensible. Jesus loved women too.

I run a men’s magazine, Sorted, and I started it because I wanted my son and his mates to be able to read a magazine that wasn’t full of semi-naked women. I wanted him to understand that reading about footballers is entertaining and that learning about great adventurers is exciting, but that getting kicks out of looking at naked women is offensive.

I wanted to reach more men and boys with that message, but I also wanted the women in my life to know that there are men who want that type of magazine; who aren’t just buying their ‘reading’ material for the pictures. Some great women write for the magazine, and they’re appreciated for their journalism skills and their wit, not for their vital statistics.

From the beginning, I’ve wanted to take on the magazines that objectify women: Loaded and Nuts being two of my particular bugbears. It has been amazing to watch Sorted’s circulation rise as theirs have dropped. We now distribute more magazines than Loaded

There have been many campaigns to boycott these magazines, but I think it sends an even louder message to the market when the ‘boobs, babes and bums free’ magazine overtakes the smut through a process of natural selection.

I want to encourage men to be men – to learn how to be good dads, husbands, brothers and friends – and at the heart of that is the lesson of how to live in what I believe is a God-ordained equal partnership with women.

Visit our website to find out more about Sorted magazine and click here to order your copy today.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Having a smashing time

After a lovely family dinner celebrating my mum’s 60th birthday last week, I turned a corner I had rounded a hundred times before and heard a horrible, gut-wrenching crunch as the metal of my car bonded with the metal of someone else’s (parked) car. To make matters work, I had to keep crunching before I was able to move my poor battered motor away from its new buddy.

I pulled up at the side of the road, and I’ll admit that a series of thoughts went through my head. Would anybody ever know if I just drove off without saying anything? (Yes, I’m ashamed about that one.) The thing is, my car has been hit two or three times in the four months I’ve lived in my street and no one owned up, so what goes around comes around, right? I couldn’t exactly justify that to myself.

Anyway, I left a note on the Audi (I don’t do things by half), apologising and providing my details. Then I went to my friend’s and wept a little. And panicked… And waited… And then, when I remembered what one should do in situations like this, I prayed.

Around this time, my mum texted me Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” It was hard to see how anything good could come out of a car accident, but I guess that’s why they call it faith.

Almost a week later I had heard nothing. Deep down I hoped that whoever owned it had chalked it up to bad experience and that I was off the hook. Not likely! I eventually received a call from a friend of the Audi owner, as the owner doesn’t speak English. The friend thanked me for owning up and said Mr Audi would accept a very small cash payment to fix his bashed-up motor. It then transpired that said friend is a car bodywork specialist and will be able to fix the damage to my car for next to nothing.

This might not sound like much to you, but I guess this was the best possible result from a situation that seemed pretty bleak at the time. I don’t need to claim on my insurance, and I’ve also made connections with two local people who I otherwise wouldn’t have crossed paths with. And now if anyone else bashes into my car and doesn’t own up, I at least know who to call!

While I was looking for news stories to populate the Sorted site in the aftermath, I couldn’t seem to avoid car-related press releases. The first, from Admiral Car Insurance, was about drink driving, and worryingly revealed that 19% of Brits (27% of men and 10% of women) admit to having driven while over the limit.

The second showed that men aged 50 and over are more likely to get distracted behind the wheel than their female counterparts. Research from Saga Car Insurance claims two-thirds of men over 50 have been distracted behind the wheel during the last 12 months compared with half of women.

Men are twice as likely to be distracted by programming Sat Navs (23% versus 13%), rubbernecking (15% versus 9%) and channel hopping on the stereo (24% versus 18%). A quarter of men also admit to ogling attractive passersby, while just 1% of women say their eyes have momentarily wandered towards a good-looking male.

Having hit two parked cars and two birds with my car in the last two years, I’m hardly in a position to offer road safety advice, so I’ll let Saga's director of communication, Paul Green, do it for me. "Driving is like second nature to most of us and we forget about the risks of getting behind the wheel,” he says, adding: “The best advice to drivers is to stay safe and don't be an in-car fiddler."

When it comes to drink driving, no one says it better than Sue Longthorn, Admiral’s managing director: "It's vital that people are aware of how much alcohol they are consuming when they are due to drive, and remember that drink driving is not acceptable in any shape or form and it's never worth the risk."

"The difference between men and women in our research is a worry, as it appears the anti drink driving message is getting through to women, but not so effectively with men. The amount of alcohol in someone's blood is the same, regardless of their gender."

(Shameless plug alert) If you’re in the London area and you’ve had a few jars, why not jump into the Sorted taxi rather than taking the car? You’ll get a free copy of the magazine instead of a potential fine/ban/prison sentence! You can’t say much fairer than that.