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Lads' mags in children's sight: the game is ON!

(171 Posts)
RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 14-Dec-10 13:55:26

After canvassing your views, we're extending Let Girls Be Girls to cover the issue of lads' mags on display where children can see them in newsagents, supermarkets, stationers and petrol stations. Have a look at our press release and survey results here. We're contacting all the major retailers to ask them to sign up, and will keep you posted about how that goes. If you'd like to cull some copy from the press release to compose your own letter to your local independent newsagent, please feel free, and post here to let us know what you've done.

Some of the retailers have asked us for examples of individual stores that are presenting problems, so if you've seen material inappropriately displayed in a specific branch, again, please post here and we'll pass the information on.

Cheers,

MNHQ

BeenBeta Tue 14-Dec-10 22:28:23

stickyj - I dont think the Mens Health mags are double standards. They are not the same - at least they dont seem so to me. There are Womens Health Magazines too.

anastasia - one of the comments replying to the article that you linked to also makes the valid point that many women's magazines might equally damage girls by by presenting false and airbrushed body images of women but they won't be banned to the top shelf.

I support the campaign but am just trying to be realistic and practical. The comments under the article are an interestng profile of the kind of response this campaign will elicit and MN need to be ready to deal with that.

LeninInExcelsis Tue 14-Dec-10 22:33:12

It's about the sexual objectification and often subjugation of women for me. The covers of The Daily Sport and Nuts just make me seethe. The way women are presented on these is demeaning and humiliating.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 14-Dec-10 22:42:22

Well done to 'Anna' on the LibCon piece - putting the points that I couldn't with my professional hat on!

JessinAvalon Tue 14-Dec-10 22:46:16

Well done to you both! I can't be bothered to argue on Liberal Conspiracy, I'm afraid. They are all so busy trying to prove how goddamn liberal they all are that they don't ever think about the wider impact of these issues.

tabouleh Tue 14-Dec-10 23:29:27

Well done MN! It's great that you've got these links with retailers now through LGBG.

I am thinking that now is also a good time for us to be contacting these retailers with our own specific complaints so it will be on their agendas from customer complaints also.

'Anna' (whomever you are) as you have a LibCon login perhaps you could post and mention the sexualisation of young people review for those wanting info on some research.

This part of the report is relevant:

The evidence set out in this document suggests that there is broad agreement among researchers and experts in health and welfare that sexualising children prematurely places them at risk of a variety of harms, ranging from body image disturbances to being victims of abuse and sexual violence.

Sexualisation devalues women and girls sending out a disturbing message that they are always sexually available. It creates false expectations for girls trying to live up to unrealistic ‘ideals’, and for boys in terms of how they think a girl should be treated. It increases selfobjectification and limits the aspirations and choices that girls feel are open to them. Sexualisation lowers important barriers to child sexual abuse, and undermines healthy relationships, increasing the likelihood of violence against women and girls.

There is both empirical research and clinical evidence that premature sexualisation harms children. There is, however, a clear need for further empirical evidence in the form of a large-scale longitudinal study to look in detail at how living in a sexualised culture affects both boys and girls as they grow and develop.

There are several reasons why such evidence does not yet exist. First, large longitudinal studies require careful development and significant funding:in Australia,the federal government spent two years debating whether the National Health and Medical Research Council should fund such a study. Second, such a study would have to overcome considerable ethical obstacles with regard to breaches of family privacy and the risk of further sexualising child participants.

Finally, many of the mechanisms through which sexualisation is occurring are relatively new. Only recently have we begun to see psychologists and other social scientists making a concerted effort to address the issue.

So, we need more research. Nevertheless, we should acknowledge that the research and evidence from child experts and clinicians gathered in this report points clearly to the fact that sexualisation is having a negative impact on young people’s physical and mental health, and helping to normalise abusive behaviour towards women and children.

How many of those LibCon posters are A)male and B)have DCs. Anyone know?

LeninInExcelsis Tue 14-Dec-10 23:40:12

Worth mention the hyper-masculinity ideals for boys she talks about too.

anastaisia Wed 15-Dec-10 00:54:11

You don't need a log in; just enter a name and email.

I'm thinking of giving up. I shouldn't have gotten involved in the first place. I will go on from the computer in the morning and post the link for the report unless someone else gets there first

clippityclop Wed 15-Dec-10 02:53:40

Well done! What about pound shops displaying those grotty lighters etc adorned with topless pics?

DingDongMaryBSonHigh Wed 15-Dec-10 08:20:50

Our local One Stop has the hardcore stuff covered up, but there's still all the lads mags at the eye level of my primary school DD. Its only been like this since they refurbed the store and moved the magazines. Before they used to be much higher.

Was thinking of writing and complaining. Any hints and tips for me?

NormaStanleyFletcher Wed 15-Dec-10 09:38:51

I have posted on that Liberal Conspiracy thread as well Rowan.

DwayneDibbley Wed 15-Dec-10 10:27:34

Message withdrawn

FrustratedHippy Wed 15-Dec-10 11:15:10

Brilliant mumsnet . I did brazen it out with my local whsmith years ago but they looked at me as if I had just sworn allegiance to the god Zord . Of course they did nothing . Will go take a look today and see if I dare speak up!

Eleison Wed 15-Dec-10 11:15:53

Is there any need to convince the LibCon community of anything? Does it matter what they think? A lot of the comments there seem to involve a kind of classical social liberalism that asserts a simple freedom of self-expression, one that works in the pretendy world of Adam Smith's invisible hand, but which is of limited relevance when it comes to the regulation of a commercially generated environment like a retail space, where there are dynamics that sever any simple relationship between individual choices and social outcomes.

Is that what LibCon is? Or is it a leftist site? Who's heard of it anyway, outside of the little tin box of the blogosphere?

anastaisia Wed 15-Dec-10 12:07:28

They're left wing Eleison.

No need to convince them, but I do think with these things it's important to have the discussions. Especially when you think about the people who don't write anything but do read the comments and may not have made up their minds what they think.

Shell petrol station London N8 (nuts/ star etc all at children's eye level in forecourt)

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 15-Dec-10 18:05:17

I think I'm in love with JP on the LibCon thread...

PosieParkhersleigh Wed 15-Dec-10 18:55:05

Co-op (just bought out Somerfield) has voted, board decision for the South West, to put all mags up high and covered. My neighbour, a sixty year old man, said he'd just won a 'one man campaign' writing tirelessly to get them moved. He said it came to a head when Nuts mag was next to little girl's birthday cards.

So now if you go into a Co-op or Somerfield you can ask the manager to move and cover, I think. He said he'll send me his emailed response and I can post it here.

LeninInExcelsis Wed 15-Dec-10 19:01:31

I don't understand why the experiences and feelings of women are dismissed as irrelevant on the lib con site. If someone was quite insistent on explaining that they found some of the poses on The Daily Sport humiliating and demeaning you'd think they'd stop and think about that for a moment. It's not their sex depicted in such a subjugated way.

tabouleh Wed 15-Dec-10 20:23:55

Posie that's great news - I am convinced that it is by targeting the boards of companies that we'll get these things changed.

So going to corporate governance route and asking difficult questions of boards as to their policies on various matters.

Then it will be irrelevant what the liberals think. grin grin

This is also why it is important to push for more women on boards as I am convinced that will see a step change on some of these issues.

<<looking forward to the report into female directors due early next year>>

Lenin I am pretty certain most on that libcon thread are men and they will be starting from a different point on this - possibly many have no DCs/if they do they don't take DCs to shops so much/they don't have issues personally with the objectification of women.

I suspect most of those libcons were anti-smoking ban - I'd be interesting to know how high they set the bar for "evidence"?!

Ditto compulsorary use of the seatbelt etc.

NetworkGuy Wed 15-Dec-10 21:18:42

Co-Op owned Somerfield in Gwersyllt has a magazine area close to the entrance, only 3 or 4 levels such that adults can see over the top of the shelving (ie not high at all).

I gave some verbal feedback to one of the staff as to why I found it laughable that the Co-Op with its 'ethical' stance, could have the mags at that level and she accepted the comment. I pointed out the practice of the Asda in town centre where they have not only put them on the uppermost shelves, but have a cardboard box surround with only the magazine titles visible.

I'm male and not offended, but feel there are 'limits' and Asda at least made the effort!

NetworkGuy Wed 15-Dec-10 21:18:50

As for men's health mags with exposed chests and legs, happy to go with what others think - however, if anyone has enjoyed watched wrestling or boxing on TV (eg in Olympics) I suspect that wearing much more than shorts looks a bit odd - though perhaps it should be seasonal - so fine in the summer months, dumb in the winter

NetworkGuy Wed 15-Dec-10 21:20:17

Good news Posie - had not seen your post (page 2) when I typed mine.

NetworkGuy Wed 15-Dec-10 21:24:56

However, it would be best for Co-Op Head Office to make it a decree for all shops to cover up, not for there to be any individual request needed! Perhaps a word from MNHQ might cause that.

However, it would be great to see a headline on web sites "Mumsnet says: Boycott <name> because they won't respect children's innocence"

If WH Smith and Tesco won't change, they may not like a bunch of placard holding marchers walking past the fronts of their shops (nationwide) every 15 minutes asking customers to boycott them ! Just imagine it, 5 days before Christmas!!

PaisleyLeaf Wed 15-Dec-10 21:49:13

That's interesting about Co-Op. I'll have another look at the one by me as they had the mags pretty low on clear display. Mind you ALL their shelves are low - the highest only coming to my shoulder unless it's alcohol or fridge food around the sides of the shop.

JessinAvalon Wed 15-Dec-10 23:19:24

Um.....wondering whether to out myself. I am JP on the LibCon thread! I don't dare look at the responses to my latest post. I do lose my patience with that lot. I don't know if they think they are being cool by saying that everything should be left as it is, no rules man. Yeah, cos that's sticking it to the capitalist system! They seem to completely ignore the role that big companies play in people's choices. All they are doing is defending capitalism. Very anarchic!

The only people that benefit by having porn mags on view is the retailer (although in the long run they will probably lose custom from offended customers) and the porn industry. Way to go for sticking up for people's freedom!

Unfortunately the chair of the licensing committee in Bristol is very much of that mindset. It is frustrating when trying to have a conversation with him about the sex industry.

It's so great to hear that others are making the effort to complain, esp the chap who had carried out a one man campaign. I have contacted the Co-op, Tesco and WHSmut and they all make you feel as if you are a lone voice.

Network Guy-have you heard about Object's feminist Fridays? They have targeted Tesco every month for a while now, doing the conga in store, chanting, putting paper bags over the lads mags. I organised an email campaign to the Coop last year, got hundreds of people to complain in the same week. They just ignored us!

Sainsbury's actually had the good sense to listen to customers and did something about it which is why I only shop in there now.

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