Lads' Mags campaign: take action

Let girls be girls logoFollowing our survey, which found that nine out of ten Mumsnetters wanted lads' mags displayed out of children's sight, Mumsnet called on news retailers to ensure that magazines with sexual images on the cover weren't displayed where children could easily see them.

Many major retailers are supporting Mumsnet's campaign, working hard to make sure that lads' mags are kept out of view of children. We're very pleased that Sainsburys, Morrisons, Waitrose, BP, ASDA, The Co-operative Group and Tesco are responding to the concerns of parents.

Disappointingly, WHSmith haven't joined us.  They argue that a shelf height of 1.2m, equivalent to that of an eight-year-old child, is a sufficient barrier where other retailers have clearly succeeded in taking further action.


Take action

The National Federation of Retail Newsagents also felt unable to support our campaign, as it cannot ensure that its members take the necessary action. As individual newsagents were identified as the biggest offenders in our original survey, you may be keen to contact your local newsagents about your concerns as this could be the most effective way to bring about changes in their display policies. Here's a template letter for you to use or adapt:


Dear proprietor,

Display of 'lads' mags'

As someone who regularly shops in your store, I am writing to ask whether you would be willing to promise that magazines and newspapers with adult images on the cover (such as Nuts, Zoo, Maxim, Stuff, the Sunday Sport and the Daily Sport) will be kept out of children's sight in your display racks.

I'm sure you agree that these images are not suitable for young children. In response to a campaign by the parenting website Mumsnet (, major retailers such as Sainsburys, Morrisons, Waitrose, ASDA, the Co-op and Tesco have promised to take action to ensure that these publications are displayed appropriately. This means on a top shelf that is well above the eye-line of children, or behind modesty covers, or even just stacked in such a way that the titles are visible but the images are not.

I would ask that you too agree to take these actions, so I can feel confident shopping here with my family.

Mumsnet spoke to the National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) about the campaign, but the NFRN was unable to sign the pledge on behalf of its members, so it is down to you to decide whether to sign up.

Sainsburys and Morrisons, which have operated similar policies for some years, have told Mumsnet that it does not affect the sales figures of these titles, and I feel sure that such a policy would pay off for your business because of the goodwill you would receive.

I would very much appreciate it if you could let me know what you think.


Ms/Mr Mumsnetter


Personalising your letter

MagazinesTalk about the display in that individual shop – is Maxim currently next to Dr Who magazine? Is the Daily Sport on a shelf at toddler eye-level?

If the shop is near a supermarket that has signed up to the campaign, you could gently point out that the shopkeeper's response will inform your decision about where to buy your Daily Telegraph/kingsize Dairy Milk/book of stamps in future.

Mention your children's ages, and any comments they've made about the covers of magazines.

Thanks so much for all your support for this campaign. Do keep using the talk thread to let us know what you think, whether the stores that have signed up are following through, and how your local newsagent responds. We will also continue to contact other magazine retailers to ask them to sign up.


Last updated: about 3 years ago