British Feminist Asks Shops to Stop Stocking Sexually Explicit Magazines
5:30 pm, June 26th | by Grace Rasmus
A new British campaign called “Lose the Lads’ Mags” hopes to stop supermarkets from stocking magazines featuring naked women in sexually explicit positions on the covers. Prominent U.K. feminist Kat Banyard, who launched the campaign, believes the magazines violate the Equality Act of 2010.
“Displaying these publications in workplaces and/or requiring staff to handle them in the course of their jobs may amount to sex discrimination and sexual harassment contrary to the Equality Act of 2010,” UK Feminista and Object wrote in a letter to the Guardian.
In response to critics who say she’s trying to censor free speech, Baynard said the campaign is “not calling for any new laws, policies or regulations.” Instead, they’re simply asking retailers “to actively choose to stop selling lads’ mags, in the same way that right now they’re actively choosing to sell them.”
The lads’ mags in question, most notably Zoo and Nuts, are much raunchier than their U.S. counterparts like Playboy, Maxim, etc. In addition to having sexually explicit photographs, the words that accompany the pictures are incredibly graphic, misogynistic, and offensive. Here’s one example: “I think girls are like plasticine. If you warm up to them, you can get do anything you want with them.”
Researchers have even found that the descriptions of women in these lads’ mags are indistinguishable from views expressed by convicted rapists. In the study, some men actually found themselves identifying more with the sentiments of the rapists than with the magazine quotes, according to Daily Mail.
Dr. Miranda Hovarth of Middlesex University explained why this conclusion is so dangerous:
A lot of debate around the regulation of lads’ mags has been to do with how they affect children but less has been said about the influence they have on their intended audience of young men and the women with whom those men socialise. These magazines support the legitimization of sexist attitudes and behaviors and need to be more responsible about their portrayal of women, both in words and images.