Louise's Feminist Musings

Notes on feminist news & issues

Lose the Lads Mags!

Here’s news to prove that campaigning really works!:


Co-op stores in the UK have put an ultimatum on lads mags, with objectifying pictures of half naked women on their covers, to put the magazines in ‘modesty bags’. If they won’t they will not be sold there anymore. This happened after feminists campaigned against those magazines sitting everywhere on the shelves in plain sight.


It seems that the stores and the publishers are still negotiating and are maybe just playing hardball, so just maybe the outcome may still change. But anyway, the fact that stores are now concerned with this issue when before nobody seemed to care, is a great achievement. I think that not very much was needed even (not to downplay the huge effort but to stress that protesting always makes sense)….the campaign was backed by many feminist groups and the site is quite good, it consists of a petition and there was a lot of tweeting. Probably most effective was the threat of lawsuits for sexual harassment,: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/sales-of-lads-mags-could-amount-to-sexual-harassment-lawyers-tell-shops-8632909.html (Don’t forget to go to the comments to see the sad state society is in and be disgusted with the average public’s, or well mostly men’s, opinion…I see ‘feminazi’ and ‘censorship’ being used….how old and pathetic). Fairly quickly UK’s national media picked it up I believe (having capable women on their staff helps). http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/may/27/lose-lads-mags-risk-legal-action Nobody had to actually go fight or anything or use any bombs or what have you, just a good network, good pr and a threat to sue (being backed up by the law certainly helps). In fact I thought in the beginning that they would not pull it off because these lads mags are so widespread and there are a lot of lads and ignorant assholes in the UK (as there are anywhere else).

This is GREAT news, but there is a tiny but: the message of why the having the magazines out in plain sight is offensive seems to be not entirely clear to everyone. There are two ways to look at it, or perhaps three:

1. the covers are offensive because they objectify women and this creates an athmosphere in stores and workplaces that is toxic for women who shop/work there (and it is priming men in general with thoughts of hot babes and sex during the whole day),

2. the magazines were often placed next to children’s magazines: we don’t want children to be influenced by images of sex at a young age,

3. the covers are not modest…they show women in a stage of undress and women should not expose themselves.

Feminists are not fans of promoting modesty for modesty’s sake and in fact the views behind 1 and 3 are incompatible, while 2 is compatible with both, but for very different reasons. Still, in order to achieve the goal no big deal was made of any modesty-discussion as far as I saw, which helped I think. But I see spokesperson Sophie Bennett did/does address the issue:

`Lads’ mags are not an issue of taste and decency. These publications cause real harm, reducing women to a sum of body parts rather than real people.’

Still, I wonder whether shop owners, the public and the publishers are actually not very divided in their views as to why the issue is important. It may have consequences in the long run: the campaign may turn out to have been a step towards the ‘cover women up’ philosophy of, for instance, religious organizations. But hey, that’s the future and you may accuse me of thinking way too much, I probably am. Still, the term ‘modesty bag’ slightly creeps me out.

Here’s Sophie Benett again:

`The more accurate term for these so-called ‘modesty bags’ is ‘misogyny bags’ – because the issue for the thousands of people who have called on shops to lose the lads’ mags is absolutely not about nudity. It’s about sexism.’

I hope people get it.


4 comments on “Lose the Lads Mags!

  1. DrexelDitch
    August 23, 2013

    And yet another sexist campaign from feminists around the world. I haven’t read any of these magazines from the UK, but if they are anything like typical men’s magazines from the US and the rest of Europe…

    1.”the covers are offensive because they objectify women…”
    AHAHHAHAHAA… that’s funny. So men’s magazines are not allowed to objectify and sexualize women, but it’s perfectly OK for women’s magazines to do the same with men?
    Well at least men’s magazines are HONEST about what’s in the contents, I can’t really say the same about women’s magazines. O wait… I think I can… If I read whats on the cover.

    Double standard much?

    2. “we don’t want children to be influenced by images of sex at a young age,”
    Um… yes we do. Look at America, they’re prude as hell and their sexual education and sexual culture is absolutely horrific. Not to mention that among the many problems this creates is sexism. And boy, do they have a lot of it!

    A woman in a bikini they can see AT THE FUCKING BEACH! But titles such as “50 ways to suck your man’s dick” they can only see on the covers of Cosmo and the likes… Why are you not working to censor those?

    3. “the covers are not modest…they show women in a stage of undress and women should not expose themselves.” Right… that’s why women who have things like boobs never show any cleavage, or ever plan to. And men too… men should never expose themselves in such demeaning ways as taking their shirts off because that is just simply exhibitioni- o wait, it’s not.

    When I embarked on the intriguing journey of fighting against sexism I made the wonderful decision to start reading women’s magazines, thinking that would make me more in touch with real issues and understand women…

    WROOOOOOOOONG! Worst decision of my life. Literally every issue was the same. Everything revolved around a few well repeated issues:
    – how to please your man sexually
    – (sometimes) how to enjoy sex more
    – how to control your man emotionally
    – tips and tricks on various relationship/dating/sex related issues (according to one that taught women how to recognize rapists, I was a rapist 🙂
    – clothes
    – shoes
    – fashion
    – make up
    – scientifically retarded diets designed to imbalance women’s nutrition
    – bad work-out advice that focus on useless aerobic exercising and do nothing in the long-run

    The “feminist” side was usually an article about a powerful successful woman to “inspire” women.

    – and back to the sex part: an article about a handsome well built man; they had to stress the part about him being famous powerful and rich, because… hey! apparently women can’t masturbate to the thought of a man who isn’t rich…

    But wait! There’s more! The really feminist part:
    – one article telling women that they are perfect the way they are: God made them fat if they were fat, and it’s ok to be like this; if it’s too hard to get in shape and be sexy, it’s not women’s fault, they’re flawless just the way they are…

    – the rest of the magazine is filled with advertisements that featured photoshopped models with tons of makeup on them, therefore finally providing the “socially imposed definition of beauty” that feminists complain about…

    You get that last part? They dis-empower women by telling them they have nothing to do with the way they look, that they’re ok the way they are, and if a diet and exercising don’t work, there’s nothing that women alone can do…. Except buy products designed to make them sexy…

    I mean… fuck all the science, right? Fuck anthropology and biology that tell you that the only thing you need to be sexy is to be fit and healthy. Fuck looking at a biology book for nutrition advice, fuck doing research to find out that anaerobic exercising does so much more!

    Women’s magazine are a corporate indoctrination tool define what women should be and what they should buy.

    By contrast, the experience I’ve had with one particular men’s magazine, FHM, which I used to buy more than 10 years ago, until I saw them get boring and have less interesting content over the years, was something like this:
    – the standard articles about some foxy lady actress, model, singer, sports commentator, TV host, etc etc, complete with photoshoot; about 50% “what do you look for in a man” and the rest was whatever her story was, career related or whatever; would include funny story if anything relevant
    – really useful, to-the-point, non-repetitive sex tips that I thought were very practical
    – sections on electronic entertainment-related topics
    – sections on outdoor activities, sports, adventuring, etc
    – the usual boring sectiosn about cars, bikes, mororbikes, water vehicles, etc etc
    – occasional fashion – usually classy and expensive stuff, even if I was growing in a lower-income country
    – and the best part: articles on the most varied and random of subjects. For instance “world’s bulkiest female bodybuilders” Have you ladies ever read in a ladies’ magazine an article about “History’s most hilarious wartime fuck-ups.” No… probably not… because it’s not trying to sell you anything…
    – jokes page (yeah, some jokes were racist/sexist or otherwise offensive, but where I come from people aren’t easily offended, they will literally make fun of their own troubles)

    – when there was fitness advice, it was actually good; dieting advice, when present, was good (with a warning that it’s not a “magic formula”)
    – ads were varied, the ones centered around making men look like studs never claimed to be all they needed: they were all supplements to working out. While the ads told you to buy whey protein, they never implied that’s all you need, because any idiot knows by default they don’t work by themselves.

    So in short: didn’t tell men what their role was; had a great variety of articles on a great variety of subjects; humor was a big part for a lot of articles and photo captions; portrayed beautiful women not just as sex objects, but as having a career and a personality (where applicable, some bits were just “sexy student of the month” and not all of them had something interesting to say). There was no underlying message to the whole magazine and they didn’t try to change anybody’s lifestyle.

    Of course that was just one magazine, and as I said, it got boring after a few years. And as for Cosmo, it was only like 5 or 6 issues I obtained by accident. But then I checked out a few more, including a few for teen girls (those are particularly horrifying).

    I find it extremely ironic that women’s magazines are soooo shallow, and try to teach women to be shallow, while misinforming them on a lot of issues. All the while men’s magazines just try to have a good read and not give a flying fuck.

    Apparently feminists have never taken a good look at women’s magazines.

    Back to the UK problem – from what I’ve read, “lad culture” is a bit of a Cosmo movement for guys, as a response to feminism (what is it about feminism in the UK that makes men want to start a new men’s culture?). Which is stupid, because we don’t need men indoctrinated with sexist bullshit the same way women are with Cosmo & friends. Which doesn’t make any sense. Why hasn’t this movement appeared in the US first? I would have assumed that if it had appeared anywhere, it would be in the US first – they have great marketing and consumer-shaping skills, and are more unequal and sexist than the UK, if I’m not mistaken.

    • louisechanary
      September 14, 2013

      Who says it’s ok for women’s magazines to objectify women? I you are so concerned with that, why don’t you start a ‘stop the women’s mags’ campaign? Nobody is stopping you, certainly not me, I hate women’s magazines and my life has become a lot better after I quit buying that filth when I grew out of my teens.

      Did you look at the pictures on their website that women took of newsstands with lad’s magazines featuring stuff like the sticked out stringed butt of some woman? Do you think women like to be surrounded by that stuff all of the time? It’s unhealthy for men too, to always be triggered by tits or butts everywhere they look.

      Lad culture a response to feminism? You mean that before the sixties no such thing as lad culture existed? I think Britain is very ‘lad-oriented’ and has always been that way. Currently I moved to the USA and I find that I do not see pictures of half naked women in the newspapers or next to children’s toys. In fact, in the city where I live there aren’t even billboards with pictures of women in bikini etc. The USA will probably be sexist in another way (besides men harassing women in the street, which seem to be the favourite passtime of men everywhere in the world) but I have not yet encountered it though.

      • DrexelDitch
        October 12, 2013

        I only read a little bit about lad culture, but the recent resurgence seems to be a reaction to a recent wave of feminism, according to some random articles I’ve read.

        Either way, based on the loudest and most prominent ones in the UK, feminism there is really uneducated.
        They have some really smart ladies in politics, I’ll give them that, and they really know what and how to do it. But civil society is really bad at formulating their ideas.

        As for the USA…
        Actually, the USA is sexist in other ways, much more insidious.
        The fact that nudity is so taboo is part of the sexist-puritan culture they have there. The conservative side wants to control people’s sexuality and sex lives. “The History of Sexuality” by Michel Foucault is a good read for that. This is why in the US a large part of feminist movements was getting people to accept women as having their own sexuality independent from men and being in control of their own sexuality. The US have really advanced technologies of power, for instance that’s where Cosmo comes from.

  2. DrexelDitch
    September 6, 2013

    This group, UK Feminista, is made entirely out of SCUMBAGS!

    So I attempted to discuss these idea with UK Feminista… I posted on their facebook page, and I asked them for logically constructed arguments.

    None were to be heard. When I made a post asking why the hell there’s no reply to this when they are happy to reply to completely idiotic and pointless comments… I almost go no reply.
    Except an empty: “I would love to hear what you have to say”

    I proceed to criticize their claims, such as the fact that men only benefit from sexism and women do not, I tore down a bunch of myths on sexism that they claim, I gave a clear definition of objectification. And last but not least, I deconstructed their arguments, broke it down to a specific syllogism, and used that syllogism to reach a conclusion that is against their other creeds (more specifically, using their logic I concluded that rape is a woman’s fault for dressing provocatively, and the moral platform of the man has nothing to do with it… THEIR LOGIC).
    So in short, I used sociology, anthropology and logic to tear down every single claim they made.

    All my posts were DELETED and I was BANNED from posting.

    I used another account asking “WTF, UK Feminista, y u ban me when I attempt discussion?”
    The reply was from the same lady who said “I would love to hear what you have to say”. She said I was misogynist and an overall immature idiot and didn’t make any sense. but that UK Feminista doesn’t do that shit. So she “honestly” had no clue why my posts were torn down.
    So I said “ok, I’ll give you another chance; here’s what I posted again”

    Her reply was basically “FUCK YOU, you’re a man; your long-ass rant is a senseless collection of misogynist bullshit; but oh, by the way, I haven’t actually read it and I never will, because you’re a man”

    And they delete the posts and block the 2nd account from posting.

    What is it called when someone doesn’t listen to you, and judges you solely based on your gender?

    Oh, that’s right… SEXISM!

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