On Monday, the Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign was launched to significant media attention. Claire Rush explores this new campaign, which has gained thousands of signatures in the last few days.
What is the Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign calling for?
The website states:
‘Lads’ mags promote sexist attitudes and behaviours. They normalise the idea that it’s acceptable to treat women like sex objects.
But customers and shop employees don’t have to put up with it any longer! UK Feminista and Object have obtained brand new legal advice showing that displaying and selling lads’ mags and papers with Page 3-style front cover images can constitute sexual harassment or sex discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. Employees could take legal action against shops on this basis. Where the magazine is visibly on display, customers could also have a claim.
The writing’s on the wall for retailers: by selling lads’ mags they are open to legal action. But these companies will only act to avoid this if they think enough people know about it. Sign the petition to lads’ mags retailers and then share it with your friends.
So it’s time to shout it from the rooftops!’
Who’s supporting it?
14 leading discrimination lawyers, from six different firms including Matrix Chambers and Bindmans, have written an open letter to retailers calling on them to lose the lads mags:
“The ‘Lose the Lads Mags’ campaign by UK Feminista and Object is calling on high-street retailers immediately to withdraw Lads’ Mags and papers featuring pornographic front covers from their stores. Each one of these stores is a workplace. 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 2010. Similarly, exposing customers to these publications in the process of displaying them is capable of giving rise to breaches of the Equality Act.’
You can read the full transcript in The Guardian here.
Why do we need to target lads’ mags?
Kat Banyard, Director of UK Feminista, said: ‘Lads mags’ aren’t just a bit of harmless fun. By portraying women as sex objects they fuel sexist attitudes and behaviours. It is a national scandal that the ‘big four’
supermarkets and high-street shops like WH Smiths stock these sexist publications. By selling lads’ mags, companies like Tesco and WH Smith are normalising the idea that it is acceptable to treat women like sex objects. The good news is that customers and employees don’t have to put up with it any more. Legally as well as ethically, lads’ mags are well past their sell by date. The writing’s on the wall for retailers: lose the lads’ mags or you could end up in court.’
The campaign cites three reasons why lads’ mags are a harmful concern:
- Viewing media which portrays women as sex objects leads people to become significantly more accepting of gender stereotyping, sexual harassment, interpersonal violence, and rape myths.
- Men are more likely to treat women as sex objects and their behaviour towards women is more sexualised after exposure to sexualised media.
- The Government-commissioned ‘Sexualisation of Young People Review’ in 2010 found they: ‘promote an idea of male sexuality as based on power and aggression, depicting women as sex objects and including articles that feature strategies for manipulating women… The evidence gathered in the review suggests a clear link between consumption of sexualised images, a tendency to view women as objects and the acceptance of aggressive attitudes and behaviour as the norm. Both the images we consume and the way we consume them are lending credence to the idea that women are there to be used and that men are there to use them.’
How can you help?
You can sign the online petition here and share it with your friends and family via email and social networking sites.
‘It’s time to shout it from the rooftops!’
Media round-up: what is everyone else saying…?
‘The Lose the Lads' Mags campaign demonstrates the power of modern feminism’ in the New Statesman - read more here.
Report from Christian Today including a quote from Steve Legg who founded Christian male magazine Sorted - read more here.
Author Toby Jones argues that it is threatening free speech and contends that the availability of pornography actually protects women in The Daily Telegraph - read more here.
Social justice activist Gemma Wilson reflects on lads' mags, pornography and her dialogue with a glamour model - read more here.
‘The lads' mag I edited turned a generation on to porn: A remarkable confession from the longest-serving editor of Loaded’ in the Daily Mail - read more here.
What do you think? Are you supporting the campaign? Why? Why not? Should Sophia Network add its name to the list of the organizations supporting the campaign?