Britain’s “lad mags” are getting a bit of increased attention today as ITV’s Daybreak conducted a poll that revealed that 45% of people surveyed felt that the magazines have a “detrimental impact on society,” and activists are publicly calling for supermarkets to stop selling these explicitly, demeaning magazines in their family oriented stores.
Lad mags are trashy porn magazines that are frequently sold in family grocery stores. They’re like Playboy but without the articles or class. They have names like Nuts and Zoo, which smartly plays on the concept that women are animals to be looked at in cages. I guess I take it back, these are pretty smart publications. They’re The Economist of degrading women.
The movement to ban lad mags in supermarkets is being lead by women’s rights advocacy groups such as UK Feminista and Object, and have the support of Green Party MP Caroline Lucas. Lucas explained the issue of stocking magazines like these in grocery stores:
“By continuing to sell them Tesco is sending out the message that it is acceptable to treat women as sex objects. The point we are making is these lads mags are harmful by portraying women as dehumanised sex objects. That you can buy these kinds of magazines in between the clothes and the groceries in Tesco and other supermarkets gives out a signal that this kind of attitude towards woman is normal and acceptable.”
This. I have zero objection to kids seeing nudity because hell, we could all benefit from a change in the narrative that constantly tells everyone to be ashamed of our naked bodies. If family grocery stores want to sell anatomy books full of naked bodies that even explain sex, I’m all for it. It’s not nudity we need to shield children from, it’s treating women like sex objects. Selling magazines that treat women as merely an amalgam of sex parts for sticking things into or ejaculating onto isn’t appropriate for children or anyone to see in the context of “normal.”
Obviously, these magazines have every right to exist, just like the KKK or the Westboro Baptist Church or any other deplorable organization, and I’d never argue that they should be banned outright, because I’m not an idiot and banning speech of any kind is equally deplorable. These creeps have the right to make whatever trash they want and to sell it to whomever wants to buy it. But we don’t all have to pretend it’s not degrading and dehumanizing. We don’t have to sell it alongside Better Homes & Gardens and be like “oh yeah, that’s all good for me. See Johnny? That’s a lovely gazebo on that front lawn, and there’s a lovely rack on that blonde in the pit full of Jell-o.”