Let the battle begin.

July 15, 2013

In the UK, Kat Banyard – founder of UK Feminista – started a campaign to Lose the Lads’ Mags.

She has signatures from lawyers supporting her push to have leading businesses, like Tesco, cease to continue stocking magazines – such as ZOO – in their stores.

As it states in the linked article (whilst looking through a ZOO magazine):

Banyard points to one advertising sex line workers who are “just 18” and a bigger ad, on the facing page, promising “Asian Dolls: find your perfect Oriental escort NOW!”. She winces slightly. “I find it staggering that high street retailers sell these magazines mean, they’ve been on their shelves for years, but I still find it staggering that they expect customers and employees to be exposed to this and also that they think it’s OK to profit from them.”

I think this drive is fantastic.

I want to do it here in Australia – and this is why…

A few days ago, my 10 yr old daughter needed a few simple stationary items, so I said we’ll pop into our local newsagency – a family friendly place, right?

This is the same location where I had ‘words’ with the owner, a few months ago, about how he positioned his copies of ZOO magazine on a stand, so that you could see it from outside the shop as you walk by…or your son…or daughter…or grandparents…
He also had very provocative magazines in the same location – down the front of the store – near the newspapers.

When I challenged him about a magazine cover showing a naked lady sitting on a push bike, in plain view from where you get the newspapers, he simply told me I had good eyes. (?)
He also argued that ‘children never go there’.

He ended up removing the ZOO magazine stand – which was a positive step – but alas, it stopped there. He left the other magazines as they were.

It had been a long time since I had gone in there, so you can understand how livid I was when I saw my daughter head to the stationary section and noticed it is located directly opposite the Lads’ magazines.

The current cover of ZOO is this:


Below are the magazines ready for visual perusal, by anyone wanting to buy stationary in this newsagency – where ‘children never go’:
Bulging breasts, spread legs; titles such as ‘Six feet of Sex’ and ‘Hot Stuff’…oh and a naked woman.
Above these are the hard-core mags which have the majority of the cover shrouded in dark plastic.

If this is what’s ‘allowed’ to be shown – what the hell are on the other covers?


Where I was standing, as I took the photo below, is where they sell the newspapers and women’s gossip magazines. Stationary wall to the left and lads’ magazines just opposite.


Question #175: Does this incense you as it does me?

I spoke up.
The only person in the shop was a woman who I have regularly seen over the years and I told her I thought that it was completely inappropriate to have these magazines where children could see these pornographic photos – where anyone could see.

She shrugged, said she just worked there and it had nothing to do with her.
A fairly predictable and typical response and yet still deeply disappoints.
I always wonder if the day will ever come, when someone I’ve spoken to says, “Yeah! That’s true.” (A girl can dream).

She also offered an alternative place of business – Officeworks – to buy stationary.
I was surprised by that – proposing we spend our money elsewhere – and I said to her that sadly,  for newsagents, it may just have to be the way.

At that point I directed my girls out of the shop and we did, in fact, go elsewhere.

There seems to be no thought for anyone except heterosexual boys and men to get titillated (and conditioned) everywhere they go, perpetuating this ever-invasive porn culture …and then profit from that.

Of course, we have the equally unsettling issue of the girls and women participating in this paradigm – who feel somehow empowered to be told by men they look ‘hot’ when nearly naked…and then profit from that.
It’s aaall OK, as long as someone’s getting rich – regardless of what ethical lines are being crossed.

Well, I am done.

So is my friend Lily Munroe and we’ve started research for our own campaign.
So stay tuned.

Question #176: Are you with us??

Deeeeeeep (nervous but pumped) breath.


16 Responses to “Let the battle begin.”

  1. (shakes head) It’s unbelievable how much exposure to such material children can casually get in places they frequent. It no longer has to be sought out. I totally support your research!

  2. We are WITH YOU, sister. Much love and solidarity from the UK!

  3. […] Stay tuned for news and calls to action for our new campaign to Lose the Lad’s Mags Australia, here and at questionsforwomen.org And remember, United we are powerful!! Let the battle begin! http://questionsforwomen.org/2013/07/15/let-the-battle-begin/ […]

  4. Reblogged this on Porn-Free Culture and commented:
    My Partner in Crime and her cultural experience buying stationary with her Daughters the other day at their local porn store, I mean, newsagent.

  5. I’ll ride into battle with you any time! Great stuff, Paula and Lily. Count me in!

  6. Nancey Chambers said

    You’re awesome! Let me know how I can help from the USA.

    • questionsforwomen said

      Thank you for your support – you’re awesome!
      We’ll see how it all unfolds.
      🙂 x

  7. suzymcfoozy said

    I am so happy that you’re doing this. I am 100% in support of what you are doing and I think it’s about time someone took a stand.
    I’m excited to hear what the research reveals.
    I couldn’t have said any of it better myself, and I admire the steps you are taking to fight the invasive sexism of porn culture.

    • questionsforwomen said

      Thank you SO much for that wonderful support. My friend Lily and I are still nutting out our campaign road.
      We have a lot of groups – like a rape centre, A group against VAW, Steve Biddulph, Family Smart – and of course, Collective Shout – supporting us. Our campaign will be branded under CS’s name.
      Still calling and writing for more support but we’re CHUFFED with what we’ve received thus far.
      Research says that these magazines have a definite place in the current porn and rape culture we are immersed in now. But teeny changes are happening – esp in the UK at the moment.
      We just have to keep speaking up – especially in newsagents and petrol stations that continue to perpetuate the culture, and in turn invade our rights (esp those of our children).
      Thanks again for your support. It means a lot – every voice helps.

      🙂 x
      PS Sorry for the late reply – full-time work, two young girls…Zzzzz 😉

  8. skulldrix said

    What’s so scary about the impact of these casually displayed pornographic images is that they influence men to believe that sex is something they should want all the time; psuedo-rationalizing the objectification of the female body. This shit trains men to put their dicks first before everything.Sickening. If we banned porn magazines I really wonder the change in rape statistics, and male behavior towards women.

    Here from Philly, I think I’ll start a campaign to spread awareness about the harms of porn. Like create flyers and post them around the town about the harms of pornography. I’m totally ready creative in their fight against porn.

    Way brave of you to stand up and do something about that.

    • questionsforwomen said

      I’m sorry for taking so long to reply – I’ve got a sick daughter (just a flu bug) and have been working like a crazy person!
      Thank you so much for your supporting words – they mean a lot. 🙂
      I think this is a pretty big emergency. We’ve literally flooded the system with porn AND made it accessible everywhere. Affecting ALL – boys and girls, women and men.
      Your idea sounds AMAZING!
      Keep my posted if you end up doing it. Send me pictures and info and I’ll write about it!
      You’re the one who’s awesome for standing up too.

  9. druidwinter said

    I am sorry to say the girls in the magazines do not profit as much as you may believe- and are often duped to pose for very little these days. One nude photo shoot will not even pay a months rent like it would in the 1980s. The riskiest photos are caught at the ‘trying to break into the business stage’ and they do not own the copyrights. Sexwork is constantly pushed at them from all sides as ‘a temporary fix’ to the lack of funds. The photos get sold to databases and stockphoto places. The photos and sexwork sometimes get them fired from regular jobs years later when they want out, or a traumatic incident causes them to really want out, Only a small few make as much as a regular job and work is never steady. What adds to this are pimps and drug dealers that constantly hang out where the work is offering ‘help’ in bad times.

    The girls’ bodies may be sold alongside of stars, but they do not profit like the mag sellers & photographers.

    The girls that support this the most sometimes have drug habits and deny, forget, and are willing to say a lot to prevent getting cut off.

    They sell a lie to the women that see the photos and imagine a glamourous life being sold next to celebrities mags.

    • questionsforwomen said

      Hello druidwinter.
      No, I don’t think women profit much at all from these magazines or anything porn related.
      My heart actually aches for these women because they are either being duped (as you said) or are so incredibly insecure that they need that sort of validation. Of course there are those women who are ‘successful’ within their field – however, they really are such a minority, that it’s practically an insignificant statistic.
      On the whole it has all become a bit sinister and dirty – and the reason for this post is that I truly believe it’s changing the neural pathways of our kids as they become not only increasingly desensitised to the hypersexualised and objectified images of women, but also learning about sex in this skewed manner.
      They’re not going to know how to have relationships as it’s ALL just about sex…everywhere you look.
      I think it used to be cliché that sex was everywhere – sadly though, now it is.
      Thanks so much for your comment. 🙂

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