Why Object to Lads' Mags?
The Current Situation
In 2006 - after intense campaigning and lobbying from OBJECT - the Home Office, along with the Periodical Publishers Association and the National Federation of Retail Newsagents Office, drew up a (voluntary) code of practice on the display of lads' mags and The Sport. This code of practice recommends that retailers cover lads’ mags and newspapers with sexually graphic front pages and that these publications are displayed well above children’s eye level and away from children’s titles and comics. Yet 3 years on we still find ourselves having no choice but to be bombarded with sexualised and objectifying images of women whenever we enter our local supermarkets or newsagents.
The voluntary code of practice is not sufficient and tougher action and legislation is clearly needed. Lads' mags and newspapers like The Sport objectify women by portraying them as sex objects and not real people. These magazines are often as contemptuous of women as top shelf pornography and they are directly linked to hardcore pornography and prostitution through adverts in their back pages. This growing sexualisation of women and girls in the media provides a conducive context for violence against women and gender inequality.
We call on the government to fulfil its multiple international obligations to tackle gender stereotyping and the sexualisation of women in the media by extending anti-racial discrimination measures for the media to include anti-sex discrimination and by mainstreaming gender equality into media regulation.
Lads’ mags and newspapers such as The Sport should be recognised as part of the pornography industry and if sold, these publications should be covered up, put on the top shelf and age-restricted.
We urge the government to recognise and address the harmful effects of the messages from lads' mags and newspapers like The Sport as a crucial part of work promoting gender equality and the cross-governmental violence against women strategy.
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