Sunday, 26 July 2009
While on NUS committee training, some of our members joined an Object Feminist Friday action on Lads Mags. We met at Liverpool Street station and wrote slogans on paper bags and processed into three WH Smiths. The people at the front would place the Lads mags into the bags, with others taking photos. Some people stood outside with placards and asked others to sign petitions. The public responded well to the actions, and staff were generally courteous. Object have been taking this action for six weeks now, and have found that in some stores the display of magazines had been reduced, been moved to the back of the shop, or to higher shelves.
The only problem was at Euston, where two males members of staff shoved us out of the way and took the bags. When asked to give them back, a member of staff put them in his pants, pointed to his crotch and said come and get them. Complaints have been made to the police and mangers.
Object campaigns for the recognition of lads mags as pornography, arguing that the magazines promote the objectification of women, encourage rape (Maxim says that 'most women fantasise about rape'!) and advertise prostitution. Since 2006 there has been a Voluntary Code of Practice drawn up by the Home Office that says that such magazines should be covered up and sold out of the eye level of children. Most stores clearly breach this. The End Violence Against Women campaign says that this code of practice needs to be enforced as part of a broader strategy challenging the objectification of women; seeing it as the root cause of gender based discrimination and violence against women.
Object will be holding a workshop at the activist training day on the 12th of September, some along to see how we can work together on further actions. Go to Object's campaigns page for reasoning, tips on winning arguments, how to arrange your own feminist Friday and don't forget to sign the petition....
and Sandrine Leveques article