2013 round-up!

Phew, what a year it’s been! Thousands of us came together to call on high-street shops to ditch sexist, degrading lads’ mags. And the impact was huge. Here’s a run-down of the highlights…

Top lawyers told shops they are open to legal action – May

Letter
A group of top lawyers published an open letter in the Guardian telling high-street shops that by selling lads’ mags they are open to legal action. Exposing staff and customers to the covers of lads’ mags can constitute sexual harassment or sex discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.

Tesco chairman said he was “startled” by the content of lads’ mags after protesters visited the store’s AGM – June

AGM
Lose the Lads’ Mags campaigners spoke to Tesco shareholders as they entered the store’s AGM. A shareholder went on to ask Tesco’s Chairman, Sir Richard Broadbent, to stop selling pornographic lads’ mags. His response? That he was “startled” by the content of lads’ mags and was “willing to look at changes”.

The Co-operative gave lads’ mags an ultimatum – July

The Co-operative told lads’ mags that unless they are delivered to their stores in sealed bags they would no longer be sold by the Cooperative. September was set as the deadline. Meanwhile, representatives of the Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign met with Tesco.

Tesco age-restricted lads’ mags while protestors hit the streets – August

Day of action
(Photo: Guy Bell)

Tesco announced it would restrict the sale of lads’ mags to over-18′s. The retailer also claimed it had struck a deal with lads’ mag publishers to make the covers “more modest”. Morrisons pitched in with a call for an industry-wide response. And 19 protests were held across the country outside Tesco stores as part of the Lose the Lads’ Mags national day of action.

The Co-op announced it will no longer sell Nuts, Zoo, Loaded, Front and the Sport! – September

Coop
Lads’ mags refused the Co-operative’s request that they be delivered in sealed bags. As a result, Zoo, Loaded, Front, Nuts and the Sport are no longer sold in the Co-op’s 4000 stores!

MPs joined the call to Lose the Lads’ Mags – October

Parliament
A packed-out meeting in the Houses of Parliament called on Tesco to lose the lads’ mags and the campaign hit the front page of the Observer.

Tesco came under fire in the House of Lords – November

Tesco Romola
Tesco was criticised in the House of Lords for selling lads’ mags. The Lord Bishop of Derby said “it normalises the offensive attitude to making women commodities and objectifying them”.

 

Huge congratulations to everyone who spoke out against sexist, degrading lads’ mags. You made this happen!

Posted in Uncategorized

Tesco in parliamentary spotlight as top actress and Green MP say ‘lose the lads’ mags’

Actress Romola Garai and Caroline Lucas MP among speakers at Parliamentary meeting on 15 October urging Tesco to drop lads’ mags

Double Golden Globe Award nominee Romola Garai (1) will be among the speakers at a parliamentary meeting on Tuesday (15/10/13) calling on Tesco and other retailers to stop selling pornographic lads’ mags like Nuts and Zoo (2).  The meeting, hosted by Caroline Lucas MP (3) with women’s rights groups UK Feminista and Object (4) , will strongly criticise the UK’s biggest retailer for selling lads’ mags that campaigners say fuel sexism, breach Tesco’s own ‘no porn’ policy and can violate equality law.

The meeting comes as Tesco is under increasing fire for continuing to stock pornographic lads’ mags in the face of demands from customers, shareholders, anti-violence organisations and trade unions (5) that they stop selling them:

  • Stocking lads’ mags like Nuts and Zoo contravenes Tesco’s own ‘no porn’ policy – in place to uphold its status as the UK’s biggest ‘family retailer’ (6).
  • 18 top lawyers have written to retailers warning that exposing staff and customers to lads’ mags can constitute sexual harassment or sex discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 (7).
  • Equality organisations highlight substantial evidence showing lads’ mags like Nuts and Zoo fuel attitudes underpinning violence against women (8).

Also speaking at the parliamentary meeting will be Cathryn Higgs, the Co-operative’s Food Policy Manager. On 9 September the Co-operative announced they would no longer be stocking Nuts, Zoo and Front after the lads’ mags failed to meet new packing requirements introduced in response to customer concerns (9).

Actress Romola Garai said:

“I have been inspired to support UK Feminista and Object’s campaign to get lad’s mags off supermarket shelves as I fervently believe that these magazines have a very real and wholly negative effect on women’s position in our society. The representation of women as sexual playthings has no place in our high street, on the shelves of stores who claim to not stock ‘adult magazines’, and the rights of male readers should not trump the rights of all women who are denegrated by these publications.”

Caroline Lucas MP, host of the meeting, said:

“The abuse of women doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The constant diet of images of women as available for men’s pleasure in magazines like this creates a context in which violence against women and girls is more likely to flourish. By selling lads’ mags, supermarkets are sending a message that they see no problem with the objectification of women.”

Sophie Bennett, representative of the Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign, said:

“There’s something very wrong when the UK’s biggest ‘family’ retailer is willing to risk legal action and breach its own no-porn policy in order to stock lads’ mags known to fuel misogynistic attitudes towards half its customer base. By choosing to stock porn mags like Nuts and Zoo, Tesco is sending out the deeply harmful message that it’s normal and acceptable to treat women like dehumanised sex objects. It’s time for Tesco’s male- dominated Board to prove to customers that they take sexism seriously.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

1) Romola Garai is one of the UK’s top actresses and has twice been nominated for a Golden Globe Award for her parts in the BBC’s adaptation of Emma and drama series The Hour: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romola_Garai

2) The Parliamentary meeting will take place at 6.00-7.30pm in Committee Room 10, House of Commons, London. SW1A 0AA. Speakers include: actress Romola Garai, Caroline Lucas MP, Polly Neate – Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, Lia Latchford – Imkaan, Karen Jennings – Assistant General Secretary of Unison, and Cathryn Higgs – Food Policy Manager at the Co-operative. To attend the event please email losetheladsmags@gmail.com.

3) Caroline Lucas MP is the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion and is an outspoken critic of sexism in the media: http://www.carolinelucas.com/media.html/2013/09/04/new-report-media-sexism-the-view-from-brighton-and-hove/

4) UK Feminista supports women and men to take action for gender equality. Formed in 2010, the organisation has rapidly become one of the UK’s leading feminist organisations and a powerful mobilising force. www.ukfeminista.org.uk. Object is an award-winning human rights organisation that campaigns against the sexual objectification of women and girls in the media and popular culture. www.object.org.uk.

UK Feminista and Object are coordinating the Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign calling on retailers to stop stocking pornographic lads’ mags like Nuts and Zoo: www.losetheladsmags.org.uk

5) Organisations calling on high-street retailers to lose the lads’ mags include Women’s Aid, the End Violence Against Women coalition, Unison, Association of Teachers and Lecturers and Equality Now: http://www.losetheladsmags.org.uk/about/supporters/

In June Tesco’s Chairman said he was ‘startled’ by the content of lads’ mags after activists targeted the retailer’s AGM and a Tesco shareholder asked the retailer to stop selling lads’ mags: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2351400/We-ban-lads-mags-says-Tesco-boss-reveals-startled-content.html. Tesco has since age-restricted lads’ mags, which UK Feminista and Object branded a ‘half-measure’: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/aug/02/tesco-lads-mags-covers-more-modest

6) Tesco has sent emails to customers concerned about the sale of lads’ mags stating: “Please let me assure you that when selecting our magazine range, we always keep at the front of mind that we are a family retailer and that the product choice needs to be appropriate. We do not stock any publication that we deem would be not suitable to our customers, including any adult titles.”…and… “We do not stock any magazines classified by the industry as pornographic” (Forwarded to UK Feminista, 2013).

Yet legal advice provided by Hugh Southey QC (Matrix Chambers) to UK Feminista confirms content in Nuts, Zoo, Loaded and Front is pornographic.  Barry McIheney, CEO of the Professional Publishers Association and the man responsible for launching Zoo magazine has also stated, “these titles certainly contain adult imagery”: http://www.thedrum.com/opinion/2013/08/01/lads-mags-bags-ppa-chief-barry-mcilheney-why-publishers-should-not-accept

7) http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/may/27/lose-lads-mags-risk-legal-action

8) The American Psychological Association (APA) report that 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.

The Government-commissioned Sexualisation of Young People Review found: “<lads’ mags> 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.”

9) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/press/coop-bans-lads-mags-from-its-stores-8804155.html

Posted in Press Release

Teachers back Lose the Lads’ Mags

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) (1) has joined the campaign to get high-street retailers to ‘lose the lads’ mags’, criticising the damaging effect that magazines like Nuts and Zoo have on young people. The teaching union, representing 170,000 teaching professionals, is concerned by the “increased pornification” of society and is the latest body to support UK Feminista and Object’s call for high-street retailers to stop selling lads’ mags like Nuts and Zoo (2).

Research has shown lads’ mags have a harmful effect on young peoples’ attitudes. The Government-Commissioned Sexualisation of Young People Review found lads’ mags “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.” (3) Shops that sell these magazines are also open to legal action. Exposing staff and customers to lads’ mags can constitute sexual harassment or sex discrimination under the Equality Act. (4)

ATL’s support for Lose the Lads’ Mags adds to the growing pressure on retailers to drop titles like Nuts and Zoo from their stores. On 24 August Tesco was subject to a national day of protests outside its stores (5), while the Co-operative’s recent decision to stop selling three lads’ mags has left other supermarkets trailing behind in their efforts to address customer concerns (6).

Dr Mary Bousted, General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said:
“Not only do so-called ‘Lads’ Mags’ portray women as dehumanised objects, but they also continue to be sold in many supermarkets and newsagents, where children can easily be exposed to them. Are the attitudes towards women and pornographic images in these magazines really what we want our children to be seeing? At ATL’s conference this year our members told us resoundingly that they are worried about the increased ‘pornification’ of society and its pernicious effects on young people, which is why ATL wholeheartedly supports this campaign.

“We congratulate the Co-Operative for taking action and look forward to seeing supermarkets empty their shelves of pornographic images. It’s not only children who are exposed to this, but also the thousands of employees working in supermarkets stocking these magazines.”

Sophie Bennett, Acting Director of UK Feminista, said:
“Tesco is the UK’s biggest retailer so it has a powerful influence on societal attitudes. By choosing to stock lads’ mags like Nuts and Zoo, Tesco is sending out the message to young people in Britain that it is normal and acceptable to treat women like dehumanised sex objects. This flies in the face of Tesco’s claim to be a ‘responsible corporate citizen’. As Britain’s biggest supermarket it is crucial that Tesco shows leadership and removes the sexist lads’ mags from its shelves.”

ENDS

Contact:  07775 855037, losetheladsmags@gmail.com
Website: www.losetheladsmags.org.uk
Notes to editors

1) The Association of Teachers and Lecturers is the union for education professionals across the UK, representing 170,000 members. ATL’s members are teachers, supply teachers, heads, lecturers, managers and support staff in maintained and independent sector schools and colleges. http://www.atl.org.uk/

2) UK Feminista supports women and men to take action for gender equality. Formed in 2010, the organisation has rapidly become one of the UK’s leading feminist organisations and a powerful mobilising force. www.ukfeminista.org.uk.

Object is an award-winning human rights organisation that campaigns against the sexual objectification of women and girls in the media and popular culture. www.object.org.uk

The Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign is calling on Tesco and other retailers to stop selling sexist, harmful lads’ mags like Nuts and Zoo: www.losetheladsmags.org.uk. Its supporters include Women’s Aid, the End Violence Against Women coalition and Unison.

3) The Government-commissioned Sexualisation of Young People Review found: “<lads’ mags> 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.” http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100418065544/http:/homeoffice.gov.uk/documents/Sexualisation-of-young-people.html

The American Psychological Association (APA) report that 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. The APA also reveal that men are more likely to treat women as sex objects and their behaviour towards women is more sexualised after exposure to sexualised media. http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/girls/report.aspx

4) 18 lawyers specialising in equality and discrimination law have signed an open letter to retailers calling on them to stop selling lads’ mags like Nuts and Zoo because they can breach equality legislation. The letter to retailers and full list of signatories is available to view at http://www.losetheladsmags.org.uk/about. Signatories include Aileen McColgan, Matrix Chambers; Nathalie Lieven QC, Landmark Chambers; and Hugh Southey QC, Tooks Chambers.

5) http://metro.co.uk/2013/08/24/lads-mags-protest-targets-countrywide-tesco-stores-from-glasgow-to-brighton-3936183/

6) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/press/coop-bans-lads-mags-from-its-stores-8804155.html?origin=internalSearch

Posted in Press Release

Tesco facing nation-wide day of protest over sale of lads’ mags

On Saturday 24 August Tesco stores will be targeted as part of a national day of action called by the Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign, lead by UK Feminista and Object (1). Protests will take place outside Tesco stores in Scotland, England and Wales (2) to demand that the UK’s biggest retailer stop selling pornographic lads’ mags like Nuts and Zoo.

Activists are urging Tesco to lose the lads’ mags because evidence shows lads’ mags like Nuts and Zoo fuel attitudes underpinning violence against women (3) and exposing staff and customers to them can constitute sexual harassment or sex discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. Amongst those backing the campaign are leading domestic violence charity, Women’s Aid, the End Violence Against Women coalition and 18 lawyers specialising in equality and discrimination law who have signed an open letter calling on retailers to lose the lads’ mags (4).

The national day of action comes as pressure builds on the UK’s biggest retailer to stop selling pornographic lads’ mags: •In June Tesco’s Chairman said he was ‘startled’ by the content of lads’ mags after activists targeted the retailer’s AGM (5).

  • The Co-operative has issued an ultimatum to lads’ mags, stating that unless they are delivered to stores in “modesty bags” they won’t be stocked at all. Nuts and Zoo have refused the demand and will no longer be stocked by the Co-operative (6).
  • Tesco has restricted lads’ mags to over-18s, which UK Feminista and Object branded an inadequate ‘half-measure’ (7).
  • Morrisons has called for an industry-wide approach to the sale of lads’ mags (8).

Kat Banyard, a spokesperson for the Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign, said:

“By selling lads’ mags Tesco is sending out the damaging message that it’s normal and acceptable to treat women like dehumanised sex objects. Lads’ Mags like Nuts and Zoo are deeply harmful, fuelling sexist behaviours and attitudes underpinning violence against women. Tesco would never allow ‘girlie calendars’ on their office walls, so why are they choosing to stock degrading, pornographic lads’ mags on their shelves?

“Exposing staff and customers to lads’ mags can constitute sexual harassment or sex discrimination. By selling pornographic lads’ mags Tesco is risking legal action, breaching its own ‘no porn’ policy and ignoring the calls of anti- violence against women organisations – all in order to turn a profit. As long as Tesco sells lads’ mags like Nuts and Zoo its claims of being a ‘responsible corporate citizen’ are a farce. Tesco needs to put women’s safety before profit and lose the lads’ mags.”

Silvia Murray-Wakefield, Acting CEO of Object, said:

” It’s a no-brainer: Tesco has a ‘no pornography’ policy that their customers support. Instead of breeching it, they should lose the harmful, discriminatory lads’ mags from their stores.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

(1) The Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign is calling on Tesco and other retailers to stop selling sexist, harmful lads’ mags like Nuts and Zoo: www.losetheladsmags.org.uk. The campaign is coordinated by UK Feminista and Object.

UK Feminista supports women and men to take action for gender equality. Formed in 2010, the organisation has rapidly become one of the UK’s leading feminist organisations and a powerful mobilising force. www.ukfeminista.org.uk.

Object is an award-winning human rights organisation that campaigns against the sexual objectification of women and girls in the media and popular culture. www.object.org.uk

(2) Protests are taking place outside Tesco stores in Cornwall, Northampton, Sheffield, Birmingham, Nottingham, Brighton and Hove, Bristol, York, Torfaen, Cambridge, London, Glasgow, Portsmouth, Halifax, Norwich and Kent. Full details are available at www.losetheladsmags.org.uk. The local protests have been organised autonomously and independently by supporters of the Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign.

At 12:00-13:00 on Saturday 24 August UK Feminista and Object are holding a protest outside Tesco Regent Street Metro, 17-25 Regent Street, City of Westminster, London. SW1Y 4XB.

(3) The American Psychological Association (APA) report that 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. The APA also reveal that 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 found: “<lads’ mags> 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.”

(4) 18 lawyers specialising in equality and discrimination law have signed an open letter to retailers calling on them to stop selling lads’ mags like Nuts and Zoo because they can breach equality legislation. The letter to retailers and full list of signatories is available to view at http://www.losetheladsmags.org.uk/about. Signatories include Aileen McColgan, Matrix Chambers; Nathalie Lieven QC, Landmark Chambers; and Hugh Southey QC, Tooks Chambers.

(5) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2351400/We-ban-lads-mags-says-Tesco-boss-reveals-startled-content.html

(6) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23486027

(7) http://www.theguardian.com/media/2013/aug/02/tesco-lads-mags-covers-more-modest

(8) http://www.brandrepublic.com/News/1194474/Morrisons-calls-industry-wide-approach-lads-mags/

Posted in Press Release

Morrisons’ statement on lads’ mags: our response

Comment from UK Feminista and Object
Contact:  07775 855037 or 07450 429814

Responding to Morrisons claim that customers are “confused” by different retailers’ policies on lads’ mags, and their call for a collective industry stance (1), Kat Banyard of the Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign (2) said:

“Retailers like Morrisons are under pressure because of the thousands of people who have called on supermarkets to lose the lads’ mags. They are having to respond to customers no longer prepared to put up with sexist, harmful lads’ mags lining the shelves of the shops where they buy food for themselves and their families. It is the fact that retailers like Morrisons sell lads’ mags in the first place that is confusing, rather than the different policies shops have on how to display them.

“Lads’ mags are sexist, pornographic publications that fuel attitudes underpinning violence against women. That is why Women’s Aid and the End Violence Against Women coalition are among those calling on supermarkets to ditch lads’ mags from their shelves. Exposing staff and customers to lads’ mags with Page-3 style images on their covers can also constitute sexual harassment or sex discrimination under the Equality Act. Lads’ mags are not only deeply harmful, they are also legally well past their sell-by date. Morrisons has a responsibility to their employees and customers to act now and lose the lads’ mags from their stores.”

NOTES
(1) http://www.brandrepublic.com/News/1194474/Morrisons-calls-industry-wide-approach-lads-mags/
(2) The Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign is lead by UK Feminista (www.ukfeminista.org.uk) and Object (www.object.org.uk). The campaign is calling on retailers to stop selling sexist, harmful lads’ mags such as Nuts and Zoo: www.losetheladsmags.org.uk.

Posted in Press Release

Tesco age-restrict lads’ mags: our response

Comment from UK Feminista and Object

Contact: 07450 429814
 or  07775 855037
Website: www.losetheladsmags.org.uk

On 2/8/13 Tesco informed UK Feminista and Object that it is restricting the sale of Nuts, Zoo, Front and Bizarre to customers aged 18 years and over.

Sophie Bennett, a spokesperson for the Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign by UK Feminista and Object, said:
“Tesco has been forced to act because of the thousands of people who have protested against their sale of sexist, harmful lads’ mags. Yet age-restricting lads’ mags is a half-measure which fails to address the harmful impact of stocking these sexist publications and ensures Tesco can continue profiting from them.

“Tesco has a policy of not stocking so-called ‘adult’ magazines. Yet feeling compelled to age-restrict the sale of lads’ mags to over-18′s clearly shows Tesco is breaching its own policy by stocking the likes of Nuts and Zoo. These magazines are sexist, pornographic publications that portray women as dehumanised sex objects. Extensive evidence shows they fuel sexist behaviours and attitudes that underpin violence against women. That is why End Violence Against Women – the biggest coalition of anti- violence against women organisations in the UK – are among the many organisations calling on Tesco and other retailers to stop selling harmful lads’ mags like Nuts and Zoo.

“Tesco claims it is a ‘responsible corporate citizen’. If that’s really the case they will end the sale of sexist, harmful lads’ mags.  We’ll be taking this message to Tesco’s door on Saturday 24 August with protests outside local Tesco stores. Our message to Tesco is clear: you can’t age-restrict sexism. Lose the lads’ mags for good.”

Notes to editors

  • The Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign is lead by UK Feminista (www.ukfeminista.org.uk) and Object (www.object.org.uk). The campaign is calling on retailers to stop selling sexist, harmful lads’ mags such as Nuts and Zoo: www.losetheladsmags.org.uk. Campaigners have been focusing efforts on Tesco because it is the UK’s biggest retailer.
  • On 29 June Lose the Lads’ Mags campaigners staged a protest outside the Tesco AGM. A female shareholder then proceeded to ask Tesco to ‘lose the lads’ mags’ during the AGM. Sir Richard Broadbent, Tesco’s chairman, responded by saying: “I bought one of these lads’ mags recently. I was startled at what I saw. But I think we should be thoughtful in our response. I don’t immediately know what the answer should be. But I am willing to look at changes.” www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2351400/We-ban-lads-mags-says-Tesco-boss-reveals-startled-content.html
  • On 8 July Tesco met with representatives from UK Feminista and Object to discuss the concerns of thousands of people who have called on them to stop selling sexist lads’ mags.
  • On 29 July the Co-operative announced that it has requested publishers to put lads’ mags in sealed ‘modesty bags’ or they will be withdrawn from sale in over 4,000 Co-operative stores. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23486027
  • On 24 August the Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign is holding a day of action. Campaigners will stage family friendly-protests outside stores to call on the retailer to lose the lads’ mags. The day of action is supported by actress Romola Garai who stars in a ‘call-out’ film for the action: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/the-womens-blog-with-jane-martinson/2013/jul/29/romola-garai-tesco-lads-mags?INTCMP=SRCH

 

Posted in Press Release

Comment on Co-operative announcement

Comment from UK Feminista and Object
Contact: 07775 855037 or 07450 429814
Website: www.losetheladsmags.org.uk

The Co-operative has requested publishers to put lads’ mags in sealed modesty bags or they will be withdrawn from sale in over 4,000 Co-operative stores.

Commenting on the announcement, Sophie Bennett – a spokesperson for the Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign by UK Feminista and Object – said:

“Thousands of people have called on retailers to stop selling lads’ mags like Nuts and Zoo. The Co-operative’s actions show our voices are being heard. Yet the Co-operative are attempting to sell their customers short. The so-called ‘modesty bags’ they are demanding from publishers are designed to allow the Co-operative to continue profiting from sexist, harmful lads’ mags – but just a bit more discretely. That’s not what corporate social responsibility looks like.

“The more accurate term for these so-called ‘modesty bags’ is ‘misogyny bags’ – because the issue for the thousands of people who have called on shops to lose the lads’ mags is absolutely not about nudity. It’s about sexism. And if a product is so degrading to women that it has to be covered up then the Co-operative should not be selling it.

“Lads’ mags promote harmful behaviours and attitudes underpinning violence against women and girls. Exposing staff and customers to them can constitute sexual harassment or sex discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. By stocking magazines like Nuts and Zoo, retailers like the Co-operative and Tesco are sending out the damaging message that it is normal and acceptable to treat women like dehumanized sex objects. Continuing to profit from sexist, pornographic magazines would be at fundamental odds with the Co-operative’s claim of being the ‘UK’s leading responsible retailer’.”

Notes to editors

  • The Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign is lead by UK Feminista (www.ukfeminista.org.uk) and Object (www.object.org.uk). The campaign is calling on retailers to stop selling sexist, harmful lads’ mags such as Nuts and Zoo: www.losetheladsmags.org.uk
  • Campaigners have been particularly targeting Tesco – as the UK’s biggest retailer – to lose the lads’ mags. On 29 June a female shareholder asked Tesco to ‘lose the lads’ mags’ during the retailer’s AGM. Sir Richard Broadbent, Tesco’s chairman, responded by saying: “I bought one of these lads’ mags recently. I was startled at what I saw. But I think we should be thoughtful in our response. I don’t immediately know what the answer should be. But I am willing to look at changes.” www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2351400/We-ban-lads-mags-says-Tesco-boss-reveals-startled-content.html

 

Posted in Press Release

Tesco to meet ‘lose the lads’ mags’ campaigners

On Monday representatives from Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, will meet with organisations calling on the store to stop selling pornographic lads’ mags such as Nuts and Zoo (1). The meeting comes shortly after Tesco’s Chairman, Sir Richard Broadbent, said he was “willing to look at changes” on the issue after a shareholder asked the retailer to stop selling lads’ mags at their AGM (2).

The ‘lose the lads’ mags’ campaign, lead by UK Feminista and Object (3), has been calling on Tesco to stop selling pornographic lads’ mags because evidence shows they fuel sexist behaviours and attitudes underpinning violence against women (4). Organisations backing the campaign include Women’s Aid, the End Violence Against Women coalition and Equality Now.

18 top lawyers specialising in equality and discrimination law have also signed an open letter calling on shops to stop stocking lads’ mags (5). They state that exposing staff and customers to these publications can constitute sexual harassment or sex discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.

Kat Banyard, founder of UK Feminista, said:

“By stocking lads’ mags Tesco is violating its own policy of not selling so-called ‘adult’ magazines. Lads’ mags like Nuts and Zoo are pornographic publications, frequently carrying adverts for prostitution, sex phone lines and lap dancing clubs. Tesco would never allow ‘girly calendars’ on their shop walls, so why the sexist pornographic lads’ mags on their shelves?

“There is extensive evidence to show that lads’ mags fuel sexist behaviour and attitudes that underpin violence against women. Customers, shareholders and anti-violence organisations have all called on Tesco to lose the lads’ mags. It’s crucial they listen.”

Sophie Bennett, Campaigns & Policy Officer at Object, said:

“Exposing staff and customers to lads’ mags can constitute sexual harassment or sex discrimination under the Equality Act. By selling these publications in everyday spaces Tesco sends out the message that it is acceptable to treat women like dehumanised sex objects.” “It is unacceptable that the UK’s biggest retailer sells sexist pornographic lads’ mags. We are pleased to hear that Sir Richard Broadbent, Tesco’s Chairman, is considering changing this. It is crucial now that Tesco listens to shareholders and the thousands of people who have called on them to lose the lads’ mags. Legally as well as ethically lads’ mags are well past their sell by date.” For more information and to request interviews please contact Kat Banyard (UK Feminista) on 07775 855037 / kat@ukfeminista.org.uk or Sophie Bennett (Object) on 07450 429814 / campaigns@object.org.uk

ENDS

Notes to editors

1) Representatives from UK Feminista, Object and the End Violence Against Women coalition will attend the meeting at Tesco’s head office in Welwyn Garden City at 10.00am on Monday 8 July 2013.

2) A female shareholder asked Tesco to ‘lose the lads’ mags’ during the retailer’s AGM. Sir Richard Broadbent, Tesco’s chairman, responded by saying: “I bought one of these lads’ mags recently. I was startled at what I saw. But I think we should be thoughtful in our response. I don’t immediately know what the answer should be. But I am willing to look at changes.” www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2351400/We-ban-lads-mags-says-Tesco-boss-reveals-startled-content.html

3) UK Feminista supports women and men to take action for gender equality. Formed in 2010, the organisation has rapidly become one of the UK’s leading feminist organisations and a powerful mobilising force. www.ukfeminista.org.uk

Object is an award-winning human rights organisation that campaigns against the sexual objectification of women and girls in the media and popular culture. www.object.org.uk

The Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign is calling on retailers to stop stocking and displaying lads’ mags and papers with Page 3- style front cover images: www.losetheladsmags.org.uk   4) The American Psychological Association (APA) report that 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. The APA also reveal that 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 found: “<lads’ mags> 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.”

5) The open letter to retailers and list of signatories is available to view at http://www.losetheladsmags.org.uk/about. Signatories include Aileen McColgan, Matrix Chambers; Sarah Ricca, Deighton Pierce Glynn Solicitors; Harriet Wistrich, Birnberg Peirce & Partners; Anna Mazzola, Bindmans; Nathalie Lieven QC, Landmark Chambers; Samantha Mangwana, Slater & Gordon (UK) LLP; Hugh Southey QC, Tooks Chambers; and Laura Carstensen.

Posted in Press Release

Tesco Chairman considers changing policy on stocking lads’ mags

Comment from UK Feminista and Object
Contact: Kat Banyard – 07775 855037 or Sophie Bennett – 07450 429814
Photos from Tesco demonstration: www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.679550792071275.1073741827.145317898827903&type=1

Today (28/6/13) UK Feminista and Object staged a demonstration outside Tesco’s AGM, calling on the company to ‘lose the lads’ mags’.  During the AGM a shareholder proceeded to ask Tesco’s chairman, Sir Richard Broadbent, to stop selling pornographic lads’ mags.

In response, Sir Richard is quoted as saying: “I bought one of these lad’s mags recently and I was startled at what I saw. But I think we should be thoughtful in our response. I don’t immediately know what the answer should be. But I am willing to look at changes.”

Commenting on the statement by Tesco’s chairman, Sophie Bennett from the Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign (1), said:
“It is unacceptable that the UK’s biggest retailer sells sexist, pornographic lads’ mags. We are pleased to hear that Sir Richard Broadbent, Tesco’s Chairman, is considering changing this. It is crucial now that Sir Richard listens to shareholders and the thousands of people who have contacted Tesco asking them to lose the lads’ mags.

“Lads’ mags are deeply harmful, fuelling sexist attitudes and behaviours that underpin violence against women. By selling these publications in everyday spaces Tesco sends out the message that it is acceptable to treat women like dehumanised sex objects. Tesco wouldn’t allow ‘girly calendars’ on their walls so what are pornographic lads’ mags doing on their shelves?

“Exposing staff and customers to lads’ mags can constitute sexual harassment or sex discrimination under the Equality Act. Tesco says it doesn’t stock ‘adult’ magazines. But that is not the case. Lads’ mags like Nuts and Zoo are pornographic publications that advertise prostitution and lap dancing clubs in their back pages. Legally as well as ethically, lads’ mags are well past their sell by date.”

Notes:
1)    The Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign is coordinated by UK Feminista (www.ukfeminista.org.uk) and Object (www.object.org.uk)

Posted in Press Release

Campaigners target Tesco AGM over sale of lads’ mags

Press release from UK Feminista and Object
For immediate release
Contact:  07775 855037 or 07450 429814

Feminist campaigners will target Tesco’s AGM on Friday (28/6/13) to urge the retailer to stop selling pornographic lads’ mags (1). Shareholders of the UK’s biggest retailer will be asked to tell Tesco to drop publications like Nuts and Zoo from their stores because they fuel attitudes underpinning violence against women, and exposing customers to them can constitute sexual harassment or sex discrimination under the Equality Act. The AGM protest is part of the Lose the Lads Mags campaign lead by Object and UK Feminista (2), and comes shortly after Tesco pledged to meet the campaigners to discuss their concerns.

Tesco is under fire for selling pornographic lads’ mags because research shows they fuel sexist attitudes and behaviours (3). Thousands of people have called on the retailer to take action through an online petition and social media, while organisations backing the campaign include End Violence Against Women, Imkaan, Equality Now, Local Mums Online, Gransnet and writer Natasha Walter.

18 top lawyers specialising in equality and discrimination law have also signed an open letter calling on retailers to lose the lads’ mags (4). They write that selling and displaying lads’ mags and papers with Page 3- style front cover images can constitute sex discrimination or sexual harassment. Employees could take legal action on this basis and, where the magazine is visibly on display, customers could also have a claim. As the UK’s largest retailer, the implications for Tesco are substantial. Tesco operates 3146 stores and employs over 300,000 people in the UK (5).

A female employee of Tesco said:
“I hate that Tesco sells these mags and papers like the Sun and the Star. In the store I work in there is a laddish culture and I don’t think having these magazines help that, especially as Tesco provide the Sun and the Star in the staff canteen and there is only so many times you can biro a bra on the Page 3 girl.”

Kat Banyard, founder of UK Feminista, said:
“It is no longer acceptable to have ‘girly calendars’ on office walls because they create a sexist and degrading environment for female employees and customers. So why, then, does Tesco think it’s OK to expose staff and customers to degrading, pornographic lads’ mags – the modern day equivalent of ‘girly calendars’ – in their stores?”

“Tesco insists it is a ‘responsible corporate citizen’. Yet stocking sexist, degrading ‘lads mags’ that create a conducive context for violence against women is at fundamental odds with corporate social responsibility. Not only that, it can breach the law. Tesco claims on its website that it wants to “always do the right thing, to inspire and to earn trust and loyalty from all of our stakeholders”. If that’s really the case, they’ll lose the lads’ mags. Because when it comes to sexism – every lads’ mag helps.”

Sophie Bennett, Campaigns Officer for Object, said:
“Lads’ mags are not an issue of taste and decency. These publications cause real harm, reducing women to a sum of body parts rather than real people. This has incredibly negative implications for the way women are viewed and treated. Portraying women as dehumanized sex objects contributes to the creation of a context in which discrimination and violence against women is acceptable. It’s time for Tesco to listen to both their staff and customers and lose the lads’ mags for good.”

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, said:
“This campaign is a brilliant way to show retailers and publishers that the public will not stand for casual misogyny any longer. Young women should not have to walk past images which show them as passive sex objects and legitimate targets for male sexual aggression every day, as they do now. Lads’ mags are not ‘banter’, they repeat damaging sexist ideas and objectify women. We urge retailers to take note of this campaign and act to remove these magazines before they face a full legal challenge.”

For more information and to request interviews please contact Kat Banyard (UK Feminista) on 07775 855037 / kat@ukfeminista.org.uk or Sophie Bennett (Object) on 07450 429814 / campaigns@object.org.uk

ENDS

Notes to editors
1.    UK Feminista and Object will stage a protest outside the Tesco PLC Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Friday 28th June, from 10.00-11.00am. The Tesco AGM is being held at The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, London SW1P 3EE.

2.    UK Feminista supports women and men to take action for gender equality. Formed in 2010, the organisation has rapidly become one of the UK’s leading feminist organisations and a powerful mobilising force. www.ukfeminista.org.uk

Object is an award-winning human rights organisation that campaigns against the sexual objectification of women and girls in the media and popular culture. www.object.org.uk

The Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign is calling on retailers to stop stocking and displaying lads’ mags and papers with Page 3- style front cover images: www.losetheladsmags.org.uk

3. The American Psychological Association (APA) report that 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. The APA also reveal that 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 found: “<lads’ mags> 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.”

4. The open letter to retailers is available to view at http://www.losetheladsmags.org.uk/about. It is signed by Aileen McColgan, Matrix Chambers; Sarah Ricca, Deighton Pierce Glynn Solicitors; Mike Schwarz, Bindmans; Harriet Wistrich, Birnberg Peirce & Partners; Anna Mazzola, Bindmans; Helen Mountfield, Matrix Chambers; Elizabeth Prochaska, Matrix Chambers; Tamsin Allen, Bindmans; Gwendolen Morgan, Bindmans; Salima Budhani, Bindmans; Nathalie Lieven QC, Landmark Chambers; Samantha Mangwana, Slater & Gordon (UK) LLP; Julie Morris, Slater & Gordon (UK) LLP; Emma Hawksworth, Slater & Gordon (UK) LLP; Jude Bunting, Tooks Chambers; Rebekah Wilson, Tooks Chambers; Hugh Southey QC, Tooks Chambers and Laura Carstensen.

5. http://www.tescoplc.com/index.asp?pageid=280

•    The Tesco board has eight men and three women on it: http://www.tescoplc.com/index.asp?pageid=79
•    There are 14 men and three women on the Tesco Executive Committee: http://www.tescoplc.com/index.asp?pageid=172
•    Tesco’s three core values are:

“No one tries harder for customers”
“We treat everyone how we like to be treated”
“We use our scale for good”

http://www.tescoplc.com/index.asp?pageid=10

Posted in Press Release