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The cover-up of lads’ mags

fashion-and-trends Updated: Oct 17, 2010 00:33 IST

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Some British shops are refusing to move lads’ mags to the topshelf, despite their sexist content. Which is why one feminist group in UK is taking direct action.

The group has called itself Object and the members of this activist group are taking part in monthly Porn Versus Pyjamas campaign to protest against lads’ mags. FHM is put in a paper bag emblazoned with: “For Horrible Misogynists”, while Maxim is hidden behind the phrase “MAXIMum Sexism”.

To make their voices heard, they gather outside a Tesco supermarket in central London. In the recent past some 30 people dressed in pyjamas, nightgowns and fluffy slippers gathered to campaign against lads’ mags.

Eventually they’re ushered out, but not before depositing pamphlets, entitled Porn v Pyjamas: Why Lads’ Mags Are Harmful, in customers’ baskets. Their campaign began earlier this year, after Tesco ruled that customers wouldn’t be allowed to shop in pyjamas because this could make other people feel uncomfortable.

Object bit back by accusing some Tesco stores of ignoring the voluntary codes of conduct that suggest lads’ mags should be covered up and repositioned on the top shelf, alongside pornographic content.

Object was set up in 2003 to challenge the sexual objectification of women. “Lads" mags are an example of the mainstreaming of pornography,” says Anna van Heeswijk of Object.

“The whole tone is of complete contempt [for women]. They have jokes about incest and pornography, about trafficking, about rape,” she adds.

“What’s harmful is that this is considered a normal part of the mainstream media.”Since the launch of the campaign, several stores have moved their display of lads’ mags to the top shelf. But as long as the magazines are to be found on the lower shelves, it looks like the protests will continue.