'Lads' mags' given cover-up deadline by Co-operative

Lads' mags in a Co-op store The Co-op has already introduced its own measures to obscure lads' magazine covers

Related Stories

The Co-operative has given so-called lads' mags six weeks to cover up their front pages with sealed "modesty bags" or be taken off sale in its stores.

The 4,000-outlet retailer said it was responding to concerns by its members, customers and colleagues about images of scantily-clad women on covers.

Titles such as Front, Loaded, Nuts and Zoo have been given a deadline of 9 September by the Co-op.

An industry body said the titles showed the "diverse interests of young men".

The Co-op, which is owned and run by its more than seven million members, introduced opaque screens for lads' magazines on some shelves earlier this month.

Steve Murrells, retail chief executive for the Co-operative Group, said: "As a community-based retailer, we have listened to the concerns of our customers and members, many of whom say they object to their children being able to see overt sexual images in our stores.

Start Quote

The so-called 'modesty bags' they are demanding are designed to allow the Co-operative to continue profiting from sexist, harmful lads' mags - but just a bit more discreetly”

End Quote Sophie Bennett Lose the Lads' Mags

"Whilst we have tried to mitigate the likelihood of young children seeing the images with a number of measures in store, the most effective way of doing this is for these magazines to be put in individual, sealed modesty bags."

Cathryn Higgs, a policy manager at the Co-op, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the group was currently "in dialogue" with the magazine publishers.

"I've got every hope they will take what we believe is the responsible approach and put them in a bag," she said.

She added that the Co-op believed it was the first retailer in the UK to take this step but other supermarkets were probably having "similar conversations with their customers".

The Daily Sport newspaper has already agreed to comply with the Co-operative's new policy.

'Like wallpaper'

Women and Equalities Minister Jo Swinson said the Co-op's move was "very welcome".

"Many parents aren't comfortable with the way sexualised imagery has become like wallpaper - everywhere from the bus stop to the corner shop," she said.

"Adults should be left to make their own decisions about what legal sexual images they look at, but the place for these is not next to the sweets at children's eye-level. I hope other retailers will follow the Co-operative's lead."

But campaign group Lose the Lads' Mags said the Co-op was not going far enough.

Spokeswoman Sophie Bennett said: "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 discreetly."

Fellow campaigner Kat Banyard added: "Lads' mags are deeply harmful.

Glamour model Natalie Rochford, and Kat Banyard, who represents the Lose the Lads' Mags Campaign

"By portraying women as dehumanised sex objects, they send out the message that it's normal and acceptable to treat women this way, and we know from extensive evidence that lads' mags like Nuts and Zoo fuel sexist attitudes; attitudes that underpin violence against women."

The campaign group said it had also been targeting Tesco, with one female shareholder raising the subject during the retailer's recent annual general meeting.

The Professional Publishers Association, which represents some magazine publishers, said: "Men's lifestyle magazines are mainstream titles enjoyed by a readership of millions and feature content to reflect the diverse interests of the nation's young men.

"Publishers support the guidelines on the appropriate display of men's lifestyle magazines, which have been drawn up with the National Federation of Retail Newsagents and endorsed by the Home Office."

A former editor of Front magazine, Piers Hernu, said the Co-op's decision was "very dangerous" and amounted to "censorship".

The firm had "caved in" to a "vociferous campaign from some fanatical feminists", showing itself to be "weak-willed and spineless", he argued on BBC Radio 5 live.

Gender equality groups UK Feminista and Object joined forces with lawyers to launch the Lose the Lads' Mags campaign earlier this year.

They warned that retailers could face legal action if they continued to display the magazines or require staff to handle them.

This, they said, could amount to sexual harassment or discrimination in breach of the Equality Act 2010.

The British Retail Consortium has said its members do not sell anything illegal and have long followed industry rules.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 209.

    The fact that so many commentators here are connecting ANY naked or scantily clad body as a sexualised image just goes to show why this kind of imagery is a problem.

  • rate this

    Comment number 208.

    Oh dear, we really have gone PC/do-gooders mad. I live on the coast and with the current weather I've seen far more flesh on display than you'd ever see in one of these mags.
    An the youngsters take no notice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 207.

    What is so offensive or wrong with the human body? Why do we feel the need to cover it up?

    The only think this will achieve is to place millions more plastic bags in landfill and will place society on a path to 21st Century Burkhas.

  • rate this

    Comment number 206.

    I like the idea of sealed 'modesty' bags for these mags. Shops might actually sell more when chaps cannot use a shop as a 'library' to look through magazines they have no intention of buying. If it's good enough for weekend newspapers...

  • rate this

    Comment number 205.

    I find it so hypocritical that these women groups complain so bitterly about Mens Mags, womens Mags, which in general are not flattering towards men are not treated the same. Gender inequality Again... Back to B Whitehouse days, Men not allowed to be men, funny that also happened under the last tory government, hmm then we had all the scandals... I agree with covers on these mags though.

  • rate this

    Comment number 204.

    @138 spudeeelad “This lunatic thinking came up with the idea of removing cigarettes from display. Nobody ever walked into a shop & thought 'that packet looks nice, I think i'll start smoking' and no child will think the same looking at a woman on a magazine” - so why do companies spend fortunes on advertising, marketing, branding & packaging if none of it encourages anyone to buy the product?

  • rate this

    Comment number 203.

    Well aware of that which was why I fleshed (oo-er) out my point about the different turn-ons for men and women. I actually don't have an issue with this if you look at my top-rated comment. It's the sheer (oo-er) hypocrasy that I hate. Taking your point about reading though, the womens mags if you read them are far more selacious and are also damaging to young girls no?

  • rate this

    Comment number 202.

    I was just thinking that what the world needed was more packaging.

  • Comment number 201.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 200.

    These top shelf magazines have long tainted our newsagent shelves. There is no reason at all to justify women in various states of undress being on view.

    Not only does it corrupt children, but it taints the eyes of every customer, and no doubt tempts many to indulge in wickedness even if they once had entirely wholesome values.

  • rate this

    Comment number 199.

    Vote with your feet lads!

    No one should be buying anything from the Co-mmunist anyway!

  • rate this

    Comment number 198.

    I assume they will do the same with all the womens chat magazines what are very explcit in detail about men and derisory most of the time .

    Or the fact the Harmen wants to ban men only clubs but no doubt thinks it ok to have women only gyms etc and girl guides which are women only but scouts have pressuirsed by political correctness so its not boys only.

    Hypocrite feminisits

  • rate this

    Comment number 197.

    Ten years a ago, an old boy in the pub said to me "you know the worst thing to be in this country? Male, Caucasian and British"
    I thought he was a lunatic, but as time goes on i'm starting to think he wasn't quite as nuts as he seemed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 196.

    Another erosion of mens rights. You don't see such censorship on womens magazines that have similarly suggestive covers do you?
    Let start a campaign to stop shopping at Co-operative stores and doing business with them. Show them that not only feminists can start a petition to change the law.

  • rate this

    Comment number 195.

    Give the Thought Police a few more years and any male not reading the Guardian and eating low fat cereal bars in biodegradeable wrappers which they take them home with them on the electric bus will be arrested.
    The sisterhood will of course ensure that for wimmin' , anything is acceptable

  • rate this

    Comment number 194.

    181 Paul
    Sorry but you should have been in the office a few years ago when we put a calendar with almost naked men up. The guys (most of whom had the female equivalent or worse) protested long and loudly about it. Boy, were they upset!

  • rate this

    Comment number 193.

    Ever used Nudist beaches, well I do regularly? Full of Germans, French and Dutch nationals usually aldso there as a family unit. The British are usually the people walking past for a giggle. Trust me, Continental Europeans are far more mature about nudity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 192.

    This is fascist feminism at its worst im afraid. They don’t care what men or women think because the only right way is their way.This isn’t about protecting children so get away from the pretence none of these magazines carries anything likely to mentally scar your child other than poor spelling maybe.They don’t want to expand your rights they want to limit them for both men & women.

  • Comment number 191.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 190.

    This is excellent news for teenage lads everywhere. Safely enscounced in a plastic bag these publications will no longer become damp and unreadable after the porn fairy dumps them in laybays, woods or under bushes.


Page 75 of 85


More UK stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.