the top shelf campaign

Labour MP Claire Curtis-Thomas is leading a campaign to have so-called lads mags relegated to the top shelf, in a bid to make them less accessible to children. The campaign is supported by CARE, who are currently calling for volunteers to take part in a survey where you go to your local newsagents and take a note of where Zoo, Nuts, and the Daily Sport are displayed for sale (look in the innocuous sections like gardening and knitting, seems to be the surest way to spot them).

This fits in neatly with a cool blog I was going to tell you about – charliegrrl’s blog of feminist activism against porn which was reviewed in the Guardian a few days ago. Quote:

Lads Mags contain many pornographic images and adverts, but are not considered nor displayed as pornography. This is because Lads Mags want to remove the stigma from reading pornography from their magazines to boost their sales. This means that they are available to sell to any age and are no restrictions on their display, with them often being displayed prominently to increase sales.


Lads Mags are at the forefront of a wider move towards the normalisation of pornography- this is by rebranding pornographic images as ‘not porn’ but ’sexy images’ of ‘empowered glamour models’ which serves to proliferate the sexual objectification of women as something postive and aspirational for women. This trend brings porn into the mainstream and denies the exploitation of pornography. The perpetual representation of women as sex objects is dangerous, as this represents women’s bodies as dehuminised, sexualised play-things that men can ogle, grope and invade.

The CARE survey can be downloaded from their page about the Top Shelf Campaign, and here’s also an article in the Independent by Claire Curtis-Thomas: ‘Lads mags are both sexually explicit and highly sexually denigrating.’

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