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Posts Tagged ‘Lads mags’

Last week I didn’t shop at our local Morrisons as usual. I was making a point to one of The Sun’s biggest advertisers because I support the No More Page 3 campaign. It was a pain to change the routine, but I wanted to continue to add my voice to that of nearly 52,000 people who have now signed the petition. No More Page 3 are asking The Sun to discontinue their degrading and ridiculous habit of placing a large photo of a girl wearing only her pants on Page 3. The campaign has been gathering strength over the last couple of months and I urge you to sign the petition and check out their Facebook page and Tumblr blog. Lucy Anne Holmes, who heads up the campaign, compiled this great video of some interesting conversations with male Sun readers:

On a related issue, Mike Beecham has recently relaunched a campaign for Modesty Wraps – covers for the Lads Mags magazines which are stocked in supermarkets and newsagents. Although some shops have these publications on higher shelves and behind screens, many do not and they can easily attract the attention of children (as well as making adults feel grumpy). I have had success complaining about the positioning of Lads Mags in supermarkets, so let’s see if this campaign can also gain some traction.

You can follow No More Page 3 and Modesty Wraps on Twitter.

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If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to be a bit more socially active, I’d like to suggest a couple of campaigns that I’ve recently started following and have signed up for:

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What with my first school volunteering sessions and tummy bugs (the Joker had it and then gave it to me – yuck) last week, posting has been a bit slack and now I’m off on a minister’s wives’ conference for most of this week. I’m looking forward to spending the next few days thinking about God and catching up with some old friends. So all the stuff I’ve been thinking about posting will have to wait a few days. I had thought I might blog from the last conference I was on, but once I was there I remembered that there’s far too much encouraging and interesting talking to do.

In the meantime, just wanted to note that a Home Office report issued last week agrees with me about Lads’ Mags (see my sidebox on the subject). Mind you, it’s funny how the Times is happy to link to the smutty mag Nuts on their webpage. Maybe they get advertising money for click throughs.

Don't shop here unless you want an eyeful

The supermarkets seem to have already clocked that these mags are unsuitable for kids and are now shielding them and placing them on the top shelves. Not, alas, the music and media chain HMV, it seems.

The Vicar and I were in their Birmingham Bullring shop recently and were confronted by a display of Zoo etc as we queued to pay up. I complained to the assistant who served us, but was rather batted off as he agreed with me but didn’t offer to refer the matter to the manager.

HMV is a shop much used by teenagers, and in Birmingham they force their customers to confront this porn – it’s not an option since the mags are right by the tills. I’ve not written to them yet, but I guess I should take the step. They don’t make it easy – there’s no customer service complaints email address on their website (rather like HMRC, but that’s another story). I like shopping at HMV, but I’ll not be able to until the porn is removed from the checkout.

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I’m wondering whether I should stop shopping at WHSmith. I’ve recently discovered that what I thought was a respectable family store is actually a peddler of porn.

Not as respectable as I thought

Not as respectable as I thought

On one of my first visits to my local Sainsburys, I had a discussion with a chap stacking the magazine racks. The lads mags were being placed at knee height, as usual. Sainsburys were very prompt though. The chap I spoke with went straight to his manager, who got him to move the mags immediately. And then he came and found me and told me

a) that he’d moved the mags and

b) that the shelf stacking plan came from WHSmith, who supplied the magazines.

And then this weekend, I had to go to our local newsagents for emergency milk (another bumper crop of visitors). When I asked him why he had so much porn on his shelves he told me that

a) when they took over the shop WHSmith supplied them with that amount and

b) there was a market for it.

I told my newsagents that his shop was bottom of our list, because of his porn stock but it sounds to me like WHSmith are dictating the marketing of porn and pushing it. Should I start a boycott? Will it do any good and would you join me?

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On the day of his induction service, when he was handed the keys to the church and officially started work, the Vicar received a telephone call from the Express and Star, our local daily newspaper.

The journalist was following the diary of the Mayor of Sandwell and wanted to know what he was doing coming to our church that evening. The Vicar explained that he (the Vicar) would be starting work in the parish, and the journalist ended up interviewing him and sending round a photographer.

For some reason, though, the article didn’t make it to the E&S website, so I’ve scanned it for you to see in all its glory. Unless you have x-ray vision, you’ll probably have to use the Ctrl and + keys to zoom in to read it.

The Vicar in the paper

The Vicar in the paper

The lack of cropping is because of my poor technical skills, but gives you a flavour of the rather eclectic style of the E&S – see how the article about the vicar is on the same page as (and rather larger than) one about the New York financier Bernard Madoff and his £37.5 billion fraud.

And just so you know, we think the journalist misheard ‘England’ as ‘Ireland’ when the Vicar was talking about the places he’d lived. And more on my recent lads mags encounter at Sainsbury’s soon.

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For those of you who don’t subscribe to the Church Times (which I confess includes me and the Vicar), their article about my success in getting a local Asda to move lads mags to the top shelf can now be seen on the web.

I think the cartoonist has captured my furious look rather well. I did wonder when they phoned me up what they were going to do about a photo.

Don’t forget to complain to customer services yourself if you see these magazines displayed inappropriately.

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In the midst of piling clothes into big boxes and hunting for missing library books, I had a phone call from the Church Times yesterday afternoon.

They’d been reading the article about my success in getting lads mags put on the top shelf in a local Asda store and were interested to know more about my ‘campaign’. I hadn’t had it in mind to start one, but somehow it seems to be launching itself.

One of the things I said to the CT reporter was that complaining to your local supermarket about the display of lads mags isn’t difficult. You can do it verbally or in writing in a couple of minutes at the customer services desk.

The supermarkets need to know that most people buying their groceries don’t want to see these magazines and particularly don’t want them shown to their children, or anyone’s children for that matter. The supermarkets also need to know that consumers are prepared to take their custom elsewhere if these displays are not changed.

It has also struck me that it is likely that far more supermarket customers  are mothers and others concerned with preserving the innocence of childhood than buyers of lads mags. Consumer power could win this argument.

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The success of my complaint to Asda about their lads’ mags display was written up in our local paper this week. The article was pretty fair, although I’d hardly call a five minute queue at customer services and a five line complaint a ‘battle’, as they headlined it.

As the Express and Star have an online version people have the opportunity to comment. The commentators seem to fall into two camps – the ‘good on yer’ set and the ‘you’re a prude, haven’t you got anything better to do with your time, you leech on society you’ group.

So far, all the ‘vicar’s wife=prude’ comments have been from men. Interesting, but sadly not that surprising.

Meanwhile, my friend Mrs Starcook has complained about the same thing in the Wolverhampton Asda. They, however, phoned her and said they couldn’t do anything about the position of the magazines because ‘head office decide where everything is placed’. Sounds like buck-passing to me. The Asda I went into didn’t have the same problem.

Maybe they just need a few more people to complain. Any takers?

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The other day I had a surprising comment on my blog. I’ve not approved it for reading because it was from a reporter!

She’d read my story about my success in complaining to a local Asda store and wanted to write it up for our local paper.

On Friday night I was out with friends for the first farewell of many (we’re moving to the Vicarage very shortly). As I told them about the paper’s interest, Mrs Discoman commented that she never took her children down the magazine aisle because of the lads mags on display.

Another friend announced that she would be going into a local Asda and doing exactly the same thing as I had – putting the complaint in writing and indicating that a lack of action would affect her shopping habits ie that she would no longer patronise the store. So it seems that the campaign is spreading already!

The reporter I spoke to wanted to write about how I’d had success with my complaint, so she’s going to interview me properly in the next few days and send a photographer round.

Hence the hair appointment.

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Asda logo

I had a letter in the post today which cheered me a little. It was an apology from the manager of the Asda store which I’d shopped in for the first time on New Year’s Eve. He wasn’t apologising about the shocking queues in there, but then I’d not actually complained about that.

I had complained about their magazine displays.

We were hurtling around the shop trying to find a few sandwiches for lunch after a morning trying to sort out things in the vicarage we’ll be moving to at half term. We took a short cut down the magazine aisle and I was horrified to see the display of ‘Lads’ Mags’.

The store had a full shelving stack of FHM, Nutz and the like, with their glossy covers of buxom naked women. Because they had so many of these mags, they had them handily diplayed right at the height where my kids could get a full eyeful.

Now, I would really prefer it if these magazines were not produced, sold or desired by their readers. However, given that this is the case, I feel strongly that they should displayed out of the eyesight of the under-18s. Hence my complaint to the manager of Asda. The over-sexualisation of children in our society is a worry to many and surely this sort of display must make a contribution.

So I was pleased that he wrote to me, apologised and told me that he has arranged for ‘the magazines in question to be moved up to the top shelf to avoid any other issues’.

Seems like it’s worth complaining. Maybe I should start a campaign?

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