SQ Magazine

The UK's Leading Independent Youth Culture Publication

War against lads mags: Co-op orders them to ‘cover up’

Posted on Monday, 29 July by

Lads mags

One of the UK’s biggest convenience store chains has ordered some of the country’s most popular lads mags to deliver their products in pre-sealed bags. The Co-operative claim to be responding to concerns from customers, colleagues and stakeholders.

The Co-operative has given lads mags Nuts, Zoo, Front and Loaded a deadline of up to September 9th to begin delivering their printed titles in opaque plastic bags. The magazines, known for their features of glamour models baring all, often feature front cover designs that leave little to the imagination. The genre has come under fire from charities and campaign groups.

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Sophie Bennett, a spokeswoman for Lose the Lads Mags campaign group, has applauded the Co-op’s initiative but says more should still be done:

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. 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.”

However, this isn’t the first step that the retailer has taken to censor lads mags. Earlier this year the company introduced solid screens on shelves that blocked out “lewd” titles. The change comes amid increasing debates about the sexualisation and the media, with Page Three coming under fire and the government introducing ‘family-friendly’ filters online.

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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.”

“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.”

Any magazines that refuse to comply with the measures being implemented by the Co-operative will no longer be stocked in any of the company’s 4000 stores.

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Corey Pellatt
22-year-old editor of SQ Magazine and Media Studies student at the University of Sussex. Freelance writer for clients including BHAFC.

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