Mummy, what’s a lad’s mag?

I was on ITV’s Daybreak this morning for an item about lads mags – you know the ones: big naked tits, bums and ‘come hither’ pouts on the cover to distract from the dizzyingly high intellectual content inside – and whether or not they should be displayed on high shelves, or even be completely covered, so that very young children don’t have them thrust into their open-mouthed faces while they’re out with Mum buying a pint of milk.

“Mummy, why is that lady wearing no pants, sticking her boobies out and sucking her finger?” is not a question most of us fancy answering in the Co-op.

Watch the debate first (in which I kick some serious mother hen butt) and I’ll list a few of the points there was no time to make in the allotted 2 minutes of air time, afterwards:

So there you have it. People who don’t think 7-year-olds should have naked tits and arse displayed next to Thomas the Tank Engine and CBeebies magazines are man-haters, over-protective mother hens, and bullies for picking on the ‘easy target’ of a multimillion-pound magazine industry.

And there I was, silly me, thinking we were sensible, intelligent, cultured and responsible adults trying to let our children be children, and raise them to respect not only other people, but also themselves.

And to know that women can wear clothes too…

Point is, this story isn’t about trying to ban lads mags, or porn. Nor is it about man-hating (oh those poor men, having to reach above the recommended 1.2m height where the soft porn is shelved, before they can knock one out) or being over-protective.

My kids know a pair of naked boobs and a bottom when they see one, I can assure you.

It’s merely a case of saying that some things are for adults only, and have no place in a child’s world – just as used to be the case when Top Shelf mags were just that.
The argument that ‘sex is everywhere, you can’t hide them from it all’ is as weak as saying ‘chocolate is everywhere, I can’t not eat it all’ (which some of us try from time to time, obviously… )
Of course they will see sexually provocative images – it’s almost impossible to walk down a street without a gaping cleavage jumping out at you from a passing bus. And that’s before you see the advert on the side.

But surely if we can minimise the onslaught of images of women being portrayed as sex objects, and of gaining power, status and adoration by flashing their bum cracks rather than their fierce wit, we should have a go?

Rather than asking ‘why should these magazines NOT be within children’s reach’ I’d much prefer to have asked ‘why SHOULD they’?

If we’re going to put soft porn next to Peppa Pig, why not have lap dancing clubs in children’s soft play areas? It’d be great: Little Billy can play in the ball pit while Billy’s dad can pay with his balls. Everyone’s happy.

And the same goes for some newspapers and women’s mags, incidentally, whose covers are now littered with sexually suggestive or downright pornographic images, and stored either at child-height or on the floor.

I’m not sure I want my 10-year old daughter to pop to the shops for a copy of Charlie and Lola magazine and come back asking what multiple orgasms are, or why one would want to keep a man satisfied all night.
“Couldn’t he just…go to sleep, Mummy?”

And as for saying ‘well, it’s always been OK until now. I don’t see what’s changed suddenly’, how about thinking about every revolution or positive change in the world that has ever happened, and imagining if all those who fought for change and improvement had that attitude.
‘Well, that brutal dictator has been in power for ages – why the big fuss all of a sudden, eh?? On we go…’

Finally, to the say that the 1.25 million monthly users of Mumsnet are a ‘small minority’ just having a bit of a girly whinge to cause trouble really is quite funny. Because this tiny minority has just made the biggest supermarkets in the country – worth billions – jump to keep them happy.

And a good thing too. Because they are right.

Well done Mumsnet. And well done all of the shops who are moving the lads mags up a few shelves, or covering them. Come on WHSmiths. Time to get on board and stop putting soft porn in front of primary school kids, eh…


15 thoughts on “Mummy, what’s a lad’s mag?

  1. Shelley Connors

    here here! I was outraged with that guy this morning. It’s a true sign of not being able to put your point across effectively if you have to resort to name calling – bullies, really? Maybe this was due to not actually having a point at all…

    What exact effect on the magazines would there height position on a shelf do anyway? Are the lads going to stop buying them..? no! They can look up can’t they? Are the girls going to stop posing for them..? no! Having the magazines placed on the ‘top shelf’ would only have a positive effect for little ones.

    1. lizfraser Post author

      Thanks Shelley 🙂 I thought some of his terms were unfortunate to say the least!

      It’s a no-brainer to move these totally unsuitable magazines up higher, where the people at whom they’re targetted can reach them, and little kids can’t see them so easily. Of course they can still see them if they look UP (like we used to, sneakily!) but at least it’s not in their faces.


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  3. Alma

    Love this article and agree with every word. I’m so sick of seeing these magazines everywhere whether I want to or not and don’t want my daughter growing up bombarded with this kind of imagery.

    1. lizfraser Post author

      Thank you 🙂 Perhaps with enough pressure it WILL start to get reversed. Everything is about money in business, so if they can start to lose £££ they might start to print other stuff….

  4. MsInterpret

    Well done Liz. What an absolute prat!

    Resorting to such inflammatory language and cheap slagging off to make his points, from the very beginning…

    Thank you for continuing to do all you can to make this a public issue.

    1. lizfraser Post author

      Yes, it wasn’t the best start really – lost me (and everyone else) within the first five seconds. Ah well, made my job easier! Thanks for reading & commenting 🙂

  5. alisonwells

    No it is not alright to have these kinds of images in front of kids, his arguments were so ludicrous and imbecilic but you handled his ‘points’ well considering how little airspace you had.

    1. lizfraser Post author

      Thanks Alison. Yes, such a shame it was all over so quickly, just as we were really getting into the meat of the argument. To use an unfortunate word…

  6. DaddyNatal

    what an embarrassment to men in general. Bet WHSmith are so glad they are associated with his opinions now.

    Anyway part of his argument is false, these mags in current format have not been around for years. They have been becoming more and more overtly soft porn as more competitors have entered the market. Some of these mags when they first appeared were actually quite fun read, I havn’t read one now in years because they are not what they were.

    In reality they should not only be on top shelf but also in covers.

    Liz you were again the consummate professional, I don’t know how sometimes you don’t lose it. But that look you gave was an absolute classic. Well done

    1. lizfraser Post author

      What lovely feedback, thank you 🙂

      I agree – they haven’t been ‘around for years’ in their current format. I used to subscribe to some ‘men’s mags’ because I found the articles (often written by women, actually) were far more interesting than the dross aimed at women about shoes and hair and make-up. But I had to stop getting them because it was basically just offensive, boring and not clever in the slightest!

      One day maybe I’ll have a fight on air… never know ; – )

  7. helenredfernbirthandbaby

    I remember reading Loaded for the first time in 1994 I think. Liz Hurley was looking great in a slightly tarty way but that was inside the magazine. Frankly, regardless of the fact that I’m a mother of 2 I don’t want to have to look at it myself whilst I pick up a packets of Chocolate Hob-Nobs – I refer to my local Co-op there! I was even in a newsagent on the Isle of WIght last night where the full-on porn magazines were at my eye-level. It was the lowest top shelf I’ve ever seen.

  8. samuel welsh

    this trash needs to be stoped.
    from 1900- 1950 these were non sexist and not trashy
    1955- 2010 pure trash , crap articals nude images and a waste of money.


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