“Lose the Lads’ Mags” Campaign Causes Stir in U.K.

lads magsA campaign, Lose the Lads’ Mags, has been launched against supermarkets in the U.K. that stock magazines featuring naked women in sexually explicit poses on their covers. Lawsuits are being threatened under the U.K.’s Equality Act of 2010.

Lads’ mags such as Nuts and Zoo are much more explicit than their American counterparts, Playboy or Maxim, and regularly feature articles degrading to women. An example of a quote from one reads,

I think girls are like plasticine, if you warm them up you can do anything you want with them.

The campaign is being led by UK Feminista and Object in association with 11 lawyers, who sent a letter to The Guardian calling for the mags to be taken off market shelves. The letter states that,

Displaying these publications in workplaces, and/or requiring staff to handle them in the course of their jobs, may amount to sex discrimination and sexual harassment contrary to the Equality Act 2010.

Currently, these magazines are required to be stocked on a top shelf, although this is not rigorously enforced.

Lose the Lads’ Mags takes after Lucy Holmes’ Say No to Page 3 campaign that launched last summer. Holmes noticed that The Sun, a “family” newspaper that features topless girls on its third page, displayed a very large image of a topless girl at just the time that heptathlete Jessica Ennis won a gold medal for the U.K. in the London Olympics. She has received huge support for the idea that “boobs are not news,” and you can still sign her petition here.

Photo by Flickr user Jon Weatherill-Hunt under license from Creative Commons 2.0 


Natasha Turner is a freelance journalist and editor based in London and a former Ms. editorial intern.