Scorpio Risen

Amy’s Non-Valentines Day, and as a result, her largely Non-valentines related blogpost

Posted on: 14 February, 2007

(I hate Val-day, and no, it’s not because I “don’t have anyone”…)

Today, on Non-Valentines Day, I went into Btown, Town of Dreams with my best friend L.
We had some coffee at Bar Citrus, where I am almost a regular, bought some hair dye for me (rrred!) ‘cos I felt like I wanted to temporarily change me hair colour to something crazy. Took some obscenely myspace pictures as we walked down the embankment. Bla bla bla.

But we also stopped in the Mars Shop, so L could buy the latest issue of “More” magazine. I went in with her. To be honest, I’d completely forgotten about the horrors of Lads Mags.

But not for long.

I mean, bloody hell, I was in the shop for two seconds, I turned around to look at the mag shelves, and right on my fooking eye level, there were a pair of breasts. And by a pair of breasts, I mean the o-so-artistic cover of Zoo Magazine. Grrr. Next door, was Nuts.
OK, so the nipples were covered, by how is that any better? It suggests that a woman’s nipples are something obscene, something dirty, something to be embarrassed about and not be shown publicly. Whereas, pictures of topless men, it’s all nipples-a-go-go. Because, of course, a man’s nipples are perfectly socially acceptable.
Believe me, I am not a fan of Lads Mags.

I couldn’t just stand there in that shop and not do anything, y’know what I mean? I’m sure there are many women, feminists, who cannot just simply stand in a shop and not do or say something about Lads Mags and their visibility.

And so, I said something. To be honest, I cannot quite remember what I said. There were two blokes and a woman working there. I asked if the Lads Mags could go up on the top shelf, and be covered, or something to that effect. I was told the mags were supposed to be on that second shelf legally. They could sell it to a two-year-old if they wanted. There was no age restriction.

It’s not that I thought that my informal complaint would do anything, I just knew I couldn’t just stand there silently and not voice my displeasure. And to be quite frank, I personally feel the employees could have been a bit politer and respectful towards me; I got the feeling they thought I was being ridiculous. They were virtually smirking. This angered me. They could’ve just said apologetically that it was the way things were. But no, it’s all smirk-smirk-smirk.

I know there are no legal restrictions for the visibility and distribution of Lads Mags, but surely a customer has a right to complain and get taken seriously, at least to their face? It’s rude and unprofessional for one thing to ridicule a customer.

As I left, my anger caused me to shout out something about living in a patriarchy. I can’t remember exactly what I said. The woman replied something in a smirking tone.

My friend was then very embarrassed about the whole situation. I felt saddened by it. But, my feminism felt alive inside me in a way which I hadn’t felt before. It felt vindicated, it was a feeling of being a second-class citizen, of being ignored and ridiculed for a simple request.

I don’t think being concerned about Lads Mags is something to be ridiculed. I don’t think that Lads Mags are just “harmless fun”. I think their very popularity is a sad indictment of our patriarchal society; that magazines which are often derogatory about women, which constantly sexualise and objectify women can be so popular, and allowed such visibility and to be sold to anyone is – bloody irresponsible – saddening, and is further proof that British society, which prides itself on it’s tolerance and equality, is still a society where women are second-class citizens.

(Linkage to some other posts and articles about Lads Mags: http://notafeministbut.blogspot.com/2006/03/is-it-right-for-my-boyfriend-to-look.html
http://www.object.org.uk/index1.html
http://www.thefword.org.uk/reviews/2004/02/nuts_and_zoo_we from a male p.o.v)

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3 Responses to "Amy’s Non-Valentines Day, and as a result, her largely Non-valentines related blogpost"

Great post and yes it does feel good to voice your feminist anger
x

Well done you for speaking up, no matter how crappy the shop people were. I’m thinking of doing the stickering thing, because I am soo sick of seeing objectifying covers whenever I go into a shop. I’ve turned covers around before so that people can’t see the covers 🙂

My parents want me to get a job. Great. I’m all for that, earning my own money.

But. They’ve heard that a local news agents are looking for placements, and because it’s pretty much the only vacancy that we know of, they want me to go for that.

I’m sure you can see the predicament here people!!!
I’d probably get fired for trying to pester the management, or for secretly destroying as many Lads Mags or poss, or even writing stuff like “Women, not Objects!” in places in the Lads Mags.

Yeah, i woulda done the covers thing or something, but the staff were looking right at me, kinda off-putting!!!
Heh and I refuse to go into WH Smiths, unless i have a permanent marker or something 😉

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