I’m disappointed as a former volunteer of the White Ribbon campaign to see that it has joined in recent calls for supermarkets to restrict what magazines they sell in their shops. As much as I value their work in tackling violence towards women, I can’t support their attempts to ask retailers to restrict what magazines they sell.
The campaign seems focused predominately on Tesco, no doubt as they are a big target, but the magazines are sold in many outlets. The argument goes that these so called “lad’s mags” contribute towards violence towards women, and therefore retailers ought not to sell them. If we are to accept this argument than surely all content of such a nature ought not to be sold on TV, in films or books? I postulate that such a restrictive society may not be a beacon of freedom, or indeed all that much fun to live in.
There are of course some societies that do already ban semi-naked images of women. That they also happen to be societies where women’s rights are restricted in other fashions may just be a coincidence, then again it may be indicative of the control a moral authority exerts over the general population. In such societies the women who do dare partake in such acts are subjected to abuse, violence and derogation. None of these places we could call beacons of female empowerment.
Perhaps rather than pointing the finger at these magazines, campaigners could work with them on articles in which their readers take action against violence towards women. We could then start to challenge the myth that the men and women who choose to display their bodies in such magazines are somehow immoral, lesser people, worthy of abuse.
Coun James Baker,
Hebden Royd Town Council.