The “Lose the Lads’ Mags” campaign: Overdue or overzealous?

UK Feminista and Object have come together to promote the Lose the Lads’ Mags campaign, which asks stores to remove pornographic magazines from their shelves. Such images, they claim, violate the Equality Act 2010 by involuntarily exposing store staff and customers to offensive images.

According to an article by The Guardian, the groups want to take legal action against stores that continue to stock such magazines, on the grounds that this exposure “violates the dignity of individual employees or customers, or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.”


Others, however, disagree, arguing that banning such magazines is not only a form of censorship, but also a way to put sex workers out of work.

Here’s what I think:

1. To my knowledge, these groups are not actually trying to eradicate these magazines, they’re just trying to get them off the shelves of mainstream stores, where all sorts of non-pornography seeking people have to see and/or sell them. Sell these types of publications in more, ah, appropriate places. Specialized shops and the like.

2. I think it’s interesting that all sorts of people suddenly come of the woodwork to protect the rights of sex workers when there’s talk of materials getting banned. Are job opportunities in the sex work economy really these dissenters’ number one priority?

3. It’s important to note that we’re not just talking about pornography. We’re talking about public images of men and women in objectifying poses, and in a patriarchal society, we’re especially addressing such images of women. These pictures are humiliating and offensive to some people in the same way that images with racist or homophobic themes are. Why? Because these images play to a culture that enjoys the marginalization and oppression of specific groups of people.

An example of "redface"

An example of “redface”

The bottom line is, if you have no problem whatsoever with public pornographic images, at least try to understand why others would.

Then do some research on the working conditions that most sex workers face.