Last week The Guardian reported that Tesco, one of the UK’s most powerful (and scary) supermarkets, plans to move some men’s magazines (Nuts, Zoo, Front, Loaded, Maxim, FHM) higher up the shelves, after having received complaints about the front covers and the content of the mags.
The campaigning group Object have been arguing for this for some time, after having found that “normal” mags like FHM and (cough cough) “newspapers” like the Daily Sport were far more explicit and sexist than Playboy (see “Which is the Porn?”). Playboy of course is usually on the top shelf, whilst rags like the Sport are usually positioned so low down that even passing snails get a lovely eye view of whichever “up the shirt” photo shoot is on the cover that day.
Tesco has previously been accused of censorship late last year when it took the Wal-Martish move of asking publishers (mainly of lad’s mags) to submit their magazines for approval. In this case, however, it’s hard to see how just moving the magazines up the shelves and positioning them so you can only see the masthead (and are therefore spared the air-brushed boobs whilst shopping for groceries) is actually censorship. It sounds like some people just don’t want to be made aware of the fact that they’re buying soft porn. Face it, boys: you’re buying soft porn. At least have the guts to admit it rather than freaking out because you have to reach up to a different shelf to get at it. What do you think women do when they want to buy Scarlet or DIVA (which incidentally have much less sexist and explicit covers)? We reach, dammit.
Come to think of it, if Tesco ever try to censor the content of those mags, I trust Feminists Against Censorship will get on the case pronto. Keep those eyes peeled (but keep the boobs off the front page, will ya?).