Following my post on Sunday I went into our local Co-Op this morning after the school run to buy some rolls for lunch. Seeing the manager stacking goods on the shelves, I approached him. Bearing in mind my concerns yesterday about aggressive political engagement I spoke diplomatically to him.
I explained that I had a concern as the father of young children about his store. It was all too easy for my children to see the copies of Nuts and Zoo. Before I could go any further he told me they had ordered modesty wraps (or modesty bags, I think he called them) and duly explained what they were.
I told him how grateful I was for this, and that I also understood the difficult position retailers were in, given that wholesalers demand they take a particular range of magazines without exception (and demand that they are displayed). He nodded, seemingly in appreciation that I understood their dilemma.
I shall watch with interest to see when the modesty wraps appear.
But it also poses a further question, about the attitude of the wholesalers and of the magazine industry. Clearly retailers feel financially threatened by the terms of the contracts the wholesalers expect them to sign. Should we not also be talking with them and with the magazine industry? The advertising industry learned that many people disliked unsolicited direct marketing. As a result, the Mailing Preference Service and the Telephone Preference Service came into being. There is even legal backing for these services. So why should there not be something similar for retailers who don’t want to take vulgar or pornographic magazines?
Whenever we go into our local Co-Op, it has no facility to put anything high up on an aisle. That includes the magazines. My eight-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son are confronted almost at their eye level by the despicable excuse for journalism that is known as ‘lads’ mags’ – Nuts, Zoo and their ilk. Why they should face this message that the way for a woman to attract men is to strip off is beyond me. I really should speak to the manager of the store.
So while I’m not the biggest fan of e-petitions to Government, here’s one I want to support and have signed. It is a campaign to make ‘modesty wraps’ a legal requirement. That is, something should be wrapped around these magazines and other worse titles so that people are not assaulted by these images. We’re not going to get these trashy comics banned, but this might be the next best thing.
Sign the petition here. Follow the founder of the campaign on Google+ here. Join the Facebook group here. From the Facebook group I have learned that the issue started with another Co-Op store, and it seems to be a particular issue with this company that makes such big noises about its ethical stances. They say they are ‘good for everyone’: let’s see whether they mean it. I hope they do.
There is an excellent blog post here on the subject.
Please sign the petition. Please make it known. Please encourage others to support the campaign.