Blog of Feminist Activism Against Porn

This is a blog of the feminist activism of Charliegrrl and others. This is not a blog to debate the ins and outs of feminism, this is a blog to inspire people to get active and take it to the streets! This blog was started to challenge lads mags bringing porn into the mainstream...who knows what the blog will become...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

ZOO and the Lads Mag Protest

ZOO 7-13th July pages 16-17

ZOO have covered the Lads Mags Bill by Claire Curtis-Thomas by coming up with a ZOO Sanitisation Kit- 'How to make your ZOO MP-friendly'...

They have provided their readers with cut out cardigans and 'Sunday School-style dresses' so that they can cover up the naked women in ZOO...

"What a pickle. Last week, Labour backbencher and ZOO reader, Claire Curtis-Thomas, was prevented from reading her copy of our magazine in the House of Commons. As the MP for Crosby attempted to verbalise a final, hurried excerpt from our brilliant Porn Dictionary (Issue112, pg 111), she paused and realised, out loud, that the explanation of a 'glass-bottom boat ride' was, in her words, 'so graphic and repulsive I am prevented from quoting it on the floor of the House of Commons'.
Since that point, strange things have happened. Somehow, Mrs Curtis-Thomas and her conservative views have cause at least three other women who weren't doing much that day to think ZOO should be located on a higher shelf in the shops, well away from children who may mistake Keeley for a packet of Smarties/crayons."

ZOO also states that Tony Blair has no problem with ZOO: "Compared with most of what I have to read, particularly about myself, it [ZOO] would probably be a welcome relief. I have a fairly open and liberal mind on this."

They go on to reiterate the entry of their Porn Dictionary that Curtis-Thomas couldn't say in the House of Commons:
"Glass-bottom boat ride- 'One partner wraps his or her head in clingfilm while the other partner defecates on him or her'. In Curtis-Thomas' world, that's plain 'dangerous".

ZOO people, I can assure you that there are more than 'three' other women pissed off with you.

So here's two fingers to those who think that us feminists are 'conservative' and our motivation is to cover up
women's 'sinful' flesh...

Because you see ZOO, you can revere and depict a woman's naked beauty, without denigrating her.

First Photo is the work of Sara Saudkova
Second and Third Photo from left are the work of Jan Saudek
All Copyrighted


  • At Thursday, 13 July, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I do think you have a serious problem.

    Your motivation for the campaign clearly is that you have an ideological dislike of the contents of these mags, because you think they treat women disrespectfully. Fair enough, but "I don't like it, so let's ban it" isn't an argument that will ever persuade anyone. We're all too liberal and civilized to think that is a good justification for government action, and you're well aware of this.

    So - instead of saying what you really believe - you are forced to switch tack. And, instead of the above, the main arguments you put forward against Nuts are: (a) the protection of children from corruption, and (b) public decency. You may not have a conservative motive, but you're arguing the conservative line (and I do think Curtis-Thomas does, in fact, have conservative views and ZOO are spot on to point this out).

    You can post all the arty photos you like, but it you slapped them on the cover of a magazine and stocked them at eye level you'd be in breach of NFRN guidelines and the arguments you make against Nuts. You may not really believe that'd be a good thing, but that's what you get for playing fast and lose with your arguments in order to bash magazines you don't like.

  • At Friday, 14 July, 2006, Blogger charliegrrl said…

    Let me be clear, I'm NOT calling for lads mags to be BANNED. I disagree with them, yes, and I wish they didn't exist, yes, but I'm calling for regulation rather than them being banned.

    In my view, a liberal and civilized society would seek to discourage misogyny, and getting lads mags put on top shelf is one way of expressing this stance.

    I feel it is unfortunate that retailers do not treat lads mags and porn papers with sensitivity, so that we have come to the point where we need statutory regulation to force retailers to put ethics over profit.

    The main theme of my criticism of lads mags has been that they are MISOGYNIST and DEGRADING; my argument does NOT focus on protecting children from 'corruption' and does NOT focus on public decency. If I have mentioned children, this is because the NFRN guidelines are orientated around keeping lads mags from children's view, so to express how shops are not complying to NFRN guidelines, it is necessary to refer to their visibility to children.

    I posted the arty images of women to express how a woman's body can be portrayed in a manner that isn't degrading. I am aware that many of the public wouldn't want to see such images on the front of magazines in clear view in a newsagents, just as I am aware that people don't want to see degrading images of women playing up to male sexual dominance.

    The point I think lads mags readers/producers like yourself miss is, that you can fancy women, fantasise about women and have fantastic sex with women, WITHOUT denigrating them to sex objects.

  • At Friday, 14 July, 2006, Blogger witchy-woo said…

    Funny how 'anonymous' isn't prepared to put his name to his patronising and ill-informed pop psychology though, isn't it...

  • At Saturday, 15 July, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Zoo magazine and real-life zoos full of animals do have one thing in common... they are both full of shit!

  • At Sunday, 16 July, 2006, Blogger sparkleMatrix said…

    As soon as an abuser, starts to see some truth, they get defensive, then they start to fight. It's not good looking in the mirror and seeing an abuser. Lets face it, some men must be terrified, women for once are starting to challenge them. When you've been on top for as long as guys have, the drop looks fatal.

  • At Monday, 17 July, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    By 'you' in my eariler post I meant 'feminist anti-lad's mags campaigners', not 'Charliegrrl personally'. That's caused confusion. Sorry.

    I totally see that Charliegrrl's main criticism of lad's mags is her ideological disagreement with their contents. I know she thinks this justifies government action. As far as I see she's been totally consistent on this, and I'm sure many feminists share her thoughts.

    But in my view, virtually no-one outside radical feminist circles thinks this ideological disagreement justifies government action. This creates a problem.

    When I see you lot talking about them internally, amongst yourselves, I see complaints about them being misogynist and degrading (which I personally happen to agree with). But the moment I see them being talked about externally, to the public and government and NFRN, you instead start talking about the protection of children and public decency. Because no-one would listen to you if you gave them your real opinions.

    Don't you think this does create a problem for you? I'll be honest, I feel very uncomfortable when I see you arguing something I don't think you really believe in order to get something done because you'd be ignored if you gave your real opinions.

    P.S. Witchy-woo - how can you post that under a psudonym? Do you have no sense of irony?

  • At Monday, 17 July, 2006, Blogger charliegrrl said…

    We do put forth our main argument that lads mags are misogynist and degrading, but the media choose to focus on the parent/child issue, and so do some MPs like Diane Abbotts because it is more politically viable and media-friendly.

    Lads Mags deserve government intervention on where they are placed in shops because the retailers are not being responsible and we need to take a stand against misogyny.

    I know people don't like the idea of government intervention as they don't think it is a government's place to have regulation on sexual publications, but I feel a compromise has to be made because lads mags are getting away with too much and they need to be curtailed.

  • At Tuesday, 18 July, 2006, Blogger sparkleMatrix said…

    "But in my view, virtually no-one outside radical feminist circles thinks this ideological disagreement justifies government action. This creates a problem."

    I disagree with this anon. I have several friends who would not class themselves as radfems, but agree completely with regulation of lad's mags, and for them to be put on the top shelf.

  • At Friday, 21 July, 2006, Anonymous Sian said…

    Im not a radical feminist, I consider myself to be a very liberal, open minded person who simply believes that everyone should be able to do, say and behave as they see fit - provided it is not harming anyone.

    And really I'm amazed to think that people actually believe that mags such as zoo and nuts are not damaging to women and society as a whole. The message being stressed in these magazines is that women are not valued as anything other than sexual objects and that to me, is deeply harmful. How and why are women supposed to put up with that? Imagine if the comments found in those mags were aimed at a particular race, it wouldn't be considered acceptable so why is it acceptable to talk about women this way? And what kind of message are we giving boys growing up if they have access to such mags - we are surely encouraging them to think in a misogynist, sexist and degrading manner.

    It doesn't take a radical feminist to see what seems to me is common sense. Im sad to think that anyone believes only people with radical viewpoints can see the danger in the content of these mags.

    I could go on forever but I really posted because I thought the comment by anon (hi anon ;-) ) that only rad fems want lad mags on the top shelf was rubbish. I know many people who aren't rads who agree!

  • At Saturday, 22 July, 2006, Blogger charliegrrl said…

    "Im not a radical feminist, I consider myself to be a very liberal, open minded person who simply believes that everyone should be able to do, say and behave as they see fit - provided it is not harming anyone."

    I don't like this comment, implies that radical feminists aren't open-minded or liberal.

    I am a very liberal and open-minded person, who also believes in freedom of speech and expression, AND I am a radical feminist.

    The problem is, when speech/behaviour does harm people, what do you do about it...? You have to compromise freedom to protect certain people. Unfortunately, we live in a world in which women, children and in some cases men are sexually abused, raped and prostituted and in which many people enjoy viewing violent porn. We have legislation in place to discourage such abuse. Does disagreeing with such harm and being in favour of legislation make you closed-minded and anti-feedom..? No it doesn't, as most people can recognise the need to curtail the freedom of paedophiles, rapists and producers of violent porn for the good of society.

    Mr Anonymous- if you feel lads mags are misogynist and degrading, what do you propose should be done about it..?

  • At Saturday, 22 July, 2006, Anonymous Lucy said…

    Sian... I entirely disagree with you.

    Lads mags are only harmful to women if you choose to see them in that way. The message is not that women are only viewed as sexual objects in the least. It is simply an acceptance that women can be viewed in this way. And they are. Why pretend otherwise?? Zoo celebrates beautiful women and lightheartedly points fun at itself and its readers for being so shallow. These magazines are aimed at men that enjoy news, sports, cars, fashion and -shock horror- beautiful women. Yes, Zoo shows women, but I think their celebration of the beautiful and curvaceous is far better than the message of so many women's magazines that constantly harps on about how to be a size 4.

    I do not understand at all how you can call Zoo porn, have any of you actually ever looked at top-shelf porn?(!) The idea that you would compare something as light, witty and frivolous as Zoo to those magazines is utterly inexplicable.

    And for the record, I am a young liberal woman who considers herself a feminist.

  • At Saturday, 22 July, 2006, Blogger charliegrrl said…


    "Lads mags are only harmful to women if you choose to see them in that way"

    No, lads mags are harmful to women, it is whether or not you chose to ignore it...

    "but I think their celebration of the beautiful and curvaceous is far better than the message of so many women's magazines that constantly harps on about how to be a size 4"

    Hello!!! Most of the lads mags models have breast enlargements hence why they are so 'curvaceous'! I doubt any of the models are more than a size 10 anyway... The lads mags have a set demand on 'the body beautiful' which isn't celebration of the female form- the images in the magazines are no doubt air-brushed aswell.

    "The idea that you would compare something as light, witty and frivolous as Zoo to those magazines is utterly inexplicable"

    Lads mags porn exist on the same contiuum as hard core porn- that being the sexual objectification of women for male titillation.

    Lads mags do not celebrate women, they deride women and mock women, and expect women to be waxed, stripped and be half naked in a contorted pose before they will even acknowledge them as a woman.

    "And for the record, I am a young liberal woman who considers herself a feminist"

    You have a lot to learn...

  • At Saturday, 22 July, 2006, Anonymous Sian said…

    Ahh, firstly I apologise for my bad English, I certainly didn't mean to imply that radical feminists were not liberal or open minded, I feel entirely the opposite in fact and didn't mean for it to come across any other way.

    I was simply pointing out what I consider myself to be and not to be, as I was responding primarily to Anon's comments about only radical feminists agreeing with your viewpoint. Im not a rad fem nor am I a conservative minded person who believes in shutting everyone up if I don't like it. I wasn't suggesting (intentionally) that you can only be one or the other (feminist or liberal!) and I was certainly NOT making judgements about radical feminists or anyone else for that matter. It's just my post was written badly.

    I hope that's clearer now.

    Hi Lucy, I've read your post several times and tried to grasp your point of view as I like to see both sides to every argument, however I still really disagree with you. I feel the way you view lads mags is a sad reflection on the growing acceptance of this kind of attitude towards women.

    I can't begin to fathom how you see mags such as zoo/nuts as "celebrating beautiful" women. Their set ideals about beauty are a prime example of why plastic surgery is growing and self esteem is plummeting amongst women.

    Beauty isn't about being naked, hair free, tanned, plastic, blond, size 10 or below, young, available and up for it all the time. None of this has anything to do with real women or real beauty and I feel it takes us so far away from the real reasons we should be celebrating women!

    Other than that Charliegrrl sums up everything else.


  • At Sunday, 23 July, 2006, Blogger charliegrrl said…

    Sian, it's cool, all is clear now :)


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