Blog of Feminist Activism

The feminist activism of charliegrrl and co

Porn Exposed in WHSmut

Posted by charliegrrl on October 16, 2006

A friend called Tom told me he went into WHSmith, and opened up the lads mags on explicit pages and placed them all round the shop, and near the entrance, to expose to customers, the degrading and pornographic content of these magazines. He said one woman went up to one of the opened lads mags, and said, ‘I don’t like that, I don’t like that at all!’ and promptly closed it! This is a great way to draw people’s attention to the degrading imagery that WHSmith sell, and can prompt people to complain. It exposes WHSmith for the ‘not-so-family-friendly’ shop that it is. And also…it’s legal!

So I headed off to do the same!

Porn Adverts in WHSmith

After I took this photo, I turned over all the front covers of the lads mags to the porn adverts. People walked past the array rather bemused. Men would walk up to the rack, to read the mags, but then walk away! An elderly gentlemen took one off the shelf just to see what magazine it was. This is a great way to expose lads mags for the porn that they are.

I also placed the opened lads mags on a window display, to make the visible connection between WHSmith and porn.

Porn Adverts in WHSmith shop window

I opened up ZOO on a ‘Hunt for a Virgin’ article and placed it next to the queue for the till, so customers could read about the degrading competition. Then, I stood next to the lads mags display, and when men came over to read the mags, I took a photo of them. They then asked me what I was doing, to which I replied, ‘I am taking a photo of the face a misogynist’. I explained they are being misogynistic because they are reading a lads mag. They were rather embarrassed, and one guy begged me, literally, to delete the photo of him reading FHM.
This idea was inspired by Rebecca who said she used to take photos of men going into sex shops to intimidate them!

But then, a security guard started loitering around the lads mags display, so I moved swiftly on!

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25 Responses to “Porn Exposed in WHSmut”

  1. witchy-woo said

    That is brilliant!

    I know what I’m doing this weekend 😉

  2. Reetta said

    Good job!:)

  3. tinypieces said

    fantastic idea! i live in manchester and intend to open zoo/maxim/loaded/etc on their porn and pornified pages wherever i find them!! i’m gonna try and get other people to do the same. i reckon that one of the reasons the general public are not too bothered by these rag mags is because they dont actually know whats inside them, ditto for general pornograpy (i.e. images of women being hurt)

    When i am just going about my daily business and am confronted with magazine rakes full off this hate speech posing as “lad mags” it depresses me, now i have a way of cheering myself up! thanks again

    p.s. i read your blog all the time, think the stuff you do is amazing!

  4. Tinypieces

    Join Northwest Feminists!
    We will be meeting up in manchester soon on a regular basis x

  5. whiztle said

    Great action and it’s perfectly legal.

  6. fantastic!!! I love it!

    I went into a newsagents in town today and noticed (for the first time thanks to this blog!) that nuts and zoo were on the second shelf – my one year old nephew could reach them – however, I was unsure what to do about it – now I know!

    Im not sure Im brave enough to start taking pics of men and calling them misogynists – will have to build up to that!! 🙂

  7. fantastic!!! I’ve just had a result at my local Somerfields, though I was not as blatant as you! They have been moved to the top shelf but I am still watching!

    well done lass x

  8. Pony said

    We used to do this in the late 79s with mags like playbarf. One of the women said the men all lined up reading the mags looked like a bunck of men at the urinal. All kinda hips jutted forward, mouths open…

    Here, store owners can tell you not to take photos in the store, and if you do not comply they can call police. Of course, you should be able to get some good shots before they’re on to you. However, on the street (you and your subject both) is open territory. They are there, you can shoot. That may not help with this action, but it should for shots of men coming out of obvious porn/video joints with the camera angled so the XXX shows as well as his face. Then, post on that Hollerback site.

  9. stormcloud said

    Excellent action, wonderfully legal!

    I liked the idea of distributing them around the store, after all, I am sure you are just *helping* WHSmut by *displaying* their product…

    I think I should *help* stores *display* their nothing-wrong-coz-it’s-perfectly-legal product !

  10. ha ha! you crack me up! i’m gonna do the same! fran x

  11. Laura said

    Fantastic! Why didn’t I think of that before?! And I’m v impressed with you taking photos etc – don’t think I’d have the guts.

  12. Michelle said

    I did some re-arranging of the lad mags display in WHSmut myself today, as well as giving them some “adhesive attention”. One observation- on the v. top shelf in WHSmut they stock what they must perceive to be “proper porn” mags with “modesty covers” although you can still see through these. But the amount of flesh these “proper porn” mags expose and the way these women have been photographed and the language used are just the same as Nuts and Zoo! But they’re not “proper porn”?!

  13. Such a simple idea. I really like it!

  14. This is brilliant! I really admire your efforts! What gets me is how sheepish, shifty and uncomfortable men look while wanderimng near the lad’s mags/porn section y’know? If they claim it is so innocent, why do they feel so awkward about overtly purchasing it? These magazines keep us as play-things to the patriarchal system and my perception of WH Smut standing as a family highstreet chain of confectionaire was corrupted a lomg time ago.

    They constantly do deals where they throw in freebies like a chocolate bar or chewing gum or something if people consume a copy of Nuts or Zoo.

    I also went off the legend which was Johnny Vaughen when he lowered his journalistic excellence to doing the dreaded voiceover 4 Nuts magazine. Shame on you John boy! No one can need the money that bloody badly, especially not you mate!–>

  15. suzi said

    Suzi says
    Most women have no idea about the content of lads mags,opening them up will show that they do contain porn.I cant stand walking into newsagents and seeing the top shelf full of porn,hardcore porn is also in newsagents,the mags are unwrapped with explicit and offensive covers,calling women names like sluts and whores.Porn in newsagents shouldnt be allowed,children can see the porn and i dont want to see it.I am going to ask my local newsagent to stop stocking porn,some of my friends are also going to ask,will let you know what happens,it might become another porn free newsagent?

  16. Yay Suzi! That would be great if you voiced your opposition to the newsagent selling porn. Let us know of any outcome
    x

  17. suzi said

    Suzi says
    Thanks for reply,
    I dont understand how hardcore porn mags can be sold in newsagents,when hardcore porn films have to be sold in sex shops.Whenever i see men buying porn mags in newsagents,i make them feel uncomfortable by reading a normal magazine by the magazine racks,this usually works and they leave without their degrading and demeaning porn.Men hate being spotted buying porn by women,they know its wrong.

  18. That is so true. Men know there is something wrong with viewing porn, which is why they hide their porn mags and flims. They hide them from women that is. That’s why it is in men’s interest to keep lads mags from not being classed as porn, so they do not have to feel ashamed about reading them in public. Much of soft porn has been re-branded so that it isn’t called porn, it is referred to as women having a laugh, showing off their bodies and sexual empowerment. Men want access to women’s bodies 24/7 for their ego-boosting fantasies, and don’t want to feel ashamed about it.

  19. suzi said

    Suzi says,men know porn is wrong that is why they hide it.3 months ago i found my boyfriend had hidden a huge amount of porn under floorboards.I went beserk at him.I found 50 HARDCORE PORN DVDS/BUNDLES OF HARDCORE PORN MAGS.The porn made me feel sick.The porn contained anal gangbanging where groups of men pinned girls down and competed with each other to distort her anus to such an extent they said they would tear her a new one.other films had men choking the girls with their penises then ejaculating over their faces.This isnt sex,its designed to degrade and humiliate women.The dvds he told me were from a sex shop in kingston and the mags from newsagents.Porn is getting worse ,women should buy a hardcore mag from a newsagent or dvd from a sex shop.Education can lead to legislation,women cant be ignorant about porn any longer.The best place for porn is where i took it,down the dump.

  20. How can men watch this stuff?
    Porn hidden under the floorboards, that’s a pretty desperate attempt to hide his porn! His porn must have been very dear to him…
    Was he annoyed when you threw it away? 🙂

  21. suzi said

    suzi says,
    my boyfriend was shell shocked and gutted when i found the porn,he obviously thought the porn was safe under floorboards.i found it when i had some time off work.i was gobsmacked,but then as i pulled the porn out,i became angry when i saw the content.he had even arranged the porn into categories,anal dvds cumshot dvds,choking dvds,hardcore mags/softcore mags.i also found some mail order brouchers,one of them had rape dvds for sale,thankfully i didnt find any.we had a huge row when i told him,all of the porn was going to the dump,he wanted to keep some softcore mags!the porn cost him 3k,now its in a landfill site.ive written to the company selling rape dvds,no reply yet.I am going to write to the other companies,i can leave their addresses on this site if you wish.

  22. Gosh, it must have been horrible finding all that. And he spent 3k on porn!!! I would be greatful for the contacts of the people who are selling rape porn. Well done on writing to them already

    x

  23. suzi said

    Yes it was horrible,he says hes finished with porn,but i have my doubts,have you had this problem happen to you before,if so how did you deal with it?

  24. Thanks for the address.

    I’ve never had this problem, mainly cos I don’t have relationships with men. When I did, one guy was very much into his porn. I didn’t ask him about it. He suggested we watch it together sometime, but we never did.

    I think women accept that their boyfriend watches porn, and don’t challenge him. It is seen as ‘natural’ for a man to need to masturbate to pornography- which is crap.

    Which is why it is great that you challenged your boyfriend!

  25. Patrick said

    wait taking pictures of guys choosing to look at a “lads mag” without there concent is illegal, but since you feel that a women making alot of money off of posing in such a way that in all honesty makes men treat her like a peace of meat is wrong your going to do it anyways…. guess what ladies and gents you wont change men looking at mags by fear or trying to damage the sellers you want to be equal guess what those same female models in the lad mags show up in skimy outfits in the makeup/cloths/and romance mags oh and if you want the meat look for women there are lots of mags out there with doods… GET OVER IT

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