Blog of Feminist Activism

The feminist activism of charliegrrl and co

Film of demo against WHSmith Leicester

Posted by charliegrrl on April 30, 2007

Here is a short film made by Eden on the demo outside WHSmith in Leicester, calling for WHSmith to stop selling lads mags.

It starts off with a few demonstrators talking to a WHSmith employee and goes on to show the opinions of a few members of the public who showed their support.

Thanks for this Eden!

22 Responses to “Film of demo against WHSmith Leicester”

  1. Sian said

    I really enjoyed that – its good to actually see a demo in action – esp as I’d like to take part in one in the future so its good to see what they entail rather than read about it! Its definitely spurred me on to make time for future demos!

    I didn’t think much of the WHSmith employee! If that’s an example of people who work there then no wonder they put lads mags at knee level cos he clearly wasn’t arsed at all and I felt just refused to see your point of view!

  2. This short film clearly shows how widely accepted soft-porn has become mainstreamed and accepted. To the extent that many women and men just cannot see the blatant misogny which is supposedly ‘just harmless fun.’

  3. witchy-woo said

    If WHSmith’s argument is “there’s worse on the internet” then they have no argument at all.

    And I got the impression that the employee was expecting a “No” answer to his question about not stocking the Sun. Twit.

    An excellent little film that should be repeated daily on primetime telly until they all start bloody listening.

  4. Grace said

    Damnit I thought I was going to escape the final cut! Oh well, the rest of the video was great to watch, as I didn’t get to hear the actual conversation with the WHSmith employee, and it was great to actually see members of the public expressing their views too. Well done and thanks to Eden šŸ™‚

  5. Mwezzi said

    Great work. I’ve only ever been on one protest rally in my life and rarely see any small ones like this, so it was great to see what you lot are like in action.

  6. Arantxa said


  7. Emmeline said

    Witchy-woo’s right – WHSmiths’ argument is utter nonsense. They sell guns on the internet too, so why can’t I buy one in my local stationers?! Really!

    Have you managed to get any response from their managing director/head office at all? Speaking to minnows may change minnow-minds, but if we’re honest they don’t have the imagination to change anything (too busy wanking over the internet no doubt). I’d send lads’ mags to the MD daily until he/she gets pissed off with the constant pornographic images their employees (and customers!) have to put up with…

  8. wOOt fab x

  9. fannyblood said

    i love that quote “you’re not a responsible retailer otherwise you wouldn’t have to ask that question” (about stocking the sun).

    brilliant, ladies. inspirational.


  10. delphyne said

    That was brilliant. Mr. W.H. Smith wasn’t a very impressive ad for his store, but then neither is the porn they stock on their shelves.

  11. Richie said

    God, the comments it’s generating on YouTube are downright depressing. “Men like looking at attractive women!”. Shit, he just invalidated your entire argument. Better pack up and go home ’cause random YouTube jerk #486 just defeated feminism FOREVER.

  12. I know, lots of misogynistic comments by the usual suspects.

  13. Emmeline
    I haven’t contacted the Executives yet, but I will do! Good idea sending them lads mags

    Kate Swan
    Group Chief Executive
    WHSmith PLC
    180 Wardour Street
    W1F 8FY

    or Alan Walker, Chairman at the same address


  14. Liz said

    Wow fantastic! And very inspirational.

    Unfortunately I didn’t hear/lipread the people on the video – but the body language on the employee was VERY defensive, and he was obviously getting his back up about his right (or WHSmut’s right) to stock porn.

    It seems so obvious that men don’t like us challenging their porn consumption – they are so selfish that they don’t seem to realise or want to know that their consumption of women’s bodies is harmful.

  15. Sorry about that Liz
    I think the WHSmith guy was coerced into coming out to speak to us to try and reason with us- he was very nervous, I could barely understand what he was saying cos he was mumbling so much.

  16. Kate the Great said

    You did an excellent job, I nearly peed myself when I saw this. Don’t mind the idiots on youtube.

    The personal attacks are irrelevant – people of all shapes/looks and sizes feel this way, but the fact they keep drawing back to appearance to discount a political argument says something to prove our point.

    If I’m stereotypically attractive and still feel uncomfortable being ogled is it because I’m just not “liberated”/worried I’ll get a bad rating, or is it because I find it demeaning?

    I’m sick of their crap.
    But I love all of you at the protest. šŸ˜€ Cheers!

  17. Dave said

    Your comment at nos 14 is spot on.
    Most men know porn is wrong,offensive and degrading to women.
    Thats why they become so defensive,when confronted or challenged about it.
    Men will hide their porn from their wives or girlfriends and ‘consume’ it when they are alone.
    If a woman walks into a newsagents and a man is looking through pornographic magazines,nine times out of ten,he will walk out the shop empty handed.Why?
    Some men do question the porn theyve been thoughtlessly consuming for years and decide enough is enough.
    Granted,they are the minority.
    I never used to consider Lads mags porn,but now i do and i agree with charliegrrls campaigns against porn in general!!
    Some men can change!
    But only if their prepared to listen and maybe learn something!

  18. Globen said

    This argument needs more structure and
    proves nothing for what you are trying to achieve,
    that all women must submit themselves to top shelf glamour,
    women must realise the first step is to refuse.
    love to see all the men at WHS to get their clothes off and not feel degraded.
    Showing the flesh is not a commodity and should be outlawed.
    Off topic a bit we need to mobilise and rally together for this worth while cause.
    Naked bodies regardless of gender need to be out of public viewing.

  19. I agree the body, more specifically the sexualised female body, shouldn’t be used as a commodity in itself and to sell products. But I don’t think we should outlaw naked bodies in public viewing.

    Yes I agree, women should refuse to pose for lads mags, but we could say women should refuse to diet, starve, exercise excessively, spend vast amounts of money on anti-cellulite and anti-wrinkle cream…but such pressures about how our bodies are perceived are so ingrained, it’s not that easy for women to reject all this woman-hating commercialisation.

    But yes, mobilising around the issue of the normalisation of porn is what we need! šŸ™‚

  20. MaryTracy9 said

    Why wasn’t I there protesting as well? WHY? WHYYYYY???

    I miss all the feminist protests!

    Congratulations on the ones who did this. From the bottom of my heart, you really make me keep faith in humanity.

  21. Karl said

    WH Smiths does not sell porn mags. It sells mens magazines such as Nuts and Zoo, in my store the magazines are on the top two shelves anyway, Porn magazines are such titles such as ‘XXX’ and ‘Barely Legal’ etc.. that newsagents sell. As for the argument about newspapers WH Smiths does not decide what content goes inside them, The Sun and the Star have an occasional topless picture in them, but only those papers. We don’t even stock the Daily Sport. We as individual employees cannot take products off sale or move them up or down shelves. The stock we sell is decided by head office, and the planogramms must be kept to, as we have daily checks by inspectors.

  22. Arantxa said

    WHSmith is the biggest distributor of pornography magazines in the UK (they distribute to ‘newsagents’) and WHSmith do sell pornography in their own stores.

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