Blog of Feminist Activism

The feminist activism of charliegrrl and co

York Feminists challenge FHM Freebie

Posted by charliegrrl on October 17, 2007

Freshers week is when lads mags go into recruitment mode. Desperate to capitalise from the inaugaral week of partying and getting laid, they hold babe competitions and club nights, ensuring that they will be the magazine that student lads will buy to reassure themselves that men are not obsolete.

This year at York Unversity, Freshers were greeted with a goody bag at Freshers Fair. Men were given blue bags; women given pink bags…

The pink bags included cellulite cream, moisturiser, deoderant and a half-sized tin of baked beans…

The blue bags included a bar of chocolate, a copy of FHM and a full sized tin of baked beans!

What the fuck!

The Women’s Commitee at York University and the LGBT complained about this. The decision to hand out the bags was put to a vote within the Student Union, and passed by a majority of one.

…the bags clearly discriminate men from women, which is contrary to University and Student Union policy. Further,
the inclusion of a magazine considered to be sexist and misogynistic in the male packs is incredibly insensitive and disappointing. Additionally, placing FHM magazine in packs specifically aimed at males assumes that all male students are interested in consuming sexually explicit photographs of
women, thus discriminating against gay men and others who have no interest in nor desire to see such material.
Member of Women’s Committee York University

Unfortunately I recevied this info too late to complain prior to Freshers Week. I do think it is still worthwhile complaining to the Equal Opportunities Office of the York University.

Contact them at

Full details and a model complain letter can be found here

11 Responses to “York Feminists challenge FHM Freebie”

  1. mulierb said

    Just to update you on we fared at the York Uni Freshers Fair…

    Despite receiving hundreds of complaints on Thurs and Fri alone the Union refused to change their decision.

    On Saturday when we received word that the bags were to be distributed, we set up an informal renegade cake stall where we exhanged cakes (to which we had attached feminist slogans on cocktail sticks and post-its) for students’ unwanted cellulite cream and FHM. ‘Buns not Bums’ and ‘Eat Cake not FHM’ (they didn’t all make sense!) We got a boxful of each and managed to undermine the Student’s Union’s decision at the same time! We are submitting a motion which will ensure this cannot happen in the future and that Freshers bags must be vetted by Equal Opportunities.

  2. polly styrene said

    I agree Charlie that it’s a pity this decision was passed so late as it didn’t allow for effective protest, however York University have clearly treated male and female students in an unequal manner in direct breach of the gender equality duty and I hope that as many students as possible at York will make an official complaint to the authorities there as that’s the only way this kind of thing will be stopped in future.

  3. Ace!!!

  4. Lara said

    Just imagine how people would have reacted if the Freshers Bags were made differently according to race……woohooooooooo 😛

  5. L.M. said

    Cellulite cream? For EIGHTEEN YEAR OLDS? I know that we’re supposed to worry about our weight, hair, breast size and bikini lines, but now cellulite? And this is condoned and possibly sponsored by a public university? Argh.

  6. Liz said

    Yep, it went well when they exchanged the FHM and Cellulite cream for cake! I complained, obviously, but got the normal reply from the president. *sigh* At least we complained about it! 🙂 I’ll keep my eyes peeled for anything else rubbish happening on campus.

  7. Jade said

    I agree with LM, cellulite cream for 18 year olds is rediculous.
    But I love that you could exchange it for cake. Good work.

    (York St. John Uni didn’t pull any stupid stunts like this, clearly the better university ;D)

  8. When will they realise that gender doesn’t only come in pink and blue?

  9. When will you piss off..?


  11. theoneandonly said

    Whoah, bit of a harsh reaction there Charlie!

    The other poster was only pointing out gender discrimination, which was the focus of the article.

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