While a majority of British women support covering up racy magazines, the same cannot be said for the men
Yesterday the Co-operative gave publishers of so-called ‘lads’ magazines’ an ultimatum: cover up within the next six weeks or your magazines will be removed from our shelves. A representative for the Co-operative explained that, due to concerns expressed by customers and members, the front pages of magazines like Zoo, Nuts, Front and Loaded, would have to be sold in ‘modesty bags’ that conceal their covers – which usually feature young women wearing next to nothing. A majority of British adults support the plans, a YouGov poll has found, with women over 40 the most supportive and men under 40 the least.
Overall, 54% of British adults support the Co-operative’s plans to force lads’ magazines to cover up or else be taken off sale, while less than a fifth (19%) oppose them. Those who strongly support the plans outnumber those who strongly oppose them by an even bigger ratio, at 28%-8%.
However, a closer look reveals that opinion among different age groups and gender varies a great deal. Most supportive are women 40 and over, who support the use of ‘modesty bags’ by a decisive 71%-7% oppose. Support is still strong among women aged 18-39 (58%-13%), but falls below 50% for older men, to 41%-27% oppose. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the audience of ‘lads mags’, the plans are least popular among men aged 18-39, who are evenly divided between support (36%) and opposition (37%).
Some of the splits between men and women, younger and older, however, are even more stark when people are faced with a number of different views about how such magazines should be sold.
For instance, 30% of younger men think the magazines “should be sold anywhere”, ten times the 3% of women 40 and over who think so. Additionally, 12% of older women don’t want the magazines sold anywhere, a view held by only 3% of younger men.
Overall, almost four in ten (38%) women actually think stores should go even further than the Co-operative has proposed, but either refusing to sell the magazines at all (supported by 10% of women) or moving them to a dedicated section as well as covering them up (supported by 28%). These results echo concerns expressed by some campaigners and commentators, who say the Co-operative’s ‘modesty bag’ policy does not go far enough. Altogether, however, only 18% of men support going further.