Racist, sexist: why porn mags had to go
The last issue of the Picture magazine to ever hit shelves
On September 26 2019, I walked into the Park Street Sydney offices of Bauer Media Group, to meet with its CEO.
This moment had been a long time in the making.
In 2010 I wrote an expansive piece on the nature of porn titles in convenience stores - and the failure of our classification system to regulate them - for the ABC.
That same year as part of Collective Shout’s campaign against lad’s mag Zoo, I wrote this piece, ‘Because all women must be brought to their knees’, also for the ABC. Our campaign saw Zoo pulled from Coles five years ago – thanks to the help of a young Coles employee who, with support of her union, told Coles it was creating a “hostile workplace environment” by requiring young women like herself to sell the magazine and to see boys ogling the magazines in store. Coles subsequently pulled the title, which was “catastrophic for sales” and saw publication cease in 2015 (Zoo devoted its final cover to us).
In 2019, we revived the campaign, this time focusing on The Picture and People Magazine. The renewed campaign was prompted by my colleague Melinda Liszewski walking into a 7-Eleven store to get a Coke, when confronted with the headline “X-RATED AUSSIE TEENS 18 & 19-YEAR OLDS STRIP” on the cover of People Magazine. Our campaigns team spent many hours going through the titles. We discovered the fetishizing of schoolgirls, encouraging sexual fantasies for “fresh young flesh”, the extolling of nurses and female tennis players as existing for male gratification and pleasure and racially eroticized Asian women. We asked how content like this could be permitted in a society that claimed to care about the status of women. We made the point that a sexist culture was grooming sexist boys and that these titles were normalizing that idea.
Our rapid-fire social media campaign highlighting the content and the failure of 7-Eleven to exercise corporate social responsibility, along with correspondence with the CEO, resulted in 7-Eleven pulling porn titles Picture and People from 700 stores three weeks later. BP soon followed, removing the titles from 350 servos. Then Bauer Media Group’s CEO Brendon Hill offered a meeting. He had good news. Only in the role a few months, he agreed with our views that these titles were inconsistent with Bauer’s core values and pro women position statements. It was a positive exchange. We commend Brendon for his actions.Read more
Zoo Weekly has a long history of exploiting and objectifying women for the enjoyment of male readers. During this time, supermarket chains Coles and Woolworths have quietly profited from the sale of this unrestricted magazine in stores around the country. There are a lot of reasons why Coles and Woolworths should rethink the sale of Zoo Weekly, but we've narrowed it down to just 20, in no particular order.Read more
The portrayal of women in Zoo Weekly
The piece 'Zoo Identity' is a compilation of written descriptors of women taken directly from the March 2015 issue of Zoo Australia. I endeavoured to communicate the impact of zoo and its portrayal of females on my own identity formation as a young woman.Read more
The petition calling on ZOO magazine to apologise and scrap its 'hottest asylum seeker competition' accumulated over 6000 signatures. Change.org sent out the following email to petition supporters today. Thanks to all who signed and shared the petition. You can read the original article here.
“ZOO Weekly regrets any offence caused to any of our readers, and to any asylum seeker or refugee and their families and supporters. We apologise for being insensitive.” -- Tim Keen, editor of Zoo WeeklyRead more