Published by Student Direct: Mancunion
Covering up naked women in magazines and newspapers, UMSU’s Riveters drew attention to the objectification of women in Fallowfield’s Sainsbury’s last fortnight.
The magazine aisle was awash with brown envelopes covered in slogans such as ‘Women do not belong in a zoo’ and ‘Objectificiation is nuts’. Sainsbury’s staff offered quizzical looks, however allowed the 25-strong protest to continue unhindered.
Protester Emma Kerry said: “Objectifying women in this way has become the norm and this needs to be challenged or it will continue to be seen as acceptable and be reproduced for generations to come.
“I was especially pleased by the number of men showing their support for our actions.”
University of Manchester Students’ Union Women’s Officer Hazel Kent was pleased with the number of people willing to get involved with the direct action. In a letter to Simon Bunyan, the Fallowfield store’s manager, Kent said: “We are a group of women and men committed to fighting the objectification of women in the media, and are especially appalled at the casual and main-stream objectification of women in magazines such as Maxim and FHM.
“If a young man or boy sees women presented as objects, it is more likely he will view and treat women as objects. These images also present an unrealistic view of women, based on a narrow conception of what it is to be sexy, or indeed a woman.“
Sainsbury’s failed to respond to the letter dated early October, claiming that it was never received, possibly due to postal strikes. However, the supermarket told Student Direct: Mancunion: “Three years ago, Sainsbury’s was the first retailer to introduce specially designed ‘modesty covers’ for adult titles in all our supermarkets. [These] are designed to conceal the image on the front of the magazine while leaving the title of the publication fully visible.
“In our supermarkets, ‘Lads mags’ titles are already placed as high up as possible and to the back of the magazine display.
“We take this matter seriously and it is our aim to offer customers choice, without causing offence.”
The Riveters added they were keen for the likes of FHM and Maxim to be removed from the store, “and for people to think before they buy.”