Tuesday, 1 April 2014

What is Sainsbury's policy on modesty for magazines?

Apparently the picture on the right from last month's Attitude is too racy for customers of Sainsbury's customers to view as they browse their magazine stands.

Bear this in mind next time you walk in past a poster advertising Tu's swimwear collection as you walk through the door, or maybe a biography of Tom Daley being advertised right at the entrance (like the last one was). In both those occasions in recent years Sainsbury's has a bare chested man on display prominently as you entered the store not tucked away in the magazine racks. In the case of Tom Daley of course at the time he had yet to come out as being in a same-sex relationship, unlike Robbie Rogers pictured here, but he was wearing even skimpier swimwear than the footballer is wearing in this picture.

In fact there is nothing in this picture that anybody wouldn't expect to see at the beach, swimming pool or even in the park (maybe on the street) when the summer finally arrives here in the UK. Men in shorts and topless, often sunburnt, is a sure sign that the sun has actually made an appearance across this country.

The reason I am bringing this up is that I stumbled across this post from a female Twitter user in Manchester. You know the gay capital of Northern England. She took the following picture:

Yeah just to the left where you see the stop of Robbie's eyes and quiff you will see Carmen Electra on the cover of FHM magazine. She is not wearing swimwear, that is lingerie that she is wearing, and that is a push up bra accentuating her bosom. Is there double standards at play here?

What Carmen Electra is wearing is not something that women would typically be seen wearing as outerwear. Yet somehow this particular store did not find it necessary to protect her modesty.

Sainsbury's did replay to the original poster with a reply spanning two tweets:

Hi, we use modesty covers for a range of publications – including Loaded, Zoo, Nuts, Bizarre, Front & Attitude. We do regularly review the titles covered and we’ll look into this. Thanks

Do Sainsbury's also cover up Men's Health or other sports magazinessee update below should they display a topless man? You know I reckon they don't.

This month's Attidude comes in its own modesty pouch, it is one of their naked issues, so the choice of five cover stars1 are all nude. But even then the cover is somewhat self censoring and the cover is to prevent people scanning through the issue looking for the actual nude pictures more than anything else. This is a policy that both Attitude and GT follow wherever they have one of their raunchier cover shoots, they self censor, yet somehow these gay lifestyle publications with their self censoring policy get further censored by supermarkets.

Indeed my local Asda appears to have stopped stocking these two publications, I do wonder if this is down to over zealous DUP (maybe even defected to UKIP) councillors over the proximity of this store to a number of schools, as well as the train station. The net effect is that about £10 of business a month from my wallet leaves the town centre and is most often2 spent in Belfast instead, so well done for those who got these titles removed from Bangor's Asda and giving my trade to another part of Northern Ireland altogether.

Update: There is an update to this particular stores position. There is now a hastily made modesty cover over FHM. But as this angle shows Men's Fitness which has a far more bulked up topless male model on the front cover this month was not while Robbie Rogers was. It does therefore appear that there is one rule for the straights and that Sainsbury's haven't got a clue of how offensive they are being in this. For a start Attitude should not have been covered up for the cover at the top, but the fact that Men's Fitness that give a far more unrealistic male body image every month through its topless cover models remains uncovered is ridiculous considering the action this particular store has been taking.

1Yes I did choose the one with a Strictly Come Dancing winner especially for Caron Lindsay. 2On other occasions I do make the short walk to my local Sainsbury's from home, where these titles are not covered!

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