British Lawmaker Wants to Restrict Access to Adult Magazines

Michael Hayes
LONDON — Buyers of sexually explicit magazines may soon have to look a little harder to find their favorite reading material if a British lawmaker has her way. A new proposal would regulate where newsstands can display adult magazines.

Claiming that so-called “lads magazines” such as FHM and GQ are “repulsive” and “degrading to women,” Labor Party Member of Parliament Claire Curtis-Thomas has called for the codification of a handshake deal between lawmakers and newsstand operators that puts adult magazines on higher shelves.

Earlier this year, newsstand operators and Home Office officials reached a non-binding deal to place adult-oriented materials on the highest shelves to restrict access to children.

"While I am not advocating the censorship and prohibition of such literature for adults,” Curtis-Thomas said. “There must be safeguards in place to protect minors from this obscene material."

Curtis-Thomas’ call for legal enforcement of the earlier deal came during a speech on the floor of the House of Commons. During the speech, she cited an April edition of Zoo magazine, which published a “Dictionary of Porn.”

“[The magazine shows content] so graphic and repulsive I am preventing from quoting it on the floor of the House of Commons,” Curtis-Thomas said.

The lawmaker went on to complain that the average issue featured girl-on-girl action and jokes about women being urinated on and having sex with animals.

While Curtis-Thomas acknowledged the importance of free speech, she argued that those values should not be extended to what she called obscene material.

"[It is] frankly disgusting that these liberties can be exploited to the extent where children have free access to such degrading material," Curtis-Thomas said.