Are politics, music and motorcycles really just “Men’s Interests?”

According to Morrisons yes. A few weeks ago I visited my local Morrisons looking for the latest copy of Private Eye, but when I reached the magazine aisle I was left feeling more than a little disgruntled. I was greeted with a sign telling me that perhaps I shouldn’t be buying such magazines; apparently they are not in my interest – why? Because I am female. A giant header labelled “Men’s Interests” loomed over the magazine racks filled with motorsport, politics, history, science, technology and music. Meanwhile celeb gossip magazines, crafts and home décor were all on the other side of the aisle. Maybe Morrisons is trying to hint that I should be limited to purchasing from that side of the aisle instead.

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I took to twitter to tell Morrisons about my distaste for their segregationist attitude towards their labelling and this was their response.

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I continued…

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With assurances that they are “reviewing it as we speak” I was interested to see whether other major supermarkets and magazine retailers had similar gender explicit categorising systems. I visited the big four supermarkets as well as my local One Stop store in the hope that Morrisons was just an anomaly. Here is what I found. My local One Stop Store:

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Unfortunately, very similar to Morrisons, apparently cars, music and sport are “Men’s Lifestyle” magazines only. Asda:

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Hurray! Clearly and accurately labelled such as “motoring,” “sport” and leisure” no female exclusion here, thanks Asda. Tesco:

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Again, thumbs up for Tesco. History, Science and Technology magazines were labelled as “Leisure,” “News” and “Science.” This all seemed great until I looked on the other side of the aisle. photo (14)

“Women’s lifestyle,” featured magazines on knitting, cooking and babies, because apparently parenting isn’t also a male interest. Also note the conveniently placed chocolate bars, because we’re all aware of the universal fact that women look to buy knitting magazines and a chocolate bar in one hit. Sainsbury’s:

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Sainsbury’s was by far the best out of the big four. Not only did they have clear gender neutral labelling for the “motoring and motorcycling” section, but the rest of the aisle was also a happy sight. photo 2

Along the row the other sections were categorised as “craft” and “tea break” not just “women’s lifestyle.” Thanks Sainsbury’s! Overall, Morrisons and One Stop are still clearly lagging behind their counterparts, with Tesco still needing some improvements.

While efforts are continually being made to get young women interested in STEM subjects, especially encouraging them to pursue it as a degree choice, it seems that their local supermarket is telling them “sorry but this isn’t for you girls.” And despite Cameron’s latest cabinet reshuffle, the British parliament is still falling behind countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq in terms of female representation in Westminster; it seems politics isn’t in the female interest either.

I tweeted Morrisons again a few weeks after my original inquiry to find out if they have improved their signage. They’re yet to respond.

By Lizzie Roberts


[Image Credit: Jim Parkinson]

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