Motherhood, mental illness and beyond

Taking my 4 year old daughter shopping has become a bit of a minefield lately. Not because she doesn’t behave; she’s always good and enjoys helping to choose what we’re going to eat that week. It’s not because she pesters for things either (although sometimes she does, of course – she’s 4!). No, it’s because of magazines like this:

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And this:

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Although she’s not yet 5, my daughter is an exceptionally fluent reader and these magazines are almost always placed at child height in supermarkets. Not just in the magazine section either but also at tills. Is this appropriate? No. I don’t think any reasonable person would consider that this kind of trash magazine should be placed where children can see them, yet in some shops not only are they at child height but they’re right next to the comics. Soft porn magazines like Nuts, Zoo, FHM and their ilk have been covered in shops for a while now, so why not magazines that gleefully publish misery porn?

Here are some more examples from the last couple of days:

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Are these really the messages that our children should be exposed to?

“My toddler, killed as she watched Peppa Pig”
“Drowned in the bath by his killer gran”
“My brother raped me but I still love him”
“Paedo uncle abused me: little girls always lie”
“Burnt at the stake by jealous mum-in-law”
“I threw my baby out the window”
“Forced to kill my dad”
“Rapist lover snatched my sick baby”

Don’t these headlines just sicken you? It’s a constant barrage of misery and pain. Personally I find these magazines extremely distasteful and repulsive. But to a child they’re just utterly bewildering, with concepts that they’ve never heard of (“Mummy, what does rape mean?”) or shouldn’t have to consider (“Mummy, was the toddler killed because she was naughty?”). I don’t want my children to know about these things until they’re considerably older. To be completely honest, I really don’t understand why anyone would want to read these magazines. But there seem to be more and more of them these days, so presumably a large swathe of the population finds them simply delightful. Each to their own, I suppose. Whatever your opinion on these publications though, I doubt that there are many who would disagree that it’s wrong for children to be exposed to these horrific headlines.

When the UK group Child Eyes started out they were campaigning against sexualised images being displayed where children can see them (magazine covers, newspapers, billboards etc). Now however they’ve also begun to campaign for this type of magazine to be stocked out of a child’s line of sight. One British supermarket, Morrisons, has already agreed to take steps towards this; I really hope that other retailers soon follow.

Comments on: "Move the misery magazines" (9)

  1. Brilliant post. I also hope other retailers take action x

  2. Fab post, and superbly expressed.I agree with this entirely. If you want to read or write about such morbid things, please continue – but there is no need to place these hideous ideas in plain view of young eyes.

  3. […] I read this post in which a blogger explained her concerns about what is termed ‘misery porn’ […]

  4. I completely agree. I’m not a parent, but even I find these difficult and upsetting to look at, they are certainly not suitable for children.

    I’ve blogged about the term ‘misery porn’ – it’s not intended as a criticism at all, just a discussion around the term. I’ve linked to your blog , I hope that’s okay. If not please let me know and I’ll remove the link.

  5. pigeonpairandme said:

    My two can’t read yet so I haven’t encountered this, but yes, this post is absolutely spot-on. I can’t for the life of me understand why people would want to waste time reading these kinds of awful stories….

  6. Reblogged this on gorillamums and commented:
    Very well said. I completely agree…

  7. I wish they’d move the drivel out the way

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