Monday, 13 June 2011

Dear Tesco...

NB: A copy of this blogpost has been CC'd to - perhaps you'd like to do your own?

To whom it may concern:

Today on Twitter, @calluna_ posted a picture taken inside one of your stores:

As you can see, this clearly shows a division between magazines that you have deemed to be 'for girls', and magazines that you have deemed to be 'for boys'. Now, I have just a few questions for you:

  1. Would you care to explain to my seven year old sister why you think it is inappropriate for girls to read magazines about Doctor Who, The Simpsons, Pokemon etc. - all of which are gender neutral and encompass strong female characters that many parents consider to be better role models than the simpering 'girly girls' found in the characters in the magazines on the other side of the divide?
  2. Would you also care to explain to her best friend why you think it is inappropriate for him to care about animals or nature or arts and crafts or to like the colour pink?
  3. What have you got against apostrophes?
Now, discussion of this led to the revelation that in your stores you also frequently stock publications like New Scientist in the section for men. So, I've devised a solution for you, and it's really not that difficult.

Instead of stocking magazines by gender, how about stocking them by category?

 It's really simple, it honestly is. The magazines for children could be divided into 'comics' and 'hobbies', and the magazines for adults could have further divisions. For example, you could have a 'Science and the Natural World' shelf, where you keep publications like New Scientist and National Geographic, a 'Politics' section where you stock The Economist and Private Eye, and a 'Misogyny and Body Fascism' section where you stock Cosmopolitan and FHM!

There's no need to thank me for my suggestion, but I'd really appreciate it if you could answer my questions. Any reply I receive will be published at, as this email already has been.





  1. well said! will be linking on our reps of women in the media blog if that's ok? xx

  2. Fantastic article!

    The photo doesn't appear to be working, however.

  3. Excellent post again, Nat. I've often been annoyed by the placement of New Scientist in the Men's section. Women like Doing Science too.

  4. As a woman with a science degree, New Scientist in the men's section gets me cross.

    As a mother of a nine year old daughter who loves Lego and Dr Who, having to explain why these things are in the boy's section gets me cross.

    As an aside, the child wrote a letter to Lego recently asking why their mini figurines were 80% male to 20% female. They replied to her to say that boys won't play with female Lego figures, so it's more inclusive this way.

    Bloody patriarchy/kyriarchy! Bring on the feminist revolution where everyone can enjoy what they damn well want to enjoy without having to check to see whether it's permissible for the gender they've been assigned by society!

    Rant over :) Great article btw...

  5. Just re-read my comment and it sounds like I am declaring myself to be a woman scientist, a mother and an aside! Hee hee!

    Clarification: I am not, and never have been, an aside.

  6. Well said. I read 'Whizzer and Chips' until I graduated to Jackie when I was 9. Of course, the former was deemed to be only for boys...

  7. Great post. Thank you. Asda do much the same with their younger readers' book section unfortunately. And I say this as a bloke who read all Enid Blyton's Mallory Towers series as a kid. (Oddly it didn't 'turn me gay' either...)

    The picture isn't working, btw. I see a white rectangle and if I click on it, it links to an xml page.

    Completely OT, but I'm spreading this around as much as possible. (Have strong drink to hand. Really.)

  8. Okay, I got all geeky and played around with the URL.

    Here's the link. (I assume that it's the one you meant, anyway. The title was kinda suggestive...)

  9. Local branch has Women's Fiction in books, but no Male fiction.

  10. @Daz Yes! Thank you. I am hopeless at the techy stuff, I just do the ranting :)

  11. I have to say I like this and I like you for acually saying it. Well Done.