I wrote a small piece for the brilliant Vagenda magazine, but I’m just reposting it here because I’m vain. Originally taken from http://vagendamag.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/tesco-retro.html
My local Tesco’s separate their magazines into ‘Women’s interests’ and ‘Men’s interests’. Presumably just in case my ovaries don’t automatically direct me on a nuclear mission trackpath to choose cupcakes and TOWIE and I accidentally buy something I couldn’t possibly be interested in - like Private Eye or The Economist, or The Spectator. I don’t think (or I really really don’t like to think) that Tesco organises its magazines on the basis that women aren’t interested in politics, the economy or current events, and that it’s some sort of patriarchal-oppression drive by one of the biggest supermarkets in Britain. I don’t think that, and I don’t WANT to think that. But routinely, for several months, this particular Tesco has sorted its magazines by placing those magazines, and others, into ‘Men’s interests’. It’s the ignorance that I find most depressing, apparently no one has had a brainwave that a woman might be interested in wider affairs.
My tits do not prevent me from wanting to read about current affairs, in fact, the mere presence of them encourages my interest in politics - women are routinely underpaid, underrepresented and unfairly treated in businesses and wider society. A YouGov survey has just released figures showing that just over 40% of young women in London have experienced sexual harassment in public spaces over the last year. I have a vested interest in current affairs, and the fact that Tesco designates them as anything else than ‘General interests’ is utter bollocks. I try not to get too sweary in my writing but things like this, that can be easily ignored and overlooked, cause me to put on my biggest Doc Martens and start getting sweary with even the smallest and sweetest old lady.
The majority of women’s magazines make me feel like I’m not conforming to society’s unobtainable ideals of femininity. I don’t care about who shaves or doesn’t shave their armpits and I subscribe to the Caitlin Moran school of thinking - that I will only wear high heels that allow me to dance to Lady Gaga and run away from murderers. The most frustrating aspect is that a generation of children are walking through these shops, seeing that these magazines are for men, and this affecting their attitudes of acceptable reading material for men and women. My XX chromosomes only serve to make me brilliantly awesome, and in no way do they define my reading interests. Sort it out Tesco.