They're the images displayed in front of us at every supermarket checkout, but as we so often forget, they're also the images put in front of children standing in the same spot. The tabloid magazine covers that are a standard in the "grab bag" section display images that we wouldn't willingly want kids to see — and one teacher has had enough.
Brandon Field, a teacher based in eastern Newfoundland, took to Facebook yesterday with a request for the Loblaws-owned store near his house: Stop displaying these magazines where kids can see them.
In an open letter that has been shared almost 10,000 times on the social platform as of this writing, Field noted the "offensive" cover of this week's issue of National Enquirer in his local Dominion store, "Best and Worst Beach Bodies." As Field wrote:
More and more, we are seeing the detrimental effects of bullying in our school system. These magazines, which are displayed prominently at every checkout, are a very real form of bullying. What's more, they further perpetuate the idea that women should have flawless bodies, thereby exacerbating the problem of negative body image, particularly among female youths, but also among all sexes and age groups.
As a schoolteacher, how am I to demonstrate to my students the importance of treating others with respect when everywhere they look society is sending a message to the contrary?
In results from a 2010 study published by Girl Scouts and the Dove Self-Esteem Fund, nine in 10 girls said the fashion industry and the media put intense pressure on teen girls to be thin, and 47 per cent said magazines gave them a body image they tried to achieve themselves.
Meanwhile, publications like Vogue and Seventeen have made pledges to showcase healthier depictions of women's bodies — but there are no such regulations against what's displayed at the checkout counter.
According to Global News, Mark Boudreau, Director of Corporate Affairs for the Atlantic Region, responded to Field's letter by removing the publication from the company's Dominion stores in Newfoundland, and spoke to their policy with regards to publications like this.
"We are mindful of the type and quality of magazines that appear on our racks, and we do take proactive measures. For example, we have advised certain publishers to bag their magazines to reduce the likelihood of potentially offensive material and we work [with] our wholesale distributor to provide an advanced warning whenever an authorized magazine is about to be released that is in controversial taste. We then review the cover and make an appropriate decision."
SEE: How people on social media reacted to the story. What do you think of these publications — should they be placed where children can see them?