Get your popcorn ready.
Britain’s MP Claire Curtis-Thomas is demanding that lad magazines be forced to carry cinema-style age ratings. Her Top Shelf report cites titles like Maxim, which are, she said, “little more than pornography and should be classified as such.”
The reason for the guidelines now, said Curtis-Thomas, is that many U.K. retailers are displaying lad magazines at the average height of a nine-year-old boy. The ratings system will indicate those magazines that should be displayed on the top shelf, out of reach (and sight) of children.
If the U.K.—which tends to be more lenient when it comes to sex—is considering ratings for magazines, it may only be a matter of time before U.S. lawmakers try to force a similar system on American publishers. (I asked the Magazine Publishers of America for comment. I’ll post it here when they respond.)
Outside of the stigma that already comes with slapping an adult rating on their magazines, another issue for publishers like Alpha Media and Complex could be the sub-par newsstand placement that goes along with being out of reach of children, which may hurt the many already-suffering titles.
“We need to have age-related information put on the front of all lads’ magazines,” According to Curtis-Thomas said. “I do not want to censor this material, but we must do something about the display of these titles.”