Outrage over raunchy milkbar mags

01 Oct 2008

By The Record

Active mother takes on smut magazine distributors over products freely available in milkbars.


Dressed to depress: Julie Gale at a recent Women’s Forum Australia event, dressed to illustrate how young women are expected to act according to the media.


By Anthony Barich
Australia’s Classification Board has approved the sale of R rated magazines which encourage sex with under-age girls, according to the Kids Free 2B Kids organisation.
Julie Gale, founder and director of Kids Free 2BKids, which generates awareness of sexualised imagery of minors in the media, says that such magazines are being openly sold in milk bars, petrol stations and convenience stores and portray girls who look under-age performing sexual acts.
Ms Gale said the “Guidelines used by the Classification Board, state that when a magazine is rated R category 1 – ‘actual sexual activity may not be shown in realistic depiction’, but the girls in these magazines are depicted performing graphic sexual acts including digital, oral, vaginal and anal sex.”
According to Ms Gale “these magazines should be Refused Classification (RC) as the guidelines also state that RC applies if images ‘Describe or depict in a way that is likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult, a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 – whether the person is engaged in a sexual activity or not.’ ”
Ms Gale said the young women appear underage and are often posed in pigtails, plaits, school uniform, pink headbands and with soft cuddly toys.
“The magazines approved for sale encourage the sexual penetration of under- age girls and some of the video/DVD advertisements validate crimes such as incest and rape,” Ms Gale said.
Though the Board’s initial response to Ms Gale’s complaint was that they can’t please everyone in the community, they later admitted to her that some magazines have been classified incorrectly.
However, Ms Gale, a mother of a 13-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son,  said some magazines’ distributors have bypassed the Board altogether and put their products on milkbar and petrol station shelves without even being classified.
The Board’s director Donald McDonald wrote to her on September 11 saying the Board has asked the distributor of Finally Legal and Live Young Girls to make written submissions about why the Board should not form an opinion that the Serial Classification Declarations on them should be revoked.
“That’s like a police officer asking someone who’s been speeding to explain why they shouldn’t be fined. You just punish them,” Ms Gale said. Mr McDonald added that some magazines were wrongly classified as Category 2 rather than a tamer Category 1, and that one magazine had not been classified at all. Mr Gale said that in this case, responsibility also falls on the police to enforce the Board’s rulings.
“The resource focus is on online porn, but the ‘real world’ porn is slipping under the radar, so there’s all this hardcore porn in local stores and milkbars with depictions of graphic sex,” she said.
She contacted Victoran Attorney General Rob Hulls and the State’s Chief of Police Christine Nixon but neither responded to her query. Ms Nixon was unavailable for comment when contacted by The Record.
Ms Gale has requested that Mr Hulls have the matter reviewed at a federal level, but his office told The Record that it is a federal matter and may need to be pursued as such.
The Board also said it would send a community liaison to the distributor so they are aware of their obligations.
Ms Gale wants to generate public support as it appears many people just ignore these magazines’ presence on the same shelf as Women’s Weekly. Her campaign started when she entered a corner store to buy an ice cream with her son and there were magazines with pig-tailed girls in suggestive poses with provocative titles, and she was outraged. “How are these magazines allowed to be sold when one in three girls and one in five to seven boys will experience some form of sexual abuse by 18 – figures that the international child protection charity Childwise says are probably conservative?” she said.