Poll Indicates Americans Against Provocative Magazine Headlines

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

(CNSNews.com) - Lurid cover headlines on women's magazines like Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Mademoiselle and Redbook at supermarket checkout counters, apparently aren't going over well with a majority of Americans, according to a new poll.

A Wirthlin Worldwide poll commissioned by Morality in Media (MIM) asked over one thousand Americans, aged 18 and over, about the appropriateness of lurid and sexually provocative headlines on such magazines. The poll found 73 percent of respondents say such headlines are inappropriate, while 22 percent feel they are appropriate. Among women, 81 percent responded that such headlines are inappropriate and 14 percent saying they are appropriate.

The poll also asked those participating whether or not they would favor or oppose a policy of covering up provocative headlines or not displaying such magazines near supermarket checkout counters. 60 percent of those surveyed favored such a policy, while 35 percent oppose it. Among women, 64 percent of women support such a policy, while 30 percent said they were in opposition.

MIM, a national interfaith organization in New York City, sent a letter in July to more than 350 national and regional supermarket chains asking CEOs to cover-up magazines with sexually explicit headlines so that young children are not exposed to them. MIM at the time said it is also planning a grassroots effort among its members to create greater responsibility on the part of supermarkets and the magazines.

Robert Peters, president of MIM, said of Thursday's poll results, " Supermarket Executives should understand that lurid headlines on the front covers of Cosmopolitan, Mademoiselle, Glamour, Redbook and similar magazines are offensive to the large majority of their customers."

Peters added, "these executives should also understand that it is irresponsible to openly display at checkout counters, where children and vulnerable adolescents cannot help but see them, trashy magazine covers that so blatantly violate common standards of decency and morality."

In an earlier interview with CNSNews.com Robert Pini, spokesman for Glamour magazine said the magazines in question design their covers to attract mature women readers, not young kids, according to

"I think there is a lot of other pertinent information on the cover of a magazine that goes beyond sex," Pini told CNSnews.com. "Frankly kids are exposed to a lot of things. What are you going to do, shun them from everything around them?"

However, when asked whether kids' being bombarded by sexual messages and images from other mediums is a validation for Glamour's covers, Pini responded, "No, I don't think it justifies it."

The Wirthlin Worldwide poll questioned 1,006 Americans aged 18 and over and was taken between September 10th and 13th. The margin of error was plus-or-minus 3-point-1 percent at a 95 percent confidence level.

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