Utah mom wants kids shielded from racy magazines

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah mother is pushing her city council to consider taking action to require that stores cover certain magazines to shield kids from images and language she says are inappropriate.

The council in the Salt Lake City suburb of Sandy isn’t taking any action yet, but they were receptive to the idea during a meeting this week where Adrianne Thyergson’s spoke about the damage done to children who are exposed to racy images and words on magazine covers, The Salt Lake Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1zqhkhV).

Thyergson said she was spurred to take action after her 7-year-old son asked her about a magazine cover that had language she considered “pornographic.”

“We can’t avoid it,” said Thyergson this week at the council meeting, according to the Tribune. “Soft pornography is now commonplace just about every place.”

Councilman Chris McCandless told The Associated Press on Thursday that the discussion is in the infancy stages and the council will handle the sensitive topic carefully. The working proposal would be to pass a city ordinance to put blinders on certain magazines. He said the council must do research to find out what it can legally do and meet with retailers to get their opinion.

But, McCandless said he agrees with Thyergson that magazine content at stores is a problem. He said it’s not only photographs on some magazine covers, but the headlines and language that accompany them.

“Magazines that I saw, quite frankly, were fairly disgusting,” said McCandless, a council member for 11 years and co-owner of a real estate business. “It’s at 2.5 foot level and these kids are reading. It’s not the photographs, necessarily.”

He declined to name the magazines to avoid disparaging an entire company. Thyergson said in a blog post, since taken down, that the magazine her son saw was Cosmopolitan, the Tribune reported.

Thyergson said Thursday that she wasn’t available for a phone interview but said by email: “I don’t believe the language on some publications is healthy for children. Many moms in our community feel the same way, so we approached the city with a concern.”

Thyergson said she isn’t set on any one type of action and is willing to listen to other sides, saying she’s just appreciative the council listened to her concern.

This isn’t the first time the issue of racy public images has led to a public backlash in Utah, where an estimated two-thirds of residents are members of the conservative Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In September, a pair of Utah women dedicated to pushing back against the objectification of women launched a campaign against Carl’s Jr., saying the burger company had gone too far with its long-running line of TV ads featuring women in bikinis eating burgers in seductive poses.

In July, a laser clinic in Bountiful apologized after it sent out a mailer featuring the image of a partially covered nude woman, triggering a backlash from residents.

In February, a mother upset about “indecent” T-shirts with pictures of scantily dressed models in provocative poses on display at a Utah mall bought them all from the PacSun store in an act of defiance.

The Mormon church recently launched a website to help people who struggle from pornography addiction, and the Utah Coalition Against Pornography holds an annual conference in Salt Lake City that draws thousands.

Utah state law prohibits public displays of magazines that have pictures of nude or partially nude people, or descriptions of “illicit sex or sexual immorality.”

McCandless said the Sandy City Council will seek legal guidance to determine what they could do as far as an ordinance if they decide to go that route.

“Where’s the line? That’s the question, and who gets to draw it? And is it legal for us to draw the line?” McCandless said. “At the end of the day we may not be able to do anything.”

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