By Simon Caldwell
A CArHotk.: organisation has launched a campaign against the "extremely sexuallyexplicit" content of magazines for teenagers.
The Catholic Union of Great Britain is urging parents and teachers to make formal complaints if they came across "unsuitable material in magazines aimed at the young".
The group, which describes itself as a lay association which watches over Catholic interests in local and central government, is particularly concerned about mare!, a magazine aimed allegedly at the 18-20 age group.
"Parents and teachers know very well that any magazine aimed at 18 year olds will be read by those who are much younger," said vice-chairman Angela Grucey.
"We are asking parents, teachers, clergy and youth leaders to contact the Teenage Magazine Arbitration Panel if they come across unsuitable material in magazines aimed at the young.
"The panel was established after Parliamentary concern had been expressed about the
crude, lurid and explicit content of some of these magazines. Young people deserve the support and help of those who are concerned for their welfare.
"Please join your voice to the growing number of organisations which seek effective action on these magazines.
—The panel will only be effective if concerned people take the trouble to use it properly, and to be vigilant about the magazines that are aimed at today's teenagers."
Mrs Gracey added: "There are real dangers for young people in early sexual activity. Rather than wring our hands about the pressures on the young today to be sexually active, we must act responsibly."
The latest edition of more!, which boasts more than 400,000 sales every fortnight, contains a "pocket guide to blokes" called more! Men Unzipped. It contains graphic descriptions of sexual activity accompanied by cartoons of people having intercourse.
The magazine also includes a guide to female masturbation.
A month earlier the magazine also launched its own pro-abortion campaign with an article called Abortion Wars, which warned teenagers they were in danger of losing their "right to choose", and urged them to fill out pro-abortion "survey slips" which it would forward to the Prime Minister.
Robert Whelan, the director of Family and Youth Concern, said that since "abortion rights" were not in fact under threat in Britain, he believed the forceful preoccupation with sex in teenage magazines betrayed an ideological agenda.
-What's the point of it
except to promote an anti-life agenda?" said Mr Whelan. "The problem with these sorts of magazines is that they give a distorted picture of what it is to be a young person today.
"They concentrate exclusively on sex, which is just one part of life, and it creates a pressure on young people to think that the only thing they can do is have sex with as many people as possible."
Mr Whelan added, however, that research suggested a massive 83 per cent of teenagers were not sexually active.
He said: "Why don't these
magazines cater for the needs of those young people? There ought to be a market catering for all the other aspects of youth."
The campaign by the Catholic Union has the support of the All Party Parliamentary Child Protection Group.
It also has the support of the Parents' Network, a child protection campaign which supports "the right of the parent to protect the child".
Angela Appleby, the coordinator, said teenage magazines were "cruelly irresponsible and old fashioned".
She said: " The safe-sex game is over. Sexual frolics have ensured steadily increasing business for acquired infertility clinics, IVF units, breast and cervical cancer units and sexually-transmitted disease centres. May be they (the magazines) just have not learned to listen."
Anyone who seeks either advice or help in approaching the arbitration panel can contact the Catholic Union at 63 Jeddo Road, London W12 9EE. As The Catholic Herald went to press, the editor of more! was unavailable for comment.