Playboy and Penthouse magazines are among 48 adult-themed magazines that will no longer be available at army and air force exchanges. A total of 291 publications will be removed from shelves in these stores.
According to The Telegraph, Morality in Media, an anti-pornography group, considers this “a great victory,” against sexual exploitation in the military. However, store operators say removing adult magazines is a result of dropping sales, not pressure from anti-pornography activists.
Oddly, the decision to not carry adult magazines came right after the Department of Defense released a letter saying that Penthouse, Playboy, and other sex-themed magazines were allowed to be sold in the stores, as they were not “sexually explicit.”
Chris Ward, a spokesman for the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, said that this decision will allow more room for products that sell more quickly than adult magazines. He said that sales of adult magazines have declined 86% since 1998.
Mortality in Media spokesperson Iris Somberg said, “We had military families calling us after seeing porn on the shelves. The exchanges are supposed to be a safe place for families to go do their shopping.”
The change will not completely ban adult magazines from bases, as military personnel can still purchase magazines elsewhere and bring them onto base. Additionally, access to online pornography will not be impacted.
Despite the limits of the policy change, Somberg feels that not selling the sex-themed magazines in the exchanges is step in the right direction. He claims that having these adult magazines in military stores contributes to the culture of sexual exploitation and assault, high profile problems that the military has been trying to address for years. “The joint chiefs of staff said we need to change the culture. One way to do that is to not have this material sold on base.”