So this post is a bit off-topic (ish), but it feels worth it.
I set up my Twitter account for this blog at the weekend and started to have a browse around and start
selecting accounts that I would like to follow.
Among them was the No More Page 3 account, which is a campaign asking for The Sun newspaper to stop printing pictures of topless women each day.
I’ve heard of the campaign before and hugely admire and support the work the team behind it are doing.
But today, I started pondering the campaign and why it is happening. And of course then I started to think how completely bizarre it is that in 2014, this campaign even needed to happen, and yet, it does.
Somehow, Britain is still a country that allows, every day, pictures of women with their breasts out to appear in a national newspaper. So-called ‘lads mags’ are, quite rightly, on the top shelves these days to protect children from their soft porn content. And yet, right there, amongst the real news, as though it is perfectly normal, is massive soft-porn picture of a woman with her boobs out.
The more I think about it, the more downright odd it seems.
On the one hand, I feel like I should be attempting to write an insightful, thought-leading post about how wrong Page 3 is in the modern day. And on the other, I can’t stop pulling a confused face and thinking that Page 3 is just downright strange.
How? How is it okay for this page to still exist?
How is it okay for children to grow up with that paper in their home or in a public space and be so exposed to soft-porn that they become de-sensitised to it and think it is perfectly normal for a woman to just stand there, appearing like she has nothing to offer but her breasts.
Like so many women, I’ve had to put up with the misogynistic comments from men who think it’s ok to leer, tell me to ‘get your tits out for the lads’ and then laugh amongst themselves as though I’m just there for their entertainment.
Or men who think it’s ok to grope you in a bar or on the tube.
Or the men who think they have the right to judge you based on your appearance – as though that’s all a woman is.
We can’t assume that all of these idiots think the way they do because of Page 3, but how are we ever supposed to instill a sense of equality and mutual respect in our young men if they grow up believing that a woman with her boobs out is a perfectly normal and to-be-expected display in every environment where you might find a newspaper?
I cringe to think of the boys growing up seeing their father ogling Page 3 and seeing a woman being judged purely on appearance as a perfectly normal thing.
The No More Page 3 campaigners call for women to be shown doing a multitude of things instead – like the men are. Women playing sport, or running a business or working for our country or, or, or….
How are young girls ever supposed to grow up truly believing they can be admired and respected for their minds, when every day they see a woman being judged for the pertness of her boobs?
We sit in judgement on other cultures where women are not given equal rights or prevented from getting an education or not seen as being as important as men.
We wring our hands and talk about equal rights and equality and feel smug about our progressive culture.
And then we degrade a woman and reduce her to nothing more than a body, a pair of breasts, someone purely there for the sexual pleasure of men.
And when I think about it like that, it feels so bizarre and sad and depressing and ridiculous, and like our boasts of equality are nothing more than the Emperor’s New Clothes.
And nearly 700 words later, I am still pulling a confused face and wondering how and why Page 3 ever existed and how anyone at The Sun can defend it, on any level.
I don’t often feel completely ineloquent, but the very existence of Page 3 is just totally baffling.
Thankfully, the campaigners and many of their supporters say it far better than I do, and, to finish, I would highly recommend this video, and although The Sun editor has since changed, I think it is still superb.