October 3, 2012 | life

No More Page 3

It probably comes as no great surprise that I’m anti-Page 3. I’m a fan of boobs – my own, in particular, are pretty fantastic, but I do object rather heartily to chesticles being published in a national daily newspaper. There’s a time and a place for the funbags, is what I’m trying to say. As soon as I saw the ‘No More Page 3’ petition pop up a couple of weeks ago, I signed it instantly and since then, have become more and more incensed by those who oppose it. So engrained in our culture is the objectification of women, how dare we try to stop it!

I should probably explain for my international readers: Page 3 is quite the phenomenon here in the UK. The Sun, one of our tabloid newspapers, which I’m sure you’re aware, are renowned for their top level reportage, have for years now, published half naked girls with their tatas out on Page 3. Front page could be about the latest way our government is trying to screw us over (done with typical Sun-level hyperbole), flip the page and there you’ll see Tracy, 19 from Essex, with her knockers out. Sounds crazy, right? There’s no rhyme or reason to it really. It’s just…you know…tits…for you to look at…before you get back to reading more world news or about a cat stuck up a tree or such like. Just…tits.

And for years, feminists have talked about how wrong it is, but it doesn’t seem as though there’s really been an active attempt to stop it until now (or perhaps I’m just more aware of this one). Fans of Page 3 (truckers, builders, serial masturbators…) are obviously up in arms at the very prospect of someone trying to take their tits away. Why on earth would women find the objectification of women and their glorious breasts degrading? Man, woman and child should embrace the boobs. They should be allowed to look at them whenever they damn well please. We’re all just moaning, bloody feminists, obviously jealous, prudes etc.

The more ludicrous outcries have been those along the lines of it being a ‘right’, a tradition and an institution. An institution? Years worth of the nipples of random girls on display is a national institution? Really? That’s the best we can do? That is some shameful shiz. On a serious note though, think about that argument. As for it being a ‘right’ – no Sir, it is absolutely not your right to ogle over naked boobs. They are not yours to look at. You do not own them. Have a little respect, not just for the girls involved (who I understand all posed ‘willingly’ for the pictures – I do not judge their choice), but for yourself – try to not behave as if your downstairs member controls your every thought, move and action and your life is only worth living if you see a stranger’s naked boobs every day. Get a frikkin’ life.

Why do I find it particularly offensive? Because what those who are against the petition fail to understand is that Page 3 is a cog in a much larger wheel. Those women being there for you to ogle leads to you being confused and thinking that every woman is fair game. You can project all your dirty little fantasies onto the girls in Page 3 – they don’t talk, move or answer back. At some point, you’re going to try to act out those fantasies with a real, live woman, who may not take so kindly to your approach.

It may all seem sweet and innocent – no one’s being harmed, right? I read this article last week which absolutely made my blood boil. There’s a new breed of delightful sounding men who populate online chatrooms, exchanging tips on how to get the best ‘creepshots’ – up-skirt and down-top photos of women without them noticing. The thrill comes from not getting permission. ‘The point is to catch women unawares, lay claim to something off-limits, then share it around for bragging rights and comment.’ The most disturbing part of the article is the news that this behaviour is on the rise in secondary schools, where young girls are routinely being harassed for pictures of their breasts.

So sure, all of you who say Page 3 is harmless, maybe it is. Or maybe you should just find a new way to get off. I have no issue with bare boobs, I just think there’s a time and a place. I don’t think that place is in a national newspaper, that might be read at the breakfast table, where your young son sees daddy ogling Lindsay, 21 from Manchester’s boobs and thinks that’s an acceptable way to behave. I don’t think it’s a stretch at all to believe that Page 3’s casual form of every day sexism ties in pretty directly with street harassment and this new wave of ‘creepshots’.

Page 3 is not a ‘tradition’ or an ‘institution’. It is sexist objectification and it needs to stop.

Click here to sign the No More Page 3 petition.

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14 Comments

Helen

You’re so right – some people just think I’m being a bit ‘uptight’ when I talk about page 3 girls ‘there’s no harm in it’ ‘it’s just a bit of fun’.
Oh yeah, because staring at a stranger’s nipples every morning, along with a quirky ‘news in briefs’ type comment is fun for the model, and of course a given right over your breakfast.
Unfortunately I came across the Daily Sport the other day and I cannot believe how the thing is not sold in a brown paper bag. I despair!

Ruby

I watched the new St Trinians with a friend that is 21 this weekend. I said I dont like this, its not right to objectify these girls like this, he was like, this is nothing compared to how the girls dressed at my school.

So its ok to make films with little girls in uniform with all their bits hanging out, because real little girls are walking around with thier bits hanging out – I wonder where they got that idea from? the first st trinians? and everything that was OK because of it?

I dont understand this philosphy that because something is normal, or gotten used to its ok.

Slavery was normal at one point, women not voting was normal at one point – banging women over the head and dragging them back to the cave was normal at one point.

I’d love to see the objectification of women, and particularly young, women, that have not much idea how presenting themselves this way puts them at risk (they are never over 25 these page 3’s) as something that was once normal – but is realised to be outdated, sick and not for this day and age.

X

great post as always x

Sara

Amen! This would never fly in the States. Sure, we’ve got magazines like Hustler and Playboy but there would NEVER be a topless spread in a daily paper. It’s so tasteless! The fact that this country is in uproar over paparazzi photos of the Duchess topless but they post a young girl with her cash and prizes out everyday is beyond logical thinking. I can’t stand being in a public place and seeing that page wide open.

Ashleigh

It’s time women understood that it just isn’t cool to get their breasts out for these kind of photos shoots. Sure you talk about not judging these women for choosing to do this, but by doing so, they are helping to ‘legitimise’ it all. If women stopped queuing up to wave their breasts around for cash, then there would be a much greater understanding that it is all in fact a bit creepy. So, I’m sorry, but I for one do believe our breast baring sisters are letting the side down a bit.

Eleni Drinks Tea

Page 3 has always bothered me but I never realised exactly why until now. I’m not opposed to pornography or even prostitution (got into an argument with a friend over this on a recent trip to Amsterdam, but that’s another story) as long as everyone involved is a consenting adult (I am, of course, deeply opposed to exploitation and human trafficking – aren’t we all?). Sex is sex, there’s nothing wrong with it, and left to their own devices people will come up with some freaky shit behind closed doors, and why shoudn’t they?

But Bangs, you’ve hit the nail on the head here with Page 3 – you have identified why it has always niggled away at my conscience all these years, despite my firm belief that a woman’s body is her own business and she can sell it if she wants to. But not in a newspaper. Boobs are not news. How can you look at and appreciate a nice pair of boobs and then turn the page to read about children being kidnapped and soldiers being killed? What the hell is that going to do to your brain if that’s where you see boobs every day and those are the stories that go along with them? Personally, I’d rather men weren’t conditioned to think of Afghanistan whenever they see my boobs.

Page 3 is inappropriately placed. Keep the titillation for the magazine rack, not the newsstand.

Christina

One of your best posts. Really.
And yes, like you, I do like sex, and I do like boobs (mine in particular). I signed the petition.

Just Passing Through

“Fans of Page 3 (truckers, builders)” <– every well crafted, wittily and lovingly shared argument for banning the boobs falls apart with one monumental slice of snobbery with raspberry nipples. yes lots of truckers and builders are leery and rude. A lot aren't.

Bangs and a Bun

JUST PASSING THROUGH – I always find that to be such a pointless non-argument. ‘Not every [trucker, builder, whatever] is like that!’ Yes, obviously. Goes without saying really.

Vicky

I always find it interesting that women/”feminists” go on these campaigns about objectification and talk about how wrong it is that women are degraded in this way. They seem to forget that some of us women, and even feminists, are empowered by showing our bodies off in this way. Page 3 girls are deemed to be dumb, ditzy and “fun time girls”. It’s that attitude that needs to change, the notion that because a woman is proud of her body and is empowered by embracing it in a public way they are some how of a lesser social order. I have no problem with page 3 as a rule just the negative stereotypes that come with it.

Judy

Very very well said.

I think some people are missing the point here – which you made clear – in that if women (no one cares if they’re smart or bimbos, it’s not the point) want to do it and make a living out of it, great. But there is an entire magazine industry dedicated to those women. Why not go work for Nuts, Loaded or whoever else if you want to get your kit off.

The point is that this kind of mindless (and in my view, degrading) soft porn has absolutely no place in a newspaper, regardless of whether it’s a decent paper or not. It’s isn’t news, it’s making it too accessible and just as with TV programmes it needs some kind of ‘watershed’ i.e. only be published in the mags that cater for it.

Also, I’ve often wondered how people would feel if it was a man standing there posing with his bits out. No one wants to see that, so why should we look at women’s bits?

Good to hear

I agree with your article and pleased to hear from builders and truckers that not all of them agree with page 3 girls. Please sign up to the petition too

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