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.