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No More Page 3




Several months ago the 'No More Page 3' campaign came to my attention - and without need for persuasion, I immediately signed the petition. I've since followed the campaign on Twitter (@NoMorePage3) - excited to see it gaining momentum, with the enduring determination of those who set it up, and also of supporters.

Wanting to finally get my thoughts down about the campaign, I decided to do a quick search of the words 'No More Page 3' on Twitter to see what people were saying.

Turns out a lot of support but also people who just don't get it - for example, claiming women drooling over topless photos of Ryan Reynolds while also trying to get rid of No More Page 3 are hypocrites.

Well, that's just silly. Appreciating beauty or sexuality is not offensive or demoralising in itself - it's about the context in which these images sit. Yes maybe we all sit there and swoon over celebrities, but there's a big difference.

That person's worth, whether a famous singer or actor, originally stems from their talent. The reasons the press print these pictures is because they've made a name for themselves through working hard. Very different from being a complete unknown, standing there on page 3 with bare breasts in just her knickers - for one reason only, her looks.

Also, that sentiment implies that a publically topless woman is the same as a publically topless man. One has become sexualised and scandalised, the other is commonplace whenever the sun comes out in England. They are not the same nor do they prompt the same reaction.

So no, it's not as simple as "just don't read it" (don't think about global warming - it'll still happen. Try it), and no, it's not as simple as "this is just a silly bit of fun" because it's not fun. Who is it fun for? The men that get to enjoy a cheeky bit of what is essentially mild pornography on their commute to work? Except most men I know, it just makes them feel awkward and embarrassed.

I've seen many brilliant arguments that make a lot of sense regarding this campaign - I've not read any from the other side of why they should stay, and yet they continue to do so.

It's also not as simple as "but there are bigger issues to deal with - why waste your time harping on about this little issue". Well, perhaps there are bigger, or rather - other, issues to contend with. I constantly fight to raise awareness and fight stigma around both mental and physical health - I didn't realise that meant my quota for caring about things was full.

Plus this does have an effect, and just because it's subtle - it doesn't mean it's not there. For all these years, the first thing you see when you open one of our country's most popular newspapers is a young topless girl, as if to say - before we move on, lest we forget, this is your worth. It's embarrassing, and has seeped its way into public consciousness, which is worrying.

What excites me about one day having children is getting to inspire them - to do and be whatever they want. To read to them, and take them to the theatre and all those things that are magical and inspiring, and within my control.

Then say we get on a train, and there sits what seems to be a newspaper, except they open it and there it is - this image. With no explanation, just here she is.

And I imagine the question of "why?", as children tend to ask, and I realise there's no answer to that question.

And the dreams that have started in their head of all they could be quieten for a moment as they take in this image. This girl that has made it to page three of the newspaper, which is very close to the front which must mean what she's doing is important - and what she's doing is standing there in her knickers.

And if it's a girl maybe her sense of self-worth shifts, not immediately but perhaps with each accidental viewing of this paper, as she begins to view her thoughts and looks differently, and which is more important. And imagine hearing a daughter say "I want to be a glamour model" - which isn't a career, or it is until your looks fade, and all your self-worth has stemmed from your physical attributes.

And if it's a boy maybe his view of women shifts. Seeing these images and then having a lesson from a female teacher and without even meaning to, while she's trying to impart information, he is seeing her breasts. He doesn't see her the same anymore, he is objectifying her and he doesn't even know it, because if it's commonplace for the image to be there everyday - so casually and unquestioned, then it's surely fine to think this way.

It just doesn't make sense. There's no good argument for it to stay, and it is ridiculous and it needs to stop. It's 2013 and things have moved on so much for women, and yet the editor of The Sun is holding things back, and he could move things forward, and what does he think would happen?

If you have any gripes with the campaign and you're not quite onboard, have a quick read of these FAQs, then sign the petition - and pass it on so others can too.

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