Oh those clever little men at that clever little newspaper, The Sun. Oh how they led the women on, tricking us into believing that two and half years of campaigning had paid off. They fooled us all, had us almost convinced that they had finally decided to come on in to the 21st Century with us – or at least, approach it. Except they didn’t. It was all a clever little ruse – passed off as an exclusive by its sister paper The Times. It was over before it had begun. I don’t know about you, but I call bullshit.
I won’t lie, Tuesday morning was probably one my favourite mornings of the past few months, when I woke up to the news that Page 3 was apparently on its way out. I walked with a spring in my step and felt proud to be a woman in 21st Century Britain. Whilst I didn’t purchase a copy of the paper myself, word on the street was that, in lieu of the traditional topless model, The Sun had opted for partially covered women instead. So, whilst the fight was not over, we had at least managed to get nips out of the news. Even the trolling on my Twitter from grumpy Page 3 lovers (#eyeroll) could not dampen my spirits. Hurrah for people power!
But, alas, not so. Come Thursday morning, the nips are back, flanked by some wonderful punning and revelling in its own prankery, courtesy of the nation’s favourite rag. On the Twittersphere, The Sun’s resident PR editor, Dylan Sharpe, chose to indulge in some spectacular gloating about the cleverness of his little paper, taking the time to remind us that the end of Page 3 had never actually been confirmed by The Sun at all (which is a fair point, but a moot one – in the words of Joey Tribbiani, “it’s a cow’s opinion!”). Not content with gloating in the publication’s apparent win, for some reason, Sharpe thought it would be a fantastic idea to tweet well known Page 3 critics with pictures of that day’s Page 3 model (winking at the camera, #natch) – nips and all. Who said The Sun sees women as nothing more than sexual playthings?
What this week has taught me is that, above all, The Sun really does see women as a joke. Especially those women who dare to have an opinion and – worse still – those women who have the temerity to actually challenge the way things are done around here. This was The Sun laughing at women – literally, if you read Sharpe’s tweets. I say, enough is enough. I say that NOW is the time that women really need to tell The Sun newspaper where to go. We need to seize this momentum and say that this time, the ‘People’s Paper’ has gone too far. It has taken the piss out of women for far too long. By all means, put women in your paper, applaud them, praise them: but please do so in the same way, and with the same respect, that you reserve for men. Above all, when Jessica Ennis brings the entire country to its knees with pride by winning a gold medal at the Olympics, you damn well had better make hers the biggest picture in the paper that day.
It’s perhaps not surprising that, when people ask me why I think that Page 3 should go, I’m always a little bemused. I mean, isn’t it kind of obvious? Do we really think that Page 3 does women any favours? For that matter, do we really think it does the image of men – leering over topless twenty-somethings during their daily commute – any favours? No and no. So, before you ask us why we think it should go, ask yourself why it shouldn’t. And perhaps ponder these two points:
1. The whole ‘Page 3 Stunna’ concept is a trope sent to please. It sets women up as sexual playthings; existing purely for objectification, and to fulfil the fantasy of the mighty heterosexual (and, incidentally, white) male gaze. This is but one perception of women, as defined by a very specific and powerful group of individuals. It’s safe to assume that it is in the interests of this all powerful group to maintain the status quo, to keep the trope as is, defined by others. Now then, imagine that one day, a national newspaper decides to dedicate an entire page of their publication every single day to an equally two-dimensional and harmful trope, representing some other social, economic or political group. Say, for example, the Muslim-as-terrorist or the Colombian-as-drug-dealer trope. Would we be okay with that? Hopefully not. So why do we accept the same kind of two-dimensionality when it is applied to women?
2. The Sun is – allegedly – a newspaper. A paper of news. Which means that, ideally, it should be a summation of news stories currently trending throughout the country, if not the world. Does it not strike you as somewhat odd (and, er, random) that, upon turning the first page, we should be faced with a pair of boobs? Now, I have nothing against boobs. I have two of my own, and I’m okay with that, they occasionally hinder my sprint for the bus but otherwise I’m happy with them. But remind me, why do I need to see a pair of boobs when all I am trying to do is get a quick overview of what’s going on in the world? I wonder, do boobs somehow enable my understanding of current affairs in a way that I have not yet managed to decipher? I doubt it. Now imagine this, you’re watching the 6 o’clock news of an evening, you’re wondering what the situation is looking like in Gaza. All of a sudden, we are introduced to Ms So-and-So from Townville, and she’s here to give us the news in ‘briefs’ (get it?). The only thing is, she’s got her boobs out. She’s just straight up reading the news with her boobs on full display. Does that make sense to you? No? And Page 3 makes sense because…..?
Over the past few days I’ve had so many questions, and heard so many misconceptions about the NMP3 campaign, that I have found myself having to explain what No More Page 3 is NOT far more frequently than I have had to explain what it IS. So I decided to summarise a couple of things.
What No More Page 3 is NOT:
It is not seeking a ban via legislation. So, for all of those crying, ‘but, freedom of speech!’ and ‘JeSuisPage3!*’ (*an insult, and a joke), feel free to sit the hell back down. The NMP3 campaign is not seeking to ban anything, it is asking The Sun to remove Page 3 voluntarily – i.e. of its own accord, presumably upon realising that it is an example of what one might call, ‘an undiluted sexist mess of trash’.
It is not seeking to put Page 3 models out of work. Our beef is not with the models, they are free to do whatever the frick they want with their own boobs; whatever, it’s their body and good luck to them. Our request is that their boobs do not become the only (or principle) thing that women are known for in The Sun, or any other national newspaper, for that matter.
It is not an attack on sex or sexuality. I don’t know about my other NMP3 compatriots, but I for one couldn’t give a horse’s arse about anyone else’s sex life. Do what you want, when you want, with whomsoever you want (within the law, obvs), but please leave your pleasure materials for the appropriate time and place – i.e. not in a national newspaper, duh! Put it this way, would you talk about your sex life on the bus? At work? Perhaps when you’re in a meeting with your bank manager? Time, place and context, people.
It is not for “comfy shoe wearing, no bra wearing, man haters” (I think that’s how she put it?). Laughable, sexist, nonsense. I have to say, I am a big fan of the men in my life, they rock. Which is why I think that men deserve better than to be portrayed as boob-obsessed morons. FYI: Re. the comfy shoes – maybe we wouldn’t need to wear such comfy shoes, if it weren’t for the fact that we need to march through the streets in the freezing cold protesting this shit.
Okay. So this is what No More Page 3 IS:
It is simply asking for women to be viewed as the true equals of men by a national newspaper. It is asking to be granted the same respect as men, valued for our achievements as much as anything else. It is really that simple. If we are to achieve this, Page 3 has to go.
This week has been one in which The Sun, and its people, have attempted to make a mockery of a women’s movement that seeks nothing more than equality before the media. If you did not believe in the campaign before, remember that, if you are a woman, The Sun is laughing at you too. And Page 3 is just the tip of this almighty berg. Please sign and share this petition with all of the women and men in your life!