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Posts Tagged ‘ Sex Objects ’

More than 55,000 Men and Women Seek To End Page 3 Tradition

British feminist Lucy Anne Holmes has launched a campaign entitled “No More Page 3” which is aimed at Britain’s greatest selling newspaper The Sun and the publications now 42 year long tradition of “Page 3 Girls.” For those of you who don’t already know what exactly this tradition involves  (I can’t imagine there are many of you)  let me enlighten you, a page 3 girl is a girl who bares her breasts in what is always the largest image of a female included in the entire paper.

Despite numerous attempts to bring to an end this truly retrogressive tradition which originally began in November of 1970 not one has been successful, however, with the launch of this latest campaign perhaps all that will change? Certainly this petition and the letter Lucy Holmes drafted to Dominic Monahan, editor of The Sun, in which she politely requests that the publication stop showing “the naked breasts of a young woman in your widely- read ‘family’ newspaper” has captured the attention and imagination of both the British and Irish public like no other.  The number of signatures received has already reached a whopping total of 55,064 – a number which continues to rise as I type! Contributing to the campaigns success is of course social media. Within days of its being launched a whole flurry of support had been expressed by both men and women via sites such as Twitter and Facebook with comments ranging from the concise but hardhitting “Because women contribute to society in many ways that do not involve a mans erection” to the poignant “Because I want my daughter to grow up in a world that respects her for ALL she is, instead of treating her like meat”

One particularly honest male journalist by the name of Mike Delwiche actually took to British publication Grazia in order to discuss his reasons for turning his back on Page 3 and joining the petitioners. According to Delwiche he first discovered Page 3 models at the age of 11 and even though looking at these young girls and becoming aroused by them made him feel, in his own words, “dirty” he continued to buy these papers with the sole intention of ogling these women and their naked breasts. Continuing he explains that the guilt seemed worth it at the time because he enjoyed “the feeling of power over the models on the page, always willing and available when the girls I knew in real life seemed so alien and unobtainable.” After a while, however, Delwiche noticed his attitude toward women and the way he would interact with them changing and not for the better. Girls, he says became little more than sex objects something he merely thought he wanted to look at and touch. He could no longer think of a woman as a person but rather as a “walking pair of breasts.” Naturally these changes worried Delwiche but he was not inspired to change his ways until the day a female friend he truly cared for explained that Page 3 made her “feel cheap” and like “a piece of meat.” Thanks to this man’s honesty and indeed his courage I think we can all understand why women across the world take offence to such images especially when they are repeatedly served up alongside breakfast in the daily newspaper. Ultimately, this is a tradition which conditions men (and women in fact) to view females as sex objects.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction and so naturally there are those individuals who simply do not agree with this campaign. The Huffington Post’s Rita Pal for instance believes that this petition is just another attempt by feminists to further emasculate men in a world where they have already “ripped out their masculinity.” Hrmmm…! Not only that but the journalist believes that in fighting to bring to an end this obviously sexist tradition women are essentially fighting to “control the biological and sexual imperative of men.” At one point Pal even calls petitioners “prudes.” Well there’s one I haven’t heard before and don’t you just love how Pal has conveniently forgotten that men in their thousands have also signed this petition? Another argument the journalist makes is this; “every man over the age of consent has seen a naked woman in or out of their bed” here she really shows her ignorance by ignoring the fact that The Sun is in fact a family newspaper and that regardless of what those over the age of consent have or have not seen children in the UK and Ireland are constantly coming across these images in newspapers left behind on buses, or strewn on the kitchen counter of their homes.

Last but certainly not least Pal makes the argument that these images actually promote a healthy body image for women the world over. At this point I would like to draw attention to the fact that out of all the thousands of women who have modelled for Page 3 since 1972 only 4 of them have been black. Typically the women The Sun serves up for consumption are all white, slim and able bodied. So, just how may I ask does this publication promote a healthy body image when it sticks so rigidly to a pre-defined notion of beauty that lacks any kind of diversity? Honestly, Pals arguments are good ones, really they are, I mean clearly women should feel confident in their sexuality and clearly men have every right to their sexuality, but in relation to this particular situation these arguments are completely irrelevant don’t you agree? You have to admit that women saying they find these images degrading and that they would rather not be confronted with them on a daily basis hardly qualifies as an attempt at castration. And here I was thinking us feminists were supposed to be the completely unreasonable ones who blew every little thing out of proportion in order to make a point!

Of course this campaign also raises issues within the feminist community. Certainly there are those feminists who consider Page 3, glamour modelling of any sort, stripping and even prostitution to be the ultimate celebration of female sexuality and truly believe that these activities send a message to women everywhere to stand up and be confident in their bodies. Typically these individuals also believe that it is patronizing to think of glamour models etc as victims (in fact there are those who feel it is the “right” of a glamour model to exploit the desire/weakness of mean everywhere in return for monetary reward) However, I would argue that these images do not reflect the full and complex sexuality of women and that they, in fact, fail to even come close to representing female sexuality in all its true glory. This, I believe, is one of the main reasons why women are signing in their thousands.

I am fully aware of what I am opening myself up to in writing this article. As Joan Smith pointed out 23 years ago, opponents of Page 3 are doomed to be accused of “motives of envy and prudery… particularly if they are women.” (Hello Rita Pal!) Already I and many other campaigners have come up against sarcastic comments and questions such as “Are you also planning to campaign against all classical art featuring naked women?” The answer, dear readers, is no. I simply believe that there is a time and a place for baring ones breasts and the daily newspaper is not it. I am not, as some would have you believe, here to shut down all instances of sexual expression I am simply reiterating a point once made by British comedian Jennifer Saunders “tits aren’t news.”

To sign this petition and lend your support to Lucy Holmes – a woman who by the way has already received such a torrent of abuse simply for standing up for what she believes in that she has had to contact the police on numerous occasions – simply click here.

By Kerrie Mitchell.

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