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no more page 3 and the return of the boobs

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I hadn’t intended to write anything about the whole No More Page 3 thing – I didn’t consider myself radically feminist enough to put together a sufficiently rousing blog post in support of women everywhere – but after reading around the whole debate a bit today, I felt that I had to at least say something.

Just when you thought that The Sun couldn’t stoop much lower than its already rock-bottom standards, today it seems to be taking great delight in showing nothing but absolute contempt for those who would have liked to see the tabloid equivalent of the archaic saucy postcard consigned to history where it belongs. After allowing the No More Page 3 campaign and its supporters to spend a triumphant couple of days thinking David had taken on the nipple-strewn Goliath and won, the paper has essentially done the equivalent of presenting someone with an award only to snatch it back out of their hands going ‘Haha! Not really!’. Oh, and then shoving Nicole from Bournemouth’s boobs in their face.

So far, so unsurprising for The Sun bigwigs who must be literally wringing their hands with glee at the publicity their moral-free rag has got from all this. The thing that shocks me the most, however, is the sheer vitriol with which comments are being aimed at the No More Page 3 campaigners, as if somehow they are being the unreasonable ones for wanting to see the back of the daily dose of unnecessary bare breasts and tiny pants in a ‘family’ paper. As far as I can see, the campaign has never been about the nudity per se, or the right of the models to pursue their careers as they choose; it is about the context of the boobs in question in a so-called ‘news’paper and more importantly, what it represents to women and girls who constantly feel objectified by today’s society – which of course, some people will feel more strongly about than others. And the same can be said for opposers of the campaign.

These are just some of the comments from your general moron giving their unwanted two pence I have read today on other news sites running the story. This is what we’re actually up against.

“As for objectification, don’t make me laugh. Men will always objectify women, because that’s the way our sexuality works. We see an outline, some curves, and we think ‘hello hello hello’. Good luck stopping that one.”

“All these misandrists want is for me to feel sexually frustrated. It is just a matter of time before I start to watch free porn on the Internet. These are exactly the type of women who would make a false rape claim on you just because you didn’t return the call the next morning.”

“Heaven forbid if women have photographs taken wearing make-up. The feminists will be after them next. Half the world has gone tits up (no pun intended) and feminists are concerned about Page 3 in The Sun newspaper.”

“Modern feminists – snob-ridden self-righteous Mary Whitehouse prudes would be a better description.”

And on the initial but prematurely-celebrated ‘demise’ of Page 3:

“This represents a victory for small minded, meddlesome and sanctimonious middle class feminists who want to dictate what working class folks get to see and do….The thing is if you think this will satisfy their Taliban-like control freakery then you are extremely naïve. They’ll find something else to come after now and you’d better hope that it’s not one of your vices. Give this lot an inch and they’ll take a mile.”

You get the idea. Feminists are being compared to the Taliban. And it’s not just men who think those supporting No More Page 3 are wearing frumpy clothes and spoiling everyone’s fun. ‘Glamour model’ Rhian Sugden (who may have a vested interest in keeping the feature) Tweeted:

“It’s only a matter of time before everything we do will be dictated by comfy shoe wearing, no bra wearing, man-haters.”

Eloquently put Rhian, thanks for entirely missing the point and trotting out the old feminist stereotype. Because if some women don’t want to see gratuitous boobs in a national paper then they must hate all men and have no pride in their own appearance. As another insightful commenter put, he has ‘no doubt that [feminists] include a higher percentage of ugly people than the general population.’ Because they’re all just jealous.

My favourite comment from a woman though was from Jodie Marsh, for whom I almost have no words to describe, and I can’t even work out her logic here:

“The same women trying to ban ALL glamour girls from working are probably the same women who are PRO breastfeeding in public #workthatout”

Yes, Jodie, although I’m too busy trying to work out why that is a bad thing to tell you everything that is wrong with that sentence.

As it is, the No More Page 3 campaign will continue to admirably attempt to chip away at a traditional institution which shows no signs of going away without a fight, and neither will those who want to see it stay. Yes, there are bigger issues out there which cause much more damage to women on the face of it than ‘harmless’ Page 3, but some perky breasts in a newspaper are just indicative of the wider factors at play which influence some of those bigger issues, as the disrespectful misogynistic comments above will show.

Well done, The Sun, for taking a giant step back to the 70s and making women the butt of your joke. At least we are sure where we stand now, but we won’t go down without a fight either, ugly feminists or not.

If you’d like to show your support for the ongoing No More Page 3 campaign, you can sign their petition or find them on Twitter @NoMorePage3

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5 thoughts on “no more page 3 and the return of the boobs

  1. > This is what we’re actually up against.

    “As for objectification, don’t make me laugh. Men will always objectify women, because that’s the way our sexuality works……”

    You do realise of course that by campaigning against the Sun newspaper and in effect running to Murdoch himself and making demands, these feminists have completely objectified the adult women who of their own free will chose to pose for topless photos and get paid for it.

    The men who liked to look at those women were willing to PAY them for the privilege of looking at their attractive female form. It was a mutual and voluntary transaction (win-win). The women wanted to pose and wanted to earn the money, and the men wanted to see the photos and were willing to pay for the privilege. They are all adults and everything was cool.

    It is the feminists who campaigned against these women who objectified them the most by striping these women of their agency as adults and reducing them to the status of ‘children’ or objects with no agency who needed to be told what to do. These campaigners went directly to Murdoch, rather than debating with these women and asking them to please find some other way to earn money because it displeased the feminists.

    So the different groups can be summarised as follows.

    1. A group of young adult women who want to pose topless and earn money living in a (supposedly) free society.

    2. A group of (mostly) men who like to see topless women and are willing to pay for the privilege.

    3. A group of busybodies who claimed the right to deny those women employment opportunities and prevent them from acting as adults with free will, and who effectively went running to a man (Murdoch) to demand those women be denied work.

    So those feminist campaigners are objectifying those women 1000x more than any man (or woman) who bought the paper to stare at their boobs.

    And as these deranged feminazis were busy objectifying women and trying to prevent them exposing their breasts in public another group of feminists were marching topless in the streets with balaclavas on their heads campaigning for the right to be topless in public without being told to cover up.

    You just couldn’t make it up.

    1. I world consider myself a sex positive feminist and strongly agree that it is important to consider the agency of women working in the sex and glamour trade. I am not against most pornography for example.

      However, I disagree with your rationale that this should be a reason not to challenge pg.3. Your argument is really simplistic… r.e: feminists showing breasts in protest of the control over women’s bodies being equateable to women being paid to show their breasts so that they can be viewed and enjoyed by men. My objection is not with the woman making a career out of modelling, instead I dispute that it is only adult men viewing these images.

      Being in a mainstream newspaper normalises the images and with them the idea that women’s bodies should be made available for consumption. Men, women and children are accustomed to seeing women’s breasts in a specific sexualised setting and are then shocked to see woman’s breasts in a more organic setting such as feeding a baby or just hanging out in the beach.

      Pg 3 models may find their agency liberating however the dispute is with the culture creating demands for the models. The shock and outrage expressed when women expose their breasts for purposes other than for men to get their jollies over shows why this culture is unhealthy and increases control and entitlement over women’s bodies.

  2. > feminists showing breasts in protest of the control over women’s bodies being equateable to women being paid to show their breasts so that they can be viewed and enjoyed by men.

    ‘Being paid’ is not inaccurate, but it still make these women out to be somewhat passive. These women are CHOOSING to bare their breasts for a variety of reasons, one of them being the money. If women are (a) adults and (b) equal to men then they should be allowed to do what the hell they like. Certainly nobody should have the right to stop them posing topless for publications which NOBODY is forced to buy or read.

    If they were campaigning to have the Sun moved to the ‘top shelf’ or ‘under the counter’ then I would have more sympathy. Or if they were appealing to the women themselves to stop doing it I would also have some sympathy (even if I disagreed). But the fact that they ignored the wishes of these women and petitioned the newspaper itself is completely insulting. It’s like asking a woman’s husband to move her wife out of your way instead of just saying “Excuse me” to the woman in question. But I’ve made that point already, so I won’t labour it.

    The ‘control’ aspect is the flip side to the ‘protection’ aspect. Men are ‘free’ to bare their breasts but at the same time a man can’t really claim assault if a women (or a man) gropes his breast. So it’s a case of ‘swings and roundabouts’.

    In fact many women will place a hand on a man’s breasts when kissing him (mwwwaaaaa! style) even if they are strangers. If a men did the same to women it would be viewed as sexual assault.

    So feminists (or women in general) have to decide if they want to have their breasts protected as sexual body parts or not. I think it’s fair to say most women are happy for their breasts to be defined the way they are, and that means covering them up in everyday public spaces. And how many women would actually find it comfortable to go about their day topless anyway?

    > Being in a mainstream newspaper normalises the images and with them the idea that women’s bodies should be made available for consumption.

    *Images* of women’s bodies perhaps. But those images are not being merely ‘made available’ the women are GETTING PAID. And women get paid a LOT more than men for the exact same work in modelling and in porn.

    Newspapers also show images of men being sent off to war or doing dangerous manual labour jobs in society (men die at work 20 times more frequently than women) and that normalises our notion that men’s bodies are disposable objects or tools there to serve our needs even if they end up injured or dead as a result.

    Would you rather be objectified as a precious ornament on display (as women often are) or as a disposable appliance to be thrown on the scrapheap after its done its job (as men often are)?

    > My objection is not with the woman making a career out of modelling, instead I dispute that it is only adult men viewing these images.

    But page three girls are obviously modelling. The transaction is completely honest and out in the open and everyone knows where they stand. It’s win-win. Even a child can see that. Personally, I take far more exception to women who dress up like tarts in the office environments or other inappropriate situations and flaunt their cleavages to manipulate men there. They send out a far more negative impression of women than models do. Or female students dressing provocatively in schools and colleges. If I remember there was a recent feminist backlash against schools enforcing skirt lengths and other dress codes. But like offices, these are supposed to be WORK environments and it is incredibly distracting to guys when these young women dress so provocatively.

    It’s such a double standard. Flaunting your feminine assets (basically your fertility) is a natural and healthy drive in young women (it keeps the world going round) ……. but so is men/ boys being rambunctious, loud and physically active and yet we constantly tell them to tone it down at school or at work so they don’t distract the people around them.

    > Pg 3 models may find their agency liberating however the dispute is with the culture creating demands for the models.

    It’s not about being liberated, it’s about having your basic rights as an adult not trampled over by a bunch of aggressive, interfering busybodies. Just because it is (mostly) women campaigning to oppress other women does not mean it is not – by definition – an attempt to oppress of women.

    The demand for models is driven by the fact that men are attracted to women (just as women are attracted to men). If this attraction was not hard wired into our DNA we would not have survived as a species.

    > The shock and outrage expressed when women expose their breasts for purposes other than for men to get their jollies over shows why this culture is unhealthy and increases control and entitlement over women’s bodies.

    Firstly, you are objectifying women. If a woman flaunts her body to turn men on or just attract men’s attention (or anybody’s attention) she is the one with the power and control, not the men.

    Secondly, I think the real reason these women oppose the page three girls is that they can’t compete with their impossibly perky breasts and slim waists. They are just trying to eliminate the competition …… and stop men from getting used to the sight of such improbable women.

    The fact is millions of women CHOOSE to cover up their bodies and then display different aspects of their bodies in different ways in different situations to get different reactions from men (and society in general). If you want women’s breasts and bodies to be redefined as mundane and sexless and viewed as purely functional, rather than alluring and ‘forbidden fruit’ then your fight will be mostly with other women, and not with ‘patriarchal men’.

    This is for the simple reason that the more mundane and sexless women’s bodies become the less power women will have over men.

  3. Great post about NMP3! Those people complaining on the Facebook page are really worrying, and every time I see the Rhian Sugden tweet it makes my blood boil.

    By the way, don’t worry about Curiosetta – he/she is apparently searching out all reference to Page 3 and feminism in general, and commented on my own post about Page 3 (http://bells-and-whistles.me/2015/01/21/the-worrying-backlash-against-nomorepage3/) in an almost identical fashion . . .

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