The No More Page 3 Campaign turned one year old today, and while The Sun’s editor, David Dinsmore, hasn’t removed the outdated and sexist feature from the newspaper just yet, some real traction has been made.
At the time of writing, there were over 115,000 signatures on the online petition supporting the cause, and the Irish edition of the Sun had replaced the topless model to one wearing a bikini. I suppose this is what we call a baby step.
As The Independent notes, ‘The page 3 image is there for no other reason than the sexual gratification of men. She’s a sex object. But when figures range from 300,000 women being sexually assaulted and 60,000 raped each year, to 1 in 4 who have been sexually assaulted, is it wise to be repeatedly perpetuating a notion that women are sexual objects?’ Well, quite.
Lucy Holmes started the campaign during the summer 2012 Olympics and the celebrations that erupted following Jessica Ennis’ incredible gold win. It’s not that this feat of monumental achievement went unreported by self-professed ‘family newspaper’, The Sun. It’s just that, by far and a long way, the largest image of any woman in the paper was still that of the young, beautiful woman showing her bare breasts for the sexual gratification of men.
The images of men offered are of them… doing things. Running the country, mostly. Being successful, being heroes or being villains and being knobheads – but definitely always being multi-faceted human beings. While the most prominent image of a woman is one standing there passively in her pants.
In a letter to then-editor Dominic Mohan, Holmes offers ‘Perhaps you feel that you’re celebrating breasts – but really you’re limiting them to something that are there purely for the titillation of men… Don’t you think it’s odd that we live in a society that makes women feel uncomfortable for breastfeeding in public, but is happy to show teenage breasts in its biggest selling paper?’
The message Page 3 sends to young girls by The Sun have also come under fire from the campaign; to coincide with the premiere of One Direction’s film earlier this week, The Sun offered an article about the boyband next to the young Page 3 model – presumably to entice teenage girls into reading the report whilst simultaneously reminding them what their true purpose is.
While the war has not been won yet, the battles rage on – but today is a day of celebration for the NMP3 team and everyone who supports them. They’ve kindly provided a list of ideas on how to support them on this momentous occasion here, as well as asking their supporters to send an email to Dinsmore listing their own reasons for opposing Page 3.
The note from Stephanie Davies-Arai of NMP3 HQ put it most succinctly; ‘You have belittled and dehumanised one half of the population to entertain the other half…For 43 years you have bullied women.’
I hated my own body growing up, and I have no doubt that the presentation of women in the media is at least partly responsible for this. I was inundated with the message that the way I looked was the most important thing about me. This message was reiterated every time I went out and had men shout at me about my body, and the things they wanted to do to it.
Page 3 contributes to this culture of entitlement over women’s bodies, perpetuating the idea that women exist solely to have their bodies scrutinised, and to be passive, sexually available objects.
Why should we put up with that? Why would anyone?
By keeping Page 3 in such a widely read newspaper, the Sun has to admit some responsibility for every girl and woman who is intimidated, oppressed or belittled by those who see her as nothing more than something to fuck.
If you haven’t signed the petition yet, what on earth are you waiting for?!