- The piece in support of No More Page 3 was eloquently written by Caroline Criado-Perez, and you can read it on the link above.
- The opposing view was by Neil Wallis, a former editor of the Sun.
There are two nationwide petitions scrapping furiously for the nation’s attention and support this morning.
“One that I care about, and one that I don’t.”
One wants to ‘Ban the Page Three Girl’ from the pages of the Sun – you know, the topless photo of a pretty girl the paper runs five days a week (though not on Saturdays). The petition has been running for about a month, has attracted huge debate and coverage, not least here on The Huffington Post, but also in the Guardian, Independent, at the LibDem Party Conference from a government minister, on Facebook and Twitter.
The rival is Save Badgers from Culling, the move to stop a government-inspired move to kill wild badgers which may be inadvertently transmitting fatal TB to farm cattle. Despite having a high-profile champion in Queen guitarist Brian May, it has received grudging comment and coverage in the 10 days or so since it has gone properly public.
As I write, one of these petitions has raised 95,014 signatures towards its 100,000 target. The other has managed to scrape together 32,358 towards its ambitious peak of 1,000,000 names. Which one is which? Yup, you’re right – the badgers are beating the boobs out of sight.
These two causes aren’t actually rivals. There’s nothing stopping us from saving the badgers AND not exploiting women on page 3 of the Sun, simultaneously. Pitting groups against each other who aren’t really competing is a classic method of divide ‘n’ conquer used by tabloid editors desperate for melodrama.
How can that be, the pundits cry, fooled just as those 32,358 signatories are fooled, by all the hysteria and shrill over-the-top support the stumbling campaign is getting from wide-sections of the wimmin who dominate the social commentary sections of the broadsheet media?
Apparently those “wimmin” who “dominate the social commentary sections” care, but hey, it’s not like women are people.
How can we dominate like proper ball-breaking feminist bitches if we’re stumbling? Either we’re a threat to your dudely privilege, or we’re not. And if we weren’t, you would be patting us paternally on the head and calling us beautiful.
The answer is easy to those who will hear it: NO-ONE. CARES.
Right. You’re taking time out of your life that you’ll never get back to tell us this because you don’t care. Got it.
When you say “no one cares”, you mean no MAN cares, don’t you?
Except, of course, the many men who’ve signed the petition and who support our campaign. Maybe you only count people who agree with you, which would make your estimate of “no one” significantly closer to the truth?
Heck, even the dudes who are angry at us for having the presumption to express a desire not to be exploited in a national newspaper care, or they wouldn’t be angry.
I was first alerted to the No More Page Three Campaign on Twitter by my old friend and now brilliant Times columnist Janice Turner. I was her boss when she was Women’s Editor of the Sun years ago. I liked and respected her and her opinions very much, and have always enjoyed seeing and hearing from her over the years since. She tweeted me, as an old Sun hand, apropos the new campaign to the effect of “Don’t you think Page 3 is old hat and dated now?”
“I’m not a woman-hater! I HAVE WOMEN FRIENDS”
I responded on @neilwallis1 that “only women of a certain demographic” care about it, added that “ordinary women have better things to worry about”.
Like making you a sandwich.
No, I don’t think Page Three is out of date.
Janice then kindly re-tweeted my views, pointing out I was a former Sun deputy editor. The heavens opened – I was deluged with fury and outrage from an army of women all demanding like Janice that I explain who this “certain demographic” is while insisting they too were perfectly ordinary.
How dare women want your explanations for perpetrating sexism? What meanie poo-poo heads.
I sort of know I am making matters worse here, but here goes…
UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR
Overwhelmingly white, middle-class, aged late 20s-late 30s, university educated, work in academia, meejah, public services, know what macrobiotic means and how to use a fondue set, don’t watch X Factor, go to Greece on their holidays, read the Guardian and watch Channel 4 News, suffer serious sense of humour loss at certain times… (add in all the other obvious ones I can’t be bothered to list.)
Snob activists just don’t understand the need for working-class dudes to look at boobs in the newspapers every day. They’re too busy playing with their fondue sets to be in touch with the pulse of the nation!
My beautiful 28-year-old daughter advised me wisely “they also know what wheatgerm tastes like…”
Why do you feel the need to tell us how “beautiful” your daughter is? Would you describe your son that way?
They’re the sort of people who would never dream of reading the Sun in the first place, and have no real idea of the people that actually do. Well, the Sun is a largely working-class newspaper that approximately THREE MILLION women choose to read every day. Yes, that is 3,000,000… not 32,358.
Actually, 34,535 and counting.
And, “approximately three million women”? How approximately is that? Can we see some proof? I think you’re off by a million or three.
The important word in that sentence is CHOOSE. No-one makes them, no-one forces them to hand over 40p that morning to purchase an item that contains Page Three. I’ve yet to hear an intelligent explanation about why the petition’s 32,358 should decide whether three million are bright enough or entitled to choose their purchase for themselves.
Patriarch sez: Choosy broads choose patriarchy!
Feminist sez: Women don’t actually choose to be born into the sex class. But let’s test your assertion. Let’s take off Page 3 and see if those alleged three million women take to the streets insisting that it be put back on.
Do those three million worry about Page Three? No, they worry about their kids’ health, the rent, putting food on the table, work, their relationship, benefits scroungers, immigration, the telly, and a drink at the weekend.
Nobody worries about “benefits scroungers” except the Sun and the Daily Fail, since it’s their job to incite hatred against marginalized groups, distracting the attention of the lower class away from the rich white men who are really responsible for most of the fucked-up-ness of society.
But wait a second. Women are a marginalized group, too. No wonder the Sun likes to exploit them. How better to distract attention from Serious Issues than making some woman show her boobs? It certainly isn’t intended to inform, or invite critical thinking.
I’m also baffled about the WHY of this petition? Why care enough about Page Three to concentrate on that to the exclusion of something in the world of sexual issues that really does need addressing.
Let me explain really, really slowly, in very small words.
Page 3 shows women as if they are sexual objects, not people. Women are people. Taking advantage of people is bad.
Why aren’t those petition signatories putting their energy into campaigning against, say, female genital mutilation? White slavery? Sexual stereotyping in the workplace? Forced marriages? Under-age sex and pregnancy? TxtSexploitation in schools? The list is endless – in my view, all these are far more important… but silence.
We campaign against all forms of misogyny, actually. We’re glad you think SOME of them matter! Thanks for your condescension, Knob Editor! The only silence is between your ears.
The very fact that government minister Lynne Featherstone mentions Page Three today in the same sentence as domestic violence is almost self-parody beyond words.
Can’t argue with you on the art of self-parody, because you’re a world-class expert there.
You can’t help but get the sneaking feeling that this petition is about making that “certain demographic” feel rather pleased with themselves, winning themselves a few headlines, preening themselves over nice self-congratulatory pats on the back from their peers and who they admire. “Gosh, look at how jolly brave and radical WE are!”
Wait till we get rid of Page 3. Backs will be thoroughly and radically patted! THE HORROR! You can’t let this happen.
Know what? Getting rid of sexist crap feels AWESOME. You should try it sometime.
The other losers in this, of course, would be the Page Three girls themselves. The patronising way this “certain demographic” insultingly insist these young women are being exploited (“there there, you wouldn’t know any better…”) bears no resemblance to the truth.
And it totally isn’t insulting to anyone’s intelligence to claim that exploiting women isn’t the problem, but complaining about it is!
Since the first on 17 November, 1970, there has been approximately 4000 Page Three girls. The original photographer Beverley Goodway would tell me, and I’m sure his successor the excellent Alison Webster would concur, that their most stressful task is gently fending off all the girls who dream of being Page Three girls but just aren’t suitable.
Right, because every little girl dreams about growing up (as far as 16, at least) so she can get her tits out for Page 3. Even if that were true, it would be so, so sad.
Know what I dream about?
I dream about getting rid of female objectification, so little girls can go back to dreaming about whatever it is they dreamed about before Rape Culture got its smutty claws into them.
The truth is that Page Three is an institution that has been there for more than 40 years, just like the leader column, the letters page and the cartoons have.
Slavery is an institution, too. Let’s bring it back.
If you buy the Sun you know its there. Women simply aren’t offended by it.
Actually, we are. Or you wouldn’t have written this, and I wouldn’t be answering it.
Oh wait! I forgot. WE DON’T COUNT.
In truth, people see it if they look for it and many just don’t.
Then they won’t mind when it’s gone.
If you do, it’s nice and the standard of the photography is always particularly high. I remember once asking Beverley Goodway (tongue in cheek, I have to admit) what made a good Page Three Girl. His serious answer “nice eyes and a nice smile – without them the best body in the world rarely works.”
Cause it’s all about the standard of the photography, dontchaknow. I’d hate to be exploited by some knob with a crappy camera.
Not surprising that the knobs want women to smile, since a smile is a nonverbal signal of submission. And so men can make themselves believe that the woman is enjoying her exploitation, so they can do the same, guilt- and responsibility-free.
And why shouldn’t a girl stuck behind the bread counter at Tesco, an office girl down the local council, the unemployed, find a new glamorous life via Page Three? Who are the 32,358 to deny them that? What arrogance.
We’re so arrogant that we want fully human status for women. So arrogant that we want a world where everybody can survive and even prosper without having to be humiliated for a living. Would you look at us? We’re so full of ourselves!
No wonder the badgers are winning. Hope that one succeeds, by the way…
Because animals matter more to you than female people.
If you haven’t signed our petition to get rid of Page 3 knobbery, please do it now and ask your friends to. And please join us in the boycott of Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrison’s and DFS from October 29 through November 4.
Got something to say? There’s a text box below, but if you’re a knob, I’m going to make fun of you.