It’s no joke, Murdoch: Page Three has to go

Page Three is archaic, tasteless and has no place in a society where we supposedly champion women as the equals of men. In the words of Kevin Bacon, no-brainer.

At the time of writing, The Sun appears to have only been ‘joking’ about ending Page Three, printing a topless woman today under the title ‘Clarifications and Corrections’. It is all apparently, just one big wind-up and we, the foolish feminists, fell for it. How silly of us for wanting to believe that things were changing for the better. Instead, what we get is The Sun using the female body to mock women: collectively, we are a pawn in their game of humiliation, publicity and money-making.

To make matters worse, The Sun’s head of PR Dylan Sharpe has today also decided that a mature and professional response to the anger that many people feel at this prank is to tweet pictures of topless women directly to MP Harriet Harman and journalist Kay Burley, both of whom are supporters of No More Page Three. Classy stuff.

Despite initial reports, The Sun appears not to be getting rid of Page Three topless modelling
Despite initial reports, The Sun appears not to be getting rid of Page Three topless modelling

For those who justify Page Three with a snide reference to freedom of press: yes, you are right. Give yourself a pat on the back, Piers Morgan. The Sun is entitled to print boobs. The point is whether they should.

Let’s be clear about this: it’s not censorship when you are asking. There is no Act of Parliament here. This is purely an editorial decision. I would like The Sun to have the courtesy and the courage to decide that they do not want to send the message to their readers and the world that they value a woman’s body more than her brain.

It’s also a matter of taste. We all know women have breasts. We all know that they are appropriate for some situations, and not for others. A newspaper is surely not one of those places, the purpose of which is traditionally to communicate the changes which are going on in the world around us.

Boobs are always going on. Nipples have always been around. It’s like having a page every day dedicated to stating that once we were all babies or that every day the sun will set. It’s utterly redundant, especially when as a society we don’t get reminded on a daily basis in our newspapers that men have penises.

Germaine Greer, I am now speaking directly to you. If your odd-jobs man finds himself feeling a little sad that he no longer has women’s breasts to look at every morning in his newspaper, I would simply say that he should look elsewhere (my first suggestion would be a laptop). Men are not entitled to look at sexualised women over their morning coffee, particularly not when children are about.

Many glamour models may well like their job and of course, it’s nice to feel admired. While it is not a job that I would take, they have the right to do it. However, I would say this to them: by all means, express your sexuality. Provide entertainment for men and women alike in a safe, non-exploitative environment. But do not do so when you know the photograph will be sold to us as ‘news’, when we all know it is ‘sexual content’ and should be presented as such in an appropriate outlet.

Finally, to those who would belittle myself and others for focusing on this instead of other ‘worthier’ campaigns. In the same way that most of us can pat our head and rub our belly at the same time, it is actually quite easy to care about more than one cause simultaneously. Caring about Page Three and caring about FGM are not mutually exclusive. I do think that the problems in and surrounding online porn are a bigger issue than Page Three. But this particular argument is, in my view, the most frustrating. It is simply another way in which opponents of gender equality attempt to silence those who want to see baby steps towards a better society.

To find out more about the No More Page Three campaign, click  here or follow them on Twitter @NoMorePage3

Ella Griffiths 

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