I am the first to jump on the feminist bandwagon wherever possible, but when, a few weeks ago, the Sun supposedly ‘banned’ Page 3 for a whole 24 hours, I wasn’t celebrating a victory over the patriarchy with the rest of the sisterhood; in fact, I was a bit dubious.
The ‘No More Page 3’ campaign has been a bit of a hypocritical mess from the start. There are a plethora of reasons as to why creating such a furore to get some tits out of a newspaper is farcical, not least because, especially as part of a movement that prides itself on it being ‘inclusive’, the campaign is alienating models that have chosen this line of work- some of whom may even find it liberating.
Middle-class feminism however, can’t seem to see past the fact that there are women who want to, and enjoy, baring their bodies for money. Sex work isn’t a newfangled thing to us, but No More Page 3 seems to scream that sex workers are an obstacle to that coveted gender equality, the Holy Grail that all feminists seek. In attempting to stop men ogling pictures of young, busty girls, all that is being done is simply taking away the liberty of those women to do what they want with their bodies. Trying to free women from the constraints of the patriarchy is only putting them under the constraints of something else- and sadly, that something is feminism itself.
Middle-class feminism can’t seem to see past the fact that there are women who want to, and enjoy, baring their bodies for money.
It has become fashionable to be on board with anti-slut shaming, which is great; women’s actions, mode of dress or attitude towards sex should never lead to them being branded a ‘slut’. Of course though, this means that instead of telling women not to get their breasts out at all, modern feminism simply dictates when and where it is appropriate to bare all. We’re allowed to in the name of ‘normalising the nipple’, we’re allowed to if it means giving a big ‘fuck you’ to the patriarchy. But whack your boobs out and expect to make a career out of it? Don’t be ridiculous.
Not only that, but the fact that the Sun is the centre of this debate is incredibly grating. ‘We can’t possibly have that sort of thing in a national newspaper!’ the masses bewail. The horror of being exposed to such vulgarity as (gasp) human nudity pales in comparison to the fact that the Sun is not only not worth the paper it’s printed on, but exposes us to far worse than a bit of nipple on a daily basis. Not just misogyny, but xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, racism, ableism, as well as making up lies about those on state welfare and with mental health issues- and just lies in general. Has the Hillsborough scandal been forgotten about now? There are a multitude of reasons as to why the Sun is a disgusting, crass, oppressive publication with no credibility, but by targeting the naked ladies who chose to be there, the campaign is implying that the bare female form is the problem.
Modern feminism has taken a turn that I’m not sure I like. I dislike how it’s becoming something in which a list of criteria have to be fulfilled, otherwise you risk being thrown out of the feminist club, and left to brave the patriarchy alone.
Feminism is an incredibly fluid and subjective thing, and that is the beauty of it. Feminism means dramatically different things for every person that identifies with the cause, and just because these ideas may not necessarily always match up doesn’t then make it open to attack and belittlement. For these models, and other sex workers, their interpretation of feminism might be the liberation of taking off their clothes for all to see- and it’s not for us to tell them to stop.