Sunday 25 January 2015

Page 3 - Past it's sell by date?

When the news broke that The Sun had quietly dropped page three, there was a massive swell of media interest. Commentators who'd you'd never normally associate with discussions on womens breasts suddenly emerged with all manner of strange views, perhaps none stranger than those of disgraced, woman beating ex councillor Brian Coleman

I have no desire to see womens breasts under any circumstances including breast feeding

As a supposed traditional Conservative, Coleman is one of the Conservative school of thought that is libertarian, so long as Victorian values are adhered to. One suspects that Brian mourns the passing of the workhouse and child chimney sweeps. I rather suspect that for all his bluster, Brian doesn't actually read The Sun and this probably doesn't have much to do with whats on page 3.

There has been a concerted campaign for years by feminist groups to ban page 3 and they've hailed this as a great success for their campaign. The arguement goes that the objectification of women, degrades and devalues them and perpetuates inequality. Like Brian Coleman, I suspect that few of the campaigners would read The Sun unless under pain of death. There are rumblings of exploitation of women and all manner of other unpleasant connotations.

Whilst I don't read The Sun, mainly because there is nothing much in it to interest me and also because of the Hillsborough scandal, I disagree with the campaign. Unlike many of those who campaign against page 3, I know a few former page 3 girls, who happen to be friends. One used to sing in my band for a while and another used to clean my house (fully clothed unfortunately). Both were proud of their membership of the club. Both found the cash that it brought in very useful. The girl who was our singer, asked my opinion of whether it was a good idea to do it. She was offered a substancial amount of money for the shoot, I suspect far more than a run of the mill shoot, due to her national promenance (not as our singer sadly) at the time. I asked her what her parents thought of it, as she was 18 at the time. She said they weren't particularly happy, but would get over it. She said that it would pay for driving lessons and a decent car. She did the shoot, got other work and as she suspected her parents got over it. Ten years later she has no regrets at all.

If people are consenting adults and they are not coerced to do things they don't want to, then what right has anyone to tell them they can't do it. If people want to buy papers with pictures of semi naked women, what right has anybody to stop them. If we don't like page 3, we don't have to look at it. If we don't like The Sun, don't buy it. As far as I am concerned, I don't believe in censorship. Should we censor erotic ancient greek frescos? The view of most Sun readers is that Page 3 is a bit of fun and it doesn't harm anyone. I agree. The campaigners who dedicate their time to fighting the Sun have only done one thing and that is give the paper free publicity. Rupert Murdoch will drop Page 3 only when it makes commercial sense.

If you want my opinion, the campaigners would spend their time far more productively if they campaigned for issues such as to get record labels to promote female artists who make great music ahead of those who can wiggle their bum provocatively. I run a studio and every day I see some awesomely talented female artists. Sadly I know that some will never make it, because they don't have "the look". My view is that feminist campaigners should switch their campaign from negatives and calls for bans to positives and calls to promote people who deserve it.


caroline said...

I think you're missing the point. Firstly I have nothing against the models, if they can legally earn enough for a car from a photo shoot good for them. What is wrong is how Page 3 reduces women to less than the sum of their parts. It doesn't celebrate their achievements, intellect or abilities just their breasts. It's part of the wider pressure on women to be decorative above everything else (see the horrible comments about Prof Mary Beard's long grey hair).
It's not harmless, Page 3 is part of the pressure that enables ignorant men to make judgmental statements about women's bodies. Page 3 makes women into another consumer item to be admired then binned. It's got nothing to do with art and everything to do with exploitation. Page 3 gives men permission to comment on your daughters' bodies in any way they like. How does this make you feel?

Mrs T said...

The home life at Tichborne Towers sounds ever more bizarre.