Ha, Ha, Fucking Ha: Why the Return of Page 3 is No Laughing Matter

Sometimes I wish that I didn’t check Twitter as soon as my fuzzy morning head is able to competently operate a smart phone. That way, I wouldn’t have been confronted with the news of the return of Page 3 over my porridge. It seems that my little victory jig was somewhat premature – normality has been resumed and sexism is once again the order of the day. Just when I  was thinking that finally someone had taken the voices of women seriously, Murdoch shoves a pair of D cups back in my face.

The thought of a bunch of sniggering school boys at the Sun cackling over their hilarious publicity stunt before sneaking off to have a victory wank over the only pair of tits they’re likely to get their hands on today, makes my blood boil. I am feeling disappointed and a bit like the victim of a practical joke, but mostly I am angry. Along with the hundreds of thousands of other people who signed the petition, I feel a bit silly and a bit humiliated because that’s exactly what David Dinsmore and his bevvy of idiotic hacks intended – “Think you’d won did you girls? Don’t be silly, we were just playing with you. Now, on your knees in case you’d forgotten who has the real power around here”.To emphasise how much the Sun newspaper continues to hate women, their PR dude has been tweeting pictures of Page 3 girls to those who were involved in the NMP3 campaign just to highlight what a prick he is.

The folks at NMP3 HQ have reacted with admirable restraint, thanking the Sun for all the extra publicity they’ve received this week and continuing with the amazing positivity which has characterised the campaign from the beginning. They are seeing this as a temporary setback and have taken the opportunity to mop their brow, gather refreshments and prepare for the next round. I am amazed at their ability to pick themselves up and carry on and I wish I could summon the same degree of optimism.

This puerile prank is not just a bit of ‘mischief’ it is a stark reminder of where the real power lies. Rupert Murdoch was able to pull this stunt because he has a ridiculous amount of control over the UK media. He was therefore able to abuse this power to run a story in the Times that falsely announced that Page 3 had been ‘quietly dropped’. If ever there was a case for the breaking up of Murdoch’s monopoly over the news, then this is it. Furthermore, men still overwhelmingly dominate newsrooms, with women making up just 30% of all newspaper journalists. It’s hardly surprising therefore that women make up just 24% of all the people featured in news stories and that when they do appear, it is mostly as victims of violent crime. The NMP3 campaign is more than just a stand against boobs on Page 3, it is a call for this glaring inequality in the representation of women to be addressed. While men continue to dominate the mainstream media, women and their lives and concerns will struggle to be taken seriously. Women politicians will still have to contend with news stories about what they wear rather than what they do, and young girls will continue to grow up in a world where photos of female sports women in national newspapers are a rare treat.

This mainstream representation of women as either victims of violent crime, or naked eye candy, is seriously undermining women and girls in our society. The media does not only reflect reality but it also creates it, reproducing patriarchal ideals about the role of women on a daily basis. The premature excitement over the seeming demise of Page 3 was a huge sigh of relief from all of the fair minded people in this country who thought that women were finally going to be taken seriously by the best selling newspaper in the UK. The fact that it has turned out to be a joke is a horrible reminder to all of us of where the power really lies. In the words of the inimitable Jarvis Cocker, it turns out that cunts are still running the world after all.

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Mightyspan says:

    Yeah…no it doesn’t.

    If feminism is going to be a legitimate force for change then it should be willing to embrace the woman that wants to be a doctor as much as the woman that wants to get her tits out. That’s equality.

    Furthermore, if you truly want to hurt any business that does something you don’t like, hit them where it hurts: their wallet. The Sun’s customers enjoying looking at naked women. If you can convince them that this is wrong, The Sun’s sales will be hurt. Then they will have to listen to what you say because you’ve truly affected their agenda. Otherwise, you’re just a voice in the wind giving them publicity and helping them sell papers and ads.

    But battling The Sun is an absolute waste of time for any women’s movement. Fact is, the NMP3 movement and its members does not represent the minds of The Sun’s customers, nor will it ever. If The Sun goes away there’s still Playboy, Penthouse, The Chive and tons of other places, journalistic or otherwise, that celebrate a woman’s naked body.

    If you want to press the female agenda, convince women that are graduating at a rate of 2 to 1 vs. men to pursue jobs in STEM fields, journalism and other fields where inequality is prevalent. If they can’t get hired then start your own businesses and build better mousetraps that send the competitors reeling. And finally, convince big employers to lengthen maternity time and provide daycare services so that women aren’t penalized for having children. This last one especially since the data has proven that workplaces that do this actually increase their profit margins.

    So don’t fix the problem by petitioning and complaining. Fix it by fixing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ms Tastic says:

      I appreciate that you’ve taken the time to comment but what feminism absolutely does not need is men like you telling us how to do it. Thanks but no thanks.

      Like

      1. Sarah says:

        But despite the antagonistic language he’s made his points in, isn’t it true that many of his points are valid? Isn’t it pretty sexist, and ultimately self-defeating, to refuse to engage in debating a point because a man said it.

        Like

      2. Ms Tastic says:

        No, I don’t agree that it’s sexist to refuse to engage with yet another man who sees it as his role to define feminism whilst simultaneously telling me to stop ‘complaining’ and just ‘fix it’, presumably without resorting to writing about it, active campaigning, awareness raising or online petitions. I also don’t think equality is about supporting every choice a woman makes just because she is a woman: some choices are damaging to other women and I wouldn’t support those. Equality is about men and women being treated equally, not seeing all the choices that women make as ‘equal’. If men genuinely want to support feminism, they could start by listening to what women have to say, rather than seeing it as their job to tell us we’re not doing it properly. If men want to be good feminist allies, I would suggest that perhaps they could spend their time trying to educate other men rather than telling feminists they’re getting it wrong. And of course, feminism is not just about Page 3 – my original post is about how this issue is about the representation of women in the media and how this is a bigger and more systemic problem than whether or not we have a naked woman in the Sun. I am aware that there are other magazines with naked women in them but the Sun is a national newspaper that considers itself family friendly and the inclusion of soft porn within its pages is simply not appropriate.

        Like

    2. kelly says:

      Playboy, penthouse, etc. “Celebrate a woman’s naked body”? Ha ha! Try commodify, exploit, manipulate, falsify, objectify. But celebrate? Grow up.

      Like

    3. emmablunt88 says:

      Brilliant post. I agree with everything you say.

      Like

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