Today was the first time in more than four decades that The Sun newspaper printed a picture of a glamour model on page three with her breasts covered up. That’s right, instead of the usual topless photo, there was an image of a lady in a bikini. This move from bare to concealed came after the group No More Page Three started a campaign to stop the tradition that has become expected of the tabloid. Great! They made some progress, which I think is pretty awesome. But do I believe that covering boobs up is the answer? Absolutely not.
I’m a woman and I am definitely a feminist, so initially, my opinion might surprise you. But to me, the problem is nothing to do with breasts.
The problem here is the fact that we have a culture where displaying a picture of a half-naked woman inside a publication that covers news, current affairs and politics is considered the norm. The problem is that it has become okay, and usual, for people to flick through an everyday newspaper and ogle a woman, before carrying on with their reading. The problem isn’t to do with glamour models or boobs, the problem is about what kind of message this is spreading to society.
We live in a culture where there is a still a difference in salaries between the genders, where there is still a tiny percentage of women in top-jobs when compared with men, where females are still offered fewer opportunities than males. It’s slowly getting better, but we are still no where near equality. And when you open The Sun and find a half naked woman sprawled across the page, it’s almost easy to see why. We are still nothing more than sex objects, in some people’s eyes.
I’m not suggesting that I am anti-glamour model. In fact, I am all for women showing any part of their bodies, whenever they want to, because I believe in choice. I am friends with models, ex-strippers, and I myself, am a pole dancer. I believe in sexuality. I believe in expressing yourself! What I don’t believe in is the objectification of one gender over another.
If there was a male counterpart to page three, I’m sure I would be taking a very different stance on things. The argument wouldn’t be against the objectification of women then. It would just be about printing sexual images, which I don’t particularly have a problem with. My main gripe is that it’s just women we’ve focused on for the last 45 years. And in this day and age, that seems pretty backwards. We’re supposed to be about change, about moving forward with feminism, not to make us better than men, but to make us the same – oh wait, but then there are pictures of us printed in a newspaper for men to drool over as they read about football… yeah, we’re really being taken seriously.
After all the pressure put on The Sun by Say No To Page Three, I am really pleased that they were listened to and a change, albeit small, was made. However I think that censoring nipples, by putting women in bikinis or lingerie as they pose on this page, has made no difference. We’re still being treated as sex objects in a publication that has no need for it, nipples or not. In my eyes, don’t have a page three at all, or have a page three for women, and a page three for men, to make it fair.
These are just my musings on the topic, and like so many other issues surrounding equality, there are many, many arguments and opinions. My friend summed it up brilliantly when we were discussing it earlier, and said “Page three is like an onion, there are a lot of layers.”
If you have anything you’d like to add, agreeing or disagreeing with me, please leave it in the comments below. Debate is healthy and I’m interested to hear other peoples’ opinions!