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Politics no image

Published on October 5th, 2012 | by Zaynab Lulat
Image © [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="566"] © Tabloid Newspapers, By Bobbie Johnson via Wikimedia Commons[/caption]   ‘No More Page 3’ is a new campaign kicked off by Lucy Holmes. During the Olympics she picked up a copy of The Sun and was pleasantly surprised to find a feature on Jessica Ennis and other female athletes on page three, however she was quick to find that the regular page three had only been pushed back. The campaign began on twitter, and quickly utilised facebook and tumblr to get people to sign the petition, and soon it was picked up by news outlets. The stance of the campaign is that bare breasts are not news, they don’t belong in a newspaper and no other news outlets would have such ‘features’ during broadcast or in print. The Sun is one the most widely read newspapers in Britain, with a readership of over 17 million a month. It is read across the country, can be found in homes, on the morning commute to work and in the staffrooms and is sold in a number of outlets. The case Lucy and many others put forth is that the images are not right for a newspaper. This is not the first time the issue of page three has been raised. In 1986 Clare Short raised the subject and the next day headlines read “Fat, jealous Clare brands Page 3 porn’, it turned into an argument that Clare’s opinion didn't count because of her looks and age. Both men and women who agree with the campaign don’t want to turn back to a prudish notion of sexuality, they don’t want to ban all content of a sexual nature the argument is that there is a time and a place and widely read newspaper is not one of them. Critics have different views and approaches to the issue. Some take the same argument that was used against Clare Short, in that women are insecure in themselves thus hope to ban the page. However, this does not take into consideration that two former page three models have also signed up, both men and women of all backgrounds have signed the petition. Others argue that it is an issue not worth raising, that the feminist movement is over and that this is a middle class women’s campaign. One of the most voiced arguments is that such images are easily accessible because we live in a digital society, at the click of a finger anyone can access pictures of a sexual nature- so why try and ban page three? Finally, some have also criticised the campaign as over stretching the truth, the argument that there is no link to sexualised images and cases of sexual violence. True, such images are readily available on top shelf magazines and online, and that’s the point the campaigner’s make- why should they then be classed as a feature in a newspaper. It is not a feature that women have breasts, this is merely a fact. They part of the human body, not to be hyper sexualised and distributed in widely read newspaper. Critics of the page three argue that there is hypocrisy in the way such papers reported the case of Megan Stammers and other young girls, whereby two pages later girls only three or four years older are posing in their underwear. The argument that this is a middle class women’s movement is also unfounded; women and men of all backgrounds have signed the petition, citing different reasons. Feminism as a movement is multi-layered, and ever changing to the society’s circumstances. However, viewing women as objects worthy of only physical appreciation and nothing more demonstrates the necessity for a continuation of the movement. Many men have cited that they oppose page three because they wouldn't know how to explain the image to their children, or that they hope to have more positive role models for their daughters. The campaign at the time of writing had over 41,000 signatures and it is still rising. Page three normalises the behaviours of ‘oggling’, it makes young girls question why they don’t look like the girl in the pictures, and makes young boys and men expect to see such images and transfer these ideas to women they know. It is an insult to both men and women, who want to be defined by more than what they are expected to want to like, and what others should be viewing them as. The campaign wants to highlight that women are more than just breasts, and should be viewed as more than just physical. Why not have a page dedicated to inspirational women, or pay young women to demonstrate their journalism, arts, or other such abilities, rather than being portrayed as a body to look at, thus encouraging young women to be more than just the physical- because the mammary gland is not news.

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Hashtag Social Movements: Taking away ‘Bare Breast News’

© Tabloid Newspapers, By Bobbie Johnson via Wikimedia Commons

 

‘No More Page 3’ is a new campaign kicked off by Lucy Holmes. During the Olympics she picked up a copy of The Sun and was pleasantly surprised to find a feature on Jessica Ennis and other female athletes on page three, however she was quick to find that the regular page three had only been pushed back. The campaign began on twitter, and quickly utilised facebook and tumblr to get people to sign the petition, and soon it was picked up by news outlets. The stance of the campaign is that bare breasts are not news, they don’t belong in a newspaper and no other news outlets would have such ‘features’ during broadcast or in print.

The Sun is one the most widely read newspapers in Britain, with a readership of over 17 million a month. It is read across the country, can be found in homes, on the morning commute to work and in the staffrooms and is sold in a number of outlets. The case Lucy and many others put forth is that the images are not right for a newspaper. This is not the first time the issue of page three has been raised. In 1986 Clare Short raised the subject and the next day headlines read “Fat, jealous Clare brands Page 3 porn’, it turned into an argument that Clare’s opinion didn’t count because of her looks and age. Both men and women who agree with the campaign don’t want to turn back to a prudish notion of sexuality, they don’t want to ban all content of a sexual nature the argument is that there is a time and a place and widely read newspaper is not one of them.

Critics have different views and approaches to the issue. Some take the same argument that was used against Clare Short, in that women are insecure in themselves thus hope to ban the page. However, this does not take into consideration that two former page three models have also signed up, both men and women of all backgrounds have signed the petition. Others argue that it is an issue not worth raising, that the feminist movement is over and that this is a middle class women’s campaign. One of the most voiced arguments is that such images are easily accessible because we live in a digital society, at the click of a finger anyone can access pictures of a sexual nature- so why try and ban page three? Finally, some have also criticised the campaign as over stretching the truth, the argument that there is no link to sexualised images and cases of sexual violence.

True, such images are readily available on top shelf magazines and online, and that’s the point the campaigner’s make- why should they then be classed as a feature in a newspaper. It is not a feature that women have breasts, this is merely a fact. They part of the human body, not to be hyper sexualised and distributed in widely read newspaper. Critics of the page three argue that there is hypocrisy in the way such papers reported the case of Megan Stammers and other young girls, whereby two pages later girls only three or four years older are posing in their underwear.

The argument that this is a middle class women’s movement is also unfounded; women and men of all backgrounds have signed the petition, citing different reasons. Feminism as a movement is multi-layered, and ever changing to the society’s circumstances. However, viewing women as objects worthy of only physical appreciation and nothing more demonstrates the necessity for a continuation of the movement. Many men have cited that they oppose page three because they wouldn’t know how to explain the image to their children, or that they hope to have more positive role models for their daughters.

The campaign at the time of writing had over 41,000 signatures and it is still rising. Page three normalises the behaviours of ‘oggling’, it makes young girls question why they don’t look like the girl in the pictures, and makes young boys and men expect to see such images and transfer these ideas to women they know. It is an insult to both men and women, who want to be defined by more than what they are expected to want to like, and what others should be viewing them as. The campaign wants to highlight that women are more than just breasts, and should be viewed as more than just physical. Why not have a page dedicated to inspirational women, or pay young women to demonstrate their journalism, arts, or other such abilities, rather than being portrayed as a body to look at, thus encouraging young women to be more than just the physical- because the mammary gland is not news.

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About the Author

Zaynab Lulat

Zaynab graduated in 2010 with a BA Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Her degree focused on international politics with a focus on the Middle East and South Asia. Her final year projects were based on identity politics and terrorism. Since graduating she has taken an interest in UK Politics, her writing varies from national to international politics and culture. She is a keen traveller, having backpacked solo around Asia and Central America. She also volunteered with an NGO working on disaster relief in India. She believes that social media gives young people a better platform for expressing opinions and understanding new ideas, and helps more people become involved with the world around them.



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