Over the past few months, there has been a call to remove Page 3 from The Sun.
Over the past few months, there has been a call to remove Page 3 from The Sun. It all stemmed from a girl from Hove’s enthusiasm and appeal against the cause, and opinion has pretty much divided the nation since.
For many of us, Page 3 has just been a part of life, whether it is one we agree with or not. I remember when I was younger being aware that these photos were there, without actually having to see the evidence.
Arguments for relinquishing the saucy pictures from the national paper range from that it supports the sexual objectification of women in the media to that it encourages young girls to aspire to grow up to be glamour models, porn starts, strippers etcetera.
Supporting young girls
It is fair to say that while we appear to live in a country that does have equal rights for men and women, chauvinism still exists. Page 3 doesn’t really help matters, when a few individuals still see women as objects of their desire and nothing more.
This can be particularly problematic for women in the workplace. Some may feel that easily accessible nude photos cause men to perceive women as theirs for the taking, as they do when they buy their morning paper. Ultimately, this may leak into their professional lives, and women are in constant battle to be taken seriously.
The Vice President of Welfare of Birmingham Guild of Students supports the campaign. He told me “it normalises serious issues in the media”; the sexism women face on a daily basis due to the way they are portrayed. He feels like the page is “no longer necessary” in a public newspaper. “Not everyone buys Nuts magazine, for example,” He told me. “Yet Page 3 still continues, and it’s a public newspaper.”
Getting rid of Page 3 would be a small gesture, in his opinion, which would have far reaching consequences in showing that viewing women as objects for pleasure is no longer tolerable.
With online porn, and so many ‘lads’ mags’ available, does Page 3 still have a place in our society? Is it merely fuelling the ongoing degradation of women, while posing as an innocent part of your morning reading? Would censoring The Sun really be that catastrophic? The Vice President of Welfare thinks not, and considers Page 3 yet another excuse to “normalise hypersexuality”.
The campaign has been somewhat victorious, as the Irish edition of The Sun dropped photos of topless women last Thursday. However, one must ask: where does censorship stop? So we have people up in arms about removing bare breasts from a newspaper that has been running for decades, but what comes next?
We’re already extremely limited with what we are allowed to view before the watershed. It’s hard to believe that if Page 3 is removed, yet more restriction won’t follow. Will yet more censorship filter into our daily lives? The government called for the papers to be first viewed and approved by them before being shown to the public earlier this year. Unsurprisingly, the papers said “no.”
If Page 3 is removed, are we merely increasing the government’s control over what we’re allowed to look at? I don’t mean to sound over-dramatic. But Kim Jong-il had to start somewhere…
Looking at boobs might not be your cup of tea, but imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes. Perhaps you are a working husband who has very little time to himself. The raunchy picture in his daily paper may be the only snippet of pornography you can get hold of under the watch of your wife’s beady eye. Men have needs, we are all aware of this. From the point of view of a wife, I imagine having “Nuts” lying around would be pretty mortifying, yet the paper looks completely innocent and may satisfy the teenage boy inside your husband at the same time.
While some are disgusted by women’s breasts being paraded in the paper, others argue that everyone has a right to do as they please with their own bodies. Earning up to £100,000 a year, I doubt any glamour models would disagree. They see their job as empowering, rather than degrading. Men ogle at their assets as they reap in an enviable income. It’s not a bad position to be in if you have plenty of body confidence.
It all comes down to choice. If you want to enjoy the occasional dirty picture, then by all means buy The Sun. If not, then it’s simple: don’t buy it. Yes, the paper may occasionally be carelessly left lying around so a child might pick it up and find Page 3, but the same can be said for his brother’s ‘lads’ mags’, or even by accidentally switching over to ‘Babestation’.
While it is argued that glamour modelling in the paper tells young girls that this is an appropriate job prospect, the fact of the matter is that for some people it is. Whether they saw Page 3 as a child or not, some girls just aspire to be glamour models. That’s fine.
Removing Page 3 won’t stop the glamour industry; it will merely isolate it to the top shelf and the internet, conceivably creating an even seedier aura around the subject.
So what is the right answer? I’m afraid to say we will probably never find it. Everyone has their own opinion on the subject, and it’s everybody’s right to disagree with each other to the ends of the earth. Plenty of people do not seem to care much either way and would neither miss Page 3, nor wish for it to vanish.
To quote a friend, “In these days where porn is so readily available, does [page 3] serve a purpose anymore? But then again, who gives a sh*t?”