6 February 2014

Page Three

I have had the page three debate rolling around in my head for a while now.  What made me want to write about it today was the glamour model that appeared in Celebrity Big Brother and the comments that I saw about her.  The particular comment that made me sad was that her parents would be ashamed of her, because of her profession.  It just strikes me as being very small minded.

The campaign is based upon the twofold reasons of both objectifying women and also been a bad influence on children. 

Firstly, you say that having a topless woman on page three is causing men to continue to objectify women.  The page is torn out; pull on a wall; “used”; etc.  But naked women are not only found on page three.  They are found in fashion magazines, everywhere.  The only difference is that it is labelled as art and is therefore fine.  The page can still be torn out and used however the buyer of the magazine wants to.
Not to be crass, but men like naked women and whether that nakedness is in a newspaper or magazine makes not a jolt of difference. 
People also complain that children could be subjected to these images.  I grew up with seeing page three photographs and they did not scar me in any way.  Your son is not going to grow up to be a rapist because he saw a pair of breasts in a newspaper.
Magazines, just like newspapers are frequently left in trains, buses, park benches.  So yes a child could be passing, pick up the newspaper, turn to page three and see a pair of breasts.  But they could similarly open a fashion magazine and see a woman entirely naked, albeit strategically posed. 

 How do you explain differently the reasons behind each?  Six year old Danny looks at two images and says “Look Mummy, those ladies aren’t wearing any clothes”.  Do you respond that one image is right and one is wrong?  Why is the topless photograph wrong?  I would suggest that telling your child that looking at a naked image is wrong is far more harmful in the long run than the images.
They are just pictures.  We are born naked and there is nothing wrong with the naked image.  You can choose to objectify an image or not.
H&M recently launched a new underwear campaign with David Beckham in his pants.  Did I stare?  Yes of course I did.   Did I think wow he looks damn hot?  Yes I did.  For those moments he was a body I was looking at and that was the point of the ad.  He had sold his image in order to sell underwear.  Did I judge him? No.  Did I think that he was less of a person for selling those images?  No.

 Now the question I ask is how is that different to a woman who sells her image to page three?   She is selling her image of her own free will in order to sell newspapers for her employer.  Is she being exploited?  No.  It is her chosen profession.  Who is anyone to judge her for that?
In a world where women’s rights to their own bodies are being ever more restricted, in a country where female genital mutilation is being carried out right under our noses, in a time where sex workers are stigmatized rather than helped and protected against violence, isn’t it time that the feminist movement worried about something more than just a pair of breasts?


  1. To me the Page 3 girls now seem almost old fashioned when you think we live in a world where you can see anything and everything on the internet- just look at Tumblr! The bottom line is no one is forcing these girls they are being paid it is just a job to them and if they are happy to do it then fair enough. There was a time when they did the page 7 fella and no one got in a nark about that! You are quite right men like naked women and me I like naked men so live and let live if you don't like it don't buy the newspapers with them in (they are bloody awful anyway!!). x

  2. Living here in America, I agree with you and think that some people are just into protesting to protest. They have nothing better to do.

  3. Page 3 is what made me discover masturbation, and I think it's where my adoration of boobs came from! The thing i don't like about page 3 is thier countdowns to young girls birthday's.... you know, the papers that always go on about sex offenders but then have a pic of a young girl in a bikini saying 'next week you'll get to see her without the bra'. Freaks me out.

  4. Great post. I know a lot of women who have been protesting the ban lads mags and page 3 campaign. I chose to opt out due to mixed feelings. I think by trying to ban such things it encourages slut shaming and the women in those photos have a right to chose what they do with their body. I agree that lads mags and page 3 should be out of childrens hands but I also think it is about teaching children to love and appreciate their bodies and creating good role models x


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