I first came across the No More Page 3 campaign a couple of weeks ago, when I read a post by Talat. I signed the petition, and then a few days later I saw a tweet about it by the fantastic Caitlin Moran. So I started following @NoMorePage3 and I’ve got very much caught up in this fabulous campaign. For anyone who has never come across Page 3 (lucky you), Wikipedia can help.
I’m a fairly active signer of petitions, and retweeter, sharer, and liker of issues and articles, but I normally don’t email my contacts directly. This time, however, I did. I feel so strongly about this campaign, and I feel it is such a simple, clear, thing to ask for, with basic logic behind it. So I started writing an email to my friends and family in the UK, and it turns out that a blog post basically wrote itself.
It’s a long one, sorry, but if you don’t fancy reading all of it maybe just scroll down to the end and see what else you can do to support the campaign.
If you haven’t already, please please sign the No More Page 3 petition, and please share it far and wide. I won’t throw a tantrum if you don’t, but I would be grateful and proud if you took the time to add your name to this. And if you think it’s unnecessary or pointless, I hope you might read what I have to say and reconsider.
Those of you on Facebook and Twitter may already know how strongly I feel about getting rid of Page 3, so apologies, but I can’t say it enough. There’s no place for topless glamour models in a newspaper. You may have seen the recent advertisement (not sure if it’s just in Scotland though) about breast cancer awareness, which features Elaine C Smith and a variety of bare breasts, some with visible signs of cancer. This has been deemed “shocking” and “controversial,” and can be shown only after 9pm. And yet a publication that calls itself a newspaper contains what is essentially pornography, and is sold everywhere, to anyone.
Porn is freely available all over the internet, labelled as porn, so there’s absolutely no need for it to be in a family newspaper, labelled as news. I don’t think it would be right to ban it, but if The Sun want to print porn it should be on the top shelf. This campaign is directed at the editor of The Sun, and I hope it succeeds in the paper voluntarily getting rid of Page 3, like the Mirror did, and I think it can work with everyone’s support.
Here’s a great article about the campaign http://www.thehighteacast.co.uk/2012/09/28/no-more-page-3-finally/
“There are bigger issues,” you say? Yes there are, but tackling the smaller issues feeds back into the large ones. Getting rid of something that contributes to misogyny and sexism can only be a good thing, surely. If you think we’re all equal and sexism doesn’t exist anymore, please take a look at the Everyday Sexism project.
Let me also clarify a couple of things:
Firstly, I have nothing against the women (the young women) who model for page 3, but I wish they didn’t feel that being ogled at is all they’re good for (because this is certainly the impression Page Three gives), or that this is the most likely route to their personal success. A former topless model writes
“If I had had other models of female success presented to me every day as a young woman, I may have seen other possibilities and ways to feel beautiful and admired in the world rather than posing nude.”
Secondly, in talking about equality, I’m not asking for pictures of a male penis, erect or otherwise, to be on Page 3 either…Although many reactions to that suggestion will also tell you a lot about inequality being subtly built into people’s mindsets. No, I don’t want female sexual objectification, nor do I want male sexual objectification, I want us all to be equally valued for who we are and the things we all do.
Thanks again, especially if you made it this far! I realise I do go on a bit, but I hope you see what I’m getting at, and why I think it’s important.
I think one of the reasons I feel so strongly about this particular cause is to do with the founder’s original reason: when Jessica Ennis’ Olympic achievements still earned her less news space than a topless girl a few pages down. When I first came to Britain, I thought “great, no more of all those inequalities like in Malaysia, I’ve come to the land of equality, grand old institutions, politeness, respect…” Um, yeah, those rose-coloured glasses went in the bin a long time ago. It’s true that Britain is still waaaay up there in terms of respecting people’s rights and being able to have your say, but it’s not perfect. Nowhere’s perfect, but I’m here, and if I can do something to try and make a difference, I will certainly try.
I’m really pleased to see that the campaign’s really picking up momentum – the petition’s at over 38,000 signatures now. It may not sound like a lot, but considering it only started a few weeks ago, and now seems to have been getting 1000 signatures a day in the last couple of days, it’s looking good. The last time someone tried to get rid of Page 3, in 1986, she was vilified by The Sun. In 2004 it was raised again, and Clare Short got to relive the whole experience. Now in 2012, there’s been support from celebrities, MPs, and many many men – this isn’t just ‘a woman thing,’ it’s an ‘all of us’ thing. Harriet Harman also did a great job on Newsnight last night, if the tweets are anything to go by.
So here I am, writing, tweeting, facebooking, emailling. There are some other things I did / am doing / will do, which anyone else can do as well:
I wrote to my MP, Malcolm Bruce (find out your MPs details here), and tweeted him as well, asking him nicely to raise this issue in parliament. I also asked him to sign the petition and add his name to the list of MPs supporting this. He hasn’t yet, but I’ll give him a week before I ask again…
I’ve been talking about it to my friends and family. I’m not brave enough to speak about it with strangers just yet… Yesterday I had an in-depth conversation about it with a friend who wasn’t quite convinced, and once again I had to remember that not everyone feels, thinks, or has had the same experiences as me. Don’t be offended (Sam, I really wasn’t, even though I got a bit loud and frowny), but be prepared for people who do honestly believe that sexism and disproportionate violence against women are no longer issues – perhaps point them here, here (or here for Scotland) and here.
During the week of 29th October – 4th November I will be taking part in the boycott of some of The Sun’s biggest ‘family’ advertisers – Tesco, Sainsbury’s (yeah, Sainsbury’s!), Asda, Morrissons, Argos, DFS. The supermarkets will be hard (and I haven’t told Gareth yet), but there’s always M&S, Co-op, Lidl, street markets.
Also, I wasn’t sure at first if non-UK signatures on the petition would make a difference. I guess, as a petition aimed at the editor, it has to show how much readership he’s losing (or could potentially gain if he got rid of page 3) within the UK. But then, thinking about it, we’re a globalised world, it’s a globalised economy, and every voice makes a difference. Go for it everyone! “Say no to the wrong thing, the right things will happen“