There’s this wacky thing in Britain where people think it’s ok to have soft porn on the third page of a family newspaper. Yas Necati, of the No More Page 3 campaign, discusses Page 3, it’s problems and why 43 years is about time to see the end of this sexist and embarrassing institution.
What is it?
Back in the 1970s, when sexism was still so extreme that a woman couldn’t even buy her own property, two newspapers decided to start printing pictures of women in nothing but their knickers. One of them* dropped this idea in the next decade because they realised it was sexist, degrading and out of place. The other decided to just carry on, and does so to this day. Apparently it’s all just a bit of “harmless fun.”
This might all sound a little bit nonsensical, but I’m not making it up! This is the reality in Britain, where our biggest selling ‘family news’paper has just celebrated 43 years of selling topless images alongside the sport, celebrity gossip and updates about the royal baby…
The name of the newspaper is the Sun… in terms of pathetic fallacy it’s rather ironic, if you think about it! The images pretty much always feature on the third Page in – bit tricky if you’re looking to check the weather (page 2) and want to avoid the lady with her breasts out the next page over. Occasionally the image moves back a few pages to make way for a news-feature (generally to do with men), but it’s pretty much always there even if it’s behind a little!
Page 3 features glamour models. Unpredictably, they represent a binary and stereotypical ideal of beauty. All models are between UK sizes 8 and 10. Their average cup-size is a D/DD. 87.5% of them are white. None of them are male.
The bare-breasted images appear every day of the week, apart from the weekends when the models wear bras… because, obviously, it is impossible for children to see the newspaper on weekdays.
Good question (we’re pretty baffled ourselves!). According to previous editor, Dominic Mohan, Page 3 is a “British institution” that represents “youth and freshness.” The current editor believes that there’s more raunchy content at museums… seriously! Maybe the real reason is that some people are just afraid of a world where women are actually treated with respect.
How on earth is this still happening?! Exactly the question actress and writer Lucy-Anne Holmes was pondering one day… she even lost sleep over it! So she decided to do something and start a campaign. No More Page 3. We’re pretty rad.
The No More Page 3 Campaign
During the 2012 Olympics, the biggest image of a woman in Britain’s biggest-selling family newspaper was a topless one. It was even bigger than the picture of Jessica Ennis, who had just won a gold medal for the country. This preached one unfortunate and despairing message: as a woman in Britain, what you look like is more important than what you do.
Lucy became upset by this and decided to start a campaign. A year and 125, 710 signatures later, we’re fighting stronger than ever. With the support of UNISON, NUT and the Girl Guides, as well as over 50% of female MPs, we’re not backing down. We’re a group of 18 volunteers, but a network of thousands of women and men who are fed up and have had enough. The Welsh Assembly support the campaign and the Irish Sun have dropped Page 3… it’s only a matter of time before Britain will follow…
Protestors on Page 3’s 43rd anniversary
*The Daily Mirror