It’s no surprise that the end of The Sun’s naked page 3 is seen as a minor victory for feminists up and down the country. There will be no more matter-of-fact nipples in your face and concerning objectifying titles. Instead, they’re confined to The Sun’s online website or just forced to cover up in a skimpy bikini instead, begging the question, has anything really improved at all?
Besides this, for 44 years The Sun have presented girls in quite a disgusting and (what I thought) an old-manish pervy manner. The kind of thing that gives you shudders as you picture an old scabby man, alone in the comfort of his page 3 in his room, unaware of the existence of internet porn and much more dirtier images on the wider web. Regardless, Page 3 is (or was) pretty disgusting, and perhaps did contribute to the misogynistic and sexist attitudes we females have to face day in, day out.
Indeed, some are arguing that quite simply the paper is outdated. First and foremost, it’s a newspaper and shouldn’t be selling and portraying women in this way. They’re always young, graced with huge breasts, and have the tiniest waists and thighs, an unlikely and rare body shape. Thus, you can see why some people are really against this unfair portrayal, but unfortunately, The Sun isn’t the only newspaper that objectifies women in this way.
I would argue that I’ve seen much more damaging objectification in women’s magazines. At least The Sun praised the women for their immaculate physique, even if they are unrealistic and unattainable, people know that they are because they’re glamour models. They’re gifted in that way that us ordinary women aren’t. Whereas women’s magazines capture ordinary “celebrities”, for instance, Vicki from Geordie Shore, and body-shame her. Rather than praise her, they bombarded her with negativity for being fat until she miraculously dropped all of the weight and has now joined the other side. The other side full of the unattainable beautiful six-packs, fuelled by a well paid gym instructor and private gym. She is now the woman that so many women envy and strive to become, but never will. Even though dropping that weight is doable, women will look at those magazines, hate their own bodies, and then hate themselves even more because no matter how many times they go to the gym and eat ‘clean’, they still don’t have that motivating fitness freak to punch their ass into gear everyday. They don’t have the money to pay for another voice in their head to push them to six-pack status, spiralling themselves instead into body dysmorphic views and then eventually into full blown eating disorders.
Looking at page 3 I don’t feel ashamed of my body in this way. Yes, the women are out of this world beautiful and glamorous and I envy their bodies, but unless I’m prepared to have plastic surgery and implants, I’m never going to look like them with a bit of hard work and healthy eating. I simply was not born with the same graces they were, fact accepted.
However, the difference is how damaging it is on men’s perception of women. No More Page 3 campaigners discovered that the images of the women were often larger than female politicians, female olympians, and other female victorious and inspirational women. Instead, the large naked breasts made the women appear passive for male consumption, hardly necessary in a well-read and critical newspaper that’s supposed to bring us, well.. news.
Some people argued how it “fuels the current state of gender inequality” and promotes “sexual violence” in our male-dominated society, a society in which blames rape survivors for dressing too irresistibly and appealing to men. A society that dangerously and outrageously implies that victims caused their own rape by luring their attacker. A society that also says women should live in shame for being sexually promiscuous, because they’re not allowed to enjoy sex like men are. One article even argued how:
“this representation [in Page 3] encourages the cat callers, the bloke who thinks it’s okay to grope your bum in a nightclub, the one who repeatedly asks for your number at a bus stop, [and] the guy who scares the daylights out of you by bibbing his horn in a car full of his cackling mates…”
However, others have argued that the campaign has dragged women back to the 19th century, being disgraced and told to cover up. The glamour models themselves have argued how it’s putting women out of work and they are ‘shamed’ by women for simply displaying their beautiful bodies. That’s not feminism. Women should never be told how to dress or be shamed for what job they have chosen to do.
Especially when there are campaigns like ‘Free the Nipple,’ it’s easy to see why some are getting a little confused. Of course, women should never feel judged for breast-feeding their child in public, but isn’t it judgemental when we’re also trying to cover up women’s nipples in magazines, television and The Sun?
Well, a bit of yes and mostly no. Yes, it seems slightly ridiculous, and no when you consider the difference between a sexualised nipple and a nipple doing it’s job. Perhaps even covering up in The Sun will aid the ‘Free the Nipple’ campaign quite nicely, because people need to stop seeing women’s nipples as sexualised, but as a bodily and motherly function in feeding their babies.
However, it does seem a somewhat undermined victory when the internet beholds some of the dirtiest and degrading pornography images and videos at the touch of your fingers. Recently, with the UK porn industry banning female ejaculation, it’s easy to see how porn is damaging to the everyday woman. Women are portrayed as sex objects who only exist to create sexual pleasure for men, and not to seek sexual pleasure themselves. I’m not really against porn though, just how it can create some pretty unrealistic ideals and high expectations for women. (Although it also creates unrealistic ideals of men too, and that’s probably why I don’t have much of a problem with it… Much.)
Regardless, the end of Page 3 is a minor victory towards the end of objectification. Removing the sexualisation of breasts at the breakfast table is important, and the glamour models have plenty of other places they can openly display their figures. Or they could just wear a skimpy bra or bikini and then they’re back in, which only really illustrates how The Sun can’t comprehend how it is contributing to misogyny. By saying “FINE. We’ll cover up the nipples” with a heavy sigh, they’re just rolling their eyes at the feminists that backed them in the corner to do so. It’s not the nipples or the breasts that are the problem with Page 3, it’s their attitudes that rub off on their readers, and it is this attitude that still lives on, even with the nipples censored.
Having never bought a Sun newspaper or looked at Page 3 in my life, I know an awful lot about it. Clearly, even when we don’t look we are impacted by its existence, with one commenter arguing that it’s “not about being offended by Page 3, but being affected by it.” Simply, “telling someone to turn the page [over]” if they’re offended, “misses the point about the culture that this depiction of what is valued about women feeds.” Indeed, the end of Page 3 signifies a massive change in shifting attitudes and that perhaps, we feminists might be getting somewhere, but I doubt it’s going to make all the difference.
Regardless, we still have a lot more campaigning to go and whilst I don’t think the end of Page 3 will bring us massive changes and justices over night, it’s a start I suppose.