Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Rage on Page 3..

‘What’s strange about Great Britain, the land of good manners and an internationally revered Royal family? Tits in the paper!!’…I heard an Australian stand-up announce. His observational comedy hit the nail on the head. How did that ever come about? My occasional pontification over why does page 3 exist always came down to the same answer, because it’s always been there, certainly all my life time, and because Cosmo occasionally did a naked male centrefold, that evens it up, right?

Whatever I say on this topic it will never be quite a rounded and detailed as THIS ONE however while Mumsnet debated whether to back this campaign I have to confess I thought this was already a given. I recall it was MP Stella Creasy at Mumsnet Blogfest 2012 who at the end of her talk on ‘blogging and human rights’ urged everyone to back No more page 3. However, reading the debate on mumsnet (HERE) as to whether they should back No More Page 3, there are those who think there are bigger battles we, as ladies, should focus on. I disagree. I could whittle through all the reasons why Page 3 should be banned, however, this has been done beautifully HERE and it would take me all day to list the various feminist battles we should all get behind, even just a list of links to a fraction of them would take too long! Two women a week die in Britain as a result of domestic violence to list just one tragic and harrowing issue affecting women in England today.

However, why is no more Page 3 just a feminist issue? It’s created primarily for men and the main reason I back this is because I have sons, it is for them as well as the ladies that I want there to be No More Page 3. I don’t want them to think it is acceptable to portray unrealistic and unattainable images purely of women, in a newspaper that cites itself as a ‘family publication’. I balk as I write this but lads mags and pornography (some would say these are the same) all have their place and they target their demographic accordingly and as much I hate to admit it a time will come, when my sons are old enough, ok I’m a realist, when they want to, they will no doubt obtain pornography. However, the stop gap before them being able to obtain should not be in a ‘family’ newspaper.

To ban page 3 would be a minuscule victory in the grand scheme of things but just think of the precedent it would set. The momentum it would create in support of those bigger battles; to put an end to onesided and degrading images of women being rammed down our throats at every opportunity.

It would boost other brilliant campaigns like THIS ONE to put an age rating on music videos. I have a 2 year old who cannot talk yet, however, he can already proficiently navigate an iPad and already I have to monitor what he brings up on Youtube. Did I say he couldn’t talk yet, and actually he’s not even 2 ’til next month. It would also help to us to highlight how wrong these archly body-focused celebrity gossip magazines are, who flay women of a certain appearance alive, on a weekly basis. Don’t even get me started on the general expected appearance of catwalk and photography models. This is just the tip of the iceberg and it deserves our full support.

So in the interests of presenting solutions not problems what could replace the current photography found on Page 3?

Well, we could leave the scantily clad lady there however, place a naked man next to her. Topless doesn’t count. Men can walk the streets topless, ladies cannot. At least that way the shameless exploitation and projection of the unrealistic and unattainable would be fair. Wait a second, that’s just craziness and a giant step backwards: the answer is not ‘lets exploit the men too’.

If we go for the base, stereotypical assumption that it’s for men, then lets embrace that stereotype. How about a nice page of cars, tools, DIY tips or man-sheds. Or how about some family friendly titilation: a serialised rogues gallery of Esther Rantzen-style amusing shaped vegetables – a knobbly celeriac with phallic qualities would certainly assure my dedicated readership! Or should not to make it too drastic, how about some images of naked ladies that I would happily let my boys look at all day long: Botticelli’s ‘Birth of Venus’ or Manet’s ‘Olympia’?

I can’t but feel that since The Sun obviously loves ladies so much, as a gesture to correct the years of one-sided mis-representation, they simply hand page 3 over the feminists for them to highlight the key issues affecting women, that are still being ignored.

I know I am making light of it and I do this because I am yet to be presented with a legitimate argument to keep Page 3. In a modern age attempting to achieve equality it has no place. So in keeping with the level of the preposterous absurdity, I propose a sensible and swift resolution: invite Harry Hill to resolve this matter by getting him to dress David Dinsmore as a giant willy, obviously, and a ‘No more Page 3′ campaign founder Lucy Holms as a giant boob, and invite them onto the TV burp set by yelling FIGHT! Mr Dinsmore, prepare to be crushed.

Go and see this amazing and award winning play ‘No More Page 3′ at Finsbury park theatre – BOOK TICKETS HERE

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