By Beth Redmond
The No More Page 3 campaign only explores the ideas of objectification and misogyny enough for the organisers to convince themselves they are actually changing something. There are elements of it I can get on board with, and it has been beneficial to the wider feminist community, especially in student unions, as a catalyst for discussion and discovering what we actually mean when using terms like objectification.
But the amount of liberal this campaign contains is reflected in how many times boobs are mentioned in its main petition: A LOT. Boobs are not the issue here, we shouldn’t be afraid of young children seeing “bare breasts” either in a newspaper or in everyday life. Young girls shouldn’t grow up feeling embarrassed about their own bodies because the only other pair of tits they’ve been allowed to see was in a biology textbook, and parents shouldn’t feel awkward about breast-feeding in public.
Let’s also remember that the page 3 models themselves are not responsible for their own objectification. The campaign is backed by the Evangelical Alliance, who, on their website, do exactly what No More Page 3 claim to protest against and talk about the “girls” as though they are objects, an irrelevance or something society should be ashamed of. The moralistic view of women involved in sex-work and glamour modelling being “smutty” is dangerous, and skews the politics of the campaign as a whole.
And the worst part is, Page 3 is not even the most sexist part of The Sun; the large majority of it is misogynistic bile. It includes paparazzi stealing photographs of non-consenting women and shaming their bodies for being too fat, too skinny, looking too old or having too much surgery to make themselves look young. If we were to get rid of page 3 on the grounds that is it sexist then we should also get rid of all those women’s magazines which mock us for… literally everything. The models on Page 3 are consenting and not being shamed for the way they look.
Getting rid of Page 3 will not eradicate the objectification of women, I’m not entirely sure it will do anything at all. And by identifying Page 3 as the only thing wrong with The Sun, the campaign is seemingly giving a thumbs up to the rest of the paper which is by and large shit.
This article is taken from one of the daily bulletins that was handed out at NUS national conference in Liverpool 8-10 April 2014.