Bare boobs are not news
Guest post by Lucy-Anne Holmes, writer and actress currently working on the No More Page 3 campaign ‘to take the bare boobs out of the Sun’ newspaper.
This article appeared in The Huffington Post on 15 March 2013.
I’ve got a confession to make. I may have been a bit silly starting the No More Page 3 campaign. You see, someone just tweeted us something. “If you don’t like it, don’t buy it”, the tweet read.
There was I, ballistically campaigning about Page Three being damaging when, oh, I really am feeling very stupid now, because I could just not buy it and everything would be fine. So, I’ll be off then. Sorry about that. Or rather. No. Just no.
There are so many reasons why “if you don’t like it, don’t buy it” doesn’t work as an argument for Page 3, that I will be breaking out the big gun bullet points.
So, here goes. This is for you, Mr If You Don’t Like It Don’t Buy It and all the others before you, and that includes you, Nick Clegg.
1) I was most affected by these images at the age of 11 when my breasts were developing and my brother and his mates would be commenting on Page Three girls breasts everyday. I really looked up to my big brother and this situation taught me that my breasts were only there for men to look at. Mine fell short of the ones that were in the daily newspaper, therefore I was failing somehow and I was ashamed. I didn’t buy it.
2) Jo, a teammate on the campaign, used to work in a pub in North Yorkshire, where Page Three lay on the bar every evening. She was sexually harassed every day as comments were made about her breasts and the models, until she was eventually sexually assaulted. She didn’t buy it.
3) The school girl, who wrote to the Everyday Sexism project saying that the boys in her school hold up Page Three in the corridor and mark the girls out of 10 as they walk past, doesn’t buy it.
4) The woman who was made to look at Page Three while she was abused as a child, didn’t buy it.
5) When Clare Short stood up in the 80s and spoke out about these pictures being in the paper, she received thousands of letters of support. Twelve were from women who had Page Three mentioned to them while they were being raped. These women didn’t buy it.
6) The woman who sits in a staff room every day while a male colleague shows Page Three to all the men with the words ‘would you do that?’ doesn’t buy it.
7) The nurse who wrote and told us that she has to treat men as they comment on young women’s breasts, doesn’t buy it.
8) The mother who took her six-year-old daughter to a café for a treat and found Page Three lying open on a table and was asked “Mummy, why isn’t that lady wearing a top?” doesn’t buy it.
9) The father who felt outraged that a man was looking at Page Three while his three-and-a-half year-old daughter was having a hair cut, didn’t buy it.
10) The teacher who asks the class to bring in newspapers for painting and has to explain why there’s a naked woman in the ‘news’paper, doesn’t buy it.
And, as writer Lauren Bravo said, “if you can’t communicate the logic of something in simple terms a kid can grasp, there’s a good chance it might be completely stupid”.
We are all affected by Page Three whether we buy it or not, because we all live in a society where the most widely read paper in the country makes ‘normal’ the idea that women are there primarily for men’s sexual pleasure.
As one woman noted on our Facebook page, “if I lived in times of slavery, I wouldn’t be content not to buy a slave, I’d protest against it because I believe it to be wrong”.
‘If you don’t like it, don’t buy it’ doesn’t work, believe me. I wish it did.
To sign the petition asking Dominic Mohan to stop showing pictures of topless young women in Britain’s most widely read newspaper and to stop conditioning the Sun’s readers to view women as sex objects, click here.