Page 3 Debate

In class this week we were sent out to record vox pops of people’s opinions on the big page 3 debate.

Images of topless women have been appearing in The Sun for 44 years but in January it seemed the degrading tradition had reached its end. The publication announced that the images would no longer feature on their page 3 – they wouldn’t be printed at all.

Feminists and those involved in the No More Page 3 (NTP3) campaign were thrilled. For them, page 3 played a role in objectifying women, ignoring they real contribution to society. Campaigners were also concerned about the impact it could have on children; it could promote to them the idea that it is okay for women to be objectified, if they see it all the time in their daily, family paper.

Others may not have a problem with the tradition; people who think the banning of page 3 is a form of censorship and takes away women’s rights – their freedom of speech. If the women chose to bare all in a newspaper, it’s up to them; isn’t telling them they can’t do it just a form of oppression?

But it seemed The Sun were going to play a part in the feminist and NTP3 campaign and ban the feature. But after less than a week without it, they brought back page three in all it’s glory. 22-year-old Nicole from Bournemouth became one of the most talked about page 3 girls after being the face of the return.

It appeared that The Sun had fooled everyone, when instead all they’d pulled was a publicity stunt. Perhaps the delighted reaction from feminists and NTP3 campaigners  enticed them to bring it back, or maybe it was a publicity stunt the whole time.

This all means that the Page 3 debate is far from over, but after completing my vox pop task, it seems residents of Worcester aren’t actually that bothered – or perhaps they just didn’t want to be bothered by me! The majority opinion that I got was that if a woman wants to do that, they can. And it’s better that it appears there, where children might happen to see it, rather than them go online and find much more, of a much ‘seedier’ quality.

My opinion is, however, a fair bit stronger than theirs:

  • Yes, women should be able to do it if they want. If they can earn lots of money from posing as topless models, fair enough. It is their right to do what they want, and aren’t most of these feminist campaigns encouraging freedom for women?
  • But, the topic we’re discussing is when it appears in a newspaper, whose sole purpose is to inform the public of news. Yes, perhaps years ago, people wanted some entertainment alongside the important stuff, but nowadays there are so many other places people can go if they want porn, including websites and magazines.
  • Also, it does promote inequality and objectification. It’s a family paper and children might see these images and think it’s okay that women are seen as objects and entertainment to men, and believe men are worth more which is why they don’t appear sexually in a newspaper. It’s not okay.

So I am supportive of the NTP3 campaign, primarily because the way the women appear on page 3 is not equal, but also, newspapers are for news, not sex.

ntp3The world is changing; women have much more presence in the workplace and respect for females is increasing every day. The Sun needs to catch up and realise that this tradition is old fashioned now. Women should not and are not (for the most part) seen this way anymore, a way which objectifies them. They shouldn’t be promoted in the way The Sun is continuing to do. So good luck to the NTP3 campaign and lets hope the message is recognised fully by the tabloid soon.

// Beth


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