Friday, 25 September 2015

The Page 3 Problem

by Charlotte Phillips




Whenever someone makes a reference to 'page 3' we all know what they're talking about. Even children at primary school will giggle when asked to turn to page 3 of their books by the teacher. And with the ban, back in January, that lasted just a single day, the issue has experienced a renewed relevance and become a talking point for the modern feminism movement.

But should page 3 just be a problem for the feminist movement? Shouldn't it be a problem for everyone? The Sun's most controversial feature (and that is saying something) essentially should not cause controversy at all. Because it shouldn't exist.

Ah, I hear some people saying- aren't you going against feminist principles here? Some would argue that banning page 3 opposes a woman's right to show off or expose her body, and indeed perpetuates the idea that women should stay covered up for fear of being 'slut shamed'. But the page isn't an issue of inappropriateness, or having too much on show, as some people may say. It's an issue of the Sun newspaper being such an accessible medium. Women should be freely able to display their bodies if they wish to, without judgement or difficulty. But The Sun could be picked up by children- it is within grabbing reach on a newspaper shelf. A young girl, who is still forming her self esteem and self image, may look at these photoshopped, airbrushed models and assume that that is how all women are supposed to look. A young boy could pick up the paper, see a page 3 model, and assume that that is how all girls should look under their clothes. Clearly, this can have damaging effects on both the individuals and society as a whole.


There are plenty of opportunities and mediums through which, if they so wish, women can have their bodies photographed or shown off, especially with the development of the Internet. Banning page 3 would not stop women from exposing themselves, and indeed, it would not limit anybody's opportunity to see topless women. Those who cling on to page 3 are stuck in the past and their only argument seems to run along the lines of page 3 being a 'tradition'. These people generally tend to be the same high earning, heavily right wing males who object when a woman breastfeeds her baby in public.


You don't have to be a feminist activist to object to page 3. You don't have to be a woman to object to page 3. In fact, you could even be a Sun reader and object to page 3. The overall attitude in the general public needs to be one of protest to this negative and damaging feature. Only then will real change be made, and page 3 (along with all similar other features in many lesser-known publications) will disappear from our daily papers.

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