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Nipples Aren’t News: Why Page Three Has To Go

By Sophieanne139 @sophinaphalange

Posted by Sophie Westrope on February 1, 2013 · 2 Comments 

THE Duchess of Cambridge, the future Queen with the world and its fickle wife’s head up her bottom, is pregnant. Hurrah. This can mean only one thing: the media’s going to have a right royal fit. Papers are fit to burst with tedious tales about a woman’s womb. Will this Royal baby swoop down her birth canal ending world hunger forever?

On this glorious day, The Sun will take a break from its sexist regime of tits with my toast on Page Three in place of preggo Kate stories, right? Yes. Completely? Sadly no. Go forward a few pages and there she is, Little Miss No Brains in her Primark bargain bin knickers with boobs bigger than K-Midd’s soon-to-be gigantic pregnant belly. This is Jessica Ennis’ gold medal glory all over again; the very occasion that pissed Lucy Holmes off enough to start all of this campaigning in the first place. Of course, as usual, the largest printed photograph of a woman in the most-bought ‘family’ newspaper in the UK is of a young girl who’s quit her job in Greggs to spend the next ten years looking like she’s been the innocent victim of a T-shirt mugging.

I know times are tough in the current economic climate, what with all of that double-dip recession malarkey but surely we can afford something to cover those poor lass’ nipples. Its winter, for fuck’s sake, she can probably carve the Christmas turkey with them by now.

Now I’m not saying glamour modelling is crass and I’m no prude, I love a good pair of knockers as much as any hetero male but let’s face it, nipples aren’t news. And it’s not that Page Three is too sexual. It’s not even remotely sexy. I certainly don’t don my cheapest synthetic pants and stand sans bra with my hands on my hips before I get down to it. And confessing that you get a hard-on looking at Tanya from Essex’s tits while you eat your breakfast cereal is like admitting that you wank watching the shopping channel.

It’s got little to do with the sex industry and a lot to do with context. “Teenage tits aren’t news OR a feature,” tweeted Times critic and writer Caitlin Moran. Damn right they aren’t. There’s a time and a place for tits and apparently the geniuses at News International think a so-called newspaper is the perfect venue. It’s like putting a postage stamp on a birthday card for your neighbour. It’s unnecessary and a waste of bloody dosh. How about we stop pissing cash up the wall paying a seedy photographer to take ostensibly ‘glam’ shots of glassy-eyed fake-tanned young ladies against a green screen backdrop in a warehouse and channel those pounds into real jobs? Direct the girls who love showing off their melons to Nuts, Zoo and Front (stamp a tattoo on your side and they’ll photograph you no problem) and let the ladies who’d otherwise be serving sausage rolls to the masses for minimum wage apply for respectable well-paid positions where they won’t be treated like a piece of meat.

The porn industry is absolutely saturated with all kinds of kinky filth, and you can watch girls sans bra, pubic hair and morals in every position and scenario imaginable at the mere swipe of a finger on an adolescent’s iPhone screen nowadays. So tits are really quite tame. But hang on a minute, shits going down on this planet. There’s plenty to write about, yet Dominic Mohan’s team of inbreeds are using three quarters of a page to show the false grin and arguably also false basoomas of an 18-year-old with one GCSE and a speech bubble coming out of the side of her head.

I’m sure the poor sod that subs Page Three every single monotonous day worked hard at university to get his first-class degree before excitedly applying to a job at a national newspaper…Only to then be shown to a cramped cubicle where he’d be destined to spend the rest of his days tediously Photoshopping the head and torso of a young disrobed woman.

You can say that Page Three is an old British tradition and it should stay. Journalist Lauren Bravo put it right when she compared it to “an embarrassing old curtain pelmet from the 70s that everyone has somehow forgotten to take down.” And like smoking in restaurants, when Keely, 21 from Liverpool’s knockers cease to be the first thing you see when you open The Sun, it’ll be hard to remember why it was ever there before anyway. We all sat in awe the day we could actually taste our greasy café fry-up instead of the person at the neighbouring table’s Marlboro Light.

‘Just don’t buy it,’ The Sun Editor Dominic Mohan whined. Oh blimey, thanks, Dom. I hadn’t thought of that! It’s the proverbial act of covering your eyes to hide from something scary; if you can’t see it, it can’t possibly be happening, surely the big bad monster will go away! How would good old Dom feel if his daughter paraded into The Sun’s headquarters and whipped off her top shrieking, “make me Katie Price, Daddy!”? Turning a blind eye to something won’t end the problem. While arguing that this particular newspaper prints actual newsworthy content is a whole other story, the issue still stands that Page Three is out-dated and the epitome of sexist conduct in modern day. We abolished the gollywog for its racist values so why is a female still left confined, by sexist pigs, to freezing in her kecks in a daily tabloid for the sake of a few leering degenerates with 30p to spare?

Ex-Sun Deputy Editor Neil Wallis responded to his recent Twitter-hate regarding the No More Page Three campaign with a tritely mature “NO-ONE CARES.” A man so set in his misogynistic ways that he couldn’t even spare his chauvinism for one second to write correctly, instead contemptuously using ‘wimmin’ as a pitiful childish substitute.

“Overwhelmingly white, middle-class, aged late 20s-late 30s, university educated, work in academia, know what macrobiotic means and how to use a fondue set, go to Greece on their holidays and read the Guardian suffer serious sense of humour loss at certain times,” he said. And while yes, many of the men and women who’ve signed the petition to ban bare breasts in the chip-paper worthy rag may have degrees and enjoy vacationing in Rhodes but does that make their pleas any less worthy of being heard? Damn right it doesn’t. Although I wouldn’t expect any more from an old Sun hand, he was probably cheering elatedly in 1970 when their wide-eyed Page 3 Idols first waved goodbye to their tit-slings.

This with-your-dick thinking is unadulterated perfection when it comes to healthy bedroom behaviour, if we’re in the sack feel free to objectify away. But in everyday society I expect, as a female, to be taken seriously and I also expect a tabloid with – try not to laugh now – ‘family’ values to paint any vagina possessing member of society as more than a pair of knockers. We have to stop poisoning puerile young boys’ minds –fledgling boys as little as ten are watching porn these days, for heaven’s sake – and teaching them to treat the opposite sex like they’re inanimate objects on a Generation Game style carousel; we’re humans, not a novelty teapot!

It all starts at home after all; the family house can be a breeding ground for sexism sometimes. Mum belongs in the kitchen and Dad brings home the bacon. And while traditional values would never have the common housewife treated like a walking talking pair of funbags, any woman in the street will tell you that being cat-called by a builder, lorry driver or mere passer-by feels like you’re worth nothing more than what is on your chest; the very message that Page Three gives.

We’ve got to stop belittling girls; we’re worth more than our mammary glands for heaven’s sake. While the female form is exceptionally beautiful and to be celebrated greatly, the fact that a newspaper features a daily topless honey makes it wrong. However, within a red top paper that’s practically dripping with misogyny from every page, is this a shocker? Predictably no. But we still need to just try to put an end to the absurdity of it all.

At risk of sounding like too angry a ‘radical feminist’, the answer to this is not to fuel more nudity in newspapers but less commoditising of the female form. I’m all for getting your tatas out whenever you feel like it, but if I walked into a news room topless I’d be thrown out and arrested for public indecency since it’s just not seemly for the setting.

Perhaps the answer will need to be to scrap not only Page 3 but also the entirety of the paper, after its umpteen years of printing illicit scandal and moral pomposity masquerading as hard news journalism. The paper itself is a hot bed of a straight man’s fantasy; one that shows the ladies and youngsters who read it that not only is the proper role of womenfolk to be youthful, stripped and passive, but also that the world of current affairs is geared towards the prerequisites and yearnings of men.

Let’s stop treating women like they’re on public display at the Tate and if the answer is to add more nudity to this hovel of a tabloid, maybe get some cocks into The Sun (and I don’t just mean Wayne Rooney and Co.) Let’s see how they feel about printing those ugly bastards.

[This opinion piece was originally written for a university assignment]

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