Tweeting as @Kazipooh, No More Page 3 supporter Karen Mason sent an @ message to Rupert Murdoch. “Seriously, we are all so over page 3 – it is so last century! #nomorepage3.” To which Murdoch tweeted back: “You maybe [sic] right, don't know but considering. Perhaps halfway house with glamorous fashionistas.”
Would this be a halfway house, a compromise? Were the people campaigning to be literal then yes, it would be. Their aim is to get bare boobs out of The Sun and I suspect glamorous fashionistas would not have their bosom entirely exposed.
I wrote about my hesitance to sign the Change.org petition a while ago in XOJane.co.uk. It wasn’t a case of defending Page 3 but concerns for the methods and influence of who was signing. These were not Sun or Daily Star (which I find has much more explicit images on the cover) readers, these were broadsheet readers getting worryingly close to policing what other people should read.
To do something I find hugely annoying and dismissive and bring class into it, some of the comments on the petition look a lot like middle class people thinking this would make a great Teaching Moment for the working or under classes. I have no doubt people who identify as all kinds of classes signed the petition. Still, resentment would be more than understandable. Anything that deepens a divide should probably be avoided, no?
Sincerely, what do you think is a healthier image for women and girls to see? Page 3 with a young girl smiling broadly in pants and bra or a gaunt ‘fashionista’, fully clothed and fully criticised in annotations pointing out what is Good and what is Bad about her get up?
The Trouble is objectification does not begin and end with nudity
Oh, perhaps they could do a series on the BBC Woman’s Hour Power List? Although I doubt that, other than the women pictured (they have to be pictured) being older the diversity of Page 3 would change very little.
More diversity would mean more choice of what you aspire to. Young men and women would recognise themselves more in the papers and see possibility. With regard to Page 3 I am happy to be concerned about the girl’s welfare, perhaps their age but her aesthetic? I don’t know. If we had an imbalance of goths in the papers would we be concerned? If Page 3 was a surly girl clad head to toe in black lace and velvet. ‘Vampirica (20) likes wearing black, hates daylight and goes through a pound of eyeliner a day’. Vampirica’s opinion on current affairs would be in a little bubble (or coffin shape? I’m just throwing ideas around here) above her head ‘News in Shrieks’. It would still be pretty reductive but for some reason it’s an aesthetic we regard much more as a decision, nobody is fooled or exploited into being goth.
As Hadley Freeman notes in The Guardian misogyny is present in pages and publications outside of Page 3. For instance why did The Guardian supplement The Guide feature Charlie Sheen, who among other abuses shot his fiancée in the arm. Sean Penn is revered as a great actor with no mention that once he hospitalised former wife Madonna – hitting her with a baseball bat. Eminem is a poet, a poet who All get coverage that is arguably favourable, treating them as tortured artists in many a broadsheet.
If we are going to take anything out of the media, let it be praise for abusive white men.