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No More Page 3 – 2 Month Update

2 months ago today I wrote an article in Bea saying, ‘I’m thinking about starting a campaign.’

Shortly afterwards I did start that campaign. It’s called No More Page 3 and is appealing to Dominic Mohan, the editor of The Sun to please stop showing the Page 3 images. There are now over 47,000 signatures on the petition. I have been on Woman’s Hour (where I accidentally said something libelous) I nearly went on Newsnight (but was dropped at the last minute because they got Harriet Harman to talk about it instead) I have received words of encouragement that made me cry – I’ve also been told to fuck off and had my boobs insulted more times than I can remember and had to contact the police because of a death threat.

So it’s been quite a couple of months.

And because it’s Bea, and Bea feels like a cosy cardigan on a chilly day, I thought I’d say hello and fill you in with what’s been going on. Because quite a lot has been going on. Blimey, it’s been going on since the very first day when I set up the online petition and twitter and Facebook group.

I remember sitting at my dining room table, swearing as I tried to upload a photo for the Facebook page header (there’s been a lot of swearing whilst trying to do things with photos on computers, and best not get me started on the videos) My niece was working on a laptop opposite me. Suddenly she pushed her chair away from the table and gasped.

‘What?’ I asked.

‘I’ve just put the petition on my facebook page,’ she whispered. ‘Everyone’s writing stuff.’

I looked at her screen and we watched in silence as this stream of comments unfurled. My niece is a 20 year-old student, the comments went something like this ‘are you joking?’ ‘don’t buy it’  ‘I want tits in my face everyday’ ‘I want tits everywhere everyday’.

I had felt so passionately that when the largest female image in the most read newspaper in the country is of a young woman in her pants it doesn’t send out a very respectful message about a woman’s place in society. It doesn’t encourage girls to grow up thinking that they have a voice that society wants to hear. It says ‘what society values most about you is how sexy men find you in your pants when you’re about 20′.

I’d been waking in the night thinking about these pictures being the paper, coming up with more and reasons why they shouldn’t be there. But this onslaught of comments from young men, who’d grown up in the lads mag era with Page 3 as the norm, was sobering and I worried that people who did agree with the campaign would feel too shouted down to speak up. We carried on working at our separate computers for hours, my niece patiently responded to all the comments, and by the time she had finished many of the same men were telling her she had wonderful thoughts, that the cause was noble and wishing her luck. We got 122 signatures in the first day from sharing the petition on twitter and facebook. We were shattered, then suddenly a lady tweeted support, saying she was a journalist and interested in writing about the campaign.

It’s been like that for two months, flurries of attacks about the campaign, punctuated by wonderful unexpected voices of great support, all the while people signing the petition and leaving their various reasons for doing so.

In the early days I was struck by how honest strangers were when they found the campaign on social media. Numerous men confided how they’d had problems with porn and felt that a society where Page 3 was normal was often damaging to how men related to women. Another man told us how he was sitting with his 7-month-old daughter and feeling emotional, thinking what an important job we were doing. I received messages from support from concerned teachers. Women of all ages told me how insecure and uncomfortable these pictures made them feel. Women who’d been raped told me, in terrifying detail, about their attacks. I exchanged messages with a mother whose 11-year-old daughter had been sexually assaulted by a 14 year old boy on a school trip. The lady has 4 children and she’s worked for years with young people. For a long time she’s been concerned by the way very young men often relate to very young women. While the ‘fuck off you flat chested munter’s carried on so did these stories. And people started to write blogs, passionate, funny, heartfelt accounts of how they had always hated these pictures being in the newspaper. Some even performed protest poems. So many asked ‘what can I do to help?’ Chris Addison and Caitlin Moran tweeted support, so did Alastair Campbell, who was approached by a supporter who had set out a great case for the campaign. (Oo and as I’ve been writing this James Corden has tweeted in suppport) Page 3 girls from the past and one from the present have agreed with us too.

Sometimes we’ll get a tweet telling us that women will lose their jobs if The Sun drops Page 3. I hope this won’t be the case and I honestly don’t think it will be. One thing we know about Murdoch is that he’s a business man. And Page 3 is a brand. I’m sure he’ll create a topshelf mag All The Page 3s, ‘where every page is a page 3’ and it will employ more women. This campaign has never been anti glamour modeling, just anti it being in the context of a newspaper. Is it right that children grow up looking at the most widely read paper in the country seeing men in clothes doing things and one massive image of a young woman standing there in her knickers?

Obviously we’ve still got a long way to go and such is the nature of a campaign, you never know what’s coming next, whether it be a well written attack or an interview with a journalist that leads to an impromtu protest outside Sun HQ. Currently it’s interesting how the Conservatives don’t seem interested, except for one MP, neither do the ‘family value’ supermarkets, who’d never show the Sun’s Page 3 in one of their adverts but will happily show their ads there. But so many supporters are appealing to them, letting their thoughts be known, that I don’t think they can continue brushing off the issue indefinitely.

I really believe the pictures will be dropped from the paper. I’m not sure how it will happen, perhaps it will be pressure from an advertiser, or perhaps someone will state their case so well and so publicly that it will cause more and more Sun readers to say ‘oh yeah, it’s not really on, is it?’ and then News International will acknowledge it’s 2012 and time for women to be granted the same respect as men in the newspaper.

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15 comments on “No More Page 3 – 2 Month Update

  1. L
    October 16, 2012

    Fully behind your campaign! We talked about it a few weeks back on the feminist radio hour on our community radio show! We were so shocked that a newspaper would have that, in Australia I think it would never be allowed. Wishing you all the best, Laura xo

  2. Keris
    October 16, 2012

    I believe they’ll be dropped too. I’m sorry you’re getting so much abuse, Lucy, but I’m so proud that you’re doing this.

  3. Melinda H
    October 16, 2012

    As a lobbyist, when thinking about Conservatives, maybe try to target the more ‘gentlemanly’, old-school MPs who are pretty horrified by all kinds of smut e.g. , Keith Simpson, Richard Shepherd, Christopher Chope, Sir Peter Bottomley? Anyone who’s been there for a while. There are other MPs like Rob Halfon who will sign basically anything a constituent asks them to… Hope this helps! And try to avoid the 2010-hard-faced-free-marketeering women in the Tories as I doubt they’ll be interested.

  4. Caron Lindsay
    October 16, 2012

    Yes, keep at it – 47,000 sigs in two months is huge – and most of them have come in 6 weeks or so. If it keeps going at the current rate, we’ll be in six figures in a few weeks.

    You have been great in the media, too. Keep up the good work and keep letting us know how we can help.

  5. Caron Lindsay
    October 16, 2012

    Oh, and I should say that since I’ve been writing about this, I’ve taken some pretty nasty abuse too. I have it insinuated that I’m a prude, or have a hang up about nudity and sex. Actually, it’s the unequal portrayal of women I have a problem with. I’m sure that men would understand if they lived in a world where women had their hands on all the levers of power, if men were paid less than women for the same work, if there were magazines telling men how they should look and what they should weigh, if photos of men’s backsides or worse (because that’s the equivalent, not a topless man) appeared in a prominent position in a national newspaper; if they had to sit on the bus while strange women looked at these images and went “ooh, I fancy a bit of that.”

    • jack
      October 16, 2012

      while I 100% agree with you, who buys those magazines? They’re run by women for women, abhorrent as those ‘celeb’-style magazines are its unfair to blame men for them.

  6. Alex
    October 16, 2012

    I don’t sign petitions on the whole, as I feel like they won’t get anywhere, but somehow I believe in this one – it’s an intelligent, thoughtful request, made to the right person, about something that is just so self-evidently ridiculous (or so you’d think). So I signed, and shared, and my husband signed, and friends signed. So we all believe in this campaign, and we’re all glad you went for it. Thank you!

  7. diane
    October 16, 2012

    I’m so proud to be a part of Bea, where this all began, even though I have no right to take any kind of credit. You’re doing great work Lucy, I had no idea this campaign would ever become this big, and I think it will keep gathering momentum. Keep it up!

  8. arseface
    October 16, 2012

    47,000 signatures is great work – but The Sun’s circulation is 2.5million a day. That and advertising revenue is the only thing that News International cares about.

  9. ian houghton
    October 16, 2012

    Its the sun. Its only mouth breathers that read it. I can. Imagine without the tits its readership will go through the floor. And be picked up by the star or whichever paper ignores your pleas.

  10. Tony Fleetwood
    October 16, 2012

    When you succeed, it will only be the first step on a very long road to remove the vile misogyny from the rest of the paper. Until then, don’t give up!!

  11. Jenny Simpson
    October 16, 2012

    What a fab campaign, it’s great to see
    women taking a stand against page 3, porn and glamour images are so readily available via the Internet now do we really have to see images in a daily newspaper (albeit one of questionable standards!).
    I have 2 little boys and would hate to think of them growing up seeing images of women displayed like products instead of shoeing them the love and respect that we all deserve! Keep going girls!xx

  12. John Smith
    October 18, 2012

    Personally I object to hateful knee-jerk reactions to sensitive issues such as this, regardless of whether the campaign is right or not. It polarises viewpoints and detracts from the real issue at hand. If people are stooping to sending you death threats, that is not acceptable behaviour in any context.

    IMO Newspapers reflect modern day society. In them we can read about everything from the latest football results, to hateful biased critiques of peoples behaviour, to nude princes, to excruciating details of the latest sensational murder.

    While I think page 3 sends out a message that it’s ok to judge women in terms of how sexy they look, that is not necessarily a universally bad thing.

    It would be nice if we all completely ignored the fact that people are interested in sex and image, but one cannot deny that it is in fact an integral piece of modern day society and the human condition. Is it sensible to ignore that, especially in a newspaper?

    I think in a society where we can freely talk about sensitive issues like having frickin amazing sex, women should always have the right to express themselves sexually, including posing as a nude model in a newspaper.

    IMO time would be better spent in being more progressive about this.

    It should be made clear to anyone looking at such images that while a woman has chosen to expose her body, it does not invite them to ignore the fact that a womans role in todays society is far more complex than just being a sex object.

    People have problems with image, so why not educate them how to cope with inadequacy in the light of idolised models? Encourage people to call out others if they are being sexist in an inappropriate context. For those who have irresistible violent sexual urges when looking at others, encourage them to get help before they harm someone. If someone has been sexually assaulted, help them to enjoy their inalienable right to have sex without being a victim again.

    Also don’t let children read an adult newspaper until they can fully understand the implications of its contents.

    These things IMO would likely help far more vulnerable women and men, compared to banning pictures of nude women.

    While I cannot support your campaign or support all of your conclusions, I still appreciate that you have brought this issue up.

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This entry was posted on October 16, 2012 by in Bea Spiritual.
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