Oh, alright, so I’m not Barack Obama… I’m not even a man… or an American. No, I am in fact Hayley, a 19 year old student who lives in Manchester and was simply lucky enough to be friends with Lucy when she kick-started the campaign and asked for my help (probably because I am so trendy and things…well, maybe).
Since the campaign started Lucy has gone from busy to full blown Lady Gaga on the scale of her work rate, so when she asked me to step in and write for you all, filling you in how the campaign is going, I simply couldn’t say no.
Firstly, I am going to tell you all this; being part of a campaign is really, really, exciting! It makes you feel quite important and grown up but mostly, it is the amazing way that so many people, people you have never met, put so much faith and hope and twitter time (yes, twitter-time is ‘a thing’) into you. It’s heart warming and it makes our job really easy because even though there is only 4 of us manning things, we actually have a family of 1000+ people who constantly retweet and reach out on our behalf.
What I think make our campaign so much more likely to succeed over those who have come before us is that this time round, everyone is involved. From young women, to grandmothers and lads my age (hooray!) and fathers who simply want better for their daughters, this is a campaign that appeals to us all. I think we’re breaking the stereotype. When Clare Short tried to campaign against it, she got branded as a fat, ugly, insecure killjoy, and now it’s up to us to drag this into the 21st Century and prove all of her critics wrong. This time around, the four of us are all below 40 and if someone so much as tried to call us boring my response would be ‘meet our families and then tell me that again!’.
Maybe it’s different because being my age, and being a girl means I have the pleasure of dealing with male students of a similar age, who seem to think that my eyes are chest level. Always. Yes, yes, I am aware that women pinch bums and touch torsos, the difference being women don’t seem to walk around like it’s our right, whereas some blokes do. Is it too much to ask to be seen as a person, and not a living, breathing blow up doll when I go out or when I go to work?
I guess our campaign is here to challenge things, and to make people think. I have grown up in a society that just accepts large images of girls who are now a very similar age to me, with their boobs out on a daily basis. I’m sorry, but what?! Of course, since things have started there have been a few people out there telling us to merely buy a different newspaper if we don’t like it, or asking us why we are hating on the girls that chose to model for Page 3…
I feel that maybe, these folk have missed the point. I would not be part of this campaign if I thought it were merely an issue over which newspaper I buy. Fact of the matter is, the actual paper is not the problem, it’s the principle of using girls boobs as a selling point and making these soft porn images so widely available. If The Sun were on TV, that kind of image wouldn’t be allowed to be aired until after the watershed. As for hating on the models, we have never once made comments against these girls, because they are beautiful and have the right to take their clothes off and not be judged for it if that is what they want to do. It is not their fault that The Sun sees them as a commodity, a view which they then send out to everyone who buys their paper and opens up Page 3. The best thing about us feeling like this is that almost all of our followers and supporters feel the same way – and we can’t all be a bunch of fuddy-duddys now can we?
With comments like ‘Boobs are not news’, ‘Because it’s the single biggest thing normalising objectification of women in our country’ and ‘Because I wouldn’t want to explain this to my daughter’ – it really does feel like – I’m about to quote High School Musical, please for give me – we are all in this together. (I’m cringing, are you cringing? Bet you’re cringing.)
As it stands, we are now at 8395 signatures 1722 twitter followers, we’ve been written about in The Guardian, in France and on numerous blogs across the UK and we have a t-shirt that is flying off the shelves.
If all of that doesn’t mark the start of something huge, I don’t know what does. All I do know is that this time The Sun can’t run and it can’t hide. We want change and we won’t stop until we get it…