The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Freya Bromley Headshot

Because Boobs Aren't News

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

Sign the petition and say no to Page Three because women contribute to society in many ways that do not involve a man's erection.

The petition is addressed to The Sun's editor, Dominic Mohan, as a plea to end the sexual objectification of women in Britain's tabloids and the campaign itself has served to provide a snapshot of the misogynistic content that permeates these daily newspapers. Object and TYBOP3 claim that this blatant sexist portrayal of women within the UK's mainstream press is encouraging and endorsing negative attitudes in a society where violence against women is endemic. So why has the petition only received 103,100 signatures so far?

Dominic Mohan said at the Leveson enquiry late last year that page three "represents youth and freshness and it celebrates natural beauty." It is easy to feel offended that it is inconceivable to a man with us much power as Mohan to represent youth without sexualising it and demonstrate natural beauty without nudity. He then went on to attempt to justify The Sun's objectification of women's bodies by pointing out that The Sun has the largest circulation of any British daily newspaper and therefore must be doing something right. The only stable argument I can think of as to why Dominic Mohan would continue to publish pornography in his newspaper is that it must be much easier to tout anti-immigrant, anti-union, anti-gay, anti-Europe and anti-woman journalism to a reader with an erection. After all even those attempting to support The Sun's page three have had to admit that the newspaper is more adult-comic than family newspaper, as Liam Mullone pointed out in the Huffington Post "Boobs are not news, but then neither is anything else in a paper comprised entirely of hearsay, gossip and trenchant opinion."

Critics of the campaign argue, "if you don't like it don't buy it" but if the Sun insists on publishing this pornography it should not be distributed as a mainstream newspaper. Pornography is defined as 'printed or visual material containing the explicit display of sexual organs' maybe I'm a prude but a teenager with her tits out described merely as a 'northern stunner' seems pretty sexual to me. The Coalition government remains largely apathetic on the issue. When asked by whether he would support the removal of Page Three from The Sun, David Cameron's response was that, "It's the parents' responsibility." Conceding that Page Three is harmful to children, he urged parents to "Turn the page over" but failed to fully support its removal from the newspaper.

Despite the Government indifference towards the matter the campaign represents a new and subversive media-age means of protest. It cunningly detours the male-dominated institutions that have traditionally obstructed anti-sexist causes to engage with a wider pool of socially conscious Internet-users. The positive impact social networking has had is ostensible in this campaign. No page three has a Facebook page, Twitter account and its own interactive online petition. The website recognises the effect 'sharing' the petition can have by claiming that the average social networker has 170 'online friends' and if they each share the petition that's 10,000 more signatures. Celebrities have taken to the cause enthusiastically and #nomorepagethree has frequently been trending on twitter due to stars like Caitlin Moran, Chris Addison, and Eliza Dolittle. Holmes, founder of 'no more page three', credits the current visibility and popularity of feminist arguments to the power of social media. "I just think," she says, "that in 1970, a group of men, in a male-managed media, in a male-managed country, decided to put the naked breasts of young women in the newspaper, and in 2013, hopefully, we're a different society. Shouldn't we look at that decision again?"

I'm sure many signed because they felt propagated nudity and the resulting objectification of women prevents sex from being special and beautiful whereas some will inevitably find nudity purely offensive. Just as many, however, will be signing because they don't want their kids to grow up in a world in which they have to witness what one member of the movement described as "the normalised commodification of the female body." As they pointed out, it's the casualness, the ordinariness of that commodification which is disturbing and which many object to.

The biggest problem I personally have with the misuse of the female image in Tabloids is the relentless attack on women that serves to humiliate and belittle us. It worries me that whilst newspapers show pictures of men running the country, winning elections, being sporting heroes and solving the world's mysteries the first woman to be seen in a newspaper is '19 year old student, Lydia' in cheap frilly knickers or occasionally the cast of TOWIE out on a bender or a WAG will beat them to it on page two. On the other hand, some would argue that the main issue is that 'the page 3 girl' image is there for no other reason than the sexual gratification of men. Last year figures of sexual assault reached 300,000 whilst rapes reported reached 60,000. In a society where statistics have escalated to these shameful figures and 1 in 4 women would say they have been sexually assaulted in some way is it wise to be repeatedly perpetuating a notion that women are sexual objects?

If this article has made you feel extra feminist and happy to keep breasts in the bedroom and not in our news then sign the petition below and share it with your friends.

http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/dominic-mohan-take-the-bare-boobs-out-of-the-sun-nomorepage3