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Page 3 Is Weird and Embarrassing - Why Keep It?

Posted: 18/02/2013 16:37

As German philosopher and writer, Goethe, said "The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone"' says Amy, 19 from Hartlepool.

The fact that Amy is pictured standing on a beach in nothing but a pair of knickers clarifies the odd use of the quote - for this is no A level politics essay, it is Page 3 of Britain's best selling newspaper: The Sun.

To many, Page 3 is a daily fixture. It has launched the careers of celebrities such as Katie Price, Jodie Marsh and Samantha Fox, and while the feature - a topless girl pictured with an ironic quote - has been criticised as sexist and archaic, it remains there on the news stands, for children and adults to see.

Well, it would appear its days are numbered!

In a tweet directed at media mogul and Sun owner, Rupert Murdoch, @Kazipooh (real name Karen Mason) said "Seriously, we are all so over page 3 - it is so last century! #nomorepage3".

Remarkably, @rupertmurdoch responded directly, hinting that the feature might be on its way out: '...You maybe right [sic], don't know but considering. Perhaps halfway house with glamourous fashionistas.'

One thing is beyond doubt; the 81 year old CEO and Chairman of News Corporation knows how to judge the public mood (along with - some would argue - occasionally dictating it). The fact that there has been no credible pro Page 3 backlash indicates a wholesale shift in the national attitude.

Call me a cynic, but one reason is fairly obvious; the only place one might find fist thumping pro Page 3 rhetoric is the Sun newspaper itself, or possibly an EDL march.

That aside, the fact that people are no longer wedded to the idea of staring at bare breasts over their morning bowl of cereal is encouraging, but not surprising. The internet is awash with this kind of glamour photography so the idea that people would still consider Page 3 the go-to place to see boobs is, as @kazipooh suggests, outdated.

But this isn't what is really meant by opponents of Page 3. They're not making a claim about the market having moved online. They're making a claim about how anachronistic Page 3 is given a widely espoused, if not as widely practiced, commitment to gender equality. Page 3 is an affront to any right-minded person who shares this commitment and who understands the ways in which sex and sexual objectification have helped to maintain gender inequality. It's outdated because it manifests an attitude toward women that doesn't belong in the 21st Century (or any time, for that matter).

It's also weird and embarrassing. I grew up in a non-Murdoch house so on those occasions when there's a spare Sun lying on a train, I'll always have a read, furtively checking around before I turn that first page. It surprises me even now that we have this kind of revolting dreck littering our news stands, and that it has somehow managed to finagle its way into the public consciousness as reasonable. That it's taken the public mood 40 years to work this out is a national embarrassment.

Well, the soul who sees beauty must indeed sometimes walk alone, it seems. I look forward to the Sun catching up with @Kazipooh.

 

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