THE BLOG

Let's Stop Pretending Page 3 Isn't Porn

14/06/2013 15:07 BST | Updated 14/08/2013 10:12 BST

Yesterday, Paul Connew, "a former redtop editor," wrote a piece in the guardian where he criticised the No More Page 3 campaign for being "tedious and... disproportionate in 2013"

because, he claimed, we aren't tackling the "real issue" of internet pornography.

Well I can assure you Paul Connew, and anyone else who holds this view, that the No More Page 3 campaign is deeply concerned about internet pornography. On Wednesday we attended the event Generation XXX: How to save our children from the dangers of internet porn. The event was hosted by Eleanor Mills, associate editor of the Sunday Times. Were you there Paul? I didn't see you.

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John Woods, a psychotherapist from the Portman Clinic where people with extreme pornography addictions can get help, spoke about the urgency of this problem. He said we are in the 'midst of a social experiment' the outcome of which is looking bleak.

The problem of internet pornography is more complicated than might first be thought. There is a very valid question about why so many young people think it is acceptable to seek out pornography in the first place? Pornography has seeped into our society in many different guises and in order to address this problem we need to look at society as a whole and not just view the many referrals to the Portman Clinic are as a result of an unregulated internet when in fact the problem is deeper routed in our society.

What is "tedious and disproportionate in 2013" is the fact that page 3 is still in existence. How can anyone begin to combat the colossal problem of internet pornography when our biggest selling national newspaper is normalising soft porn on it's third page on a daily basis. Feminists would much rather be pouring all our energies into combating the deeply misogynistic pornography available on the internet, but we can't because the basic human right battle of getting the media to regard us as human beings and not as sex objects is so far from being won.

As the wonderful Gail Dines said on Wednesday, "the men might not know this, but feminists are your best friend. We are the only ones routing for your humanity. We are the only ones who believe that you are worth better than pornography." Perhaps Paul Connew's efforts would be better spent supporting our efforts and helping us tackle these issues, than to criticise us.

The problem with Connew's argument is that Page 3 is very much a part of the problem of the pornification of British culture. On the surface a woman with her top off in a newspaper might appear a million miles away from the extremities of the Gonzo porn that is likely to pop up on a computer if one types "pornography" into google. However they are all part of the same "Porn Culture" that is the subject of Dine's book "Pornland." A woman posing in a sexually provocative way without her clothes on is a pornographic image. It might be on the softer end of the scale but the fact remains it is porn and should not be placed within the context of a newspaper.

Proof that page 3 is porn has come to us in the form of many supporters who have told us their porn addictions began by being exposed to page 3. Supporter Andrew left this reason for signing on the No More Page 3 petition: "Pornography ruined my life and I'm only 22. It ruined my relationship, it distorted my view of women, it ruined my whole mentality leading me to harm the lives of many young girls already in my life and it all began when I was a little boy much younger than 10 and saw page 3. Destroy this page before it ruins anymore young lives." If we are to prevent more people like Andrew moving on to online porn, then we need to look at the basic ways our society sends out messages that viewing pornography is an acceptable pastime.

As a society we need to tackle the problem of pornography on all levels. We need to look at why teenagers are actively seeking pornography as we are yet to learn the true implications of a society full of people that have had their sexuality forced onto them by pornographers rather than to have developed naturally through learnt experience.

We, at the No More Page 3 Campaign, are pleased that people like Andrew feel they can come to us to share their stories. We are proud that we have provided a place where people feel safe and secure and the fact that they do come to us shows that our efforts are not "misguided." But we are also aware that a lot more needs to be done.

As John Woods said, "a society that turns a blind eye to the problem of pornography is like a parent turning a blind eye to their child being abused" and I can assure you that at the No More Page 3 Campaign we are not turning a blind eye.

You can sign the petition here:

www.change.org/nomorepage3

If interested you can read Paul Connew's article here- but I must warn you it is full of inaccuracies. Caroline Lucas is a supporter of the campaign and not the campaign's "leader." Also we are not asking for a ban we are asking The Sun simply to remove Page 3 as a mark of respect for humanity. Here it is:

http://m.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/13/page-3-internet-porn-damages-young-minds