Working at No More Page 3 HQ we get accused quite regulalrly of being many things. Feminazis, prudes, pseudo-feminists, ugly with crap tits... you get the picture.
One that pops up now and then and was indeed levelled (perhaps not directly at us) by Mr M himself was that we are "too PC". You see after appearing to suggest his disquiet with the pornographic content of his newspaper a few short weeks ago Mr Murdoch tried to calm things a little by suggesting the subsequent media frenzy was all an overreaction by the PC crew?
Hmmm... Interesting choice of words. PC... politically correct. A term so often banded about as a negative, reactionary thing but just a little bit of analysis is required to break that down... analysis and maybe a little historical knowledge.
When Page Three first came out in 1970 the moral zeitgeist was such that married women generally stayed at home and bought up the children whilst men went out to work.
Many of the Oxford colleges were not open to women, the stock exchange was not open to women. Women who were in the workplace were not well protected. Harassment and in particular sexual harassment were not covered by legislation and there were no safeguards in place if a boss or co-worker 'felt you up' (or sexually assaulted you) up against the coffee machine or work bench.
There was no come back if you were asked what colour your knickers were that day and if you were "on the rag" as you were in such a narky mood and it's not hard to believe that any woman who did try to speak up against these remarks would be seen as over sensitive or ridiculous. Here in 2013 things are different.
Whilst we know (thanks to the Everyday Sexism campaign) that sexual harassment still happens in work places it is now covered under employment law and women can seek redress in court.
When Page Three first came out in 1970 women within a marriage were still effectively the property of their husbands. Some banks still insisted on a husband or father's signature before a woman could open an account and a man could, if he chose force sex upon his wife at any time because there was no such thing as rape within marriage.
We now have laws which reflect what we now know about rape being used as a weapon against women in domestic abuse and we would never dream of suggesting that a woman who was raped by her husband was not raped BECAUSE it was her husband or that she not have her own independent financial means.
As a child in the 1970s I watched comedians such as Jim Davidson make jokes of black stereotypes and thought nothing of it at the time, as a child. That type of humour is now deplorable. It was the 1970s which allowed a prolific child abuser open access to young girls in TV studios and thought nothing of scenes openly sexualising young school girls in sit-coms and films.
I could go on all day but my point is this.
Without people standing up and pointing out how things were wrong, pointing out how people were being hurt or damaged and showing us all that we each have a responsibility to protect each other, particularly victims of abuse or harassment, repression or bigotry. Without the 'PC' people we would have made no progress whatsoever.
Times move on and things move on but not on there own. It is people that make this happen.
It is clear that within four decades our understanding of the media and its effects on society are far greater. With that knowledge comes responsiblity. Responsibility to not just mirror society with a media that reflects back to it what it already is, or gives it or what it wants but provides it with a potential rallying point and allows change of those values through education. We know the Sun already accepts this responsiblity, running many valient campaigns including support for British military personnel in action, campaigns against domestic violence and protecting children from sexual abuse.
So Mr Murdoch, I wouldn't be too quick to dismiss the PC crew as you so nicely put it, because it is the PC crew that has given society the progress it has made and stands with you in the good works of the Sun and what I ask you is the alternative?
Well, the status quo is a situation where 'supporters' of Page Three girls show their 'supportive' reason's for signing a "Keep Page 3" petition largely with combinations of the words tits, boobs and wanking material. There are also occassional references to crazy feminists and suggestions that people should leave this country the f*** alone and get rid of immigrants too.
The alternative presented here is a status quo which supports young women not surprisingly concerned about losing their percieved platform and spring board into a better life by speaking of them sometimes as beautiful, but at least as often in a derogatory fashion as wanking material and as nothing more than a sum of their body parts. If these supporters refer to their beloved Page Three girls this way how I wonder do they refer to the other women in thier lives?
One of the other big concerns with the pro-Page Three arguement is that it appears to suggest that the women would have to lose their charity work and their visits to troops? Why? Why would that have to stop? As one Twitter supporter put it - "these girls do their best work with their clothes on". I find it hard to understand why they couldn't continue this simply because they were unable to get their assets out in a family newspaper? Has the Sun lead them to believe that if they stop the soft pornography they will also have to stop the charity work?
If the constant presentation of young women in their pants day in, day out stops but their other work is supported to continue perhaps, over time, the respect for and the language used in connection with these people would improve and indeed in turn perhaps that for the rest of the female gender that these supporters meet on a daily basis. Perhaps these women will have a career that lasts more than the average four years that a glamour models does and will have something amazing to put on a CV.
My suggestion therefore Mr Murdoch, were I ever asked, would be to continue the charity work theme and indeed extend it. Open up the opportunity to talented young people, of both sexes actors, comedians, artists, musicans. Allow them to showcase their works in your newspaper and take them abroad to entertain the troops, but perthaps, just perhaps, you could stop encouraging them undress for the privilage? Just a thought but hey, maybe I'm just too PC?Suggest a correction