Many people will look at today's Page 3 - described by the Official Page 3 on Twitter as 'seriously sexy' - and feel uncomfortable about the inclusion of a picture of an innocent baby. It is the Sun newspaper which needs to be held to account for being the first to include a picture of a newborn in a sexualised soft porn image. A new line has been crossed and it represents a disturbing new low for the British press.
The tone and style of The Sun, and other tabloids, is family friendly. They attract the attention of parents and children with holiday giveaways, Disney and theme-park promotions, etc on their covers. They are aimed at the man/woman in the street, light in tone and "matey" in style. This is what makes the problem so insidious.
I have never seen so much confusion surrounding a campaign than 'No More Page 3' (NMP3). Yes, I am young and not world weary, but as a supporter of the cause I have certainly grown weary of the misconceptions and the false assumptions about what the organisers are saying. So I propose to tell you exactly what the campaign is NOT...
This month The Sun newspaper started a new campaign that attempted to set Page 3 up as a supporter of breast cancer charities. This involved a front page featuring a topless model, with a commentary of how to check breasts for potentially cancerous lumps and suggestions of what to name your breasts.
With the common mantra that "sex sells" and the idea that we have now reached a cultural peak of sexual openness and opportunity, a so-called 'post-feminist' outlook might argue that women today are now more sexually empowered to make a broader range of sexual choices. But whilst it's laudable that women are allowed to be sexual and openly enjoy sex; surely empowerment would be doing that on our own terms?
I've been pondering all day, why exactly this makes me feel (and believe me I've tried to think of a more erudite word) icky. It's sneaky and manipulative; it's a way of getting page 3 onto the front cover by pretending to care about female health, but more than that, the linking of a life threatening disease with cheap titillation is horrible.
Dear Mr. Dinsmore, Am I being naïve to suppose that you will read this letter or that it will matter at all to you? Probably. Considering that 135,708 people have signed a petition asking you to do away with the daily degradation in your newspaper that is Page 3 and still you have not responded, I very much doubt that this one letter will make you change your mind. But I'm going to try.
Yes, Page Three should go. It is outdated, it is pointless and it has no place in newspapers. It is demeaning, not just for the women on the page, but for the men, women, boys and girls who have to see it. It should go. But banning the publication and taking away basic human rights to a free press for one bad page isn't the way forward.
2013 was the year the NUS decided enough was enough for 'lad culture'. Their "That's what she said" report sparked a new wave of feminism on campuses across the UK, bursting with students ready to put down their razors, bin their copy of The Sun (or at least Page 3) and tell their student union to pull the plug on Blurred Lines.