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 It is outdated, it is pointless and it has no place in newspapers.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.
Writer and actor Lucy-Anne Holmes started the campaign in the wake of Jessica Ennis' incredible gold win at the 2012 Olympics, an amazing feat by anyone's standards and a rare opportunity for a woman to be recognized for sporting success in a world where newspaper sports pages are dominated by the boys.
Have you ever read something you think is so outrageously wrong you have to correct it? Well, that feeling overwhelmed me when I read fellow Huffington Post UK blogger Jack Fletcher's post entitled Feminism Is For Men Too. I'm now going to spend the next few hundred words explaining and defending why not agreeing with feminism is not the same as being a misogynist.
I'm not anti-boobs. I quite like my boobs. If you want to sunbathe topless, go ahead. I think that women should be free to breastfeed in public. But there is a time and a place for boobs, and a national "family" newspaper is not it. Boobs are not news. Over half the population have them. They should not be the basis of the value women are given in the media.
Page 3 may be liberating for the models themselves, but the messages it sends out are oppressive: attractive women are thin, white, feminine and young, and women themselves are simply sexual objects. For that reason I fail to see why this feature should remain in the UK's biggest-selling newspaper where soft pornography should not even be present, unless the feature is altered to become representative of all - and I mean all - women and a male version is created.
As with just about every feminist campaign in history, it didn't take long before we found a backlash. Ours came from fellow students as well as university bodies, calling a boycott of The Sun illiberal, painting us an authoritarian, conservative voice out to censor people's freedoms at every corner. 'But what about the free press?' came the replies.