THE BLOG

Why I'll Never Stop Being an Opinionated Woman

23/01/2015 17:24 GMT | Updated 25/03/2015 09:59 GMT

I had an eating disorder growing up. And I think in part it was due to my confusion about what it meant to be a woman. I looked around at my teenage counterparts, all thongs and flirtation, and I wondered why I didn't feel right.

As puberty hit it became abundantly clear that as a girl it wasn't my role to be funny or charismatic, that was a job for the boys.

This sentiment was echoed by a boyfriend many years later, who - when questioned whether I was funny - awkwardly concluded that I "didn't need to be". Needless to say that relationship didn't last very long.

At university I was told on countless occasions that my opinions were 'too strong' or I was met with an eye-roll when I questioned the inherently sexist lad culture. Although I'd secretly identified as a feminist around the time Destiny's Child were Writing on the Wall, I'd been conditioned to feel like it was something to be ashamed of.

This week's news of Page 3's fall and sneering re-birth was a proverbial two fingers up to every woman who'd made their voices heard. When The Sun's Head of PR Dylan Sharpe tweeted this, any doubt of their hatred for all-things-woman-and-opinions perished.

Of course feminists got the brunt of the mocking; we personify everything that women aren't supposed to be. Strong, opinionated and curious.

For me it's more about the context of the pictures. The Sun is supposed to be a news publication and topless women simply aren't news. And there's an alarming disparity of how they portray women and men. The news about men is about their achievements.

And then there's women, all nipples and smiles.

It gives the message to readers that men do all the stuff and women are simply there to be observed. Or perved at, whichever.

There's a big difference between the freedom of women to express their bodies however they wish (which feminism fully supports) and objectification. Page 3 reduces women to their anatomy - which is dehumanising- and if we're no longer seen as humans?

Well, that's where it gets disturbing.

I don't think that Page 3 happens in some kind of a vacuum - the objectification of women it promotes has an impact on society. And I fully embodied that impact growing up.

Page 3 is not to blame for my eating disorder. Mental illness is complex, believe me, I get that.

But Page 3 does champion a very narrow definition of beauty and womanhood. Women are at liberty to express their sexuality in whichever way they choose, but the women pictured on Page 3 may as well have been cut with a cookie-cutter. Show me a curvy woman or - god forbid - a man on Page 3, and I'll eat my Caitlin Moran book.

I will always support a woman's right to do what she wants with her body. Just please, don't do it and call it news.

So excuse me if I don't stop being an opinionated woman. Sorry if I don't burn my Sociology Degree certificate (along with the bras, of course) because my feminism offends you.

I won't always be demure and I certainly won't be silent.

You know why? Because neither are men.