As a former topless model, I feel I have a certain perspective on the Sun's Page 3 topless women issue. When I was 18, I used nude modeling as a way to earn money to support my acting career. Was I thrilled and empowered by my job? Some days and jobs, yes, but the majority of my time was spent consumed by inner conflict about my choice.
Just because an attractive woman decides to pose topless does not mean she's happy about it, although Neil Wallis, former deputy editor of the Sun, points out a model's choice of appearing on Page 3 as a reason why it's ok. That doesn't take into consideration that many times people make bad choices based on a situation or certain pressures or seeing something as the only way out or toward a dream.
If I had had other models of female success presented to me every day as a young woman, I may have seen other possibilities and ways to feel beautiful and admired in the world rather than posing nude.
Wallis goes on to explain that the women who do buy the Sun have no problem with the Page 3 photos. Really? Has he asked them? Just because there are women who buy The Sun does not mean they are happy about having to see photos of topless women every day. Perhaps they have just come to accept this is the way their world is and there's nothing they can do about it.
Also, claiming something should continue because it is an "institution" as Wallis does is a weak argument. It was "tradition" that only men could vote or work outside the home; certainly Wallis doesn't wish for a return to this kind of thinking, does he?
And as for the argument that we would be hurting these Page 3 women by taking away their chance at a nice paycheck and a chance to feel glamorous? Umm, hello! How about instead making Page 3 an opportunity for women to feel glamorous by having their name in print--a daily chance to show off what these women can do not what they look like.
The Sun could have one day each week devoted to showcasing different talents: Monday could be budding journalist day where they highlight an investigative piece by a writer; Tuesday could highlight a visual artist with a photograph or other piece of art, Wednesday could showcase an up and coming entrepreneur; Thursday could be women making a difference; Friday could be college student of the week.
Just think of the new female readers the Sun would attract. And women would have an opportunity to earn money for something that would help them move forward with promising careers.
I'm not saying that porn and cheesecake should be banned, but it should be kept in its proper place, away from impressionable young minds. A daily newspaper that young women view needs to have encouraging and positive role models for women pictured inside.
Let's make finding an open copy of the Sun in a café an inspiring experience for women rather than a disheartening one.
Follow Sheila Hageman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SheilaMHageman