As an American who blogs for the UK Huffington Post, I feel compelled to write about the No More Page 3 campaign again. I've asked myself--is it my place to get involved? After all, I don't have to look at The Sun every day. Why do I feel the need to stick my nose in another country's debate about topless photos?
My own country obviously has its own media issues when it comes to how women are represented, but at least we do not have a "family" newspaper including topless photos of women. I imagine if this was going on in my own backyard I would be speaking louder and more often about the issue. After all, I have three children and I wouldn't want them to accidentally pick up a copy of The Sun and see a topless woman.
The latest changeover of editorship would have been the perfect opportunity for The Sun to turn a new page. However, for anyone hoping that new leadership at The Sun would bring a new stance on the Page 3, they will be disappointed: David Dinsmore, New Sun Editor, Says Page 3 Will Stay.
Dinsmore has stated he will keep publishing the Page 3 topless shots because naked boobs are a "good way of selling newspapers."
Interesting. If that's all it's about, I'm sure there are lots of ways to sell more newspapers. But a newspaper is supposed to provide "news," not topless women. I am not, like many of the No More Page 3 campaigners, against the models or glamour modeling in general, I'm just against these types of photos appearing in a daily newspaper.
As a former nude model and stripper, I am not a prude. I am not against adults enjoying and celebrating their sexuality. I am not even against my children seeing photos of naked people; nudity is natural. My kids see my husband and me naked all the time.
The naked body is a beautiful thing to see and celebrate, but not in a newspaper. Parents need to decide for themselves when they are going to expose their children to certain imagery. The Sun takes away that parental right by presenting questionable content and putting it into children's hands.
No responsible adult would leave out a porn magazine where a kid might pick it up, but newspapers are left out everywhere you go, so it's not as simple as saying--if you don't like it, don't look at it.
How can you not look at it when it is sitting on a table in a coffee shop? Or on the bus seat next to your child?
As Jezebel so nicely stated:
The problem isn't the female nudity specifically, but the lack of awareness (or care) on the part of powerful people in the media to recognize their ability to shape something more long-lasting than a daily opinion on local gossip. And finally, while we all could definitely get less puritanical about naked people in general, this is not equal-opportunity nudity. There are no men on Page 3 and that's got nothing to do with business but entirely with what we're used to: looking at women in a very very specific way.
If The Sun must include photos of topless women, can't it at least provide some beefcake to go along with its cheesecake?
Actually, can you imagine the uproar if men had to flip through their daily paper and see an oiled-up male model with bulging shorts? And have to sit on the bus while a woman ogled the photo?
Imagine the outrage! The disgrace!
But honestly, I'd feel more comfortable explaining to my children what a hard-on is than why there's only a half-naked woman on the page. I'd see that as progress. I'd see that as balancing out the playing field for all.