The Blog

A Letter to David (Happy Birthday No More Page 3)

You are underestimating your impact David, why? You edit the best selling UK paper. Everything in this paper has a potentially massive reach. The inclusion of sexualised images of women here has a different impact to similar images in other publications.

So let me explain - David Dinsmore and I have been having a chat for a few weeks now.

...Well....I mean that in the loosest possible sense. I have been emailing and he has

David replied to me once to politely say thanks but I probably won't change my mind and to tell me he doesn't get weekends off. Worryingly he also more recently told my NMP3 colleague Sarah (in the midst of a rather offhand reply to a very heartfelt email) that they don't get holidays!? Gosh!! Either the Sun really are practising sort of archaic slave labour where nobody goes home ever or somebody somewhere is fibbing a bit?

I for one am close to encouraging Dave to make a claim against Rupert under the Working Time Directive because surely after explaining that our campaign team consists of people trying to jam in volunteering for an incredibly busy campaign which has no powerful or financial backing along with busy jobs (including some jobs involving international travel, an NHS nurse and in some cases 2 or more jobs) juggling childcare and young families, running marathons for charities etc. etc. Surely Mr editor isn't suggesting that his time is more precious than any of ours is he? Anyway....I digress...

Where was I...oh yes...

David, oh dear. You seem to be under the impression that if you put the right dismissive words in the right order we will all realise we could be doing more important things and go away and leave you alone. Lets be clear about this now shall we "to save you any further effort" we're not going anywhere!

We're not going anywhere David because this is not just about a bit of "Twitter banter", it is about the women and girls of this country having equal representation in the media. It is a social movement that is building momentum that will eventually become so obvious, that unless you make changes you will look ridiculously out of touch. It is about stopping the practice of presenting women stereotypically as an airbrushed, usually thin, usually white, big breasted, standard of perfection that none of us will ever live up to, because it doesn't exist even for the models featured.

We're not going anywhere because it's about not putting sexualised images of women like this in newspapers where it normalises them and where they are completely out of context. Where they appear in just their pants with a sexy smile or pout next to men in suits running the country or achieving in sport.

We're not going anywhere because over 115 000 people have come and added their voice and so have over 40 groups and organisations and 140 MPs representing their constituency, teachers, public sector workers, school girls and boys, the girl guides that you claim to be a fan of. If you are a fan then hear them David, listen to what they have to say, or have you become a victim of you own propaganda and believe young women don't have voices and are only there to look pretty?

We acknowledge this is not easy, we recognise page 3 has been, as you say, "a pillar of the paper" but I completely disagree that the majority of "the readers (both male and female) like it". In the poll you are presumably referring to only 61% of Sun readers asked wanted to keep it and this survey was taken in October of 2012. It was taken without any prior discussion of all the issues with page 3, which I have tirelessly explained to you over the last 3 weeks in my emails. Those asked had not seen the evidence and the stories that the campaign and its supporters have shared in blogs and poems and comedy sketches and stand up routines and art and songs and flash mobs over the last year.

However, even before all of that had really got started 40% either wanted it to go or were indifferent! 40% of Sun readers, without any sense of what we in the NHS like to call "informed consent" said they'd be happy to see it go or didn't care less and in the general population only 32% wanted to keep it. It's not known how many readers you could theoretically lose but have you considered how many would you might gain and, with a little education, how many readers would stay and accept it as a progress they could embrace.

So there you are whilst we too are not insane enough to consider Page 3 of the Sun "the basis of all evil" we do see an end to page 3 as a significant move towards equality in the UK. One that will help women and girls to be taken more seriously and help men and boys appreciate women for all that they are and all they can be. You are underestimating your impact David, why? You edit the best selling UK paper. Everything in this paper has a potentially massive reach. The inclusion of sexualised images of women here has a different impact to similar images in other publications. In magazines or websites that must be sought out or bought with a desire to look at this. You give these sexy shots pride of place, amongst the news. You make the objectification of women not a cheeky lad mag or porn mag moment that boys and men might have in quiet but a newsworthy item they can be proud of in public. You invite into workplaces, onto public transport, into cafe's and playbarns. You put it into family homes with teasers for theme parks and toys and stories of boy bands featured on the very page families may wish young daughters to avoid. You perpetuate amongst male readers a perception that sexualised young women who are always "up for it" are as commonplace as the crossword and TV listings. It doesn't make for a particularly respectful attitude towards women David with some of those men and we have seen real evidence of that in the trolling we have received from the fans of page 3 and in the comments left under models pictures online and even on the petition attempting to save page 3.

So my parting shot David in this email will be to share with you some of the attitudes which the young men who so love page 3 display towards women and even towards the women on page 3 whom they claim to love and defend. I hope you feel able to accept your share of responsibility for perpetuating these attitudes?

These quotes are all from the Pro Page 3 petition, some may have since been deleted -

"I like to find a private place and "appreciate" the girl of the day." - Jason L

"I like looking at girls titties." - Luke W

"Top girl's getting their tits out,what more can I say" - Andrew M

"i like seeing the big round boobies". - Declan

"Boobs" - Jack H

"Tits" - tony M

"we need dem boobs" - Jonny C

"Women are the most beautiful beings in the universe so, why dontu you keep showing some of their gifts." - Eduard Pinzon-Valdez

"It displays the human body , a masterpiece in all its glory ... While providing chugging material" - Ben M

"Because whats so wrong with nice boobs anyway, jealous bitches are the ones who want it gone." - Danielle S

"Cause those dyke bitches can go get a big fat one upm them they wished they looked as good as the girls from page 3 the jealous lemon lickes" - Jason K

"wanking material" - Dave L

"This country needs to stop making stupid changes- keep page 3; get rid of immigrants and we will be back to a country to be proud of!!!?" - Lauren F

"C==========3" - Alessandro S

"Tits or GTFO". - Justin F

Are the attitudes of these young men some thing the Sun is proud of David? Are these the values you hope to instil? Is this the "Great Britain" The Sun is so proud of?

I suppose you're probably far too busy to answer

Best Wishes,


PS - Happy Birthday No More Page 3 :)