Hello there minions! I have deemed it appropriate to engage with you all again from my ivory tower in order to tell you all what to think. Yes, that's it folks, here I sit with my manicure and my privilege and tell you what is right and what is wrong and detest the human form, loathe sex and want to deprive the average working class man who has rightfully earned his daily breasts. What a detestable bore I must be, what a killjoy?
Here's a spanner in your particulars... I might just be from a working class background? Maybe I grew up with a workshop engineer Dad, who brought home The Sun, had Linda Lusardi on his wall and did a part time bar job as well to make ends meet. I might be a full time nurse with two kids (and very unmanicured, short nails, hey that's infection control folks), just about managing to keep the end terrace I bought thanks to having no pay rise for over 3 years. It could be that despite being ridiculously busy already, I feel passionately about trying to change the world for my two children. So that by the time my daughter reaches the age of my son's female Facebook friends she won't feel she has to pout, arch her back and show cleavage in every profile picture, or be lying in her underwear with her boyfriend's name scrawled across her thigh in marker pen like a brand. Just perhaps seeing a young woman in just her pants, in the newspaper everyday affected me as a child and still does and perhaps I want a better future?
I'd hate to misrepresent myself however, it's not all beans on toast and austerity, I do get out. This week for example, I met up with some of my colleagues from NMP3HQ and we visited Claire Short at the Commonwealth Club in London. It was quite posh. We were all a little nervous and in awe of this extraordinary woman who stood up in the 80's, unnoticed by me, a child at the time and opposed the Sun's page 3 . She was brave and was abused and bullied as a result and I wish I had known and understood then what she was trying to do for me and for society. I can truly say she was one of the most approachable and down to earth people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Our discussion with her lasted an hour, she bought us coffee, it was lighthearted, it was funny and we left with a long list of things to consider, some possible allies we might approach and some brave moves that may be required. For me however the biggest take home message from the entire meeting was this - that with this campaign we are already making an important difference. That the most important thing is not just the end point of an end to page 3, it is the journey. It's the voices of men, womenand girls who have joined ours and continue to join ours and be heard. It's the "ping" of recognition when somebody realises how this has affected them and how it continues to affect them, how it has informed and reinforced a certain attitude in society. It is the recognition that, even in a sea or pornographic imagery, removing page 3 would be significant.
While we were at the lovely commonwealth club Mr Murdoch it seems, from somewhere in one of his houses in one of his countries, sat at one of his PCs and did a tweet.
Interesting....I wonder how much thought he gave that? But hey, let's not poo poo it, he doesn't tweet often, lets take a moment and look at these words. "Is anybody complaining a reader" he asks. Well...the petition now has over 100 000 signatures and in all honesty we have no idea how many are Sun readers, we know some are. We all have experience of Sun readers anecdotally telling us they don't like it on the street etc. and a YouGov pole dated from October 2012 (when this campaign was in its infancy) may have suggested 60% of readers wanted to keep it, but it also showed (even then) that 24% of the Sun's own readership wanted it gone and 16% didn't know. To be honest, in a time when newspaper readership can be hard to hold onto if 40% of your readership are either opposed to or indifferent to something I'd say that's not to be ignored. I can't help but wonder as well, what affect a little education and information on the matter might have had on that? Was this what us nurses like to call "an informed choice"? The Sun is very good at it's "Justice campaigns", perhaps if it raised awareness of some of the damaging affects of page 3 or maybe even showed just some of the news about this campaign which it has so far chosen to completely ignore, such the Girl Guides backing us. If they shared these things perhaps opinion may begin to change? Just a thought. Not that I'm suggesting for a moment that The Sun is being selective about what it chooses to report...surely not....that could be classed as censorship.
So anyway, sorry Mr Murdoch...you were saying... ah yes "complaining about page 3 pix".You mean these naked, post watershed, sexualised, airbrushed photographs of young women in the newspaper with no relation to a story of any sort? Those "pix"? Yes, we're not very happy about them (although the News in Briefs caption which appears to insult the model and the readers intelligence alike does seem to upset a lot of people too). Mr Mohan made them sound like so much more than just "pix" though? An "institution" he said, an "icon"? I remember it well because my experience of visitors to the country is that they are generally shocked and appalled at page 3 and considering we've just hosted one of the most successful Olympics there has ever been I personally prefer that legacy, maybe that's just me?...Oh no sorry...it's not just me....going back to that poll, it seemed 49% of all of those polled wanted page 3 gone and I'm just guessing here but if I was educating a foreign friend about Great Britain I'd be inclined to focus on the GREAT. The British institutions.. The NHS (while we have it........sore point) pasties, cream teas, Irony and humour, custard pie fights...The very last thing I would draw their attention to is the embarrassment that is the Tits in the paper. Just a thought....
Moving on ....Oooo yes.....and this is my favourite bit "Enough of this elitist nonsense"........Wow! I mean WOW!! To be called elitist by a billionaire owner of one of the biggest news industries in the world, one of the most powerful men in the world....."elite".....us?...really?
Oh dear, once again it seems we are having the tired old class argument *Yawn*. The same old rubbish Richard Caseby tried to suggest, that NMP3 is a bunch of middle class "wimin" having a silly moan...now just wait a minute...
There are over 100 000 signatures on the NMP3 petition (sorry, I do love saying that) from all walks of life. The social media gives us voices from middle and working class, males, young teens, middle aged and older people. Within the team at HQ there are 12 including one man, ranging in age from late teens to mid-fifties. Lots of us have grown up with pg 3 and similar, many of us in working class households. We, as thousands of other women and girls, while our bodies were taking womanly shape, had in our home, day on day images of posed, passive, apparently perfect women reaffirming to us the way we were supposed to turn out and telling us in no uncertain terms that our sexual availability was the most important thing about us. It wasn't just us that learnt that lesson, the boys learnt it too. Through our lives we've had boys at school, men on the street, in bars and workplaces reinforcing this view of women for us over and over and over again - with street harassment and sexist, derogatory comments, with repetitive casual sexual assaults that others laughed off and accepted or asked us to take as a compliment. Did Mr Murdoch's daughters grow up with these influences? Did they have page 3 in their living room? Will Mr Mohan's daughters see it every day? Or like Mr David Banks (another ex-deputy editor) revealed in a radio interview a couple of months ago, will their wives insist it isn't bought home as it isn't appropriate for the children? I wonder if any of the Murdoch family will travel to work with people overtly ogling naked teenagers quite openly in public and with total license, because they have not opened a top shelf magazine or clicked Porn Hub on their mobile but are simply "reading the paper"?
Sorry, forgive me Mr Murdoch, who is it that is being elitist here? If it's not good enough for your family homes then why is it ok for you to keep sending it into the homes of the Sun readers who are predominantly working class? Do their children., their daughters and wives not matter? Should they not be afforded some respect? Why did the Sun's deputy editor reply to a male member of parliament but Mr Mohan felt it ok to ignore a letter from the entire Girl guide movement? Why do some police stations not have the Sun on the premises? Why is it that access to the Page 3 website is now restricted by the military, who have a multitude of female staff and recently publicised problems with sexual harassment? When 11 universities decide it is no longer fitting in their equal learning environment to stock The Sun and when a petition and a social movement, that attracts people from every conceivable background, begins to point out, NO SHOUT OUT, that enough is enough, perhaps, just perhaps this is not elitist nonsense? Perhaps we all want something really simple, a media that sees and represents women for what they do and what they are - wives, daughters, mothers, police, nurses, politicians, musicians, footballers, athletes and sometimes glamour models, from all social classes. Because, Mr Murdoch, every single one of us, no matter what our background, deserves that respect..... just saying.