Yesterday's win for No More Page 3 was a milestone for equality but I spent the afternoon in isolation on Whore Island. Having championed the victory in an interview on BBC London I arrived at work feeling jubilant, before the office equivalent of Ron Burgundy showered shit on my parade. As a former Playboy Bunny he told me my support for the campaign was ironic and hypocritical and that I should, "be quiet. Just be quiet, I don't want to talk to you." Because that's the intelligent manner in which managers debate current affairs with the only woman in the team.
For anyone who hasn't grasped the significance of the campaign, it's this: Page 3 perpetuates the idea that women should be seen and not heard. That women should look pretty and just, "be quiet."
Lucy-Anne Holmes was inspired to launch No More Page 3 during the 2012 Olympics. Jessica Ennis had won a record breaking gold for Britain, yet The Sun's most prominent picture of a woman wasn't Ennis, but Emily, a topless model on Page 3. This epitomised the paper's dismissal of what women bring to the table and highlighted the value placed on appearance and sex appeal to men.
In the context of a family newspaper, the image of a nearly naked woman, in a sexually available pose, normalises and gives legitimacy to the objectification of women. Objects have neither voice nor autonomy. They aren't valued for what they say or do, they simply exist to be looked at, to have things done to them, to just, "be quiet."
Four decades of The Sun's misogyny has ingrained this attitude in everyday life. It's not only Page 3 models who are objectified, it's women in offices, restaurants, academia and every other walk of day to day life, regardless of the irrelevancy of appearance to do the job.
Men who wouldn't win a prize at Crufts feel entitled to judge the appearance of women and find them lacking, as if they've wilfully failed to conform to conventional standards of beauty out of spite. Men who might easily be mistaken for Dobby the House Elf, feel wronged when the office isn't staffed with eye candy of a standard they deem high enough.
When Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at Cambridge, ambled into the public eye to present a documentary for the Beeb, she seemed oblivious to her obligation to be young and conventionally attractive. Causing further affront, she seemed to imagine she could be taken seriously as an expert in her field. Hadn't she read The Sun's News in Briefs? Wasn't she aware that the idea of a woman voicing an informed opinion in the public sphere was just a Very Funny Joke?
Beard was shot down for this crimes-against-femininity-double-whammy and vilified as, "an embarrassment to womankind." Magnanimously, Mary took this one for the team, saying she was glad she had put herself out there because, "there are kids who turn on these programmes and see there's another way of being a woman."
Mary can hang out with me on Whore Island with all the other smelly pirate hookers. But she'll have to wait 'til later. Right now I have to put my knickers on and make someone a cup of tea.