A week does not seem to pass where I don’t receive an email from petition websites either updating me on a petition I have signed or urging me to join a new cause. Suddenly everyone seems far more aware and able to change what’s going on around them. There’s a chance to easily say, ‘me too,’ against animal cruelty, evil politicians and injustices in general just by sharing a few personal details. It’s fantastic!
Upon scrolling through emails the other day I read an update from sumofus.org regarding a petition I had signed urging the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) to stop The Sun Newspaper Dream Team promotion: the chance to win a date with a Page 3 girl. The petition thankfully has prompted the ASA to put an end to this promotion. The idea of this advertising campaign not only irritates me, but it reinforces everything I feel about Page 3: that it objectifies women. Up until hearing about this petition I was starting to have doubts about my stance on Page 3, after all I am lucky enough to live in a country where I can have access to a wide range of media. I have the freedom to learn about current events, express my opinion and have others express theirs. If I were to completely discount Page 3 then I would be advocating against freedom of speech.
I have supported the NoMorePage3 (the campaign to end pictures of topless women in The Sun) since I first heard about it and have shared some of their campaign updates via my facebook page. Not long ago I did this and had a response from one of my male friends suggesting jealousy on the part of the campaigners. I felt the urge to cringe at this statement. It sparked a large debate thread with many people giving their opinions on Page 3. Unfortunately opinions were not in my favour. Many people defended the woman’s choice to model for The Sun. One woman suggested that the sun was not deliberately sexist; it simply printed topless girls on Page 3 to make more money. Some argued that page three is nothing compared to the pornographic material readily available to everyone. In my defence, a woman argued that it was just too outdated.
This debate caused me to revisit my perspective on Page 3. Maybe I should not support a campaign that essentially wants to censor media. It sounded ludicrous at first, but maybe there are women who are jealous of these models. I personally do not find the style or look of Page 3 girls appealing. My style and image is completely different to that of the models. However, some women who desire a similar look to the models may feel inadequate by comparison. Maybe Page 3 is a natural career route for some women. Should ban these women from pursuing this profession? Maybe the use of topless women in the media is simply for money making purposes and that no promotion of inequality is intended.
This inequality, however, is present. The Sun’s promotion of a date with a Page 3 girl has cemented this notion in my brain. Apparently it was stated in the promotion that:
‘We might even let you pick which one,’ in reference to the model.
If this doesn’t scream objectification I don’t know what does. The fact that a woman is offered up as a prize (along with £50 and a paint ball session) just does not sit right with me. The option of choosing the model as stated above implies a woman is as interchangeable as swapping a paintball session with laser tag.
I came to the conclusion that Page 3 should be actively protested against for the right reasons. I do not think that anyone’s career should be hindered by individuals who are envious of their achievements. If you feel this is why you do not support Page 3 then maybe your priorities are a little shallow. A woman should have the right to pursue whichever career she likes. With that being said, when Page 3 is connected with promotions such as the one mentioned, it is fairly obvious that it encourages inequality between genders by objectifying these women. This is damaging to all women and should not be tolerated. Models should demand the same amount of respect as everyone else. The Sun does not reflect that notion in this instance.
I still have mixed feelings but the fact that this promotion was even a notion at The Sun HQ: well, it definitely stinks of attitude that belongs in the 1970s.