No More Page Three – Frequently Asked Questions
What we’d like to do is persuade you that it is totally reasonable to ask David Dinsmore to take the bare boobs out of the Sun.
As a growing campaign we get asked a lot of the same questions, which is absolutely fine, but as we’re all volunteers we don’t always have lots of time to give to answer as thoroughly as we’d like.
This document answers some of the most frequently asked questions, but if you feel you would like more clarity please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org where we can answer more thoroughly than we can on Twitter or Facebook
Q. Who is behind No More Page Three?
A. The founder of the campaign is writer and actor Lucy Anne Holmes, who started it because she became sad that the most prominent photograph of a woman in the widest circulation British newspaper is of a young woman in just her pants. The campaign has been very popular and soon became busy, and so a team was formed. The team is forever growing and changing but you can read more about its current members and find out who is closest to you here.
Collectively we call ourselves No More Page 3 HQ (NMP3HQ)
Q. So why are you trying to get Page Three banned?
A. Actually we aren’t. NMP3 isn’t asking for censorship, or for an Act of Parliament to force the editor of The Sun to scrap Page 3.
NMP3 is asking, politely that Page 3 be removed voluntarily.
A better question would be – why do you want to see an end to Page 3?
Q. Why do you want to see an end to page 3?
A. We thought you’d never ask…
There are a number of reasons why we think page 3 should go:
1. It is very sexist – The biggest picture of a woman in any paper most days is one of a very young woman in just her pants. In a newspaper this appears next to lots of pictures with news of men in suits or sports clothes doing things. The Page 3 picture isn’t about any news story and the model doesn’t speak at all.
This picture is just inside the front cover of the biggest selling newspaper. The front pages is where all the most important news gets put. By putting a picture here of a woman in just her pants the newspaper is telling its readers that what is really most important about women is the way they look and their sexual allure. It doesn’t care what they have to say, what their achievements or talents are.
In a country where we want men and women to be treated equally, having pictures like this in our biggest selling papers makes it much more difficult for women to be taken seriously and when young boys or girls see this, what does it teach them about women’s place in society? Perhaps that men make the news through their actions whilst women stand around looking sexy.
2. Children can see Page 3 at any time – Lots of people take newspapers into public places and also into their family homes where they would be far less likely to take magazines containing similar images such as porn or lads mags.
When children watch TV we have a watershed so that we know that things shown after 9pm may contain sex, nudity and swearing. When we watch a movie with children there are certificates to help us decide if the content is appropriate. When buying newspapers there is no age at which you can’t buy, whilst porn mags have to be placed on the top shelf. The Page 3 pictures are therefore placed on bottom shelves next to other papers and children’s comics etc. Not only this but the Sun actively markets itself as a family newspaper. It advertises on children’s television and includes holiday and toy promotions as well as features and competitions about boy bands etc.
Studies show that seeing these type of pictures is not good for children. We don’t think there is anything wrong with children seeing nudity, such as seeing parents or family naked, or people on the beach or in changing rooms for example. Images like Page 3 are different. Children know what newspapers are and what they are for, they aren’t expecting a sexual image. These pictures are sexual. The models are posed in a way to make the reader think they want to have sex with them and children can tell the difference. Young girls who see these pictures are more likely to grow up thinking they should get their clothes off for men. They are more likely to accept and take on the image of being a sex object.
Young boys who see these pictures are less likely to treat women and girls with respect. They are more likely to think of women and girls as less than human and as a result to treat women and girls in a derogatory way and not worry about hurting them.
3. It is sooooo… outdated! – The Daily Mirror used to feature topless Page 3 girls in the 1970s. It dropped the feature in the 1980s because it realised that, culturally, the rest of Britain had moved on, and to keep on featuring bare breasts in a family newspaper would make it look like a dinosaur.
Page 3 comes from an era of Jimmy Savile, the Benny Hill show and On the Buses. It mocks and disrespects women just like racist features like the Black and White Minstrel Show and golliwogs used to mock people of colour. The world and its moral perspective have moved on and we think it’s time the Sun did the same and brought its readers with it.
Q. What right do you have to tell a commercial business how it should run? Surely if Sun readers were so disgusted by Page 3 they would stop buying it?
A. Well, the Human Rights Act allows us the right to free speech and peaceful protest; the people who support No More Page 3 are merely exercising that right.
All we are doing is asking The Sun to stop showing the bare breasts of young women in a family newspaper.
Perhaps another question could be ‘what right did the Sun have in 1970 to start showing pictures of naked 16-year-old girls?’ (it was only in 2003 that the models had to be 18).
We think a lot of people buy the Sun for lots of different reasons and many readers we have asked have said they would continue to buy it without page 3. The Sun is considered by many a light hearted easy read with good sports coverage. Perhaps it could use page 3 to showcase women’s sport, as at present that only makes up 5% of sports coverage overall.
Q. Is this campaign prudish/Are you anti-sex/Are you offended by bare breasts?
A. Nooooo to all of those
None of us are offended by breasts, after all many of us are women so that would make life awfully difficult for us wouldn’t it?! We are not anti-sex or against expressing sexuality.
What is offensive about page 3 is the message it sends about women.
We know that one way in which societies have, in the past, kept any section subjugated and in their place has been by presenting them as less than human, as a tool to be used, as inert and passive, as interchangeable, as vulnerable to violence and defenceless against violation, as something to be owned and lacking any autonomy. Page 3 fits most of these criteria.
Overwhelmingly, Page 3 shows us only one limited type of beauty too – usually very slim, mostly white and with very large rounded breasts. If this feature was there to celebrate the naked human form then we feel it should include a far more diverse group of people – male, female, black, white, able-bodied and disabled with far more varied sizes, shapes and dimensions of everything including breasts. We’ve spoken to so many people who have said that they don’t even want to get naked in front of their partners because they feel apologetic they don’t look like Page 3 models, and teenagers who haven’t even finishing developing but want breast enhancement because they feel they should look like the models on Page 3. The Sun has even printed articles about ‘Perfect Breasts’ where a plastic surgeon explains what the perfect breast is like.
We think page 3 in its current form doesn’t help us celebrate our own bodies or our own nudity. For some it makes it more difficult to do so because we are made to feel that we don’t measure up.
Q. Is there any political or religious affiliation behind No More Page Three?
A. No. We are a feminist campaign and are lucky enough have the backing of religious and none-religious people, men and women from all backgrounds. We also have the backing of cross-party MPs and many groups and organisations but there is no particular guiding philosophy, other than respect for women and the desire for equal representation for women in the media.
Q. So… if you don’t like it, don’t buy it…
A. The Sun, unlike ‘Lads’ Mags’ and other magazines, has a circulation of about two million copies a day, and our supporters tell us they regularly see copies in restaurants, takeaways, pubs, on buses and trains, in workplace canteens and common rooms.
Our society has for over 40 years accepted the sexism of Page 3 as a normal part of life. In so doing it has accepted as normal the belittling of women. We feel this may have encouraged an attitude in society that women are, first and foremost, sexual objects; that women’s appearance should be judged and their breasts or other body parts may be seen as public property or open to comment. Page 3’s inclusion in a publication which seeks to inform society might be encouraging behaviours such as street harassment and comments such as “Look at the tits on that”. Readers are being conditioned to view women as objects, as “that” rather than a person. Evidence shows that this objectification may also make violence against women more common.
We believe that newspapers shouldn’t reinforce sexism any more than they should reinforce racism or homophobia. Us not buying the Sun will not stop us seeing Page 3 in public and it will not stop the reinforcement of these sexist attitudes in society. By raising awareness of these problems we have a greater chance of making people think twice about buying and reading the Sun and forcing the much-needed and long overdue change.
Q. You are just jealous because you don’t look like the women on Page 3!
A. Not many women do, and the men we know don’t have perfect bodies either. Images like Page 3 promote unrealistic ideals of perfection that are unattainable by most. The models are professionally made up, highly groomed, posed and lit just like magazines and the image is very likely to be airbrushed (although we cannot say for definite as they do not have to reveal this information) so not even the model looks quite like the picture.
To be frank what we look like and what any woman looks like isn’t relevant to this argument. Appearance isn’t the most important thing about women, and Page 3 (amongst other influences) teaches society that a woman’s worth is all about the way she looks and her sexual availability to men. We like to think that actually a woman’s worth is about her achievements, aspirations, values, and relationships, just the same as a man’s. It would be nice if these other values could be celebrated in newspapers more.
Q. Do you want to get rid of all pornography?
A. Pornography is a huge subject and often the way most of it portrays women is not good. We have backed a campaign against “rape porn” as we feel very strongly that this should not be freely available online. NMP3 are not however, as a campaign, getting into a larger debate against pornography as a whole.
We do feel strongly that any pornography should be age restricted and that adults should have to make a conscious choice to look at it rather than falling upon it in The Sun or similar by accident. In a newspaper lots of people who don’t want to see it at all may be exposed to it and may be made to feel uncomfortable.
This is not an anti-porn campaign, it’s a campaign against sexualized images of women being acceptable daily content for a family newspaper.
Boobs aren’t news!
Q. Surely Page 3 is not important. Why don’t you concentrate on getting rid of online/hardcore pornography?
A. Some studies show that 88% of porn shows acts of physical aggression towards women and many of the teachers who have signed the No More Page 3 petition have mentioned their fear at how widely available online porn is impacting on boys’ behaviour towards young girls.
But Page 3 is connected to all of this.
When we show a passive, naked available woman in a family newspaper, what are we teaching young boys about how to respect women? What are we teaching little girls about where their value lies?
A young girl being coerced into sexting a picture of her breasts, for example, will look about at the society she lives in and say ‘should I do this?’ Page 3 being in a newspaper tells her that this is ultimately what she’s here for.
Page 3 disempowers women and girls, and makes them more susceptible to the impact of online porn and its pressures. If we want to stop the online and harder porn being normalised we have to first address the way women are portrayed in the mainstream. If we portray women as equals the hardcore porn that treats them as less than that will seem less acceptable.
Q. Nobody is forcing these women to model for Page Three. Aren’t you going to put glamour models out of a job when they are only trying to make a living?
A. There are generally very few page 3 models at one time and most of them do other work as well as Page 3, working free-lance in the industry for many publications and websites.
This campaign is not about the models on the page, but society as a whole. The editorial decision to place these pictures out of context in a newspaper lies with the Sun and its editorial team. We don’t aim to dissuade any glamour models from pursuing their career but we do think sexualized images should be in adult publications. Perhaps “Page 3″ would be more appropriate as an age restricted website or a top shelf publication?
The feature of Page 3 has succeeded in promoting glamour modelling as an aspirational career choice for young women in the UK over many years, reaching lots of young girls in their family homes. We think that it might be nice to promote some other career choices that showcase women’s talents and abilities.
We have a number of current and ex models who have supported the campaign and there are some quotes and accounts from glamour models here
Q. Haven’t you got bigger problems to think about? World hunger, war, climate change… by comparison, this is trivial, you should stop wasting time on it.
A. We think the way that the UK media portrays women is an important issue. We believe the media doesn’t just mirror society but confirms and reinforces certain attitudes in it. The media plays a big part in shaping men’s attitudes to women, and women’s attitudes to themselves and that is very important to the way we all behave towards ourselves and each other.
As for other causes – well, just because you support this one doesn’t mean you can’t support many others. Some of our supporters are very active in other important campaigns. Everybody has different priorities, we wouldn’t dream of asking other campaigns to stop because we think this is more important and we ask you to afford us the same respect.
Q. I bet if it was half-naked, sexy men on Page 3 you wouldn’t complain. What about torso of the week/the diet coke advert/David Beckham ads?
A. Sometimes people mention features like ‘Torso of the Week’ as though that makes the situation somehow equal but there is no male equivalent to Page 3. A topless man pictured in a weekly magazine with a relatively low circulation doesn’t come close to a daily topless woman in a newspaper that reaches millions every day. These images are also not placed amongst serious news.
A topless man is very different in our society, we see topless men on the TV before the watershed or going about their business in the summer. But we don’t see topless women in the same way. A child looking at Torso of the Week in Heat magazine wouldn’t find it nearly as odd as seeing a picture of a woman in her knickers, amidst page after page of pictures of men in clothes doing things like running the country and achieving in sport in a newspaper. Men are also not posed as passive and sexually available and willing as the Page 3 models are. Breasts are secondary sexual characteristics which a male torso is not, so there is nothing sexually revealing about a topless man.
That being said many people who support No More Page 3 don’t like Torso of the Week either.
We are seeing more and more objectification of men nowadays, so it is hardly surprising that we also are seeing a rise in eating disorders and body dysmorphia amongst young men.
We’d like both women and men to be treated with respect, so “getting our own back” by ogling photos of men is not a great idea. Two wrongs don’t make a right!
In addition it is important to consider that women have been treated in a derogatory way and had less rights in our society for centuries. They are also far more likely to be the victim of rape, sexual assault and violence from a male partner. There is evidence that sexually charged photos of women are likely to lead men towards thinking of women as permanently sexually available, and to more harassment of women. Unwanted sexual attention directed at a woman always has overtones of physical threat. It’s difficult to think of pictures of half-naked men taking on that threatening aspect.
Q. Is Page 3 really harming anybody/Surely it’s just a bit of fun?
A. We don’t think it is. Publishing soft porn in a daily newspaper, along with the TV guide and the footie scores, makes it ‘normal’ to see porn in everyday life, and it shouldn’t be. This is the place where young girls’ body image anxiety begins if they don’t look like the Page 3 girls and where they start to develop an idea of their value and place in society. It’s the place young boys get the ideas that women’s bodies should be instantly available as a resource for men‘s sexual gratification, because that’s what these pictures are used for, and yet we have happily accepted them in a mainstream news publication.
We’d love to see more positive pictures of successful women (with clothes on) achieving things. In our newspapers we tend to see scantily clad women, looking sexy, and fully dressed men doing stuff. Is that what our world is like? Is that the way it should be? How do those pictures shape our attitudes?
There are 80,000 rapes reported in England and Wales each year and 300,000 sexual assaults.* We know that the majority of these crimes go unreported. The Everyday Sexism Project collect accounts of the discrimination, threats, abuse and violence women are exposed to at work, in class, on public transport, in clubs and bars, and in our streets. How much does the misrepresentation of women in our media feed into the attitudes that allow such behaviour?
Page 3 cannot be blamed for all sexism but it does reinforce sexist and derogatory attitudes to women. Laura Bates of Everyday Sexism writes here on some experiences women have shared that directly involve Page 3 and there are many more shared on the Page 3 Stories website .
Q. I hear you’re sponsoring women’s football teams now. What’s that got to do with Page 3?
A. Yes!! We sponsor Cheltenham Town Ladies FC and Nottingham Forest Ladies FC and also the incredible Scottish mountain bike champion Lee Craigie!!! We would also be interested in any other ideas for sponsorship. The money raised to do this was all donated by our generous supporters!
Statistics show that 95% of sexualised images in advertising are of women, whereas 95% of sports coverage in the media is of men. Part of the harm of Page 3 is that it doesn’t happen in a vacuum: it is a misrepresentation of women that exists alongside the marginalisation of women’s other achievements. So – a perfect combination for the NMP3 campaign! When Cheltenham Town Ladies FC and Nottingham Forest Ladies FC play in their new kit with our logo on it we kill two birds with one stone – the campaign gets more publicity in its aim to reduce sexualised imagery and women’s football gets some extra publicity which it doesn’t get from the mainstream.
It is a particularly suitable collaboration for this campaign because the Sun newspaper prides itself on its sports coverage, and many readers state that it is the sport they buy it for; and yet the largest image of a woman every day is one of a Page 3 model standing in just her pants. It doesn’t seem to matter what else a woman achieves: even the recent female success for Team GB in the Winter Olympics and Paralympics did not appear to warrant as big a picture as the Page 3 image, and this is a skewed message to send to our young girls. Sportswomen show another aspect of what the female body can achieve, and one that could be inspiring our young girls if it was given the publicity it deserves. The NMP3 campaign was inspired originally by the Olympics, so it seems to us that this is a fantastic way to start to redress the balance, and a very relevant subject to be involved in.
Teammate, Stephanie, has collated 2 research documents looking at studies and reports that have been conducted regarding the impact these sorts of sexualized images have on men and women.