Have you written to your Conservative MP and received the standard response about the importance of press freedom and the work Ministers are doing around the issue of body confidence?
If so you might like to cut and paste this template letter below which explains why body confidence is not the only problem with Page 3 and that this particular press freedom equals discrimination, and email them again.
MPs really are beginning to listen, let’s make it more difficult for them to ignore us! A HUGE THANK YOU to you all and do let us know of any responses you receive. We really are doing this!!
Thank you for your reply to my letter asking if you would add your name to the petition to David Dinsmore, Editor of the Sun newspaper, asking him to stop showing topless Page 3 images of young women in his newspaper.
I appreciate your considered response, and recognise the work you refer to by Ministers in relation to low body confidence issues.
However, although a part of the problem with Page 3, this is not the main reason that women object to the daily portrayal of a topless young woman in a ‘family’ newspaper. The bigger concern is the safety of women and girls in our society, and the fact that Page 3 daily conditions men to see women and girls first and foremost as commodities to use for sexual gratification and then discard. Page 3 gives permission for a mindset which is harmful to women and compromises our safety. These are sexualised, post-watershed, top-shelf images, available in an unrestricted daily newspaper. They encourage, promote and reinforce a ‘lad’ culture which is sexist and misogynistic. There are no comparable ‘adult’ images of men in the public space, and this is clearly sex discrimination.
Existing legislation prohibits topless calendars from the workplace as they are recognised to be humiliating and degrading to women, and therefore constitute a form of sexual harassment. And yet topless Page 3 images are permitted at work, as they are permitted on student campuses, trains, buses, tubes, pubs, cafes, takeaways, parks, streets, waiting rooms – in fact everywhere in the public space, including the homes of young girls where it is especially damaging.
Seeing men in public looking at Page 3 and hearing the inevitable lewd, obscene and objectifying comments humiliates me as a woman and makes me feel less safe, and has done throughout my whole life. The Sun takes the shame out of leering at women publicly, normalises it and teaches young men that this is an acceptable way to treat women and girls.
Research has shown that after looking at sexualised images of women, men are significantly more likely to answer ‘yes’ to the questions ‘would you ever consider having sex with an underage girl?’ and ‘would you ever consider forcing a woman to have sex?’ Research has also shown that sexualised images of women are seen as ‘objects’ by both men and women, and that this view then extends to women in general.
I feel angry that if a young girl walks past a group of men, she is more likely to be sexually harassed if they are looking at Page 3 at the time, and I think that the physical and psychological safety of girls and women should be prioritised over ‘a bit of fun for the lads’.
Page 3 overwhelmingly exploits one group: young, white British women, and presents them as sexually available commodities. These women are sold the lie that this is ‘glamour’ modelling by middle-aged male newspaper editors. ‘Glamour’ elicits admiration, whereas Page 3 is demeaning, and therefore elicits a mixture of lust and contempt. Young women’s susceptibility to the flattery, sexual attention and approval of men should not be exploited in a way which effectively bars them from every other worthwhile career (including lingerie and fashion modelling). The only career that Page 3 modelling provides a real gateway to is the sex industry.
Women in their teens and early twenties are too young to fully appreciate the impact modelling for Page 3 will have on their future lives. And yet, the percentage of teenage girls whose ambition it is to become ‘glamour models’ gets bigger every day, as they see that their society approves most of those women who are willing to take their clothes off. This is a huge waste of the potential of our young women, and I feel that a national newspaper should not be presenting such a role model to them every day.
Page 3 is sanctioned public bullying of women, as is made apparent by the Sun’s response to any woman who objects to it. Women are effectively silenced by the fear that we will be seen as jealous, ugly and prudish, as the Sun tells us.
The Sun also campaigns against domestic violence, and yet provides, in Page 3, an effective daily weapon for abusers to use against their wives and partners. As we know, dehumanising people makes it easier to abuse them.
These are my reasons for signing this petition, which is simply asking David Dinsmore to voluntarily remove Page 3, it is not asking for a ban. I believe in freedom of the press, but I oppose discrimination against one group of human beings. How is the Sun still getting away with this in 2013?
I know you are extremely busy, so thank you for taking the time to read this, and I appreciate you considering the points I have raised. Your support would be very welcome.
I look forward to hearing from you again.