The Impact of Page 3 on Children and Young People
This document collates the comments we have received from children and young people themselves as well as adults reflecting on the impact Page 3 had on their lives when they were children. These quotes come from both the petition and the letters and blogs people have sent to us. It is by no means exhaustive as it is impossible to monitor the petition every day, and these quotes represent only the most recent comments.
‘I am 13 and I do not want to be looking at pictures of women’s breasts and it just gets younger boys to buy the newspaper and look and all the women and think it is alright to say offensive things. Thank you.’
‘I think it’s so unfair, I can walk around school and see girls being treated as an object. Often in my friendship group I see girls moaning about their bodies and boobs. I believe that if these images were not in a family newspaper, girls would be able to feel more comfortable. Boys would not judge girls so easily.’
‘It’s 2013, I’m 18, and I’m sick of men telling me to “get my tits out like this” while being showed a P3 girl, by old men.’
‘All the boys in my class go into the Co-op after school to look at Page 3. It’s really embarrassing.’
‘Because I’m a girl and I’m so much more than boobs.’
‘I have never bought the Sun. My family has never bought the Sun. And yet I have always been uncomfortably aware, from a very young age, that page 3 existed. Why? Because that’s how big an influence it has. As a child it sat next to my Beano at the newsagents. As a school girl, it was at bus stops in the hands of laughing boys and engrossed men. As a teenager it was on the laps of men on trains, as an adult it’s in cafes, pubs where it would be inevitably picked up by one of my male friends and I used to have to sit there and pretend I wasn’t uncomfortable with being sat at a table in public with a picture of a topless woman. Sit there and pretend that it was all just harmless fun. Sit there and pretend it has never negatively affected me. Sit there, shut up and pretend.
Well not any more.
Don’t tell me if I don’t like it, don’t buy it.
I have NEVER bought it.’
‘As a young girl I’ve always been affected by the constant bombardment of degrading pictures of women in the media. In the past I’ve got to the point where it affected my diet negatively and I still struggle with insecurity issues. However having a loving boyfriend has helped me massively in most of the self-esteem issues I suffered from in the past. I don’t think such images should be so available, visible in society and frequent in the media. Page 3 is just another one of those ‘lads mag’ type of things which is detrimental to so many young girls’ self esteem and something which can corrupt young men’s view of women. Women aren’t just a ‘pretty thing’ for men to look at. This is the message that so many of these types of degrading media put out there. Furthermore, if men or women wish to look at these sort of things, that is their decision, I just ask that the rest of the world don’t have to be subject to seeing it everywhere.’
‘Seeing Page 3 images whilst growing up and developing caused paranoia about my own body image, my value and a distorted view of how men saw me. It started in an era when the likes of Jimmy Savile were getting away with paedophilia. It doesn’t belong in today’s world.’
‘Loads of young women suffer from anxiety, depression and crushing self-confidence because they wrongly believe that being slim, beautiful and ready and willing to bare their chests is all that matters to anyone, and that they must aim to impress men.’
‘When I was 10 years old I used to go with my friends and play at the local village railway station. (you could in them days)……. The station master used to let us in his tea room and make us a drink… One day I went into his tea room to get a drink and on this occasion (that was never there before) he had topless pictures around the room and the Sun newspaper open on page 3, the man locked me in the room with him and sexually abused me…. in my opinion the topless pictures around the room did something to his mind that day and made him feel he had to sexually abuse a 10 year old.’
‘I thought that surgery was the only way to have the Page 3 body shape.’
‘Pornography ruined my life and I’m only 22. It ruined my relationship, it distorted my view of women, it ruined my whole mentality leading me to harm the lives of many young girls already in my life and it all began when I was a little boy much younger than 10 and saw page 3. Destroy this page before it ruins anymore young lives.’
‘Growing up, I saw it ‘around’ at a friend’s house, and recall feeling quite uneasy. I can also distinctly remember that I used to breathe a sigh of relief because my Mum and Dad didn’t read that paper ‘with all the boobs in’. I didn’t know why, at the time, it felt quite disturbing. Now, as an adult, and with a family of my own, I can see why I did, and why it should not be the ‘norm’. It felt belittling then – and sadly, in letting those disparaging images flood thousands of homes, we have, in effect, let our society become desensitised to what was once classed as a ‘soft porn’.’
‘My introduction to, and subsequent problems with pornography use during my early years started with seeing, at age 5-6, Page 3 lying about on the street and on London Transport where the “newspapers ” were casually discarded. No way should a child of that young age see page 3. It’s not innocent, it’s not harmless, it has consequences on the development of young minds.’
‘I’m 17 and I’m fed up of the snide comments, the little “lads” jokes that have infiltrated my college and made it acceptable for boys to objectify us women. I’m fed up of being told to “go to the kitchen” whenever I stick up for my sex, fed up of being told I’m not sexy because I don’t have enough “curves” by the media, and fed up of feeling I need to reach some kind of ideal look which is impossible to reach because the boys my age are spoon fed unrealistic images of digitally enhanced women every day.’
‘Because it encourages the objectification of women & I’m 15 & don’t want to grow up in a world like that.’
‘I spent a portion of my childhood growing up in England and at 24, I can say that I haven’t experienced a culture anywhere in the western world that treats women more like sex objects as I did in London. I look back and am disgusted by how other boys my age and me were encouraged by the media to view girls.’
‘Bloody fed up of men making comments about being ‘like the girls in The Sun’, just because I happen to have big boobs. Even worse, this started before I had reached the age of consent.’
‘At age 12 something happened that blew all of the certainty about my parents’ values out of the water, and the memory is seared on my brain. Lying on the living-room floor, I opened the family newspaper to be confronted with a young woman posing provocatively and exposing her breasts publicly for all to see. In an instant I understood my real value to the world. I understood what my developing body was for. I realised that everything my parents had told me about my value as a person and the value of education was a lie. I could see that my parents colluded in society’s judgement of women’s value – they had bought the newspaper! My dad had seen that image! Did he see me in the same way? Why didn’t my Mum say anything?’
‘I am 54 now and back in the 70’s I use to have to sit next to men on buses ogling the page three girl. I would feel very uncomfortable but said nothing for fear of being seen as making a fuss over nothing or being called a jealous bitch (the price women all to often pay for standing up on sexism). I was 16 for god sake and had to sit by old men ogling the tits of a 16 year old girl; how else was I meant to feel. And the older men would justify their actions by telling me they weren’t dirty old men, they just liked breasts.’
‘I am glad someone has brought up the effect of Page 3 on boys as well as girls. This is a side to this issue that doesn’t get raised as often and when it does it is usually in regard to sexism and men learning to demean and devalue women. I want to add my view. I have never been sexist and always valued women since my youth but I do feel like having been exposed to Page 3 early in life (under 8 years old) just from newspapers left lying around and as litter on the street sexualised my young mind towards women way too early. One of the results was, I think, not just a sexualised view of women but a distancing from and fear of women. They became something that existed almost entirely as objects of sexual fantasy in my young mind and not as human beings that I could relate to that could provide warmth and friendship in a way that was not sexual. Obviously, I must add this was coupled with other issues in my childhood but, I am convinced beyond a shadow of doubt, Page 3 was a major catalyst and even perhaps instigator. As a result of this lack in my understanding and appreciation of women, this developed into a fear of females in my teenage years and later to a lack of, and fear of, intimacy and an escalation into pornography dependency. This has affected my ability to experience true intimacy with a woman (sexual and otherwise) for many years. I think if I had started life with a healthier model of femininity which would have included both inside my family and society at large a lot of these problems would have been avoided. I am totally opposed to Page 3, not only because of its effect on young girls, but its effects on young boys too.’
‘My friend’s usual paper girl had not been round for a few days and when she saw her asked if she was ok etc..it turned out she gave up the job as the young lads doing paper rounds were looking at page 3 and other such like things in papers and comparing and teasing her about her chest , when she complained to the newsagent he said ” get over it , it’s a bit of fun, and a joke.’
‘When Page 3 first started I was just approaching adolescence. I remember it well (it was black and white in those days…) because the group of builders working on our school would show it to us every morning as we got to school. As a slow developer I felt extremely embarrassed and very ashamed of my own body when faced with these pictures, but because they were in a national newspaper I assumed everyone else was ok with them, and this made me feel even worse about myself.’
‘NoMorePage3 is important to me because I’m fed up watching my dad applaud The Sun’s page 3.’
‘I am a teenage girl who feels constantly objectified by men and teenage boys. I dislike how the female anatomy is simply printed on tabloids – baring all. It says that the male anatomy is something more sacred so it is kept covered. I am 17 and I’ve never lived in a world where naked women haven’t been sprawled across the Sun. I believe that -although it is common knowledge that many Glamour Models, who appear in the Sun, have undergone breast enhancement surgery, to match the model’s flat tummies- this sets unrealistic standards to children and teenage girls all over the UK. Leading to girls developing eating disorders and then being depressed that they don’t have giant breasts like the models in the tabloids. From personal experience, talking to my male friends, acquaintances and brothers on the subject of their attitudes towards women, the recurring factor seems to be that they all desire this publicised ‘perfect’ female body, which many scientific factors deem naturally impossible in the first place! I am disgusted by the way that many boys I know rate women on a 1-10 scale. We are not numbers! We are people and I believe that this sexist outlook on women has stemmed from such outlets as page three. Equality starts here, in the NEWS.’
‘In primary school I remember a P7 boy bringing in a massive poster of Jordan and several other glamour model photos, prompting the P7 boys to compare and rate the woman based on their looks. This is merely at age 10 or 11. I remember similar situations on the school bus in secondary school, with the Portora boys and the bus driver poring over page three.’
‘When I was 12 I had already planned my future boob job. I’ve been ashamed of my body until the age of about 19, 20, and it’s only now at the age of 22 I feel like I have a “normal, healthy” level of body-confidence. Rape culture, submissive females-for-consumption by men, and an almost total lack of empowered women in the media are more potent points of Page 3 than the fact the girls are “pretty”. The lack of confidence I spoke about was not just because these women are big-breasted and photoshopped, but because of what it teaches me about my body – that my body is there primarily for the consumption of men, and worth little else. “Olympian men” are strong and powerful, with agentic bodies, and they aren’t part of a historic culture of over-sexualisation, submissiveness, and objectification.’
‘I had a boyfriend who read The Sun – I knew his favourite Page 3 girl, her name and her appearance, and he ogled her frequently while I was there with him. Surprisingly, my confidence (both personal and within the relationship) was low.’
‘Highly sexualised and conceptualised images like those featured on page 3 are surely one of the biggest stereotypes we face as women in modern society? Growing up as a female UK citizen my childhood was marred by page 3 and I can recall several instances where albeit unwillingly my life path came into uncomfortable contact with it. Lucky for me, we never had it in our household, but I would still be reminded of its woes when I visited friends, public places such as cafés and yes even school. It’s not easy to forget the shame and hurt I would feel every time I saw the pictures of women. The questions I posed myself about my place as a young woman in society. The awkwardness I experienced whenever I needed to go upstairs in my friend’s house, because her dad (a man I once respected) had a Page 3 calendar on his marital bedroom wall!’
‘Was told by my father when I was a teenager and said page 3 made me uncomfortable “you’re just jealous.”’
‘When I was a young teen & my boobs first started their journey, I was constantly shouted out to, commented on and pointed out by men on the street (this still happens but now I tell them to f^>! off). The most common thing that was shouted at me was ‘Oi, Sam Fox’ followed by much laughter. As a girl from a Guardian-reading family & a resident of a nurturing alternative community, I had no idea at all who Sam Fox was and why people shouted it at me. When I found out what she represented I was mortified, utterly & completely. People STILL touch or point to my boobs in the street / in the pub / on the tube. They think this is OK because boobs are seen as public property to be freely discussed and shared. Even now that I am an amply proportioned 40 year old woman, I can be made to feel threatened & vulnerable by this behaviour. As a young teen it was dreadful, really awful.’
‘I hope I see the end to page three in my time not because I’m jealous, far from it, but because it caused me so much unhappiness due to having to sit next to dirty old men ogling 16 year olds tits when I was ‘ONLY’ 16 myself. Now it’s men ogling 18 year olds tits whilst sat next to 18 year olds; much of a muchness really. How we can think this is acceptable in today’s society is beyond me.’
‘I remember The Sun newspaper littering the worn coffee tables of my school common room. The boys in the year above comparing page 3 models to various girls they’d seen naked. Katie from Dorset, 34DD, out on display like strawberry millions in the local sweet shop window. She was an aspiring photographer, apparently.
I remember listening to my male friends’ open commentary on which model had the best breasts out of those adorning lad’s mag covers in our local newsagents.
I grew up aware of female objectification, surrounded by it in fact. At school we were active participants in our own subordination – rolling our skirts up until they were a mere puffy grey bulge connecting hip and upper thigh, cooing over the ‘fit list’ that circulated round our year 8 class, trying to hide barely repressed pride the first time a white van man honked his horn at us. Such was the way of the world and we accepted our female bodies as vessels for lust, vying for male attention and adoration, competing with each other via lipstick and push-up bra weaponry to live up to the images of femininity peddled by the media that enveloped us.
Whether I knew how it affected me at the time or not, I grew up surrounded by tits and arse. These days I’m grown up enough to know that my bra size isn’t the sum of my worth, but I know as a self conscious adolescent this conveyor belt of female objectification made me feel inadequate.’
‘Well, I can personally vouch for the damage. Unlike the privileged, caring, responsible upbringing that Mr Cameron is expecting of parents in our society, I as a child wasn’t so lucky to find myself in this situation. I had a mother with clinical depression, a father who walked out on his four children, I was only 12 months old, he was to be replaced with a violent alcoholic stepfather. My adult sister offered for me to stay at her and her husband’s house at weekends for some respite from home. I did this from age 3. I was born in the 70’s just as The Sun was revelling in the daily printing of undressed young girls. The Sun and the News of the World were the newspapers of choice in my sister’s home. I saw Page 3 and naked images of girls and women from as young as I can remember. I saw it not only in my sister’s home, but also in other family and friends homes, takeaways, cafes, bus stations, everywhere, you name it. When I was about 12 years old, while taking a bath I heard a small scraping noise on the bathroom door. Further investigation over the next few weeks revealed to me that a screw in the door handle was being removed whenever I took a bath, always happening on a Saturday morning when my sister was out at the Supermarket. I was being watched. I quickly learnt to try and avoid taking baths when my sister was out of the house. Unfortunately my ordeal didn’t end there at these bath time occasions.
Did I tell anyone? No. Why? Because I was a child and I didn’t fully understand sex, and was growing up totally confused about what it means to be a female, and what it meant to men. I was surrounded by a world that encouraged men to look at the breasts of teenage girls, (as young as 16 back then) a new girl’s breasts every day in a popular family Newspaper, to be widely read by families.
I believe my brother-in-law made the connection to Page 3 that he had an entitlement to see young girl’s breasts, and I made the connection that I had no reason to complain. As how foolish would I look to these beloved family members to say that I didn’t like my body being looked at in this way, especially when you consider that we’d just returned from a Chinese takeaway where men the same age as my brother in law were openly pouring over a pair of teenage breasts.’
‘My 11 year old girl is just beginning the process of developing into an adult and I can already see and hear in her the insecurities I remember from my own childhood growing up in a house with page 3 of the Sun. I so want to teach her that whatever she becomes, however she develops she is so much more than her cup size or her appearance. That as beautiful as she, is she can aspire to be whatever she wants to be. I try to shield her as much as I can from the sexualised images around us and I fight for a better future for her with no Page 3 images in mainstream media and less media sexism over all.’
‘I want Page 3 gone because although I am now in my 20s I am still the little girl that was exposed to page 3 on a regular basis. A child shouldn’t see those images because of the consequences to that child as they grow older.’
‘I remember so distinctly seeing Page 3 and expecting that that was what my body was meant to look like when I was grown up, after all, the other women I saw in day to day life had their clothes on, I was clueless to what they looked like underneath. I reached my teenage years and my body had not developed to look like something from Page 3. I simultaneously willed my breasts to grow while at the same time wanting them to not because I didn’t want my chest to be ogled at. I felt down because I didn’t look how I thought I ought to and yet I felt glad to not look that way because I had learnt that breasts were for staring at. I did not want to be there for someone else’s sexual purposes. The only person I want to enjoy my body sexually is somebody who’s body I also want to enjoy sexually, together.
So anyway, my boobs had not developed. I felt unattractive. By my late teens, although I’d learnt that boys found me attractive, I couldn’t understand why my boyfriend found me attractive. I did not feel like I looked like any image of beauty I had seen, I felt like what was underneath my clothes was a disappointment. The only other images of beauty I had to look to were supermodels, I couldn’t ever look like Katie Price but I could try and look like Kate Moss. I felt fortunate that I was tall enough to go for a Kate Moss look and that my breasts were small enough to aim for that look, all I needed to do was be a stone and a half lighter. I wanted a low bmi, a healthy one just didn’t satisfy me. At the age of 16 I restricted my calorie intake and by 17 I purged for the first time. My body never dropped to an unhealthy weight but my mind was not in a healthy state and I do wonder if it ever will be truly healthy. I haven’t purged or had the urge to purge for a long time but I know it stems from the messages I saw in the media and no message shouted louder than Page 3. It didn’t have a positive effect on my relationship, someone that is constantly thinking about their weight isn’t much fun and neither is someone that is lacking self confidence and getting all their value from the way they look.
The purging subsided a little bit at first because I had found a new way to put value on myself and feel good about myself. It was sex. I had gone from receiving the message that I had to look like this form of “beauty” to the message that I was worth something if I could give sexual pleasure.’
‘I feel my vulnerable young mind was told things that it could not fully understand.’
‘As a young adult I can see media images for what they really are, but as a child I knew no better.’
‘I don’t want another little girl growing up in Britain seeing the image of Page 3, thinking that her main value comes from being beautiful and being sexual.’
‘Personally it had a big effect on me. My brother would read the Sun. He’s 10 years older than me and I worshipped him as I was growing up. He gave me my name and the first word I said as a small child was his name (it came out as Ga-Goo). I would stand at the door as a toddler saying ‘me you, Ga-Goo’ whenever he left the house because I wanted to go with him. So when he was 21 and a Sun reader, commenting on a young woman’s breasts every day, and I was an 11 year old girl developing, it had a big impact. Here was my brother who I looked up to, and he thought that bare boobs were a big deal, and mine fell short. I felt so ashamed and such a failure.’
‘I remember my first experience with Page 3. I was about ten or twelve years old I moved house to a new housing estate. I found this terribly exciting and me and my friends would love sneaking into almost built house (bold I know!) and playing house. I clearly remember seeing a Page 3 stuck on the bannister at the bottom of the stairs in one of the houses and immediately thinking it was awful. The friend I was with at the time was one of those girls that you are a little bit in awe of as a child, she was a year older and back then that meant a lot. She knew of Page 3 from her brother and thought it was vile. She immediately ripped it off the banister and we felt a small triumph for girl-kind knowing that the builders would return the next day to find their poster was no more.’
‘No girl wants to grow up in a world where they come downstairs to find their dad ogling a girl young enough to be their sister (The Sun has featured girls as young as 16 in Page 3) over the breakfast table, especially when that girl, with her impossibly perfect figure has been specially selected to broadcast to the nation an ideal which ninety percent of women will undoubtedly fail to encompass.’
‘Because at my part time job when I was a teenager I saw P3 every day. I quickly went from shocked and confused to accepting it as the norm. I don’t want the same for my nieces.’
‘Seeing pictures of beautiful, skinny women makes me feel inadequate.’
‘Because I am young and I disagree strongly about naked people on magazines. One of my friends doesn’t find it that bad and I would like to stop that kind of thing happening to any more people.’
‘I feel like all I apparently have to offer to modern day society are my looks. And so do my girl friends and family.’
‘When I saw naked breasts in a newspaper as a five year old I was shocked and disturbed.’
‘I’m 17 and I don’t want to grow up feeling like I’m a piece of meat. Page 3 only reinforces the idea that it is okay to think of women like that.’
‘The amount of times at primary school that you would accidentally see a pair of augmented breasts while putting newspaper down to paint a picture, was frankly shocking.’
‘Page 3 fucked me up when I was a teenager and I don’t want that to happen to my teenage daughter too.’
‘It is important to me because I currently experience a phobia about my own body, for years page 3 has made me anxious and critical about my own appearance. It should absolutely be stopped.’
‘It is degrading to me and has caused me to have body dysmorphia all of my life.’
‘Have felt being a woman humiliating from young teens on thanks to ubiquitous soft porn in the media.’
‘Not nice for daughters to see their dads perving over girls not much older than them’.
‘I certainly felt that from a young age that I should aspire to be sexually objectified.’
‘When I was a child I remember thinking this was wrong. I still do.’
‘It’s been part of my life, all my life. These pictures left lying around in cafes, plastered behind garage counters, sniggers and comparisons from hateful men. I’ve hated this part of my life, all my life.’
‘It’s objectifying women! And as a teenage girl I don’t want to grow up in a world where that is okay!’
‘I’m a 15 year old boy and find the exposure of a lady’s breasts in a newspaper is not right. I have met other boys who seem to have an obsession with the images and make degrading remarks about them and girls in general. It’s sending out wrong messages and should be banned.’
‘I have wanted to see topless models dropped from the Sun all my life. As a young female child, I was shocked by these images & also noticed that men weren’t exploited in the same way. Later on I was shocked the places I would encounter it, at my parent’s friend’s houses in the loo/garage, in my workplace, on the bus. All these environments completely offensive for a child & young woman to see. I simply believe there is a time & place for everything. A family newspaper that can be read anywhere in any environment, in front of children & young women, the elderly is inappropriate, outdated, embarassing, offensive, hurtful, bullyish, exploitative, outrageous & shocking that it still exists in 2012. If I were to have a daugher now I would be ashamed to admit that this still exists & that I had not done anything about it. Well not anymore! SIGNED! & PASSING IT ON!!!’
‘Because I have 3 little brothers and a beautiful little sister and I want them to grow up into a society where the mainstream objectification of women in a national newspaper is a bizarre and outdated notion.’
‘I have always has been against Page 3 from a young age. It’s so clearly wrong. No more Page 3 would make the world a much easier place for women. We should not have to fight so hard to be taken seriously in life, but unfortunately we do, and Page 3 just perpetuates the problem.’
‘I am fed up of having to turn my face away when I am sitting next to someone on the tube who has their copy of the Sun open to page three. Not only that, I am fed up of the feeling of rage and powerlessness that bubbles up inside me after I have had to turn my face away in that situation. And that feeling stays with me for several hours afterwards. Really it is the Sun reader who should feel ashamed and embarrassed, not I. As a young girl the apparent legitimacy of page 3 was something I thought maybe I would understand as an adult, in the same way I thought the mystery of sex would become clear to me. However, I now realise I will never understand how I am supposed to feel equal in a society that readily accepts the banal and daily objectification and sexualisation of women in that newspaper. Worse, it is the most popular newspaper in this country by some distance and therefore it spreads this message that this treatment and attitude towards women is normal and acceptable.’
‘I am angry at what these images do to adolescent (and adult) minds, female and male. Page 3 is NOT ” a celebration of natural beauty”, it is entry-level pornography full-stop. I wish these images hadn’t been around when I was an adolescent – they warp one’s perceptions of people and sexuality. It is quite outrageous they are still published day-in day-out in a publication to which children and young people have free access.’
‘At 9 years old I was sexually abused by a moron in his shed, and although he was a paedophile he still has porn and page 3 hung up all over his shed, it is so wrong, a woman breastfeeding her baby in public will be scorned, yet page 3 is ok, it is wrong, wrong, wrong, they should also ban all the ads in papers’ back paged advertising flirty chat lines and selling sex that way, this really should not be a debate-because they should not have been there in the first place-but it isn’t only the Sun-the Star has a page 3, so this ban should extend to them too-even lads mags and porn mags, it is ridiculous and can cause-as it has with me-hurtful emotional problems, ban it, don’t think about it-DO IT.’
‘I don’t want my daughter to grow up with the image of women I had to cope with.’
‘I’m sick of guys thinking that it’s normal and OK to view me and my friends as sex objects- there to be ogled at, whistled at, gestured to, called names, harassed, slapped, grabbed and generally intimidated.’
‘There are lots of British guys who need to find a renewed respect for women- and this can’t happen when the country’s most popular newspaper clearly shows that it has no respect for women.’
‘Seeing that in our house every day as a young girl was embarrassing, demoralising and baffling.’
‘I’m disgusted that it has gone on for way to long as a girl growing up I’ve disliked it and my dad used to buy the Sun, I felt sick to think my own dad used to look at young girls near my age, its gross and now I’m a mom to my daughter and want men to have more respect like the older generation if bare boobs are removed out of the sun I think young generations lads will learn to respect girls in a way they should do.’
‘Since I was a teenager I’ve been exposed to unwanted, unwelcome crude comments from some men: I feel page 3 has encouraged this and made it seem acceptable. It’s horrible.’
‘I am not a piece of meat – and neither should I be treated that way. It’s hard enough for me to get respect from males – older or younger. They think it’s fine to think I’m ‘just’ a girl, that I ought to stick to cooking and cleaning instead of being independent. Page Three makes it harder for me to be seen as a man’s equal.’
‘I don’t care so much about page three, it’s the sun’s attitude to people who are against it. Calling women fat and unattractive if they don’t like page three is horribly sexist. All kinds of women don’t like page three.’
‘As I was growing up I not only shouldn’t have been seeing some teenager’s tits I shouldn’t have been seeing identical ones every day. It made me feel like any other kinds were somehow weird. It’s a strange thing to talk about “breast diversity”, but it’s something that would at least be a compromise. We don’t all have E cups.’
‘Feeling objectified along with my whole gender, unprovoked, in public on a train or bus, and legitimately is utter bullshit and is not ok.’
‘When I was fifteen years old a neighbour of mine (a man of about 60) sat next to me on the bus and opened his Sun to Page 3 and then taunted me with comments about her breasts all the way home. This was a horrible experience for me, but the man believed that because this was a national newspaper his behaviour was acceptable.’
‘My parents do not read the Sun. For a long time, the paper never entered my consciousness. It will be hard for you to understand how I felt when I first visited the house of a friend and saw a newspaper lying open on the kitchen counter with a page 3 girl casually displaying her breasts for all to see.
I felt guilty, embarrassed, awkward, hot with shame and physically sick. I didn’t know where to look or what to say. ‘What is wrong with this family?’ was my instinctive response. That was my first encounter with page 3 and of course I bit my tongue and just got on with things. As I grew up I encountered more and more images of naked, sexualised women and gradually began to accept that this was the social ‘norm.’ It didn’t matter how it made me feel; this was ‘the-way-things-are’ and I just had to deal with it. Everyone around me was so blasé and accepting of these images that my thoughts began to mutate into ‘What is wrong with me?’ Why did I have a problem? If anyone else had an issue with these pictures surely they would be vocalising their thoughts. I’d better shut my mouth and conform’.
‘Your messages seep into young girls’ minds. I was clever, kind and caring young girl. I was conscientious and sensible. I worked hard at school, had a lovely friendship group and a brilliant upbringing. At thirteen I developed an eating disorder that would haunt me for many years to come.’
‘When I was a very very shy 14 year old girl (and I was very much a child still at this age), I was sexually assaulted in my local pub. A man genuinely thought there was no problem with grabbing and squeezing my breast as I walked past him back to my seat. Still to this day (some 21 Years later!) I wish I could go back in time and stand up for myself back then. I am embarrassed to say that I did absolutely nothing, and feeling completely invaded, upset and horrified, slowly walked back to my seat, and told no-one (until this email right now). I often wonder what made this man feel he had the right to do this. Of course it is not just one singular thing, but I do know this for sure; Page 3 existed then, and it sadly still does now; and the subconscious drip..drip..drip daily feed of its cultural message sends out a very clear message. Women and girls are for decoration and ogling. I know that the Sun and its influence would have sadly been a part of the reason for my assault.’
‘Working in a small restaurant staffed mainly by 16 year old girls, the manager tells everyone to gather in the back room, he holds up page three and declares that this is our new uniform.’
‘Sitting on a bus – middle-aged chap sitting next to me is looking at page 3. I notice, notice that he saw me notice, and blush. He says “What do you think of that?” I mumble “I don’t think I’m the target audience.” He openly looks at my chest. “I wouldn’t worry – with tits like yours, they’re not going to ask you to pose.” I was 14, and wearing my school uniform.’
‘Just had to endure a tube journey next to a Sun reader who flashed his page 3 at me, called me sweetheart & spat.’
‘The boys in my class at school have made a folder where they stick pictures of Page 3 girls and stick pictures of all our faces on them that they’ve printed off from Facebook. They are always laughing and showing it to us to upset us and we can’t do anything about it.’
‘It makes it possible for a middle aged man to show a photo of a topless woman to a 14 year old girl on a bus and say “she looks a bit like you love!” while leering at her.’
‘I’m 16 and have been receiving sexist comments from older boys since I was about 13, in school and out of it. They shout “rape!” if they’re in a group walking down the corridor and see a girl, loudly rate girls out of 10 while we walk past, look at Page 3 and compare girls to it if we walk past, discuss girls’ bodies, it happens literally every day and even worse is girls go along with it and sometimes JOIN IN to impress them. Boys in my year and younger boys make lots of comments obviously spurred on by the older boys. I never wear skirts to school anymore as it’d sometimes get lifted in the lunch queue.. how anyone can say it’s harmless I don’t get! Why can’t the editor of The Sun or a lads’ mag spend one day in a school and see what girls have to put up with in the culture they help create. I challenge them to do it and still think Page 3 or their mag is harmless.’
‘We didn’t have the Sun at home when I was growing up, but like everyone else, I knew what was on page 3. Which meant that at 14 when I got a paper round, I suddenly had access to something which for a boy at that age was entirely encapsulating. I would always have a quick peek before posting the paper each morning, this cycle inevitably led me to being entirely addicted to hardcore porn for years. At 20 this is still something I struggle with and I passionately wish that I had never gone near it in the first place.’
‘At 16 years old I tried to inform my Modern Studies class that Page 3 was unacceptable. One boy said “women are only here to please men”. Get home to discover that another boy from the class had posted a picture to my Facebook wall, with the caption: “Feminist I hear? You don’t even know the definition of a real woman.” The image was of a man pushing a woman against a wall. It read: “Real women deep throat and let her man go balls deep up the poo chute and don’t expect a proper relationship.”’
‘I have big boobs. In the 90s I had to put up with endless older blokes approaching me jabbing at my chest and singing the “See it all in the Sun!” TV jingle.’
‘Sitting in a cafe minding my own, bloke finishes his lunch, picks up tabloid, turns to page 3 and waves it about, trying to catch someone’s eye, ranting to whole cafe about “these tarts, slappers ha ha ha all women are like this really huur”’
‘When I was 15 I was reading aloud in English. I asked what page to start from and was told page 3, and the male laddish teacher added ‘you should be on page 3′. I was a geeky kid and already ashamed of my body. All the class laughed I never forgot it.’