A few thoughts on the demise of page 3

EDIT So, it looks like The Sun are master trolls and we’ve been had. I’m going to keep this up for posterity and as a resource for those who want to criticise the NMP3 movement. But remember that there are plenty of actual reasons to criticise The Sun, like this, this, this, this, this and this.

Well, the tits are gone and now all of our lives are meaningless. Wherever will feminism go now the patriarchy is crushed?

The No More Page 3 campaign has been a mess from the beginning – it was the online milieu of the middle class, white feminists who have been stomping all over minorities for decades. Anti slut-shaming has become trendy, so rather than telling other women not to get their breasts out in the first place, mainstream feminism is dictating how and when to get your breasts out – and evidently getting your breasts out for payment is verboten. But this is okay, of course.

It initially came across as a fairly benign campaign, to keep boobs out of a family paper. We can’t have kiddies staring at norks, can we? But… to try and position The Sun as a family newspaper, a main argument of NMP3, is laughable. If you want your children to have access to misogyny, homophobia, racism, antagonism towards those on state welfare, ableism, xenophobia, whorephobia and a whole host of other oppressive bullshit, that’s your own bad parenting; but don’t call it a family newspaper. In specifically going for one page, the movement has singled out consensual nudity as their priority over the host of nasties listed above.

Let’s get this straight, I don’t really care about the titillation of men and I’m not even going to trouble myself analysing this as a free speech issue – those aren’t what I’m concerned about. I’m concerned as a sex-worker in a time where the well-funded face of feminism sees us, at best, as an inconvenience on the journey to the gender equal utopia and, at worst, despicable gender traitors. No More Page 3 has tried to deny claims that they are opposed to sex workers or nudity; that’s all well and good, but why does what they do completely counteract that? Their claim is that other glamour modelling opportunities exist; but they either fail to grasp or completely ignore the importance of page 3 to a glamour model. The Sun is the most popular publication in the country and high circulation means higher exposure. One photo in The Sun can lead to countless other opportunities. NMP3 have removed a stepping stone for many glamour models (many of which do not have agents and have to navigate the industry alone) and hacked away at a career route.

The NMP3 debate has turned into an excuse for ‘feminist’ men to belittle women who oppose it in the most patronising way possible. A woman having a ‘wrong’ feminist opinion seems a perfect excuse to tell her how wrong she is – in the name of feminism, of course. The campaign itself used famous misogynist Russell Brand as an unofficial spokesman. I’ve unfollowed about twenty people for being patronising dickheads in the wake of the ban; fifteen have been men. They’ve misapplied enough Marx to diagnose us with false consciousness and are here to put us right. Thanks dudes!

This terrific piece by Ladybeard touches on the disparity of analysis given to the perception of the model, and the model themselves.

…A classist, liberal and mainstream feminism that sees women’s agency not as what they can do, but what we shouldn’t be exposed to.

That the body in question is controlled solely by the gaze upon it and not the mind that drives it. That the woman modelling must be so uneducated and lower class that she couldn’t understand the patriarchal structures she’s playing in.

Consensual boobies have been replaced with candid boobies. The women on page 3 are still going to be ogled at, without the benefit of their consent and payment. A page 3 model is having the photos taken on her terms, the photos are intended to look nice and not humiliate the model. Page 3 was never there to criticise them, unlike its creepy replacement. A woman earning a couple of hundred quid for engaging in consensual photography is the least offensive thing in The Sun. There are already an abundance of non-consensually snapped breasts in OK! And Heat magazine – except these have the much maligned nipple in them, too.

So before it gets removed for being redundant, let’s say goodbye to NMP3’s current incarnation with a few gems from their website:

“On the whole page 3 only show us one 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 dimension of everything including breasts.” As a glamour model with a non-visible disability, I don’t really appreciate the erasure here. I –started- glamour modelling because of my disability! Glamour modelling has a better hourly rate of pay than the minimum wage jobs my lack of formal education shuffled me into. I made the decision to stop being harassed by men for fourty hours a week at £4.98 each as a charity fundraiser and making myself ill in the process, and chose to cut my hours dramatically and be my own boss. My foray into glamour modelling meant I was actually able to afford to resit my A level exams and had enough time – not being fatigued after a fourty hour week on my feet – to study for them.

“Images like page 3 promote unrealistic ideals of perfection that are unattainable by most. The models are professionally made up, 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.”
Right, so the NMP3 cabal will be going after fashion magazines like Vogue next, then, that almost exclusively use the same type of tall, slim, white women with narrow, symmetrical faces? I’m a 5’1 woman of colour with a snail-like metabolism and almost never struggled with finding glamour modelling work. I’d like to see whether I could score even one paid gig in fashion modeling.

“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.”
But is it really connected? I’m dubious about the 88% statistic (‘some’ studies, ahem) but the link between violent pornography and a smiling topless woman with a little box of text of what was on her mind is spurious at best.

“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.”
Well, excuse me – is that sneering classism and snobbery I see? Do you understand how many skills an independent glamour model must use to get by? Good phone manner, a huge range of marketing expertise, the ability to make and retain contacts, constant professionalism, advertising… the list goes on. So, please leave that infantilising shit about how we just stand around looking pretty and not putting in any intellectual effort.

“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 Projectcollect accounts of the discrimination, threats, abuse and violence they 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?”
This can be open to debate, but as someone who is willingly ‘misinterpreted’ in media, this implies that some of the onus for the mistreatment of women must be on me too. This lady seems to think so

So that’s the end of page 3 then. Afraid that there will be one more page of fascism apologia in The Sun from now on, and you’ll have to hit your smartphone for your daily titty dose.

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2 thoughts on “A few thoughts on the demise of page 3

  1. Pingback: 19/01/15 | lauren o'neill

  2. Pingback: What I’m Reading – January 25, 2015 – ASK Musings

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