Page 3 protestors outside The Sun Headquarters, London
Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images
The Sun is the most widely circulated newspaper in the United Kingdom, and has the tenth largest circulation globally. In March 2012 its average daily circulation was over two and a half million copies. It is the paper that is found at breakfast tables, on trains and buses, and in waiting rooms. Yet, although it markets itself as a family newspaper, what is most commonly associated with The Sun is Page 3: a daily image of a young woman posing topless. When I say young, I mean young. Samantha Fox, voted best ever Page 3 girl, was just 16 when she appeared in the paper alongside the headline “Sam, 16, Quits A-Levels for Ooh-Levels.” What message does this send out to people, particularly the young girls and boys who may be picking up their parents’ newspapers? That it is okay to ogle girls and women? That this is how your body should look? Or maybe that you should give up your education and aspire to do the same as Sam?
Join the campaign to end Page 3
Lucy Anne Holmes feels so passionately about this issue that she has started the campaign No More Page 3, appealing to The Sun editor Dominic Mohan to remove the topless images from the newspaper. During the Olympics, Holmes bought a copy of The Sun and was pleasantly surprised not to see the usual bare breasts on Page 3. That was until she reached page 13 and saw “a beautiful young woman in just her pants.” It made her sad. Not just that it was still included in the newspaper, but also because this was the largest image of any woman in the issue–bigger than that of Jessica Ennis who had just won a gold medal for Team GB. Again, what is this saying to people? And not only that, but what is it doing to people and their attitude to women? A submission on the Everyday Sexism website is from a woman who recalls “sitting on a bus, aged 14, in her school uniform, alongside a middle-aged man who was looking at Page 3. He turned to her chest, and remarked: ‘I wouldn't worry – with tits like yours, they're not going to ask you to pose.’” This is one of many, many stories. Following #NoMorePage3 on Twitter makes for shocking reading and it is clear that this is something which many people, not just woman, feel strongly about.
Page 3 is inherently sexist. Holmes believes that it trivialises woman and promotes them as nothing more than sex objects for the “sexual gratification of men.” Anna Van Heeswijk, CEO of Object, states “Page 3 was launched in 1970, when there was no equality legislation, sexual harassment wasn't recognised in law, and rape in marriage was legal. It’s now 2012. Isn't it time we got rid of this form of sexism from our press?” Incredibly, although the campaign was started in September 2012, The Sun has continued with this year’s Page 3 Idol contest, it’s annual feature to discover the next addition to its “beauties.” Action needs to be taken now. Join the fight, help to stop media sexism and end Page 3 by signing the petition.
Girl Museum Inc.