No More Page 3 – an ode to tits and arse

Posted on April 17, 2013

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No-More-Page-3

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. The first time I camped out at Reading Festival and the boys decorated the tents with a paper-chain of lesbian porn mags. Feeling ashamed and stuffing my bra with cotton wool to match these buxom ladies, and ending up with lumpy boobs.

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.

It was only when I lived and worked in Honduras briefly aged 21 and suffered daily cat-calls, hisses and spitting from local men in the street, that something truly and irrevocably sank in. Being treated differently for occupying a female body wasn’t just frustrating and irritating. It was frightening. My grasp of Spanish was lacking, but even I soon knew my way around Latino slang for ‘whore’, ‘slut’ and ‘cheap’.

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. And it was everywhere. The man on the bus flipping through topless photos of Paris Hilton, bikini-clad women on the front page of the Mail in the corner shop, raunchy magazines carelessly strewn in the gutter.

Which is why David Cameron’s latest assertion that it’s the ‘parent’s responsibility’ to protect their children from inappropriate images in the media is so ridiculous. ‘Turn the page,’ he said. ‘There are some things you don’t want your children to see and you should make sure they don’t see them.’ The only way a parent could truly shield their child from the kind of sexism and objectification our society promotes, would be to blind and deafen them.

nomorepage3So I’m supporting the No More Page 3 campaign, and I’ve signed the petition asking editor Dominic Mohan to take the bare boobs out of The Sun newspaper. If you too have a problem with insidious displays of female availability in the media, then you should sign the petition here.

My young mind was yet to start really asking questions when I didn’t see being surrounded by wholesale female nudity as anything but the norm. I just don’t want my children growing up thinking that seeing naked ladies in the family newspaper is ordinary.

 

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