The Independent London Newspaper

NO MORE PAGE THREE? The woman leading a campaign against 'media sexism'

Feature Image (main): 

Lucy Anne Holmes

Published: 8 November, 2012
by PAVAN AMARA

THE largest, most consistent image of womanhood in our national media involves a name, age, hometown, and readers across the country rating her breasts. You won’t remember her name, think about the implications of her age, or particularly care where she grew up – because it doesn’t matter, only her breasts matter.

Two months ago Lucy Anne Holmes bought her daily copy of the Sun newspaper, along with two million others across the country.

“Jessica Ennis had just won her gold medal,” said the 36-year-old actor and author, who has spent 10 years living in Kentish Town and seven years waitressing in Cafe Mozart in Swain’s Lane.

“The day after she won, it dawned on me that bigger than any image of Ennis in the newspaper was this huge image of a woman with her breasts exposed. It was a bit of an ‘a-ha!’ moment.

“All the images of men were of them running the country, speaking in Parliament. This was the largest image of being a woman in our national media. The No More Page Three campaign started from that, and it’s not about pornography, that’s a different issue entirely. It’s about media sexism.”

Eight weeks on and 50,000 people have signed the No More Page Three petition, which doesn’t ask for the page to be banned by legislation, but voluntarily dropped by the newspapers. Eliza Doolittle, Jennifer Saunders, Chris Addison, Frances Barber, Lauren Laverne, Graham Linehan and Caitlin Moran have all signed.

A quick flick through the country’s eight best-selling newspapers last week, showed page three was indeed the largest image of a female in any newspaper on three out of five working days.

“It’s having an effect on the nation that’s as powerful as adver­tis­ing,” says Lucy. “It’s sending a message about women, our place, why we’re valued. It’s dehuman­­ising, we are seen as dolls, without a voice, standing there naked for a man’s pleasure.

“With women paid 15 per cent less than men, would it not be better to use that page to advertise women’s contributions in this world that are not subject to a male erection?”

A look at 40 of the Sun and the Daily Star’s page three “girls” featured throughout last month shows four were still in their teens, and exactly half were aged 21 or under. A search of the Daily Star website’s “Star Babes” section – devoted to the Star’s page three “girls” – showed the most commonly used words below five randomly selected images was “fodder”, and, less surprisingly, “tits”.

On the day of writing this article, the website’s homepage showed a picture of Robyn Lambert, 19, from Milton Keynes. The word “fodder” was used to describe the teenager a total of 16 times.

The Sun’s website allows readers to turn the young women “360 degrees”, while the Star’s allows them to be rated out of 10. But the issue is that this doesn’t take place on pornography websites, but on national news sites.

Ms Lambert, now 20, said being a page three model made her feel “empowered and confident”. The Yorkshire business woman, who started up clothing website beworn.co.uk this year, models for page three part-time after entering a Facebook competition.

“I can see the logic behind the campaign, but it’s the editor’s decision to think about the impact of their newspaper, not mine,” she said. “I go to the shoot, it’s a great atmosphere, the image goes out, and then what’s done with it is not my responsibility. It could end up on a porn website or a newspaper.”

In October 1986 at a Manchester conference, Michael Gabbon, the original editor of the Sunday Sport, was asked if he would stop publishing images of topless women in his newspaper if they were proved to cause rape. He said it would depend on how many rapes.

In 2003, the Sun editor Rebekah Brooks openly considered scrapping the page because it could “damage” circulation among female readers, and in 1984 the Daily Mirror dropped its page three girl with circulation remaining steady.

Ms Lambert said she would rather girls aspired to being page three models than “anorexic fashion models”.

Ms Holmes said: “This campaign is not targeting fashion magazines for the same reason it’s not targeting lads’ mags – they are not mainstream newspapers. When you buy a fashion magazine, for good or bad, you know that’s what you’re getting.

If you buy a lads’ mag you know that’s what you get. It’s about context. When George Alagiah reads the news, in the middle of the wars and famine, does a quick pic of Carly, 20, from Birming­ham and her breasts go up? No, and how out of place would it look if they did? It’s very outdated. Page three is the most blatant media misogyny out there, but there’s plenty that’s not as obvious. This is a starting point.”

In 1987 Conservative MP Norman Tebbit said page three was compar­a­tive to nude images in an art gallery.

“It’s not about nudity,” said Ms Holmes. “If there was a topless picture of a man as well as a woman, then it would really be just some nudity. But this is depicting only women in a certain way, and it has for 40 years. The fact is, if a national newspaper put up topless images of ethnic minority people every day, but not white people, regardless of gender, there would be an outcry because we would know they are being portrayed in an unequal way, that it is degrading.

“If the images were of a particular profession topless every day, regardless of gender, the unions would be beside themselves.

“But we are used to degrading women with page three. ‘Why change it’, people say, it’s been there for so long. But then again, so was slavery, and workhouses.

“Is that an excuse?”

Comments

Page 3

Have people not anything else to think about?! If you do not enjoy, appreciate or have morale exceptions to Page 3 then simply DO NOT LOOK AT IT!!!

It is all about context and if one is easily offended by a Girl with her t•ts out, then purchase another Newspaper. Just as the individual would select a purchase with regards political preference or personal interests. It should be remembered the Glamour Modelling industry employees more than just a handful of Models.

Perhaps the Moron behind this petition will provide thousands of jobs herself, for those that would lose their livelyhood if he pathetic attempts were put in place?

It is the decision of the Girls if they wish to pose; they are not kidnapped and held to ransom, until they agree to go topless. The Modelling Agencies are legitimate and Professional institutions and do not exploit the Girls.

Everyone is aware people will see the t•ts and that there is no guranteee of success. A choice can then be made by the Girl if she wishes to give it a go.

The objection to the age of the Girls is frankly stupid, as nature dictates that the human race is at it s physical peak of attractiveness at certain times. And how would it be different for a 19 year old getting her t•ts out, compared to a 39 year old?! Each are still doing exactly the same thing! The internet opens the door for cowardly individuals who can Post offensive messages about anything they want.

A quick Google of an individual will see idiots venting views which they would never do, should they be required to do it face to face. And anyway, someone commenting that Robyn Lambert has great t•ts is hardly a matter for a Police Investigation!

Long live Page 3 and all the Gorgeous Girls such as Robyn Lambert, who bring pleasure to millions each Morning :-)

Why do they need to continue?

Why is this still acceptable? I have the images forced on me in different circumstances e.g work, the bus etc.

I choose not to buy this paper and look, but sometimes IT chooses to come looking for me. I have also been seriously damaged by these images and have a poor self body image. Even though logically I try to tell myself it's not important, I continuously compare myself and feel as though I am inadequate for not having large breasts.

As a child my Dad also looked at a page 3 paper regularly, and if the man you look up to most in your life is looking at this type of thing, then it feeds the message this is what women must look like. It's wrong and it's destroying lives and relationships.

It must go!

get a life

No one forces the woman to go topless they get well paid.
Why change somthing which is doing no arm to you or anyone else.
IF YOU DONT LIKE THE PAGE DONT LOOK AT IT

Page 3

Page 3, Its very outdated and needs to go. My dad has always brought this paper, I wished it went in the bin before he got home as its always landed on the table when he got home from work.
From a very young age it has had an impact on me, without me realising it, as I would get a red pen and put nipples on all my Barbie dolls.
Seeing them images every day has left me feeling negative about my breasts , there not the right shape, their not big enough. Many times I have thought of surgery, as I wanted to seek perfection breasts, like the one in the paper, big bigger and even more bigger.
I now in my forties, and it sills effect me, as my partner buys it and brings it home for me and my kids to see, but I put t straight in the bin. These images does effect young girls and boys, it needs to be kept in lads mags, away from the family table.
Some people may say its down to choice, yes it is, but how can you tell your dad or your partner , don't buy this paper as the page 3 has a impact on me.

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