So this week The Sun newspaper ended it’s iconic ‘Page 3’ after 44years of printing pictures of topless beauties and I am more than a little disappointed by this. I’m a 27yr old English woman, and a single parent to my 7yr old daughter and 2yr old son. After an entire childhood of being bullied for being an ugly duckling I finished school an A* business student, going on to college studying A-Levels in psychology, sociology, philosophy and English before having a self-funded breast augmentation at the age of 18, after which I became a topless model for The Daily Sport as The Sun only accepted natural breasted women. Page 3 transformed me from a girl who was so very insecure and embarrassed by her body, to a confident and driven woman. I felt comfortable in my own skin, in my appearance, femininity and sexuality and it was both empowering and enlightening to me at the same time, like a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders as I shook off the bullies and taunting of my youth and received nothing but admiration and compliments from my peers. In an industry where adult models consent to topless photography, and the buying public purchase the content they wish to view; nobody is sold short, nobody is exploited or forced to work in inhumane conditions at a pittance of a wage in a scandalous market. And although I found some women to be catty towards me at the time, and yes the odd guy did leer at me like a piece of meat, it was my choice and something that I was more than happy to do, and I shall forever be proud for doing it.
The film classification of 12 and 12A, accompanied by an adult, means that a child of twelve years of age and above can legally view scenes of nudity in a public cinema. It is the child’s decision to view such content and take themselves to a public venue in order to do so; so surely as adults we should have the discretion to view what we choose, or keep on walking by if it’s not to our taste and interest. I remember going to see the Titanic with my mother at the cinema when I was twelve and I blushed and looked at the floor when Kate Winslet had her topless portrait painted because her amazing breasts were a zillion times bigger than mine, and when she ran her hand down the inside of a steamed up car window I had no idea what it was about but thought it was a very emotional and heart felt film that made me cry my eyes out as I heart-wrenchingly watched every minute.
Yet it seems that repressing female sexuality is the grim future for what was once our Great Britain. No longer will be be able to celebrate the stunningly natural and beautiful female form, but according to Hannah Bullivant from the Huffington Post, if you happen to be “young, very slim, and mostly white” like the models to have graced Page 3 over the years, then you’ll most likely be hated by every woman in the country as their husbands are driven deep underground in order to look at plentiful pictures of topless beauties in order to fulfil their increasingly frustrated sexual desires. I believe tying apron strings too tightly can also damage the circulation of blood to the brain.
We’re becoming a nation of politically-correct drones, where journalists fear for their lives, comedians are too scared to crack a joke incase they’re sacked, millions of smokers fund the NHS yet we hide all cigarette packets in supermarkets and pretend that they don’t exist, children fall over in the playground and are left bleeding and in tears because applying a plaster is a form of peadophilia, and when speaking to a stranger in the street we hesitate and sweat over how to address or describe their appearance for fear of being brandished a racist. So Josephine Bloggs retreats into the safety of her home to relax with a spot of evening television or a read of the paper; yet the celebrities, models and successful business people who adorn our screens and pages make her feel inadequate in her daily civilian life. Josephine has put on weight after having children, she neglects to shave her legs as often as she should and resents her husband for drooling over Halle Berry looking like a goddess in a catsuit on catch-up. So what does Josephine do? She takes to her social media profiles and blasts these women for objectifying females, rather than catching her husbands attention by her own means.
Stating cases of women experiencing unwanted sexual advances, physical contact or sexual harassment as a result of Page 3 is poppycock, when fifteen years ago Josephine would have loved nothing more than a pat on the backside and a flirtatious smile in acknowledgement of her prime. Now that her breasts have dropped and she suffers from unwanted nasal hair, there is no need to take out her frustration on the fruits of her predecessors. I am not condoning unwanted sexual behaviour, but who is to blame for this? The women who take care of their appearance and are outwardly attractive for men, or the men who over step the mark and break the law? It is the latter I believe. There is a line that we all know we mustn’t cross and that is to look but not touch others, and nobody but the offender can be held responsible for that. This of course opens up the entire debate of what is an acceptable form of attire for women in public, and to that I say whatever you feel comfortable and confident in so long as you’re not exposing yourself to others in public. And of course the horrendous debate of rape victims enticing their attackers by being dressed provocatively, please excuse me if I’m missing the point here, but would this same opinion entitle Josephine Bloggs to rape David Beckham or Justin Beiber for having posed in underpants for Calvin Klein? Nice try but I think not! Because levels of violence, cultural differences, religious barriers, women’s rights and political correctness are immeasurable and ever changing, a nation of goal post movers that strike as soon as the ball crosses the line.
The term “Laddism” is used to describe the males of today who make unwanted sexual advances and jokes, but in the eighties they were called uncle Jack, postman Bill and shop keeper Steve and we all smiled and sent one another Christmas cards. Mainstream media is cruelly blamed for young girls engaging in sexual stereotypes and depicting women as sexual objects, yet when Josephine’s husband doesn’t flirt or compliment her because she refuses to shave her armpits or wear lipstick she feels as though her self esteem has been lowered and responds negatively to those she deems more attractive than her. A mere handful of years ago women in magazines were branded as fake and photoshopped to which the press responded by publishing ‘natural’ and ‘real’ women as models, regardless of weight, age, skin colour and cellulite. The same women then complained that they didn’t compare to the slimmer, younger and ‘more perfect looking’ women in the pictures and as a result felt ugly and inferior. Now you can’t say it’s unfair if somebody else is more attractive than you, if they weigh less, stand taller, work harder and lead a more fulfilling life. We can’t all be victims of our own failures in life, we must be responsible for our own success. Jealousy, trolling, bullying and witch hunting is incredibly childish and unkind and deserves no place in todays adult society.
There are billions of niches in this world, individuals, private sectors, markets and arenas to suit all tastes, styles and beliefs, as no single formula, code or product could ever please the masses. So please, if you don’t like what you see then don’t purposely go out of your way to view and involve yourself in it, if it isn’t directly hurting anybody or breaking any laws then politely walk on by and fill your life with things that make YOU happy. You only have one life and it’s already too short as it is, so fill it with love and positivity instead of blaming and hating on others.
UPDATE: 22/01/14 Page 3 Lives On!
I woke to the fantastic news that Page 3 returned today, and I take my hat off to the ingenious marketing ploy that had the nations press all writing about their competitor, The Sun newspeper. The picture of a 22 year old blonde beauty with a dazzling smile and a cheeky wink is captioned with the tremendously jolly and tongue in cheek response of: “Further to recent reports in all other media outlets, we would like to clarify that this is Page 3 and this is a picture of Nicole, 22, from Bournemouth. We would like to apologise on behalf of the print and broadcast journalists who have spent the last two days talking and writing about us.” How fun!
Interview With The Sunday Times
I was very kindly invited to speak about my views on Page 3 with Rod Liddle for The Sunday Times.
Video from Paul Sorene of Anorak