This blog post was supposed to be about the win of a small grassroots campaign and its fight to end the bare breasts featured in The Sun’s Page 3. On Tuesday, The Sun’s sister newspaper The Times reported that the tabloid would no longer feature Page 3 girls, but by now we know that The Sun never really had the intention of dropping the feature that has run for more than four decades, and fooled journalists, campaigners and feminists all over the country.
Yesterdays tweeted image of a topless woman in today’s Sun had the caption:
“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.”
It is needless to say that this portrayal of women is both sexist and outdated. As a newcomer to the UK, I never really understood why a national newspaper would choose to include softcore images of topless women, making everyone uncomfortable as readers quickly jump to the next page, and it came as quite as a shock to me how accepted and normal it appeared to everyone else.
Some of the reactions on Twitter to The Sun’s odd publicity stunt have been priceless – such as Labour MP Stella Creasy’s comparison of the tabloid to a drunken letchy uncle at a wedding who doesn’t get the message and of course the NoMorePage3 campaign thanking The Sun for all the publicity.
And whilst the rather lively debate on Channel 4 with former Page 3 model Chloe Goodman – who has taken her own stance in asking why should feminist women tell other women how to live their lives? – has further added to the debate of feminism as a whole. The fact that today’s Page 3 model is winking straight into the camera lens suggests that The Sun deliberately humiliates and belittles the opinion of women, as well as using the model to send out a message that they are not stopping now or in the near future, and by doing so adding to the objectification of women.
It appears this publicity stunt will have done the tabloid more harm than good. With the new face of feminism of celebrity feminists and online activism becoming ever more prominent, the reactions on social media sites very much dictate the pace of action. And while there are obviously both supporters and those opposed to Page 3, it has started the conversation about the kind of world we want to live in, with the portrayal of women, their value and role in society.