Keeping abreast of page 3

I’ve been so busy recently that I don’t get to read the news very often and I’ve missed all the media discussion about The Sun and page 3. I’m always keen to talk about breasts, as my readers probably know, so naturally I thought I should add my two cents.

To be honest, I don’t feel strongly either way. I don’t mind if The Sun wants to put naked women on page 3 of its newspaper. It’s a bit tacky but I never read it anyway and I don’t think there’s anything unpleasant or indecent about breasts. Maybe they could provide some balance by having a naked man one week and a naked woman the other?

What I do find irritating is the people who defend page 3 are quite often the same ones who object to women breastfeeding in public. I do feel very strongly that women should be free to breastfeed wherever they want. It’s indefensible to make a woman feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or indecent for feeding her baby. I get very worked up when I read comments from people objecting to this. But often these same people, who claim to be offended by an exposed nipple, will then champion the right of a newspaper to publish an exposed nipple. Am I the only one who sees the glaring inconsistency here? At least feminists have some reasoning behind their argument when they say page 3 objectifies women and they of course do advocate for the right of a mother to breastfeed her baby in public.

Although I have to say I don’t really understand the “objectification” argument. It doesn’t seem that way to me and it does feel a little like we want to deny that humans have sexual desires or deny that sex is a pervasive part of our existence, which it is. Perhaps the problem is just that it’s one-sided. Our society seems to think that men are the only ones with sexual desires and women are prim and proper creatures without these animal instincts. This is wrong of course but we’re a bit slow to acknowledge it as a society. Apparently in Japan female-friendly erotica is taking off.

So it seems to me that on one side we have a group of people who say a breastfeeding nipple is ok while a sexy nipple is not ok; and on the other side is a group who say a breastfeeding nipple is not ok, while a sexy nipple is ok. The function the breast is performing at the time seems to be important to both groups but I personally think it’s irrelevant. They’re both fine as far as I’m concerned but within reason of course. If we plastered nipples all over the place then they might lose some of their appeal and we wouldn’t want that.

On the theme of nudity, I also read that Instagram censored photographs of women in bathers because a bit of pubic hair was visible. How ridiculous! One of the most popular posts on my blog is one I published in 2013, Bushy beaver or prebuscent pube? My sentiments on the topic haven’t changed much since then. Most people find this old post of mine by searching Google. I can see the search engine terms they used to get to it and in the last seven days they were: hairy pubes, i have bushy pubes, bushy beaver, beavers shaved, bushy pubes female. What a strange species we are.

24 Comments

  1. ‘What I do find irritating is the people who defend page 3 are quite often the same ones who object to women breastfeeding in public’ And the reverse is also true. Feminist ‘lactivists’ and ‘slutwalkers’ are the ones who get their knickers in a twist over ‘Page 3’. They also claim that a naked female torso represents ‘objectification’ but that a naked male torso, frequently used in advertising, doesn’t represent ‘objectifcation’. Such is feminist logic …

    1. I’ve never heard of slutwalkers. I had to go and look that up 🙂

      Yes, it does seem a bit inconsistent to object to an image of a naked woman but not a naked man.

  2. I always thought that breast milk is good in that it is at the appropriate temperature, safe to drink for babies (vs formula made in areas where water quality may be dubious) and that it is attractively packaged…I asked one of our local actresses if they would do a play about breasts for the La Fiesta we have every year- It is a fiesta celebrating women (which we should do a lot more often than over 2 weeks!) Anyhow, they had this cool play last year called ‘The vagina monologues’ and I reckon they should do one on breasts, with say, an amazon, who used to remove one breast so that they could use a bow and arrow more effectively…then perhaps a woman that has had a breast augmentation and one who might have had a reduction and then a breast cancer survivor- each could provide their own perspective so to speak…’Is the east tit the least tit or the west tit the big tit of the both tits or is it just a trick of perspective?’ I am not sure how it goes exactly- perhaps the page 3 girl could have 3 of them and then that would celebrate genetic diversity! I saw a picture of someone who did just that- could make buying bras a bit tricky though!

    1. What a great idea for a play. I hope they decide to go ahead with it for the next La Fiesta.

      Good idea for the page 3 girl too. Perhaps they could also have a transexual there one time to celebrate human diversity.

      1. Yep that is a great idea too! I saw the one about exercise and the brain- I get cabin fever if I don’t get out- ask my kids! As for Elizabeth learning Chess- she has a good teacher- Ben not being competitive? Ha! you never saw him push the chess clock when he was heading for a determined win!

      2. That’d be one for the Guardian together a lecture on ‘transphobia’, the latest nonsensical newspeak in its lexicon.

  3. I think it is all about the eye of the beholder. Either we have respect for others or we do not. Causes for any lack of respect, for those who seek no harm, are only an excuse.

    1. Yes, I saw that. I followed the link from your post about it and thought it was quite good. I liked the bit at the end, “No, it’s an expression of their essential puritanism, their compressed-lipped disapproval of men who take pleasure in gazing at the naked female form.”

      I don’t think nudity in a newspaper or magazine is objectification. Perhaps I don’t really understand what is meant by the term but I thought it was to treat a living creature like an object which is basically how we treat non-human animals. I don’t see the same thing when a woman or man chooses to pose naked for a publication.

      The only thing I didn’t really like about the article was the reference to feminists as all having this view. It’s a bit of a generalisation. I think it’s wrong to say that all feminists think that way. I call myself a feminist as to me the word means equality and having the right to vote and the right to equal pay for equal work and so on. I also don’t agree that there’s a link between feminism and puritanism. I actually thought it was more the opposite to be honest. Women’s liberation has meant that women are “allowed” to enjoy sex and admit to enjoying it.

      1. Mainstream feminism, as represented by Caroline Lucas, the most prominent NMP3 campaigner, certainly does have an aura of neo-puritanism about it (as does the Green Party of which she is the sole Member of Parliament). The NMP3 campaigners come across as if they are trying to ‘save’ these women who by and large come from less affluent socio-economic backgrounds than do the NMP3 campaigners themselves, from the clutches of the ‘Dirty Digger’ and the ‘dirty old men’ who buy The Sun.

        As for feminism in general, in the developed economies of Western Europe and the Anglosphere, it has long since ceased to be about equality and is now concerned with ensuring that women are advantaged by ‘positive’ discrimination over men, regardless of the socio-economic backgrounds of either gender. To put it bluntly feminism is still the middle-class movement that it always has been; it allows yupwardly mobile Investment Analysts on £50k plus a year to flatter themselves that they are helping to ‘liberate’ their ‘sisters’ on the checkouts at Poundland.

      2. I can’t comment on Caroline Lucas as I’ve never heard of her but it’s still wrong to say all feminists are puritanical or all feminists hate porn or all feminists want to discriminate against men. Some feminists might but there will be others who are not puritanical and who don’t have any objections to porn and for whom feminism means equality. I am a case in point.

      3. Caroline Lucas is one of the three MP’s that Brighton has. The others are Tories and get nowhere near the amount of media coverage that she does. For someone who wants to censor the media she is very good at manipulating it.

        Yes there are ‘pro-porn feminists’, usually those who work in the that industry, for that it what it is. But this isn’t the issue, it is about a newspaper / gossip rag in a free society being allowed to publish pictures which are not pornographic.

      4. “Yes there are ‘pro-porn feminists’, usually those who work in the that industry, for that it what it is. But this isn’t the issue, it is about a newspaper / gossip rag in a free society being allowed to publish pictures which are not pornographic.”

        Just to clarify, I agree that the paper should be free to publish whatever they want and it seems they *are* free to publish whatever they want. I don’t have any objections to page 3 other than it being tacky and tasteless. But I never buy the paper anyway so I don’t care.

        I do want to define what feminism means to me which is the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sex. I think this is the generally accepted definition. Wikipedia says its “a collection of movements and ideologies that share a common stated aim: to define: establish, and defend equal political, cultural, and social rights for women”. Some feminists also think men should be included in this definition since men can also be harmed by sexism. See Bell Hooks for more info.

        And for what it’s worth, I am neither an investment analyst on £50k p/a or a porn industry worker.

  4. For a lot of people I know, it’s not the sight of a naked woman in itself, or our own reaction to it, but the fact that this is in a so-called family newspaper. The message this gives to girls growing up is that a woman’s place is to be looked at. For boys growing up, it gives the message that women are there to be looked at. That’s what objectification means to me – I have no reaction to the sight of a woman with her clothes off, but I don’t think it’s right to keep promoting the idea that a woman is primarily there to be looked at by a man.

    I also found the antics of the Times and Sun (both Murdoch papers) cynical and disrespectful. The Times published the story that Page 3 would cease, and then two days later The Sun ran a Page 3 with this caption underneath it.
    “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 press and broadcast journalists who have spent the last two days talking and writing about us.”
    So just a manipulation to get us all talking and speculating.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Denise. I really appreciate it because I know it’s not always easy to disagree with someone especially when it’s not your blog. But I’m very happy to get a different perspective.

      I think what will probably happen is The Sun will just do whatever its readers want. If it’s readers don’t want to see breasts on page 3, then they won’t buy it any more and falling sales will mean they might consider changing their view of this.

      But I don’t think a naked woman in a tacky newspaper sends a message to young girls that their primary purpose in life is to be looked at. I think that’s a bit of a huge leap. Although I don’t think there’s anything wrong with admiring the female (or male) form. What’s more important to me is how women are treated by their partners, friends, employers, coworkers, and so on.

      1. What’s important to me is that now we live in a society where we’re free to have opposing viewpoints. When I was growing up in the 80s in the UK, anyone who spoke out against the right wing press (and Page 3, such as Clare Short) was subject to intimidation/bullying based on personal insults rather than an argument that countered argument. On the level of “you’re only arguing that because you’re too ugly to be on Page 3” etc. I think seeing that happening to women is why I feel strongly about making the distinction that being uncomfortable with Page 3 doesn’t mean that you are uncomfortable about sex.

    2. Personally, I found it quite funny that the ‘liberal’ pro-censorship feminists fell for a PR stunt. It serves them right.

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