Featherstone and Crockart slam Page 3

A petition calling on the editor of the Sun to withdraw the Page 3 feature has gained more than 13,000 signatures in the last 2 days. I’m supporting this campaign because I strongly believe that a national newspaper showing half clothed women is a significant background note in the cultural melody which stops women from being treated as equal citizens.  How am I supposed to convince my daughter that she’s an equal member of society when she sees women portrayed as little more than window dressing for the express entertainment of men?

Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West Mike Crockart agrees. He told me:

I can’t believe that the Page 3 debate is still running.  The Sun’s editor needs to listen to people and act to take note of this campaign. In this day and age it’s ridiculous that women are still being objectified like this. Add to this the fact that images of ‘perfect’ women in magazines and papers leads to low self-esteem and unhappiness in a huge number of young women and the case for an end to Page 3 is overwhelming.

I asked former Liberal Democrat Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone what she thought of Page 3 during last night’s webinar. She said that she found it offensive.

If you’re on the Tube and somebody’s reading the Sun and Page 3 is there for all to see, it’s awful. I don’t want my daughter seeing that. I wish people would stop buying the Sun. That’s the real answer.

She went on to talk about what happened in the wake of a Fawcett Society General Election hustings at which she and Harriet Harman jokingly agreed to ban it should they get the chance. The Sun picked up on this, and a few days later, there on page 3 were two half naked girls, Harriet from Peckham, and Lynne from Hornsey.

There are, of course, two sides to every story. Charlotte Henry puts the opposing view over at Digital Politico:

The act of appearing in, purchasing, and looking at Page 3 is conducted by a collection of adults in full knowledge of what they are doing.

Not wanting Page 3 to be censored isn’t itself implicit support for the hyper-sexualisation  and objectification of women, and it isn’t support of misogyny (something I have been accused of for sharing my view on this,) and it certainly doesn’t justify rape culture.

It just isn’t very liberal to campaign for the removal of items in a newspaper, just because you dislike them.

Whatever your view, it’s a good thing that the issues around the portrayal and status of women that this campaign raises are being talked about. What do you think?

* Caron Lindsay is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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43 Comments

  • Paul Reynolds 19th Sep '12 - 3:37pm

    Yes I also find it unsettling when I am on the Piccadilly Line and there are children from religious families en route from Heathrow looking uncomfortable at the display of female breasts in newspapers read by men and women. Recently I saw two religiously dressed very young women looking shocked at the display of fully naked men in a women’s magazine, adorning an article about sex read by a middle aged women in a business suit standing on the Tube train. The complexities of a ban begin to reveal themselves…

  • Cllr Mark Wright 19th Sep '12 - 3:40pm

    “I strongly believe that a national newspaper showing half clothed women is a significant background note in the cultural melody which stops women from being treated as equal citizens.”

    Really? On the basis of what evidence do you make this assertion?

    The evidence as far as I can see points the other way; i.e. that societies that normalise the female body wrt men’s bodies tend to be the societies that equalise men and women. The evidence for this is just to look at the most gender repressive counties (North Africa, Middle East, South Asia, etc) which are coincidently the most strict about displaying female bodies, versus the most gender equal counties (Northern Europe, Scandinavia, etc) which are the least strict – and indeed less strict than the UK.

  • Tony Dawson 19th Sep '12 - 3:49pm

    Mark, you appear to be supporting Caron, not opposing her.

    ‘The Sun’ is hardly ‘normalising’ women’s bodies!

    Britain and America in particular are possibly the most hypocritical societies in relation to most aspects of sexuality and objectification of women.

  • Keith Browning 19th Sep '12 - 4:24pm

    As someone who lived through the liberal minded ‘swinging sixties’ when ‘flower power’ and ‘free love’ replaced the dour and oppressive Victorian values that were still omnipresent in British society – particularly in government, I’m not sure where this is going. Perhaps heading towards Republican Conservatism and eventually a land where 17th century Puritans wouldn’t feel out of place.

    Excuse me while I go and replace the curtains around the naked chair legs on my chaise longue.

  • Richard Dean 19th Sep '12 - 4:26pm

    While I agree with some of these comments, I’d like to see more evidence before I agree that Page 3 is doing positive harm. People have the choice of buying the Sun or not. And the Sun’s editor is indeed listening to people – they’re talking through their purchases of the Sun, and they’re saying it’s good.

    I strongly believe that it’s a good thing for people to see naked bodies. Talk to people who have never done so and you’ll often find that terrible phobias and guilts are oppressing them. What Page 3 probably needs to do is expand its scope to include many different shapes and sizes, including what we call “degormity” which is a lot more common than people imagine. That would provide us all with a much better idea of what is average, and even create in us a better attitudes through a process akin to the process of de-sensitization that images of violence are said to cause .

    And why not insist on having men on page 4?

  • Richard Dean 19th Sep '12 - 4:30pm

    f and g seem to often get mixed up on my piano keyboard! tra la la

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 19th Sep '12 - 5:37pm

    Paul, I’m the least religious person on the planet and I’m not quite sure what point you are going to make. I have no objection to nudity, nor from stopping people enjoying themselves. I don’t think it’s an accident that women do not have an equal role in our society, though, and Page 3 is symbolic of the culture that holds women back. How can a man who’s ogling breasts on the tube then go to work and take his female colleagues or bosses seriously?

    Richard, it’s not as simple as having a topless man on Page 4. It’s perfectly normal for men to wander around topless or with their shirts open, at least on the few days a year it’s warm enough to do so. It is, however, in our culture, unusual for a woman’s breasts to be bared. For your Page 4 to be equivalent, you’d have to have man exhibiting a part of his body that is usually covered. This would be accompanied by some patronising and vacuous comment that has the underlying implication that he could never have heard of what he’s talking about and a clever editor has had to put those words into his mouth.

    It’s important to realise that nobody is talking of banning anything, it’s about creating a case which will ultimately lead to the Editor of the Sun realising that this feature has outstayed its welcome.

  • Cllr Mark Wright 19th Sep '12 - 5:49pm

    “How can a man who’s ogling breasts on the tube then go to work and take his female colleagues or bosses seriously?”

    Caron, can I suggest that perhaps it is you who needs to examine your attitudes here. If you think that men being attracted to nice breasts that they see (a natural response that has been developed over millions of years of evolution) prevents them taking women seriously then you have a deeper issue you need to deal with.

  • I’d make two points.

    1) Freedom of the press also extends to freedom of said press to publish vapid, sexist twaddle. Sorry. We’re liberals.

    2) Personally I’m far more worried about the rubbish that the Sun prints on the REST of its pages.

    As well meaning as the petition is, I think it’s an own goal. I can quite imagine that the Murdoch press will delight in printing that puritanical Lib Dems want to “ban Page 3″. It’s not what we’re about as a party.

  • Richard Dean 19th Sep '12 - 6:42pm

    Absolutely right Joe.

  • Cllr Mark Wright 19th Sep '12 - 7:13pm

    Agreed. The endless stream of hate-filled bile that fills the rest of the Sun’s pages has a detrimental affect on society for which there is real evidence (attacks on paediatricians and asylum seekers, rising xenophobia, etc).

  • Paul Reynolds 19th Sep '12 - 7:16pm

    Caron. Thanks. Did I say something to contradict you ? Maybe a misunderstanding. The point I am trying to make is first that this is tricky to deal with, to the satisfaction of all the complainants. I do genuinely feel unsettled by the public presentation of topless young women in many circumstances, and the public presentation of naked men, when there are so many people offended by such images. If there is one area where I may not disagree with you it is that the issue is only about female nudity portrayed. I understand the argument that women have been wronged and thus a process of rebalancing continues, and addressing degrading portrayals of women is part of that process.

    However, my view is that it is disbeneficial to that process to assume that lechery and the sexual portrayal of homo sapiens is all one way. Anyone can see in a newsagent the sexual portrayal of men in women’s magazines and colour supps, and appalling attitudes along the lines of ‘men are only good for sex and putting up the shelves’, and much worse. I do not suggest that you support such offensive material. However in order to address problems it is better to look at the issues in the round.

  • Stuart Mitchell 19th Sep '12 - 8:11pm

    There is nothing sinister about men enjoying looking at picures of attractive women, dressed or not, and vice versa.

    Lynne Featherstone – who once recommended an actress famous for her surgically enhanced cleavage as a “role model”, and was thrilled to receive the “Most Fanciable MP” award from (slight irony here) Sky News – proves yet again just how inconsistent she and people like her can be regarding this sort of thing.

    Paul: “Recently I saw two religiously dressed very young women looking shocked at the display of fully naked men in a women’s magazine.”

    Well there are plenty of theocracies in the world where those women could ride trains unmolested by such sights, There is no need to feel guilty about living in a free society.

  • A note of consistency is required here.

    This particular petition does appear to be singling out a lone target, when there are more and far more extreme examples around. If a ban of ‘Page 3′ were justified then I see no reason to simply limit such a ban to this publication alone. That is, unless the real target is the effective influence and ideology of the specific publishers and owners, not the substantive issue about content.

    Therefore, I feel it’s definitely worth trying to understand the issue a little better: are we more worried about the objectification of women, or the result of mass reproduction of selective imagery on our society? Are we more worried about processes or outcomes?

    For my part, regarding the matter of ‘objectification’, I’d like to ask whether cited example of ‘Harriet from Peckham, and Lynne from Hornsey’ were factual and accurate – ie were they of ‘objects’ manipulated for the benefit of others, or real subjects who exist and behave on their own terms and in their own right? Are these photos true depictions, truthfully described, and did these people consent freely?

    As for any accusation of ‘hyper-sexualisation’, I’d offer the counterpoint that there are equal risks in a potential ‘de-sexualisation’ of society.

    This is the crux of the matter because we risk a credibility gap if we attack idealised models of female physicality at the same time as complaining about a lack of positive social role models for boys and young men.

    There is definitely a lack of balance in this debate so far, and politicians on all sides are in a mess about it. We must present a coherent picture of how our approach fits within a framework of wider social relationships or whatever we say simply has no applicability and it’d be better to say nothing.

    Personally, I dislike legislative bans, because there are far more pragmatic and cheaper ways of limiting the dissemination tacky tat such as we’re discussing. So I won’t be supporting this petition.

    Why is ‘Page 3′ considered ‘bad’, while Marc Quinn’s sculpture of Alison Lapper is considered so ‘good’ that it’s used as the centrepiece of the Paralympic opening ceremony? Is there really a difference, or should we make exceptions?

  • Sophie Bridger 19th Sep '12 - 9:43pm

    If you’re a teenage boy, and the only paper your household gets is the Sun, how does that shape your attitude towards women? How do you grow up viewing women, when the only woman in your paper has her tits out? What if you’re a girl in the same household? How does that shape the way you view yourself, your role in life?

    There are some claims here that we would be better off focusing on the rest of the “hate-filled bile” that fills the Sun’s pages, rather than this. Any woman who’s ever been wolf-whistled, or verbally harassed in the street will tell you that this does have real and measurable effects, that alienate and distress women every day. Ask your sister. Ask your daughter. Ask your wife.

    No one is suggesting that we legislatively ban Page three. But as readers and consumers, we’re entitled to take the opportunity to express our views, as much as the Sun is their’s.

  • Alex Baldwin 20th Sep '12 - 12:47am

    Have I accidentally strayed onto the wrong party’s website?

    Sophie Bridger 19th Sep ’12 – 9:43pm
    “If you’re a teenage boy, and the only paper your household gets is the Sun, how does that shape your attitude towards women? How do you grow up viewing women, when the only woman in your paper has her tits out? What if you’re a girl in the same household? How does that shape the way you view yourself, your role in life?”

    Those are all interesting questions. Do we have any research that’s looked at this?

  • This is a ridiculous campaign and totally contradicts the liberal values of the party, No one believes in exploitation but these people agree to be photographed and are happy with that. Men find women attractive – indeed some women find women attractive too. That folks is nature. And there are endless magazines now which show scantily clad men as well. I think the human body(in all shapes and sizes) is something to be celebrated not condemned or hidden and i wouldn’t object to fully naked pictures of men or women if they were portrayed tastefully rather than exploitatively. Why are we, as liberals even having this debate. For me it’s a matter of principle.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 20th Sep '12 - 8:23am

    Sophie is 100% right. Imagine, all you men who think Page 3 is completely harmless, how you would feel if it were a man who were being depicted in that way while women were writing and shaping the rest of the news. What if you were sitting round the kitchen table listening to women saying “look at the cheeks on that” or “I’d like to (insert crude word here) that”. That man wouldn’t be a him any more, he would be a that. There for the taking. There’s all sorts of evidence that suggests that men who engage with prostitutes, for example, and attend lap dancing clubs, don’t recognise the women in front of them as a human being. That attitude starts from things like Page 3.

    I read an account recently of a woman’s train journey home. She was continually harassed on that journey by men who, with increasing grumpiness and menaces, petrified her. She was used to men being grumpy when she said she was busy reading and didn’t want to speak to them. The way they reacted was as if they felt they had some entitlement to her attention. If they wanted to talk to her, she had to engage with them.

    I think it’s perfectly liberal to seek to challenge the culture that holds half the population back, that encourages the other half of the population to feel a sense of ownership and entitlement over them.

    Women who challenge Page 3 are often subject to some pretty personal insults. Clare Short was told she was fat and ugly. I’m being painted as some frigid, illiberal puritan who can’t stand nudity. What I don’t like is the sort of objectification that the Sun normalises. If people want to look at breasts, there are plenty other places they can go. It’s time for the Sun to pull Page 3.

  • lynne featherstone 20th Sep '12 - 9:52am

    Well done Caron! For me the argument is more about the public space. If men want to buy pictures of naked women (or women of men) that is their business. It is when these images come into the public space (and that includeds point of sale) that the line is crossed.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 20th Sep '12 - 11:08am

    Mark, there’s a huge difference. The Christian child’s life is not affected by anyone kissing in the street. In fact, it might be enhanced as the child realises that such things aren’t doing anybody any harm and the more love there is in the world the better. Similarly, you get all these people who complain about women breastfeeding their babies in public when it’s not affecting them. In fact, a lot of those people who complain about seeing a the back of a baby’s head as it gets its mother’s milk are often the same people who think Page 3 is just a bit of harmless fun.

    Portraying women as objects to admire in a way that is not done to men is different and holds women back. All the campaign is doing is asking the editor of the Sun to take this feature out of his paper. Why are you treating a mild request as if it were the end of freedom and civilisation as we know it? Nobody is calling for a decency law. Nobody is saying that people shouldn’t be able to look at breasts if they don’t want to, simply that there is no reason for a mainstream newspaper to have this sort of a feature in the 21st century.

  • Callum Leslie 20th Sep '12 - 11:20am

    I seriously can’t get my head round anyone thinking that Page 3 only affects the people who read or buy the Sun. The fact that the most read NEWSpaper in this country thinks that women are purely objects to be gazed and oggled at with their clothes off fuels that fundamentally misogynistic culture that exists in our country.

    I refer you to the Twitter feed of @EverydaySexism for examples.

  • I think there’s a bit of confusion on this issue. No-one’s arguing for a ban – it’s about having a discussion about the way that women are portrayed in our society. Often, the standard societal view of women is a stereotypical male one, that women are there to be ogled as erotic imagery. I think that’s harmful in a newspaper.

    This isn’t about prudishness over the female body. It’s about the way that women are shown as purely sexual objects. Nobody wants to ban people getting naked, or even getting naked in print, but Page 3 doesn’t just show some random person in the nip. It reinforces the concept that women are another entertainment feature, and it does so in the context of the news. I think that trivialises the women who’re depicted.

  • Richard Swales 20th Sep '12 - 12:22pm

    @Ruaraidh
    Does it do it in the context of the news, the Sun also contains other things like sport which are not news. Isn’t page three more of a break for those who have doggedly read through two pages of news already?

    @ Lynne
    The argument about point of sale is very weak. The girls are on page 3, not page 1.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 20th Sep '12 - 12:25pm

    Richard, if you want to give people a break from news, give them a crossword, or a cute picture of a puppy. Not a half naked adolescent to perv over.

  • Richard Swales 20th Sep '12 - 12:42pm

    Caron “Clare Short was told she was fat and ugly.”

    I’m sure she was and not without reason, just as I’m sure half the Tory back benches have been called fat and ugly at some point (if not I’m telling them it now). I have a BMI over 30 myself so the first part definitely applies to me too. What’s the problem exactly?

    I think the societal assumptions we should be questioning are the ones that say that women can’t be taken seriously if they are beautiful or sexy and especially not if they are proud of it. We hear people say that female tennis player X should concentrate on her game instead of getting distracted with modelling, but we never hear the same about David Beckham’s endorsements for example (it being apparently possible for men to be attractive without distracting themselves).

    Certainly if you go to Eastern Europe, and see policewomen, female lawyers and politicians wearing heavier make-up and skirts above the knee (in summer) and yet not magically losing the power of arrest, to argue a case or to legislate then you go to the UK and see women in those professions having to dress more like men to be taken seriously, then you start to think if the UK is really a country that takes women seriously at all.

    This Lib Dem campaign to “liberalize” (i.e. stop) page 3 seems to be playing to those societal assumptions that women’s bodies make them inferior to men and attractive women’s bodies make them even more inferior.

  • Sophie is only 50% right and therefore 100% wrong – This issue does more to expose the thoughts and motivations of each individual than it does to expose any truths about society.

    How does it shape attitudes? It shapes attitudes in different ways. For example it makes me take less seriously those who harp on about how necessarily harmful it is.

    Obviously Lynne has some devastating interventions to make on tax reforms to enhance financial equality, but sadly she prefers to endure the indignity of dealing with petty poses. The consequence being that she chooses her own glass ceiling.

    It is impossible to make a fair judgement on Page 3, as it depends entirely on whether the models are subjectified by fully accurate captioning, or objectified by partial and inaccurate captioning, and of course whether they are photoshopped or not.

    This is an ancient debate about differences between high art and low art, and the answers remain the same – it is not depictions of nudity which shape attitudes, but how any depictions are handled. Do you trust those making them and are willing to tolerate what they do, or are you by nature paranoid and suspicious?

    Do we argue that Marc Quinn degraded and demeaned Alison Lapper and by inference all women and anyone with disabilities? No, absolutely not.

    So Lynne is incorrect that it’s an issue about decency and appropriateness in the public space, it’s a self-indulgent gripe about the percieved judgements of others and it’s redolent of the narcissism of the age; a perfect campaigning issue for anyone who’s been swallowed up into the Westminster bubble.

    While we’re on the subject maybe Lynne could comment on recent published over-exposed photos of members of the Royal family, please?

  • Paul Pettinger 20th Sep '12 - 1:13pm

    This debate is bonkers – the Govt has continually refused to require schools to provide sex and relationships education and most boys learn about sex from hard pornography the internet, and yet some are worried about page three.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 20th Sep '12 - 1:32pm

    Paul, I agree with you about the effects of internet porn I’ve written about that on my own blog in a post called “Let’s talk about porn” because my feeling is that opt/in/out of adult content stuff misses the point. We have to talk about this stuff.

    Page 3 is harmful because it depicts it as normal to show women as objects to be drooled over rather than human beings. So when your average 11 year old then goes and looks up the freely available internet porn in which women are portrayed as mere receptacles, it’s hardly surprising that they think that’s normal too – and then go and try and play out the same scenarios with young girls – and there is plenty evidence of that.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 20th Sep '12 - 1:34pm

    And, no, Tom. I might have supported a ban in my younger days, but not now. I’m happy to go along with shaming them into it.

    The petition is actually just under 25,000 signatures. It was 1700 when I signed it last Monday. Long way to go, but not a bad start with most of the campaign being on Twitter and Facebook.

  • @Caron Lindsay
    I believe (on LDV) that when people make a claim it is usual to ask for some sort of evidence, therefore could you provide links to the research that has led you to form the following opinions please:

    ” In fact, a lot of those people who complain about seeing a the back of a baby’s head as it gets its mother’s milk are often the same people who think Page 3 is just a bit of harmless fun.”

    “… that encourages the other half of the population to feel a sense of ownership and entitlement over them.”

    “How can a man who’s ogling breasts on the tube then go to work and take his female colleagues or bosses seriously?”

    ” ….. don’t recognise the women in front of them as a human being. That attitude starts from things like Page 3.”

    I also have a question on:
    “What if you were sitting round the kitchen table listening to women saying “look at the cheeks on that” or “I’d like to (insert crude word here) that”. That man wouldn’t be a him any more, he would be a that.”

    Are you saying that you’ve never sat with a table full of women (e.g. in a pub) who’ve engaged in that sort of commentary – honestly? I’ve been sat with women who’ve been quite open in that regard, so to answer your question “how you would feel” – it didn’t really bother me at all.

    I would also like to add that when Cllr Mark Wright made the comment regarding a Christian child winessing gays kissing, you replied “Mark, there’s a huge difference”. But actually there isn’t, that hypothetical Christian child was brought up to believe it was wrong, if she was brought up to feel that page 3 was shameful then that is what she would feel.

    Finally, may I also ask you a question, who is the sexist? Is it:

    a. The man who ogles page 3 girls and believes that women are his plaything.

    b. The woman who believes that any man who looks at page 3 will believe that women are his plaything and will not be capable of treating women as equals.

    c. Both of the above.

  • This debate reveals far more about our inherent problem as a society with sex. We still have an undercurrent that sexual desire is somehow dirty and wrong. Well it isn’t. It is perfectly natural for a human being to fancy another human being physically whether it be a man or a woman or whether they be a man or woman doing the fancying. I always think of my old Norwegian flat mate who said to me after six weeks of living in the UK – ‘you’re obsessed with sex in this country. We have naked pictures everywhere and it’s not an issue at all. It’s just a human body.’ Come on folks, if we as liberals cant take a progressive view on this then we might as well pack up. Any exploitation is wrong but I cannot see how appreciating someone’s physicality whether it be man or woman can be wrong if the people involved are all happy and consenting. And as for men not being exploited – again sorry but if you’ve ever stumbled across a gaggle of women on a hen night, now to be a man in the middle of that is scary!! That’s harassment, that’s exploitation. Rarely does the issue ever rear its head

  • Richard Swales 20th Sep '12 - 7:40pm

    @Ashley, yes it’s true it can go in reverse, I (before my BMI was over 30) was once the only male employee in a department with 30 women, and I was the youngest, so I got quite a few comments that would be considered a reason to sue these days, not that I cared personally of course.

    I think Caron’s idea that a man who looks at pictures of women naked can’t be expected to take his female boss seriously shows what the problem is. It is the belief of many people that sex or beauty is something that demeans women. It’s true that being a model is not a cerebral profession, but then neither are a lot of the people who fill the pages of the Sun. The (second part of the) idea expressed elsewhere that the Sun shows the nice girl and then shows the news being made by male figures is actually less true of the Sun than other papers, because its “news” focusses on human interest stories in which women feature more heavily than in the politics and business-heavy broadsheets (or whatever they are called these days).

  • Stuart Mitchell 20th Sep '12 - 9:28pm

    I wonder what the text of this petition is. Perhaps something like the following:

    “Dear Sun editor. We the undersigned would never actually lower ourselves to read the Sun. Nevertheless we are asking you to end your Page Three feature so that those who do read the Sun can no longer see it. We would like the models who are employed by your newspaper to be consigned to the dole queue, where they can join the many thousands of other women who have disproportionately borne the brunt of the government’s public sector job cuts. We want these things because we are liberals and we care about women.”

    I don’t read the Sun myself, and Page Three girls are generally not my type. But if others like them – great. Because enjoying the physical appearance of other human beings is simply one of the best things about being alive; we are programmed by billions of years of evolution to feel this way, and attempting to suppress or denigrate such natural instincts is the kind of anti-human nonsense one would expect to hear from religious fundamentalists, not liberals.

    Where is the evidence that “ogling” attractive women leads to the objectification and suppression of women? How do you explain the fact that in countries where sexual imagery is banned, women tend to be treated no better than slaves? Plenty of women are still raped and harassed in such countries, despite (or perhaps because of) the lack of freedom of sexual expression.

    This is not a coincidence. I believe that a society with a healthy and liberal attitude to human sexuality is going to respect members of the opposite sex more, not less.

    It’s actually impossible to know what people like Lynne Featherstone really want, because the messages are so inconsistent. If I see an image of Christina Hendricks with her allegedly-silicone-stuffed bosom heaving out of a low-cut dress, I’m supposed to think that’s great. But if another woman shows just a tiny bit more of her breasts on page three, I’m supposed to be disgusted. I’m off to a burlesque show tomorrow night – I’ve no idea how acceptable THAT is.

  • Alex Baldwin 21st Sep '12 - 12:42am

    “Sophie is 100% right. Imagine, all you men who think Page 3 is completely harmless, how you would feel if it were a man who were being depicted in that way while women were writing and shaping the rest of the news. What if you were sitting round the kitchen table listening to women saying “look at the cheeks on that” or “I’d like to (insert crude word here) that”. That man wouldn’t be a him any more, he would be a that. There for the taking. There’s all sorts of evidence that suggests that men who engage with prostitutes, for example, and attend lap dancing clubs, don’t recognise the women in front of them as a human being. That attitude starts from things like Page 3.

    I read an account recently of a woman’s train journey home. She was continually harassed on that journey by men who, with increasing grumpiness and menaces, petrified her. She was used to men being grumpy when she said she was busy reading and didn’t want to speak to them. The way they reacted was as if they felt they had some entitlement to her attention. If they wanted to talk to her, she had to engage with them.”

    These are not arguments backed up by evidence. You’re just pontificating based on a bunch of very “bloggy” anecdotal bites. Once we actually have an account of how an image of a person’s body is supposed to be causing grievous societal harm then it will be worth having a serious discussion about whether it’s acceptable to bundle that into a newspaper. Until then your personal tastes about what should and what should not go into a newspaper (that you’re never going to buy anyway) do not appear to carry much weight.

    Having the people who are not the Sun’s audience petition the Sun is completely nonsensical. You could try to organise a boycott among actual Sun readers, which would be a way of having an effect, but you’re never going to persuade them to stop buying it.

  • Richard Swales 21st Sep '12 - 10:23am

    @Alex Baldwin,

    It looks to me though that the Sun will ignore “what the people want” (i.e. the people who signed the petition), which will be held up as an example of “market failure” justifying force-based government intervention. For too many people the “Liberal” in liberal democrat means the same as it does in the USA – i.e. general vanilla left-wing.

  • Richard – you’re right! If we are to survive and thrive as a party we have start living up to the word Liberal and really believing in it!

  • Now that the ball is rolling where does it stop ? Shall we remove classical statues from museums or perhaps take a step further and reintroduce the Victorian practice of covering the legs of the grand piano in the living room?

  • In America, the government would have no right to stop the publication of a tabloid like the Sun, or to dictate what it could or could not show on its pages — but vendors would treat it like any other pornographic publication, kept behind the counter (other than in shops specializing in that sort of thing), and only available to customers who specifically asked for it.

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarChris Manners 22nd Oct - 11:56pm
    "Andy Graham could point to @Caractacus at rather a lot of things the Liberal Democrats are doing to help ordinary people for example cutting income...
  • User AvatarChris Manners 22nd Oct - 11:55pm
    "So how about some Ukip facts? Ukip want an Australian model of immigration from the EU. Where is the fear factor, in that? We only...
  • User AvatarChris Manners 22nd Oct - 11:54pm
    ". I sense that increasing the tax threshold may have been the most important and popular." Doubtless the VAT hike that paid for it is...
  • User AvatarStevan Rose 22nd Oct - 11:50pm
    The qualification for legislator should be election not how pleasant their company is. Nor should our elected representatives be undermined by an unelected, often deliberately...
  • User AvatarMark Valladares 22nd Oct - 11:31pm
    @ George Potter, So, having lodged an ad hominem attack on Tony Greaves - you are either brave or foolhardy, I can't tell which -...
  • User AvatarATF 22nd Oct - 11:24pm
    @Stevan Rose That would achieve nothing, it would keep on as it ever has as neither Labour or the Tories would seek to change it...