Scrap Page Three – ‘it’s so last century’

Earlier this week Rupert Murdoch’s gave the most significant indication that he might replace the Sun’s Page Three with a half-way house of ‘glamorous fashionistas.’

Murdoch was responding on twitter to a tweet which said Page Three is so last century. Murdoch replied: “You may be right, don’t know but considering.”

This is the first serious hint he has given that he may well do something to end this antiquated, sexist feature.

The campaign to end Page Three really took off after an organised group called No More Page Three was formed. It has actively campaigned for companies to boycott The Sun, refusing to advertise in the paper until the Page Three girls are removed.

Lucy Holmes, the campaign’s founder, tweeted that campaigners were “really pleased” by the hint dropped by Murdoch.

I said in my own statement on the issue that images of semi naked women are in no way acceptable in the 21st century.

It’s not just sexist, but is a complete objectification of women. It’s also offensive.

In addition this is a daily newspaper not a top shelf magazine, something that children and teenagers read. It’s not acceptable for them to view such images yet they are subjected to them on a daily basis.

Essentially Page Three is sexist, out dated and offensive to women so I sincerely hope Murdoch ends this so called ‘institution’. But a halfway house is not acceptable. Just end it all together.”

During questioning at the Leveson Inquiry, The Sun editor Dominic Mohan said the photographs had become an established part of British society.

He added that “the ultimate sanction lies with the reader” and that he felt the pages were “tolerated by the majority of British society” and that the paper’s support of “women’s issues” such as cervical cancer screening illustrated it was not “sexist”.

Such images have only become an established part of British society precisely because little has been done to challenges it. There are very many people who find them offensive and so it’s the right time to stop printing them.”

7 Comments

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7 responses to “Scrap Page Three – ‘it’s so last century’

  1. I am in two minds over this issue:
    (i) I think that such images should be placed in the rear half of the paper (if at all – I am not saying the Guardian ‘should’!). In the following article I argue that some activities are not intrinsically sexist or racist but become so.
    http://www.thephilosophytakeaway.com/2012/10/sexism-logic-and-intuition-by-martin.html
    The publishers of the Sun are clearly cynical and disrespectful.
    (ii) It is a perversion of democracy that opinion-formers can attract a readership by such cynical methods – not least those who push their views by scare-mongering against Trades Unions, and thereby induce working people to act against their own interests.
    I am not completely clear what the precise solution is, except we must ensure we are pursuing robust arguments.
    In fact I shall be writing on this question this evening for the same publication, though I’m not sure when it will be uploaded. Not the most edifying way of celebrating Valentine’s Day.

    • Derrington

      My argument against the objectifying of a group of people by gender, race or other recognised characteristic is that its primary purpose is to remove their humanity, or the breadth of their humanity. Featuring naked females prominently across our popular media gives a number of messages to the readers, both male and female, that this is the primary value of this group of people within society. There is no news content or reason for them being there apart from their nakedness to be assessed by all. Most people will have a reaction on a conscious or subconscious level to that presentation of one half of society and the fact that this group primarily obtains recognition in our society’s media for its ability to inspire a sexual reaction in readers and that, not their skills or abilities in other areas, is their primary value. Females not inspiring such a reaction in the eyes of the beholder become invisible/ignored or worse, valueless as human beings. It is not such a huge leap to begin to treat them as valueless in whole tranches of areas such as the workplace, the justice system, the education system and the home. Does that begin to explain the huge numbers of females that experience violence in their lives simply for being female?

  2. Derrington

    Its not so much offensive as dangerous. The media is the major conduit for shaping societal attitudes. A sexist and demeaning media breeds a sexist and demeaning society. We don’t tolerate a racist media, so why is a sexist one ok? 35,000 females a week end up in A&E due to sexist violence in the home … its time to end this two tier equality where females are equal in the workplace … sort of … and unequal in the home.

  3. > that this is the primary value of this group of people within society
    this is speculation though not necessarily wrong and has to be carefully investigated… people think blonds must be stupid and this is flawed logical thinking
    I believe flawed logic must be addressed head-on, but it has to be studied not assumed
    I agree with what he says about opinion-formers since I said this myself, but I repeat my earlier point that such images should go to the back of the paper

    • Anonymous

      No, this is not an assumption … I worked in media communications for 20 years and am well versed in using the media to change public opinion on topics such as smoking and drink driving. The media was a key tool in the nazis changing public opinion towards Jews in Germany. All this has been tested extensively over the past 100 years and has two huge industries – pr and advertising – devoted to this phenomena. Females should be valued for their diverse talents and contribution to society. The media, particularly the male sector including pornography, portrays Females as sexualised vermin, using terminology such as whore and slut as generic references to sexually active females and portrays them as enjoying and deserving rape and other forms of hate crime. All other females are not even referenced. This amounts to anti female propoganda … And the sun has led the way in promoting this attitude and portrayal of females in society with devastating effect on females access to just and fair treatment in society.

  4. > Females should be valued for their diverse talents and contribution to society. The media, particularly the male sector including pornography, portrays Females as sexualised vermin…
    … and also as mothers and people who do humanities rather than say sciences
    When Murdoch puts images on page Three he is boosting his circulation. Rebekah Wade and members of his family working for his Empire were not chosen for their looks, although TV presenters almost certainly were.
    Murdoch is quite prepared for “females [to] be valued for their diverse talents and contribution to society”, when for society read the business world that enables him to prosper.
    I am sorry I do not accept that Page Three is trying to assert that females should be valued only for their looks. It is indeed saying that looks are part of their talents, but one cannot generalisae from that. Nevertheless he is displaying a disrespect that should be challenged.

    • Derrington

      Page 3 doesn’t assert, it promotes … if the only way that females can get public recognition is by taking off their clothes then it doesn’t need to ‘assert’ anything, it is promoting a message by the simple process of only giving airplay or newspace to that one particular way of portraying females. As for it portraying looks as being one part of the females@ talents, what other female contributions or values is page three and the male media that has followed its lead recognising and valuing? Their political acumen via those preposterous quotes about current news events detailed within the captions? PR and advertising both recognise the value of subliminal messages … you may not accept the validity of these industries experience in manipulating public opinion via the use of images and messages within the media, but millions of corporations do and spend thousands of pounds using them to change public opinion via the media which they test on a weekly basis to see how their various campaigns are working. Page 3 and pornography are no different.