A commentary and resource on Law and Sexuality by Professor Chris Ashford and guests
No More Page 3 is the latest campaign – in a long tradition – to get the boobs out of the Sun. No, not the editorial team, but the infamous ladies to be found flashing their wares on Page 3 of the newspaper (which also has a digital version).
Let us not forget that rather brilliant scene in Yes Prime Minister:
Hacker: Don’t tell me about the press. I know exactly who reads the papers: The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country; The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country; The Times is read by the people who actually do run the country; The Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country; The Financial Times is read by people who own the country; The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country; And The Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is.
Sir Humphrey: Oh and Prime Minister, what about the people who read The Sun?
Bernard: Sun readers don’t care who runs the country, as long as she’s got big tits.
Now, as you’d probably imagine, I’m not among the first to champion the sight of a pair of knockers. It’s not necessarily what I like to see while consuming my morning Weetabix, but then again, there are one or two other reasons why I wouldn’t choose to buy the paper – the rabid anti-Europe line, the rabid right-wing view of politics, the rabid right-wing proprietor, and the general assumption that their readers would come a close second to a particularly docile Gnat in a round of Blockbusters.
The profitable nature of the newspaper suggests that it is liked by many other newspaper buyers, and they seem un-deterred from buying it, despite or perhaps because of it’s buxom beauties. For decades, White Van Man parks his vehicle on streets with kids skipping past van windows with a half-eaten Ginsters sausage roll and a pair of tits popping out from The Sun on the dashboard. We’ve somehow survived.
I expect this campaign – like those that preceded it – to go nowhere, but it did seem a couple of weeks ago as though it was gaining traction – particularly with a Newsnight feature on the campaign.
The reasons are numerous. Murdoch is unlikely to want to give any more ground after a rather awful couple of years. The formula works in market terms and so the motive isn’t there to change it at this point. If the campaigners want to eradicate page 3, it will be done through demonising the consumption of Page 3. Making people feel uncomfortable buying The Sun newspaper as long as it contains a woman displaying her breasts will produce change, as would persuading the women to keep to their clothes on – but women seem to keep wanting to pose for this photographs. It’s almost as though they know what they’re doing.
I would suggest that rather like the infamous ladies in The Sun, this campaign is nothing more than window-dressing. A campaign for some rad-feminsits and sympathisers to rally around and to feel productive when they achieve little. Ultimately, this is as much about class as it is boobs (see the politicians and celebs backing this latest campaign); with a section of society as mystified by the continued success of Page 3, as many fans of Page 3 are by Tofu. When will the plebs learn that if you want to see a pair of titillating tits, one need only head get down to the nearest art gallery?