I’m not a big fan of newspapers. I read The Guardian, but I also follow a few fact checking blogs which regularly highlight the inconsistencies present within the press, usually the tabloids.
At the moment, The Guardian is really championing these women who are seeking to ban Page 3. Like any sensible person, I have my favourite paper, but sometimes it riles me up. I don’t agree with everything it tells me to believe. And sometimes it writes editorials called ‘In Praise of Iain Duncan Smith’, like a devil’s advocate.
Anyhoo. Back to the issue of Page 3. I guess when you think about it, it’s a little odd, having a half naked woman stare at you over the breakfast table (someone you haven’t just brought home after a wild night out, I should add). It’s a little bit anachronistic. But all the arguments I’ve heard against it are spurious. ‘It’s offensive to women.’ ‘Think about the CHILDREN!’ (this one is always said with added anguish) ‘These women don’t know what they’re doing, they’ve been brought up in a society where women are judged on their bodies!’ Et cetera, ad nauseum.
The ‘think of the children’ argument is always ridiculous. They’re boobs. Every second person has them (more if we’re including man boobs in this scenario). If you’re that scared of your child seeing a pair of bosoms then maybe you should rethink your life choices.
The ‘exploited women’ argument is silly too. These women are paid to pose with their boobs out, and they always look rather pleased to be doing so. This also applies to (most) porn. It’s not sex trafficking!
With reference to the first argument: that is your prerogative to find it offensive. But you don’t speak for all women. You don’t speak for me. I don’t find it offensive. I do, however, find Loose Women, The X Factor and Jessie J offensive, but I accept that some deluded people enjoy those. I would much rather these women fight against something that I find infinitely more offensive: the Daily Fail’s Sidebar of Shame.
If you’re not familiar with this, go onto the DF’s website. You see that column at the far right hand side? Headed ‘Femail Today’? That’s what I’m talking about. The Page 3 girls have gone into their modelling sesh with their eyes wide open, and The Sun will never point out that their boobs might be slightly wonky, or that she needs her roots doing. The Daily Fail, however, specialises in this type of rubbish. Here are some examples from today (13.02.13):
Now, to be fair, it’s not just The Daily Fail who is indulging in such derogatory bullshit; most female magazines also make their living writing this sort of gumpf. But The Daily Fail is the most read newspaper website in the world. They get your attention by writing a cute animal story, and your eyes slowly wander over to the right hand side… all of a sudden you are bombarded with misogynistic messages about how you will get fat if you’re dumped, that nobody over a size 8 looks good in a bikini and such-and-such’s sinewy neck really isn’t doing anything for her.
I mean, I get it. Women are bitches. I like most men I meet, but women? Most of them are crazed harpies who would as soon stab you in the back as go shopping with you. But I find this sort of stuff ten times more offensive to women than photos of girls with their tops off.
The Sun specialises in confident women with great bodies; they look healthy (the ones I’ve seen anyway) – it’s quite clear that they don’t starve themselves and that they are in the gym more than three times a week. They may not be the sharpest knives in the drawer (but my belief in this is likely heightened by their ‘News in Briefs’ section) but they look happy with themselves and there aren’t too many negative messages on display.
Contrast this with the Daily Fail and female magazines (I remember Heat was the worst for this when I was growing up). They specialise in telling women that they will never be good enough.
Yes, both of these scenarios focus on a woman’s looks, which is not necessarily a good thing. But if I ever have children, I’d much rather have slightly dim girls who are confident in their looks, than an Oxford graduate who starves herself because she’s been fed tormenting messages about beautiful women who, in some people’s eyes, will never be good enough for the fucking Mail.
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And another brief point: British newspapers are refusing to print photos of a pregnant Kate Middleton in a bikini:
But this is totally ok: