So after four years at uni I will be graduating in the spring, and to my memory the No More Page 3 campaign has been around nearly the whole time I've been a student. I purchased my NMP3 t-shirt when I was in second year (in fact - it was one of the first things I posted on my Instagram), and like many other women and men across the country I have been waiting for the day that the Sun decides to drop it. I'm disappointed to say that although I hated Page 3 before this campaign, and I hate it just as much now, my outward support for the NMP3 campaign definitely waned over the last few years. Mainly because I was studying abroad in the U.S for a year (you put boobs in the newspaper in the U.K?! Awesome!) but also because I feel pretty strongly that it is so anachronistic and at a fundamental level quite wrong that it will just inevitably disappear as the times change
... which is why when I saw that the Facebook page for the campaign had posted a triumphant status saying that the Sun had finally decided to ditch Page 3 I felt a little inward smile of relief that this world may have just become a slightly better and more equal place for women. But also, I'm sad to say, a small tug of disbelief. And I was right to be skeptical. The Guardian reported today that although it is rumoured that the Sun may have decided to stop printing an image of a topless woman on Page 3, instead they may print a photo of a woman wearing underwear. Cue head banging against the wall - this was never about boobs!! It was about fighting against the objectification of women in a national newspaper!! Yes 'boobs are not news' made a catchy slogan, but 'sexy women are not news' is equally as true and still just as relevant (y'know, unless they're olympic gold medalists, or pioneering scientists, or top selling authors that also happen to be sexy...)
If you look at this as a tug of war between the campaign and the Sun then I can't help thinking that if this is true then the Sun have basically won. Women (and men, for that matter) in their underwear really are everywhere in the media (in tabloids, on the side of buses, on T.V or, shockingly, when selling underwear) and if the campaign continues to press for the complete removal of Page 3 then it will look very hollow and as if the Sun is being unfairly targeted.
It seems a little ironic that as the conversation about why it is that women's naked breasts continue to be a source of shock and shame grows, and #freethenipple gains traction, that the fact that the Sun are no longer printing bare breasts is considered a victory. Breasts are natural, normal and can be completely unsexual (such as when being used to feed a baby) and promoting the idea that it is even a 'step in the right direction' is suggesting that having 'em covered up is preferable to having them on show, even when the purpose is still to present a sexually objectifying image of a woman as the largest and most important representation of women in a national newspaper.
Now excuse me while I go back to making granola or something.