A footnote to one of the blog posts dealt with the ‘No More Page 3’ campaign, fronted most significantly by Caroline Lucas. I was unsure whether it merited a post in its own right, so I’ve put some thoughts down here. In an article published by the Spectator in early 2015, Toby Young compared ‘Page 3’ to Donald McGill postcards with those who wished to ban it as latter- day puritans; his mention of ‘vegetarian feminists’ presumably being directed at Caroline Lucas; not at Renee Somerfield, the vegan fashion and fitness model who graced the Protein World ads, for the feminist censorship campaign against those was later that year (and it was not until London’s first Muslim mayor was elected that it became successful). Young also correctly stated that violence against women is strongest in those societies where women must be fully covered. He correctly pointed out the feminist hypocrisy over pin-up pictures when they turn a blind eye to the activities of ‘grooming’ gangs. Yet there is one issue he didn’t mention and it is one which feminists also ignore. Cast your eye to the top shelf of any newsagent and you are likely to see the porn that feminists have always wanted to ban, yet what are the cultural backgrounds of the people who run these newsagents and how might their backgrounds influence their views towards women and girls of other backgrounds?
The ‘Page 3’ pin-up picture in The Sun, its equivalent in the Daily Star and occasional similar photos in the Mirror Group tabloids have long been bêtes noires for feminists, along with the Benny Hill Show, which featured many of the same women who had made a career as glamour models during the era in which the show was made and originally broadcast. Throughout the 1980’s as I recall, for symbolic reasons, ‘Page 3’ was more important to feminists than was the state of the economy. So when thousands of women were made redundant by the run-down and subsequent closure of Britain’s once thriving textile industry, there was a not a single peep from the feminist brigade. You’d have thought they might have valued the importance of being able to buy British-made dungarees, but apparently not. They happily turned a blind eye to this employment being outsourced overseas as they did more recently to the fact that their ‘this is what a feminist looks like’ t-shirts were made in these overseas sweatshops. And therein lies the fault-line that feminism is overwhelmingly the middle-class movement that it always has been, with the support of some of those, Harriet Harman for example, who come from even more privileged backgrounds and whose main aspirations are to get more women into high-flying boardroom positions in ‘The City’.
In so far as feminists regard the women who pose for ‘Page 3’ (which now exists in only a virtual rather than a real sense), the top shelf porn which survives in the internet era or who posed for the now defunct ‘lads mags’, it is to portray these women as passive victims, fallen women, who must be ‘saved’ and who must inevitably regret having taken that path. But what if the women don’t view themselves as victims? The backgrounds of these women are rarely as privileged as that of the feminists, but that doesn’t mean that they took up modelling through a lack of other career or vocational objections, it is just that they don’t necessarily have the business / media contacts that go with the private school education enjoyed by most high-profile feminists. Many glamour models use their vocation as a means to establish a career in the media, in fashion, photography or the beauty industry; and quite rightly they resent the feminist condescension which not only treats them as victims, but which is trying to deprive them of a means of making a living and the career opportunities may arise from it.
Another aspect of feminist hypocrisy is that male nudity in advertising is not a feminist cause célèbre because men cannot be ‘objectified’, only women can; nor do strip clubs which cater for hen parties ‘degrade’ men for the same reason. The vast majority of men and most intelligent women would agree that no-one is being ‘objectified’ or ‘degraded’ when naked, the sexist argument is solely a feminist one. Yet feminists have another blind eye when it comes to arty-farty foreign language films, French ones especially, enjoyed by the bourgeoisie. Many of these art-house flicks have oodles of gratuitous nudity but it is not porn because again porn is only for the plebs. I am not knocking these films, some are very good, but lets be consistent and recognise the inconsistencies and hypocrisy of the feminist censors.
In summary, the best way to consider ‘Page 3’ is to recognise that it was / is the least ‘offensive’ part of the The Sun, putting a pretty face and figure – a sweetener effectively – to an otherwise fairly ugly rag; one which supported Thatcher, Major, Blair and their sell-off of our national infrastructure, one which supported Blair’s war in Iraq, one which lied about the Hillsborough victims and one which is also well versed in spreading other fake news. As a sales gimmick, ‘Page 3’ has never been needed for the male readership who are more interested in football and who read it starting from the back page.