Thursday, 11 December 2014

Thursday Thoughts: Why Boobs Aren't News

A note from Joelle... 

♫ ♪ 'Step On' - Happy Mondays ♫ ♪

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Breasts/boobs/tits/jugs, we've all seen and heard of their existence. We know that they come in all shapes, colours and sizes and we all know that their natural, biological use is for newborn babies, providing them with essential nutrients. They are human udders, basically.

So why, in a 'family magazine' like The Sun are topless young women spread across Page 3 with their boobs hanging out.... in 2014? And WHY is it stocked at eye-level for under 18s? I, like many men and women have huge problems with this.

Here are a few reasons why Page 3 has to go:

1. We are not in the 1970s anymore - sleaziness of all sorts ran free in this decade and we know that all too well this decade as people are finally being held accountable, some 40 years later. During this decade of greed and sleaze, Page 3 became a 'thing'. Putting large images of topless teenagers (that's right, 16s and 17-year-olds were used until 2003), in a newspaper that prided itself as being 'for all the family', young and old is pretty scary. 
Rupert Murdoch and other publishing magnates need to realise what decade and century we are currently in. Gone are the days where clearly sexist content can just be brushed under the carpet.

2. Body image - Page 3 models really do influence both young boys and girls, even though no one will admit it due to embarrassment. That's normal. But here's what isn't normal: Some boys think that fake breasts, airbrushed, tanned skin and a tiny waist are what make a girl desirable and lust after that idea of 'perfect'. They assume breasts are nothing more than sexual parts for them to ogle at and then as a result, find it uncomfortable when seeing mothers feeding their babies in public (cough, cough, Farage).
And young girls? Over 70% develop body insecurities early on in life (even before puberty). Young girls don't even get a chance to develop a healthy body image, a positive attitude towards their bodies and their equal worth as a human being with soft porn in newspapers being so easily accessible for them to come across (even if it is by accident).
It may not be totally obvious, but when children come across Page 3 (and they do see it), it turns the naked body from something of beauty and nature into a simple, sexual thing. Then begins the cycle of body comparison, jealousy and low self-esteem. 
I am not saying that Page 3 is the sole cause of this, but it's a cause that could easily be removed to break this cycle.
It's an issue that a lot of males find hard to believe exists because if did not happen (as much) to them growing up.

3. 'Consumer Choice' - Everyone's favourite geezer, David Cameron chose not to support the ban on Page 3, stating that it is a 'consumer choice'. But it wasn't a choice, was it, Dave? Where was the market research in 1970, asking if the people of Britain wanted topless teenagers posing suggestively in their family newspaper? No one asked for it. But, back in 1069, Rupert Murdoch and his team at The Sun  needed to up circulation (it was very unpopular back then), so added some bare breasts to get people "talking" again.
And seeing as Cameron is backing more regulations for online pornography, so that children are protected, why is he ignoring the more blatant form of soft porn?
Something very shady is going on...

I know there are a lot of people who say "it's not sexist. The Page 3 models choose to get their boobs out and they are in control."
I was one of those people who thought this a while ago. I guess a part of feminism is owning and being in control of ones body, right?
 But that isn't what's happened here. It's a cycle where some women have been told to look/act a certain way in order to either get employment or get noticed. But is it other women telling them to embrace their figures and reach for their dreams? No. It's people who cash into low self-esteems and they are the real people in control, not the woman buying into all of this stuff.
It's a very sneaky psychological trap that a lot of women in this model industry find themselves in without realising. They are not in control of anything.
And of course it's sexist! If it wasn't where are the topless men? It seems that having women without clothes on is perfectly fine, because it pleases men, but The Sun wouldn't dream of using male topless models. Because then the page would be sleazy or even 'so gay' as one man I was talking to about this subject put it.
You may also think; "There are more important things to worry about than a little page in a newspaper", but again, think of the bigger picture. Women in the UK have a serious body image issue - yes every single one of us females. 
It's a pandemic that very few people want to admit to and it spreads from one generation to the next. 
And if we can eliminate one of the causes, perhaps the future generation won't have to go through what we've been through. Maybe they can have peace of mind that when they grow up, their achievements and talents will speak louder than the size of their breasts or the shape of their arse.

With nearly a quarter of a million signatures on their petition, it's time to stand up and make a change. As women in 2014, it's time to stop letting The Sun and other publications getting away with exploiting women and treating them like sex objects.
The No More Page 3 campaign does not oppose glamour modelling at all. However, the sight of bare breasts in a magazine that prides itself on being 'for all the family' is pretty horrific. 

You can sign the petition HERE.

The Sun is has been putting out the same message for almost 50 years: it doesn't matter what a woman achieves in life, her main a role is to get her top off and sexually please men. Where's the evidence of this? Look back to 2012, men and women from Team GB achieved so many medals, but the largest images of women in The Sun were those of topless women.
We are making steps in the right direction though, as Paul Clarkson, editor of The Irish Sun stopped using topless models and they are now all clothed as of August 2013. However, just a few months before this, The new British Sun Editor, David Dinsmore was reported to have said that he wouldn't be replacing topless models with clothed ones because "it's a good way of selling newspapers" *trying not to vomit on my keyboard*.
If you like to look at soft porn mags, that's fine, each to their own. No More Page 3 does not object to topless modeling at all.
But the place for that is not in The Sun or any other tabloid that can be purchased by impressionable children. 

Soft porn should be in a soft porn magazine on the top of a shelf for only adults to buy and read.
We, as a generation and society have moved on from The Sleazy Seventies. And it's time The Sun did the same.
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