I’ve been thinking for a while about how to write about this because I want to make sure that I portray my feelings accurately. Here goes.
A few months back, I signed a petition to get rid of Page 3 because I feel that boobs aren’t suitable for a newspaper. I think that it is absolutely fine for ‘lad’s mags’ to feature bare breasts however a print that describes it’s self as a newspaper, I feel, should not contain boobs. At the bottom of the petition is a message board and I was surprised to see that the majority of comments were not about inappropriate content for a newspaper but instead about objectification and exploitation of women.
In my opinion, Page 3 is not an exploitation of women. Maybe, back when Page 3 began in 1970 it was an exploitation of women. Perhaps models were led to believe that Page 3 was the gateway to a glamorous life or that Marilyn Monroe fame was only a topless picture away.
Today I can’t imagine that there is any woman under such an illusion. I feel that if a woman is a topless model she is doing so because she wants to, because she is proud of her body and because she wants to make money from her assets.
Don’t we all use our assets to our advantage? Granted, we don’t all pose topless but I’m sure that most women have worn a low cut top on a night out hoping for a free drink or two or worn a tighter dress than usual to a job interview. These models have what the consumers want and at a time when there are very few jobs why shouldn’t they pose topless and be paid for it?
Objectification was the other heavily mentioned topic in the comments which yes, I agree that Page 3 is. To use a topless picture of a woman in order to sell more copies of a newspaper is objectification plain and simple. People aren’t buying the paper to see what ‘Samantha aged 23 from Blackpool’s’ thoughts are on climate change, people are buying because they want to see her boobs.
Is this right? Is it right that men and women across Britain are looking at boobs every day in their newspaper? Probably not but ‘Samantha aged 23 from Blackpool’ knows that people are looking at her boobs and clearly doesn’t mind because after all, it is her job.
Objectification isn’t right but it’s wrong to suggest that it is only women being objectified. At the moment there seems to be a lot of fuss made about women being victims of male induced ‘every day sexism’ which yes, in many cases is true but it also applies the other way around.
All too often men are objectified in adverts, magazines and TV and yet rarely is the issue of objectification raised. The Diet Coke advert for example features a man mowing the lawn when he is interrupted by a can of Diet Coke hitting his lawn mower which once opens sprays all over his t-shirt, forcing him to remove it (much to the pleasure of the women who rolled the can at him). Clearly here the gorgeous, topless (and now wet) man is used to sell the product.
Had the roles been reversed to a scenario where a group of men had caused a woman to take off her top, there would have cries of objectification from feminists everywhere.
When times are hard brands resort to a more sexualised method of advertising because the simple fact is that sex sells. Diet coke, aimed at females, uses topless men and The Sun, aimed at males, uses topless women; it works both ways.
Regardless of whether or not we think it’s right that nudity is used as a commercial tool, it is used because it works and perhaps instead of complaining about how bad women get it, we should address the issue as a whole and understand that ‘every day sexism’ is not solely a female issue but instead a human one.