As you may of read, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding The Sun’s Page 3 recently. In case you haven’t heard, rumours went round suggesting Page 3 will no longer contain images of glamour models as they have done for the past 45 years. However this was proven wrong last Thursday when The Sun published an image of a glamour model and this statement: ‘Further to recent reports in all other media outlets, we would like clarify that this is Page 3 and this is a picture of Nicole, 22, from Bournemouth. We would like to apologise on behalf of the print and broadcast journalists who have spent the last two days talking and writing about us.’
This has raised a few questions throughout the media about the purpose and place for Page 3. Does Page 3 still have a place in a newspaper in this decade? If it were to be taken down, would it be censorship gone too far? And is it derogatory against women?
The Sun was first published in 1969 and their tradition of Page 3 started a year later. The Sun has faced its fair share of controversy and ‘biased’ along with its owner, Rupert Murdoch. The page was even banned by the Conservative government only to be re-launched 16 months by the Labour Party. Although the page has been challenged from the beginning, now more than ever Page 3 raises the question does it belong in society today? Feminists everywhere exploded with excitement over the news of the page being discontinued. It has been accused of belittling women and being extremely sexist; on Twitter an account called No More Page 3 has been protesting since 2012 to get rid of the page and has since gained over 39,000 followers. Their site states the images condition their readers into viewing women as sex objects and it does not belong in newspapers that are so easily available for children to pick up.
As much as I agree with this to a certain extent, this is a form of censorship that goes against free speech. Sometimes it feels as though feminism is trying so hard to encourage women to be powerful (sometimes more than men) that we have lost their true motive of making the whole of humanity equal. Women should have the power and right to do what they choose. Don’t get me wrong, I am a feminist. The world can be sexist, I just don’t believe this is an example. We can’t blame the way some men treat women on one newspaper, let alone on someone’s breasts. Sexism does still exist. I have had comments shouted at me on the street, there are some men out there who think it is OK but surely you can’t blame that on naked images?
Jack Whitehall took to Twitter to express how he felt about the end of Page 3. He makes an interesting point about the accessibility of finding images of naked women. If we choose to censor one thing, where will we stop? The internet is full of images like these and worse.It’s a naked body, a consented naked body and these women knew these images were being taken, knew that men would see it and were probably proud their choice. These women have the freedom to choose to have this career, and the freedom to choose what career they have.
It is not just women that are objectified in the media; I have seen plenty of women’s magazines that contain images of naked men barely covering themselves. It is an argument that has to work both ways. So, is The Sun’s Page 3 tradition outdated? I believe that this tradition is one that should not really be in a family newspaper although I do believe there are more important places where sexism should be addressed.
When it comes to censorship and free speech, there is a lot to consider. I highly doubt there will be a day when society can agree or tolerate a universal censorship without an argument brewing somewhere. It’s a difficult line to draw that we will never agree on.
By Britt King