The Sun newspaper has featured topless women on Page 3 since 1970, meaning bare-breasted women have been gracing the eyes of readers for over 40 years. Now, in the 21st Century, I feel Page 3 has more than outstayed it's welcome.
The only thing is, it’s not harmless… in fact it’s actually doing quite a lot of harm. Today, when women are still striving hard for equality, Page 3 is a prime example of how we are still very much, living in a patriarchal society. The fact, let’s face it, softcore porn is circulating in a national newspaper says a lot about our society. When did it become acceptable and appropriate to dedicate a page to a bare-breasted woman in a newspaper and for people to think that was OK?
Furthermore, why does the act of breast-feeding in public often generate so much uproar when women on Page 3 are casually getting their breasts out on the regular. Somehow it doesn't quite seem right that women are being frowned upon for feeding their child (a very natural thing), yet it's perfectly acceptable to bare them in a national newspaper for scopophilic reasons. The sexualisation and objectification of women’s bodies is what has made actions like this taboo when it should be the other way round. By allowing this page to continue, it is perpetuating the idea that it is OK for women to be looked at like sexual objects, to be leered at and to be enjoyed. It is also feeding children, especially young lads, with the idea that it’s normal to look at women in this way, a perception that they may well carry with them throughout their life.
Page 3 is a clear culprit of sexism; we don’t see men sprawled seductively in the middle of a national newspaper with their penises on show, accompanied with a cute little degrading memo highlighting their 'hobbies and interests,' so why is it acceptable to have women displayed like this? The fact men feel comfortable buying and reading this paper for the ‘perks’ of Page 3 feels incredibly childish and almost embarrassing. The need and desire to look at women in this way seems somewhat primitive, outdated and really needs be addressed.
By all means I am not saying nudity is a bad thing or that women shouldn't be able to display themselves however they want to, but this is a matter of time and place and The Sun newspaper isn't one of them. Page 3 highlights all that is wrong and unequal about society; men as the dominant and powerful gender in a patriarchal society. It is an insult to women, to feminists and even to men. Men are labelled as perverted and uncouth and are potentially stereotyped as a result of reading The Sun (even if they take no real interest in Page 3). Unsurprisingly, The Sun's readership statistics from March 2014 show that 57.6% are men over 42.3% of women. The Sun clearly appeals to their dominant reader and this is most likely down to their 'USP' of Page 3 (well it's hardly down to their trustworthy and compelling content).
In addition, the fact half-naked women are still appearing in UK’s most popular paper, and has been made popular by the majority, gives reason as to why there is still so much sexism and misogyny circulating in society. By letting Page 3 stay, we are fuelling sexism and inequality, we are saying yes, as a nation, to the objectification and sexualization of the female body, and more importantly, we are ridiculing any progress that has been made by feminists in an attempt to become equal.