No to Page 3?

18 Nov

So this is a bit of rant I’m afraid, sorry.

Well, the other day at the Uni someone had scrawled in chalk on the way up to the library something about ‘saying no to page 3, women aren’t objects’ and it got me thinking. Recently I’ve been reading a lot of feminist literature and articles. Feminism is something I’ve always had pretty mixed feelings about I guess. I can understand the need for fighting for equality because, despite common beliefs, we still don’t have it. But I also think that a lot of extreme, radical feminists are taking things too far now. At some point in time there was need for this extremism, women didn’t have a voice and weren’t being heard, they had to shout at the top of their lungs and do everything they could with what they had.

That’s not the case anymore. I’m not saying the fight has to stop, I’m saying the way it’s approached has to change. And I’m also saying that people need to take a serious look at what it is they’re fighting for and figure out if it really is equality of the sexes they’re looking for or if it’s actually role reversal, placing women above men in society.

Take this no page 3 argument. For those of you who don’t know what Page 3 is, one (or more, I’m not sure, I don’t read trashy tabloids if I can avoid them) of the British newspaper puts photographs of topless women on their page 3, usually accompanied by some punny comment. Now, the first and probably most important point to make here is that all the Page 3 models are consensual adults, who not only agree to it, but go out of their way to make it onto this page. It’s almost like a crappy British attempt at Playboy or something. I don’t want to get into the issue of why these women want to be on page 3. Yes, I’m sure it’s for reasons that would make most feminists’ hair curl. But their motivations really aren’t the issue. It’s their right to do it that I’m arguing for.

Am I missing something or isn’t the whole point of feminism to accept all women of all types doing their own thing without judgement? I may be over simplifying this, of course we can still disagree with things, like covering themselves in tattoos or getting those awful big circle things in their ears, but we don’t have massive facebook campaigns attempting to rid the world of ‘tunnels’. And to be honest, if this campaign had been organised by men, even saying the same line, ‘women shouldn’t be objects’ I can guarantee you there’d be public outcry about the censuring of expression and women’s rights to their own bodies. Why is it ok for another woman to claim they’re being used as sex objects and it’s wrong, but if a man were to do so he’d be vilified? And why does anyone have this right anyway? Yes, by all means be as judgemental as you want, I’m sure these smoking hot women who get paid just for having nice boobs(real or fake) couldn’t care less, but is it really fair to stop this because you’d be uncomfortable being viewed that way? They aren’t, and it’s their choice. If they want to be flashing their bits at the world, it’s their decision. Surely arguing for freedom of expression for women, the ability to say and do anything men can do, doesn’t stop just because their way of expressing themselves isn’t what you agree with?

Also, in the interest of equality, if we’re complaining about women being used as sex objects, we should be complaining about men being used in the same way also. Until there’s a campaign to get the topless men out of all the women’s mags and off the posters all over the place then I’m still arguing that this no page 3 thing is just sexism in reverse, men can be seen as objects but women can’t? There’s so much wrong with this, I don’t even know where to start.  Firstly, this is implying that the female body is something which ought to be covered up and not stared at by men, but a male body is not. Why? There’s so many ways this could be interpreted, mostly not positive for feminism in the slightest. Is there something intrinsically worse about a man’s view of a naked women than a women’s of a man? I’ll let you into a little secret, women can be just as pervy as men when it comes to half naked bodies. More so, some would argue. Can men take it and women can’t? Why? Why is ok for men to be naked and women not to be? Why is it so awful for a woman to be seen as a sex object, but in these awful mills and boons type books, men are basically walking penises? Why is it ok for a women to see a man in purely sexual ways but if a man sees a naked women (let’s not forget, a naked, consensual women who wants to be seen) in the papers and thinks, ‘Oh, she’s a bit of all right’ it’s some massive insult to female sexuality.

And yes, I’m well aware that society views a women being topless and a man being topless as totally different issues. It’s not the issue of toplessness that I’m talking about, it’s the perception of men and women in general. Why should it be different? It shouldn’t.

This ‘no page 3’ argument isn’t the ‘equality’ argument. If it was it’d be the ‘no naked people anywhere’ argument. It’s the ‘judgemental women’ argument, and it’s one of the reasons I’m often so frustrated at feminists. They turn on each other for everything, especially if another person doesn’t fit into their model of what a woman should be.

Honestly, I’m not oblivious to the way a lot of men sexualise women. It’s horrible and, yes, of course we need to fight it. But when the focus of this fight is on women who consensually become the sex object, rather than those who are the *real* victims of this over-sexualisation of women, I’m pretty sure we’re losing the point. And making ourselves look like idiots by fitting right into the stereotype of judgemental, frigid, hairy-armpit type feminists.

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2 Responses to “No to Page 3?”

  1. willowdot21 November 19, 2012 at 9:32 am #

    Hi Jen like you I am not worried about page three but there is still a glass ceiling in the work place. Esp in male oriented jobs like the Police, Army, Engineering, and really if I am honest men still earn more than women. We have come a long way since the 60s NOT! By the way I hope the chalk miscreant is suitably remorseful! 😉 Have a good week!

  2. kiwiskan December 15, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

    Pretty good rant Jen, and you made some good points. I think the main fight for women now is in those countries where they are still treated as possessions.

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