The Sun & Page 3 was the topic of conversation on both TV & radio last week.
First up was the Simon Mayo BBC Radio 5 Live show. After a general debate questioning how powerful The Sun is when it comes to swaying the public vote in general elections, the conversation moved on to Page 3. Simon asked his guests if they could imagine The Sun without it? Political writer & broadcaster Lance Price insisted he could. He went on to say “I’m not a reader of The Sun, but nor am I interested in half-naked women to be honest, and I’m sure a lot of readers aren’t and some of the women aren’t. You can laugh it off but I find it dated and I think The Sun would be a better newspaper without it.”
Lance makes a brilliant point here. Why does The Sun insist on peddling sexism:- the most obvious example being Page 3? It remains the UK’s most popular newspaper, so why does a newspaper that holds so much clout care so little about being taken seriously?
Journalist & former Political Editor of The Sun, Trevor Kavanagh, opposed Lance and went on to say that he couldn’t imagine The Sun without it: “We’ve thought about (getting rid of) it many times and tried briefly to run it without it. We pushed it back in the paper to Page 7 but the reader response was enormous and they were disappointed and it’s not just the men, women like Page 3 too. We have 44% of our readers who are women and sometimes we have a competition for the next Page 3 girl and we are absolutely swamped with offers & applications from women.”
I cannot imagine a woman writing in and expressing her disappointment that she doesn’t get to see young women’s – sometimes 18 year olds’ – breasts every day, however, if there are any women that did write in, please do get in touch. I would love to hear from you. With regards to Trevor’s Page 3 competition post, please read my previous Page 3 Idol post.
Simon Mayo finished by asking the BBC’s Senior Political Correspondent, John Pienaar’s opinion regarding Page 3’s trademark status over the last 40 years. Here’s what he said:
“Yes, it’s certainly a trademark. There is a controversy about Page 3, I’m not going to engage in that for obvious reasons, it’s not my business as a BBC correspondent but I will say this, I do love the boxes that go with it, you get a little nugget of the model’s point of view on a particular subject of the day, I find that always rich & well worth reading.”
Jon is clearly being sarcastic but he is also being flippant as these little ‘nuggets’ are far more cynical than you would probably imagine. I personally think The Sun includes these little ‘nuggets’ to remind women of their status in society i.e. that basically no one’s paying attention to the frivolous things that come out of our mouths when the only thing that matters is what is attached to our chest. Other arguments are, that it could be to make the model in question look like she not only has nice boobs but a brain too which in turn maybe makes her more sexually desirable to men, or, as brilliantly quoted by my good friend Jon Stevens: “The Sun wants the general public to believe that these ‘girls’ have a mind of their own and aren’t being objectified at all – after all, if they have views on current affairs then they are more than capable of making their mind up on whether to get their breasts out for The Sun”.
Next up was the comedy quiz ‘Have I Got News For You’. Presenter Jack Dee was joined by panelist Mark Burton who had an important point to make regarding The Sun’s coverage of serious stories and its juxtaposition with Page 3. In this instance they were discussing the misspelled letter Gordon Brown sent to the mother of a soldier killed in Afghanistan.
“It’s always interesting with The Sun when they think a story’s really important like this ‘cause it still only makes Page 1 and then Page 4, so you get “outrage!” “what a disgrace!”, ‘the shame of grieving mother!’, some tits to cheer everyone up, then how much The Sun really cares about it, once you’ve seen the tits.”
This is exactly why it’s so offensive that Page 3 is placed amongst our daily news and one of the main reasons why it should no longer have any place there. Where does this soft-porn image of a young girl fit in amongst daily stories of war, grief, murder, tragedy, RAPE. Quoting Mark, you’ll have Page 1, “rapist!”, “outrage!”, then you turn over and have a half-naked girl, breasts exposed, staring provocatively at the reader , then “rapist!”, “young girl!”, “disgrace!”
How did this become Britain’s most popular newspaper? Just because Rupert Murdoch is void of a conscience, what gives him the right to shove his lack of morals and disregard for human-beings down our throats.
Now it’s time to ask ourselves, what makes us so quick to swallow it?