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In defence of Page 3
March 24, 2013 3:27 AM   Subscribe

"The snobbishness has struck me as irrational. They want the end of Page 3, but claim to be "sex positive" and pro porn. It's as if pornography for the upper classes - tasteful monochrome Testino images of nudes, Mapplethorpe coffee table books or vintage Tom of Finland* prints are acceptable, yet accessible muck for the working classes is simply de trop. A catwalk show for a milliner featuring chilly looking models completely nude apart from the hat is applauded as high art: Sandra from Dagenham, in a pair of lacy pants, is not."
posted by MartinWisse (68 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
When the redtops start printing page 3 wangs on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, I might be able to take this seriously.
posted by robcorr at 3:49 AM on March 24, 2013 [32 favorites]


On the Sun’s home page there was a photo shoot of some odd creature known as Amy Childs, and she *did* have hard silicone hemispheres plonked on her chest, with copious amounts of fake hair to go with her fake breasts.
Referring to women as "creatures" is not a good way to defend oneself from charges of sexism. And those probably really were her breasts, not prosthetics, but if they were prosthetics it would be common decency not to comment upon this. I suppose she might have been wearing a wig; people often do; but once again it's not appropriate to refer to it. I mean, I wouldn't go on about the author's false teeth if she had dental implants, or her fake colon if she had had a colostomy.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:16 AM on March 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


They criticise the 'news in briefs' (a tiny callout allegedly quoting the model's views on a newsworthy topic) as mocking the model. It isn't - it's mocking those who said that Page 3 was objectifying women.

Actually the current running joke is a extremely erudite classical quotation each day. The punchline is precisely that the model could never have picked it because LOLDUMBBLONDE amirite.
posted by jaduncan at 4:22 AM on March 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Utter and total bullshit, page 3 normalises the relationship between reader and object by its regularity and its pandering to the readership, Sandra from Daghenham is clearly pitched to be accessible in a way that a Testino nude would be categorised by that paper as 'posh totty'. It's the girl next door trope.

The message is clear, you can have her offered up to you semi nude whenever you want and what's more she loves her fans/is paying her way through College/ is supporting her disabled Mum so your priapic rubbings are really a social service.

When a guy looks up on the Tube from pg 3 and leers at me, I don't automatically feel turned on because I'm sex-positive, although this is what pg 3 encourages him to believe. I dont feel much to be honest as I found a way to disssociate myself from the situation as it is the routine price I pay for being female in public. As are the comments, lewd innuendos, when walking past a group of men on the street. I signed the notopg3 campaign in the vain hope that one of the bricks in the edifice that allows men to treat me like that with impunity will be tackled.

The impact of this routine conditioning is evident right through #everydaysexism. Just look through the #followed hash tag of the Everydaysexism project to see the impact of this conditioning and tell me that anyone's freedom to consume images of tits in a newspaper in a public space (or rather the saddo fantasies they inspire) is more important that trying to address the social conditioning we see acted out in those examples.

If another male colleague tells me how shocked he is at the examples quoted and the frequency with which they occur according to those testimonies I might just break away from my dissociative fugue and give a shit.
posted by Wilder at 4:31 AM on March 24, 2013 [67 favorites]


"When they offer you a feature on stockings and suspenders
Next to a call for stiffer penalties for sex offenders..."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:50 AM on March 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


My surname is Page. I am middle aged now, but when I was young I found it quite wearing to be constantly compared with Page 3. In the office particularly, though I think the experience that I found most tiresome was from the nurses when I was establishing breastfeeding in hospital. It's like people think gawping at your (clothed or unclothed) breasts and saying 'LOL Page 3' is the height of lively banter. And in general these are in circumstances where you are trapped and powerless.
posted by communicator at 4:51 AM on March 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


When the redtops start printing page 3 wangs on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, I might be able to take this seriously.

My university newspaper did this, they alternated every week.
posted by atrazine at 4:54 AM on March 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


" I think it’s subjective, but I will say that the fact that many men and women like looking at breasts relates to a highly primal and normal drive in humans. Breasts nurture and nourish us (or they ought to, more often than they do). "

Someone please tell me this is deadpan British wit and not what is left of a paragraph initially claiming the sexiest Page 3 photo ever is a woman not eating grain.
posted by griphus at 4:56 AM on March 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


When the redtops start printing page 3 wangs on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, I might be able to take this seriously.

They did this in the 80s - called it "page 7 fella". I don't think it lasted very long.
posted by ComfySofa at 5:28 AM on March 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I remember when I'd just graduated and would step onto the tube in my carefully picked business clothes because I really wanted to be taken seriously and gain respect at work. And you're pushed in tight, full body contact, crushed up into the armpit of some bloke's tweed overcoat and someone else's Burton blazer and everyone looks much more proper than you, but you feel like 'We're all in this together! I can pass as one of them!'. And then the guy next to you flips the page and you have Gemma from Croydon's tits shoved in your face - at 7am in the morning - in public - before you've even had a chance to eat any breakfast, with no apology so much as crossing the mind of the shover, and if in fact you do look at him he meets you with a 'GET USED TO IT' stare. And you realise that no, you're not really invited to this club after all.

And then I got into the office and had my boss blatantly staring down my top as he 'delivered some guidance on Excel'. And everyone saw it but pretended not to, and I was so shocked.

Graduating was so sad. I really had believed all the stuff about girl power.
posted by everydayanewday at 5:36 AM on March 24, 2013 [35 favorites]


In most workplaces, it would be seen as improper or problematic to be looking at porn in the office. Even on your lunch break. In many of those same workplaces, redtops are commonplace. With porn on page 3.

But hey, you couldn't ban the tabloid papers now, could you? That would be leftist oppression of right-thinking people or something.
posted by Dysk at 5:52 AM on March 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


I should start by saying (a) I am a man and (b) I am not from the UK, so in two important respects I am distanced from factors that may be very relevant to this discussion; that is to say, I have not experienced the type of sexism already discussed in this thread and I am not part of a culture where Page 3 is a thing (though I'm familiar with it). So with that out of the way, I think there are two conversations he's having with himself here, and he's conflating them in a way that serves his argument but isn't, overall, the best way to present them...

Like: The question of whether there's classism associated with looking down upon one type of erotica and considering another artistic? Fascinating subject. I think there's a lot to talk about there. You could write a book! I wouldn't even know where to start. I just don't think that has very much to do with the ostensible topic of conversation.

Because no one is arguing that Mapplethorpe prints should appear in newspapers. I think that's the real issue -- what is the purpose of a newspaper? Now, as the clock ticks down on them and there probably won't even be any newspapers in print within a year or two, is obviously the best time ever to have this discussion; it's never been a more pressing issue. If a newspaper is meant to be a place for the general reader to find out what's happening, you're essentially failing to create that by making your newspaper a place that many women will be reluctant to visit, some men may feel reluctant to visit, and most people will feel reluctant to allow their children to visit. It's really just an issue of whether a newspaper is an appropriate setting for a picture of a topless woman. That some people feel that there's no appropriate setting for a picture of a topless woman, or that topless women are great but just not that one...not relevant.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:06 AM on March 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


> "When they offer you a feature on stockings and suspenders
> Next to a call for stiffer penalties for sex offenders..."
> posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:50 AM on March 24 [+] [!]

Not so very unlike the magazines by the checkout with the headline "Lose 15 Pounds by Easter" over the full page extreme closeup of the double-layer ice cream brownie with whipped cream and a cherry. On the evidence, it's not just sex that's primal and needs to be suppressed.

> what is the purpose of a newspaper?

To sell. Full stop.
posted by jfuller at 6:08 AM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Laura Kipnis' book on pornography, Bound and Gagged, made the argument quite convincingly, that much of how we view the material culture of sex is bound in class. I do think that often "sex-positive" feminism does comes from a university educated, fairly posh or at least middle class place--and i think the tension b/w it and other form of pornography are often about policing class.

I also think that the page 3 girl (or the sunshine girl in Canada) provides a hostile working environment, encourages a separation between news and entertainment, and can be read as deeply problematic. Ironically, the culture of sexism it often continues is one where women are unable to access high end trades (in Canada, the sexual culture of the oil rigs and the construction industries are quite hostile to women).

I am not sure that the trading floor is much better though,
posted by PinkMoose at 6:11 AM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


The concept of Page 3 girls has always seemed amazing to this American. The uproar over a mainstream US paper having pictures of neckid women would be deafening.
posted by octothorpe at 6:15 AM on March 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


I've always toyed with the idea of carrying a softcore male pinup mag around and opening it when I'm next to someone on the bus with page 3 visible. Nothing Pornhubby, just everything out but the tackle. I can definitely see lots of very vocal objections happening, a lot of 'I DON'T WANT TO SEE THAT SHIT! I'M NOT GAY!' Yet all women (and gay men) who dare to venture out in public should be appreciative of exposure page 3 as they carry their groceries home, join in with admiring the 'pleasant' models, and something something cavemen something hardwiring something something appeal to nature.

This is ignoring the fact that it's not just used for public boners and leering, but to police women's bodies. Love the disingenuous 'but liking tits is just normal!' without acknowledging the very narrow body type/age range represented in P3 and what that means. There's a lot of hate goes along with re-inforcing norms in my experience.
posted by abbagoochie at 6:37 AM on March 24, 2013 [19 favorites]


> what is the purpose of a newspaper?

To sell. Full stop.


But not necessarily just to sell the newspaper. It is apparent in the UK that media ownership allows strongly integrated selling of other media outlets, promotion of Sky by the Sun being the most obvious, but other News Corp titles also do this, either blatantly or with some degree of subtlety.

I would also argue that the papers also have significant amount of political influence which can be used to shift national debate in favour of particular standpoints, some of which will be to do with the earnings of the proprietor's wider business interests, but might also include other social goals.
posted by biffa at 6:53 AM on March 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


what is the purpose of a newspaper?

To sell. Full stop.


To sell clothes and cars.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:59 AM on March 24, 2013


To sell minds, via sharecropping.

The constant reinforcement that there are certain thoughts, behaviours and activities that are Good (consumption without consideration, and blind subservience to the powerful being the most important), and others that are Bad (independent, science-based thought and egalitarianism being the most negatively reinforced) has never been so dominant in our mass media.

Putting bare tits on page 3 is perhaps a more glaringly obvious part of the campaign, but it's all the same campaign. Women are objects, fit only to be ogled. Men are beasts, subject to instinctive urges.

Both of these messages serve the same master.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:28 AM on March 24, 2013 [10 favorites]


I thought the Page Three Girl was a 70's thing that must have ended long ago. I can't believe it's still going on today in a mainstream newspaper (I understand it's a trashy one, but it's still mainstream). How is Page Three still being defended by anyone other those making money off it?
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:33 AM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


While it doesn't change my opinion that page 3 ought to go, I think there is some classism in this debate, and that's worth pointing out.

There's an article by the former editor of Nuts which could almost be satire, where he seems to be impervious to any substantial feminist arguments. He's under the impression that the problem with the lad's mags was that they just weren't "sophisticated" enough. His solution: beer, boobs, basil and balsamic.

I wonder if putting on a working class tone actually allowed the lad's mags to get away with more, for a while. It probably wasn't authentic to to their staff or many of their readers.

As nasty as snobbery is, I think it can be a powerful engine of change.
posted by PJMcPrettypants at 7:36 AM on March 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I began thinking about why the No More Page 3 campaign has got so much attention when in fact it features some of the least objectionable and ugly images of topless women I’ve seen for some time.


I feel like the author may not have really understood the point of the NMP3 campaign.
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:36 AM on March 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


I didn't know about the campaign to get rid of page 3 girls (I remember being shocked by them when I was a teenager living in the UK in the early 80s because wtf, no way would that pass muster in a newspaper back home in Texas), so I'm grateful to this post for bringing it to my attention. Having said that, and without meaning to attack the post, I'm wondering who this writer is?

Agreed there's a lot of classism and (at least potential for) other intersectionality concerns in the arguments about page 3, but that piece wasn't a great approach to it.
posted by immlass at 7:41 AM on March 24, 2013


Why are topless models on billboards in France considering sophisticated but Page 3 girls are trashy? Why would seeing a woman's bare breasts in a newspaper be worse because you didn't eat breakfast?
posted by Ideefixe at 7:54 AM on March 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


I've always toyed with the idea of carrying a softcore male pinup mag around and opening it when I'm next to someone on the bus with page 3 visible.

Give it a try! I suspect you are not going to get the outraged response you're expecting, but it would be interesting to see.

As regards the shifting sands of "hostile environment" and "classism", would those who feel angered and oppressed by the sight of someone looking at Page 3 on the train or in the office be similarly affected by the sight of someone looking at a book of Nan Goldin photos, or reading Anais Nin?
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:56 AM on March 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


The most bizarre assumption of the anti-page 3 people is that the Sun's editors are capable of feeling shame.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 8:33 AM on March 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


no way would that pass muster in a newspaper back home in Texas

The standard we're all aiming for.

Why are topless models on billboards in France considering sophisticated but Page 3 girls are trashy?

Are topless models on billboards in France considered sophisticated? Undoubtedly the French have different relationships with representations of the breasts than is the case in either the UK or the US but is it regarded as sophisticated? Where does that interpretation come from?
posted by biffa at 8:37 AM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


The writer got at least thing right: the tits on page 3 are the least objectionable thing in The Sun.
posted by Jehan at 8:56 AM on March 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Why are topless models on billboards in France considering sophisticated but Page 3 girls are trashy?

Because class, and how Frenchness is inserted into class. Of course whatever the English working classes do will be seen as either trashy or as putting on airs, and whatever the French do will be seen as sophisticated.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:15 AM on March 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


Myself, I think Page 3 is only a problem because it makes The Sun straddle the line between newspaper and porn. We kinda don't think others should read porn in public, which I think is fair, but a newspaper is fine. Either The Sun needs to drop Page 3, or we need to start thinking of it as not fit to read in company.
posted by Jehan at 9:32 AM on March 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


But are bare breasts porn?
posted by Ideefixe at 9:35 AM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well it's not just about whether they're bare or not, but how they're presented. I would say the presentation of breasts in The Sun puts it into the porn box.
posted by Jehan at 9:37 AM on March 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


I try to avoid conflict, arguments, and judgments and so I love all sorts of porn, erotica, nude women...If I refuse to say that one religion is better or more truthful than another, why bother saying that one nude is Art and another porn? Porn is in the groin of the beholder.
there is art/porn that is well done and other that is not.
posted by Postroad at 9:38 AM on March 24, 2013



I'm not familiar with the Sun's Page 3, or, for that matter, the publication itself. My take, from the essay and the comments in this thread, is that it's a sort of an unpretentious tabloid that picks low-hanging fruit pretty much where it finds it.

The writer (trellis?) seems to think that porn can come in various flavors. I tend to agree. Erotica is manifold, and highly selective. Trash is one aspect, but it has many facets. Porn is a blanket term that serves to illuminate the politics of the user more than the object of his/her essay. I would be at odds to try to distinguish among the varieties of porn--I don't have a way to ground my phyla, so to speak--except in the broadest of categories. So I would rather stay with the term "erotica" if I want to talk about it, with the understanding that I'm talking about things that I relate to, not things in general. In any case, I reject the arguments that show all those who like erotica as a mass of perverts, and which somehow doesn't even try to distinguish between art and pornography. Simply stated, not all trash is porn, and not all porn is explicitly grounded on the exploitation of women: this is where I omit my customary rant on the pornography of violence.

This also is where the arguments break down. I don't know what art is, but sometimes I know it when I see it. Exploitation and entitlement skew everything...all in all, we humans are a beastly crew. Anyhow, I can't think that when I look at a woman and appreciate her visage that I'm automatically violating her. On the other hand, I don't even try to control her apprehension regarding my motivations. She doesn't know what I'm thinking, so what happens (on her end of this brief social transaction) is a product of her experience not mine, and is caused by things that I don't have any relationship with: I cite the glass ceiling effect, and so on.

Sexuality is a bottomless topic, with room for more isms than we've yet been able to assemble in our creative little ménages, and I'm pretty sure that taste is the least transportable of all the opinions people can apply to its various flavors. If we examine "porn" from a non-sexual platform, then we might be more successful in weeding out that which ought to be criminalized, and that which out to be left to its fetishists. The other part, about which things we allow to be presented on page 3 of any newspaper: now we are getting back to the pornography of violence, and I will cheerfully (or not so cheerfully) take your shootemups to task for the way it trivializes killing.
posted by mule98J at 9:43 AM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


As a USian kid visiting family in the UK, the sight of my gran flipping through The Sun in the morning, Page 3 girls included, was always completely baffling.

At that age, I didn't pick up on the class aspect. My other gran, also British, would never be caught dead reading The Sun, but it wasn't because of the naked ladies.
posted by feckless at 9:56 AM on March 24, 2013


If a newspaper is meant to be a place for the general reader to find out what's happening...

Then they're screwed, because the Internet does that, and it does that in a way that shifts much of the distribution costs onto the reader (they use their mobile phone or ereader or laptop or whatever, their data plan or ISP, etc.), so that it's extremely difficult for traditional newspapers to compete either on the demand side or for advertisers, and it's more easily customizable and allows drilldown rather than just a summary article.

There's also a rather ample supply of porn on the Internet so I don't think that Page 3 is going to be the saving grace of printed papers either, but I can't necessarily blame them for risking the alienation of some percentage of their (declining, doomed) audience by throwing boobs in there if, in the net, it keeps their shambling corpse of a business model going for a little longer. It's trashy, sure, but I don't think anyone ever accused those papers of being exactly a class act in the first place.

My guess is that the last bastion of regular newspaper readers are, or will be, people who commute to work on subways (cf. everydayanewday's anecdote about riders on the Tube), where there isn't reliable cell-data service and are easy opportunities to sell papers. As that gets remedied — as it already has in the Washington Metro, and parts of the NYC Subway — I think even the tabloids and free giveaway papers (which are 100% supported by ads) will be increasingly in trouble.

We kinda don't think others should read porn in public

Do we? Or is it only certain types of porn? I saw a lot of people reading 50SOG on the Subway last year, and there were presumably even more people reading it on Kindles and whatnot, only less obviously. (And based on sales data I assume that was the case in the UK also, although I haven't been there since it became a Big Deal.) Is that problematic? I think 50SOG has a significant amount of sexist baggage, although in a different way than Page 3 boobies. Are they both equally inappropriate in a train car? Or are they both only inappropriate if one is reading them obviously? Or is one okay and the other not, and in that case why?
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:14 AM on March 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yes, there's a difference between picture porn and text porn in how acceptable it is in public. I'm not going to work to defend that difference, nor condemn it, but I'm pretty sure it's there. Getting out a porn mag on a bus is in a different league to 50 Shades of Grey. If you doubt this is true, give it a go.
posted by Jehan at 10:26 AM on March 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


'Unpretentious' isn't quite the word for the Sun; 'enthusiastically vulgar' might be closer.
posted by Segundus at 10:51 AM on March 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


in related news alex bilmes, editor of esquire uk, has this to say about the women in his magazine -
"The women we feature in the magazine are ornamental," he said, speaking on a panel at the Advertising Week Europe conference in London on Tuesday. "I could lie to you if you want and say we are interested in their brains as well. We are not. They are objectified."
posted by nadawi at 11:29 AM on March 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Seems to me that there are so many things going on in cases like this that they're almost impossible to tease apart and deal with systematically/rationally. There's perfetly fine erotica (and I don't mean that it's necessarily all high-brow), and there's awful, awful, degrading, dehumanizing stuff. There are perfectly reasonable people, male and female, who like looking at naked and partially naked people, male and female (as is their moral and political right), and there are terrible human beings, mostly men, who have terrible attitudes about humas in general and women in particular, and naked pictures of women are thought to fan their evil flames. There are perfectly reasonable people, many of them religious and many of them feminist, who have perfectly reasonable concerns about our attitudes toward women and toward sex, and there are lunatics of both groups who spout postmodernist or supernatural gibberish, and who would be happy to control every aspect of your sexual life--and the rest of it, for that matter, if given half a chance...

So many overlapping considerations and reasons, valid and invalid, rational and irrational, well-intentioned and otherwise...

Does a picture of the relevant kind say that the woman is "available," or make the woman into an object? Certainly not. You'd have to be crazy to think that someone posing for a picture means that they are "available" to you. (Of course, some people are crazy...) But is it, like, one more thing that reasonable women might find burdensome to have to deal with in a culture already loaded down with things that can make women's lives typically harder than men's? Can it reasonably be said to fit into a pattern in which too much emphasis, and emphasis of a bad kind, is ofen put on women's physicality and sexuality? I don't see how one could deny that it can.

So many considerations...so hard to figure this out...
posted by Fists O'Fury at 12:44 PM on March 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I still can't believe that there are topless models in a major newspaper. There's a time and a place for nudity, and that is on the Internet in the privacy of your own home
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:30 PM on March 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've always toyed with the idea of carrying a softcore male pinup mag around and opening it when I'm next to someone on the bus with page 3 visible.

Give it a try! I suspect you are not going to get the outraged response you're expecting, but it would be interesting to see.

As regards the shifting sands of "hostile environment" and "classism", would those who feel angered and oppressed by the sight of someone looking at Page 3 on the train or in the office be similarly affected by the sight of someone looking at a book of Nan Goldin photos, or reading Anais Nin?


Someone's never sat on a bus in Irlam for an hour! You'd get a lot of abuse for far more minor infractions than a softcore gay mag - like having a 'gay' haircut or dressing a particular way. It happens all the time!

Looking at porn at work is banned by most workplaces, right? Page 3 is not, and does not pretend to be, Nan Goldin.
posted by abbagoochie at 2:59 PM on March 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


The blog's author provides no name, and the surname 'Trellis' isn't exactly common in the UK. In fact—for the benefit of our foreign readers—it has only one prominent user: a Mrs Ivy Trellis of north Wales. Mrs Trellis's writings appear in I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, a panel show that has been running since 1972 and is regularly among the highest-rated programmes on BBC Radio.

Mrs Trellis's role is as the show's regular correspondent ("A letter flooded into our office this week"). Her letters are usually addressed to the presenter of an entirely different programme, asking a question of blithering idiocy.

I feel this may be relevant.
posted by Hogshead at 3:10 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I saw a lot of people reading 50SOG on the Subway last year, and there were presumably even more people reading it on Kindles and whatnot, only less obviously. (And based on sales data I assume that was the case in the UK also, although I haven't been there since it became a Big Deal.) Is that problematic? I think 50SOG has a significant amount of sexist baggage, although in a different way than Page 3 boobies. Are they both equally inappropriate in a train car? Or are they both only inappropriate if one is reading them obviously? Or is one okay and the other not, and in that case why?

Words on a page only conjure up images once you read them. I cannot, from a cross the carriage, look at what you're reading and experience that imagery fully. I'd be hard pressed to do it if you were sat next to me, without being extremely rude and poring over your shoulder. But page 3 can be flashed at you and displayed to everyone in the carriage, or indeed, held an inch away from your face for a 20 minute cramped journey and you cannot object, because that person is 'just reading the newspaper'.

50SOG would be comparable to page 3 if all of the people carrying it started reading it loudly so that everyone in the carriage could hear every detail.
posted by abbagoochie at 3:16 PM on March 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


Nearly Pope.

"Breast springs eternal in the human hope..."

On another tack, perhaps the most famous page 3 photographer
Beverley Goodway who died in November last year lived in the house next door to my Dad in Ashtead in Surrey (England).

On the few occasions I met him I found him to be an amazingly charming and helpful man. Quite delightful in fact. Always ready to help my aging parents, cutting the grass or picking up stuff from the shops in the village. Not really deserving to be referred to as the Tit Man as I did on occasions.
I found some of Bevs pictures in my Dads computer later when clearing out the house after his death. I was intrigued to see many of them were taken in Bevs garden and there in the background, if you tore your gaze from the Dagenham nipples were Dads roses and the quince hedge that separated the two gardens.
Thats why Dad kept them I should think.
posted by jan murray at 3:43 PM on March 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh yes
The Tit Mans work
NSFW I suppose - on account of being without Dads roses - or quince even
posted by jan murray at 3:48 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why are topless models on billboards in France considering sophisticated but Page 3 girls are trashy?

They are not sophisticated to French people. This is a quality imbued in Frenchness by Americans.

Why would seeing a woman's bare breasts in a newspaper be worse because you didn't eat breakfast?

Because I have not even started my day properly and am expected to forcibly digest other people's unwanted porn in public before anything else. Within half an hour of waking, every morning. When we are all dressed in business attire on our way to work. There's no reason in the world they can't do that in the comfort of their own home, or for it to exist in a newspaper (and there are working class women who also dislike this stuff, you know).
posted by everydayanewday at 3:50 PM on March 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


How one is dressed, what one has eaten, and where one is going aren't really relevant. If you don't want to see bare breasts, fine, but let's not cloud it with questions of apparel and nourishment. If you're wearing a bikini and have just chowed down on ribs and slaw, seeing bare breasts would be okay? Silly.
posted by Ideefixe at 7:20 PM on March 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yes let's pretend the context in which porn is displayed and consumed has no bearing on anything.
posted by everydayanewday at 8:38 PM on March 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


And also that because nudist beaches exist, being naked picking my kid up from school or at a funeral is also fine by this logic.
posted by everydayanewday at 8:39 PM on March 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


As prudish as I am, at this moment I'm more worried about the tabloids possibly driving somebody to suicide.

to be honest I can't really understand the whole 'sex positive' thing that the ingelligentsia embraces, except as an extension of the 60s free love thing
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 9:04 PM on March 24, 2013


Oh lordy, objecting to people publicly consuming porn on public transport is now 'silly'? Really. Not pulling wank material out in public is... oh, I don't know... basic human decency. There's a reason watching porn in the office is filed under sexual harassment and hostile work environment. The fact those kind of restrictions can't be enforced in an environment where hundreds of thousands of people mill in out every day doesn't make it good or preferable.

Charlemagne in Sweatpants, there's no way of expressing the deep distaste I hold for Richard Littlejohn, but Stewart Lee and Michael Winner exemplify most of it. RIP Lucy Meadows.

.
posted by abbagoochie at 9:26 PM on March 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've always toyed with the idea of carrying a softcore male pinup mag around and opening it when I'm next to someone on the bus with page 3 visible. Nothing Pornhubby, just everything out but the tackle. I can definitely see lots of very vocal objections happening, a lot of 'I DON'T WANT TO SEE THAT SHIT! I'M NOT GAY!'

That’s hard to believe, but we obviously live in different places.
posted by bongo_x at 12:42 AM on March 25, 2013


the class issue is a bit of a red herring, I'm from a working class background and my father read the Sun. My brother still does. This is because both left School at 14 and have the reading age of a Sun reader (which I believe from my daughter's linguistics studies is around 11 yr old)
Patriarchal images of women do not get challenged until you can put food on the table and have a certain amount of education. Many, many working class people continue to develop themselves in a variety of ways (educational, vocational, sporting etc.,) and a portion of them reject the product placement of the Patriarchy.

But for the men who hold a profound and inculcated contempt for women the need to continually reinforce their worldview is a power thing. It's simply more difficult to spot in wealthier echelons, masked as it is by money.

For the working class its page 3 and newsprint on penis, while their wealthier counterparts stick £50 notes down nubile arsecracks in Stringfellows while quaffing Dom Perignon.
posted by Wilder at 3:54 AM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


That’s hard to believe, but we obviously live in different places.

Come for a visit. It'll be very informative.
posted by abbagoochie at 4:23 AM on March 25, 2013


robcorr: When the redtops start printing page 3 wangs on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, I might be able to take this seriously.
When they are convinced by marketing tests that this will increase readership, they will do it. Mammon's sins are many, but sexism is not chief among them.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:08 AM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I still can't believe that there are topless models in a major newspaper. There's a time and a place for nudity, and that is on the Internet in the privacy of your own home

Are you really calling for press censorship?
posted by bystander at 1:14 PM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just at the level of 'you can't print clear pornography in a national newspaper'. Again, this is mostly due to my American upbringing, but I don't think we need to see that in public.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 1:48 PM on March 25, 2013


Charlemagne In Sweatpants: Just at the level of 'you can't print clear pornography in a national newspaper'. Again, this is mostly entirely, completely, utterly due to my typically prudish American upbringing, but I don't think we need to see that in public.
Publicly exposed nipples have yet to bring down the state in England, France, Monaco, Columbus OH, New York City...
posted by IAmBroom at 2:04 PM on March 25, 2013


Words on a page only conjure up images once you read them. I cannot, from a cross the carriage, look at what you're reading and experience that imagery fully.

So the issue is not with the content per se (porn), but rather the medium (images vs text) and more particularly the format (broadsheet/tabloid newspaper)? I.e. if someone is using an iPad to view their porn, or better yet a smartphone, with a relatively small viewing area so that you'd have to be pretty obviously shoulder-surfing them to see it, it's OK?

I think that's a defensible line to draw, if we want to draw it, but it does have certain classist implications: it means it's acceptable, at present anyway and considering the cost of iPads/smartphones/Kindles/etc., for a wealthy person to view smut in public while a person who can only afford the paper can't. While that isn't necessarily a problem (I don't think that there's really a natural right to view porn on the train), I think it's worth noting and keeping in mind because it will certainly be used as ammunition by the purveyors of the tabloids, in terms of painting those who object to their content as elitist hypocrites.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:26 PM on March 25, 2013


Of all the phrases in our culture I can't stand, "sex positive" is near (or at) the very top of the list. It seems to me, in the contexts I've seen it used, that it only refers to being positive about female sexuality. Men are more sexually stimulated than women by pornographic images; looking at naughty photos is part of our sexuality. I don't see how shaming men for looking at* nude pictures is different than slut-shaming.

*Looking at porn is one thing, jacking off to it in public is quite different and I'd be a little uncomfortable if someone was doing that.
posted by MattMangels at 6:50 PM on March 25, 2013


Just at the level of 'you can't print clear pornography in a national newspaper'. Again, this is mostly due to my American upbringing, but I don't think we need to see that in public.

I'm just really surprised by this, as you have been really absolutist about censorship in other threads, and especially press censorship.
posted by bystander at 12:47 AM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


So the issue is not with the content per se (porn), but rather the medium (images vs text) and more particularly the format (broadsheet/tabloid newspaper)? I.e. if someone is using an iPad to view their porn, or better yet a smartphone, with a relatively small viewing area so that you'd have to be pretty obviously shoulder-surfing them to see it, it's OK?

Still not really okay. Much like you'd have to walk into your co-worker's cubicle and look over their shoulder to see the porn on their monitor in a smaller window, but that's still not okay. I have no issue with people looking at porn in private. In public, it's a fairly different matter. Doing it on a smartphone or tablet is no more acceptable than pulling Penthouse out of your briefcase for a commute.
posted by Dysk at 1:51 AM on March 26, 2013


here's where I draw the line, when it is as acceptable to whip out a tit and feed a child when hungry as it is to oogle young nubile tits because you're...what exactly would that be?... entitled to a stiffy en route to work?...that's when I'll back off your right to view page 3 in public.

There is a large overlap between people who reject the primary function of tits and even find it disgusting, complaining when women breasfeed in public, while defending their right to publically enjoy the secondary fuction.

Many of the people commenting here seem to think viewing page 3 is similar to viewing the latest Aston Martin, hamlessly enjoyable self-delusion that one day you'll get one. It's not. the similarlity is that it allows the viewer/voyuer to internalise an image of women as objects, so it comes as no surprise to everyone who has had the experience when we are subjected to lewd comments just walking down a street.

Again I believe it really came as a surprise to many in the UK when the Everydaysexism project started as there was a perception that this kind of chronic low-level harrassment was a thing of the past or something from other cultures. It's not.

as previous threads on the Blue and Grey have shown, it's very prevalent and extremely damaging. I will never be paid equally for the same work as a man as long as a mindset is allowed to exist where it is acceptable for you to look up from a page3 and mime cunniilingus at me. The constant denigration and objectification of women is directly related to the incidence of violence against us. Is it really such an attack on your rights to ask you to view your porn where your pocket billards game can't be seen by others including children en route to school?
posted by Wilder at 3:45 AM on March 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


when it is as acceptable to whip out a tit and feed a child when hungry as it is to oogle young nubile tits

It's legal to "whip out a tit and feed a child" on public in 45 states. Socially acceptable, of course, depends on who's looking at you, but I certainly think it should be socially acceptable. If you come across anyone who thinks people should be able to look at Page 3 on the tube, but not breastfeed, invite them to comment here and we can discuss it.

Many of the people commenting here seem to think viewing page 3 is similar to viewing the latest Aston Martin, hamlessly enjoyable self-delusion that one day you'll get one. It's not. the similarlity is that it allows the viewer/voyuer to internalise an image of women as objects

Er, sez who? Why should I believe your version of what it means rather than the version of the people who are doing it?

As for the rest, the breakdown is really pretty easy:

• Looking at or up from Page 3: Personal, harms no one
• Miming cunnilingus at you: Harassment, not cool, possibly legally actionable
• "Pocket billiards": Definitely not cool, definitely legall actionable

Your attempt to conflate those three things is causing more problems than it solves.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:14 AM on March 26, 2013


ah, right, I'm the one causing the problem, that's a pretty common response when anyone challenges the status quo.

I'll go one further I'm not conflating them, I'm drawing a direct line of causality between the social acceptance of Page 3 and the mindset that does the other two and thinks they can get away with it. Legally actionable, you're joking right? So I'm meant to use my time to ensure someone acts in a civilised manner in public. Why? Why isn't the onus on the person to behave? Why don't the other people in the carriage report the individual on my behalf? Would people stand idly by if someone was being racist? No, they'd take video on their Smartphone if they were too cowed to intervene and post it so public shaming could happen.

Let's look at something which is also socially acceptable, although becoming less so, slapping your child. If instead of page 3 we had a visual page of parent's different methods of slapping children, or the BNP's full colour pull-out supplement on how to chastise your Fillipina maid? Why is it OK to objectify women in a public space?

If it is really just a question of your right to consume visual porn in public why don't we see men reading the full porn magazines, what is the difference?

No-one has ever looked up from Anais Nin or Nan Goldin or even FSOG and mimed anything at me. But neither have I even been pursued down the street by someone brandishing a copy of Das Kapital.

Maybe I'm just not wearing the right clothes.
posted by Wilder at 12:29 PM on March 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's legal to "whip out a tit and feed a child" on public in 45 states.

...none of which have porn on page three of a broad-circulation newspaper. Unlike, say, the UK.
posted by Dysk at 4:59 PM on March 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


"whip out a tit and feed a child"

The slogan for my new foundation to end hunger.
posted by bongo_x at 12:20 PM on March 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


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