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News Not Boobs

Women’s rights issues have always been important to me as I’ve been very fortunate to have a wonderful education and the chance to talk and learn about things I feel very passionate about. However, I am under no illusion that we have a very long way to go until sexism, misogyny and male privilege become a thing of the past. This is evident in the publication of Page 3 in ‘The Sun’ newspaper which prints pictures of women with their boobs out daily, on a national scale, in something that is hailed as for all the family.

My desire is not to offend anyone or court controversy. My only wish is to speak honestly, from a place of passion and sometimes just to rant and be like ‘HELLO! DO YOU NOT REALIZE HOW CRAZY IT IS THAT YOU HAVE PICTURES OF WOMEN’S BOOBS IN A F**KING NEWSPAPER?!’

From a young age I’ve always questioned the roles women have been assigned, and was made even more skeptical when I was exposed to Page 3 at a young age. ‘Why is it okay for women to be seen like that but not men?’ I remember asking my mum as I awkwardly looked in the other direction when some dude decided to look at a young girl’s boobs on a bus. But like with everything, no-one really talked about it because it’s just become a norm in society – you watch some trashy reality TV, eat some carbs, and watch your family member fumbling around to change the page as they open the newspaper. I very clearly remember talking to my best friend about it when we were like 14 (the days of the now defunct Jonas Brothers come to mind) and I was really perplexed she didn’t see anything wrong with it, and that kind of put me off having any further discussion, as no-one seemed to give a toss. It was like it’s just the way things are, so why bother even talking or caring about it?

It wasn’t until I was 15/16 that I realized my voice as an individual (not just as a questioning bystander) really truly mattered, as I discovered the term for my thoughts and ideologies – feminism. I became editor of the school, and later college, newspaper; I started this blog; I challenged people’s casual sexism and stood up proudly for my beliefs, and I wrote a feminist story which went on to garner 100,000 reads online. Yet I still thought to myself that I have to do something that really takes on the remaining oppression of women in their representation in the media (I’m a former media student and so I annoy everyone by analyzing everything). I felt that I had to look into seeing whether I could use whatever stage I had (not that big, but it’s something), to help a campaign/cause which I truly felt passionate about, and figure out a way to be a better activist, learner and woman. And then I happened to stumble across No More Page Three and it was like “I’m not the only one who thinks this, OMG PEOPLE CARE!” It was all a very Tom Cruise on Oprah’s couch circa 2005 moment.

I decided to pledge my support for No More Page Three as the message resonated with me as a young women as well as the very awkward (I still am) 14 year old girl I once was, who wondered why it was necessary to show women in such a way. I followed them on Twitter and kept up to date on Facebook with all their progress and boy has there been a lot as 126,000 people have come out and signed a petition to tell Sun editor, David Dinsmore, to kindly remove Page 3.

Now, I was proper happy that it’s had so much support yet my mood kind of deflated seeing The Sun being sold in the university shop when it chooses to objectify young women in such a way where they’re applauded not for their achievements in different industries, or the fact that they’re better doing than boys educationally, but instead to just allow men (the target audience) to leer at them.

This has a greater effect on society as some men come to view women as being sexual objects, only there for their pleasure, and while I am not in any way suggesting that The Sun promotes such behavior, you have to wonder where these men who harass women, come to think this is acceptable. Is it through being told that it’s okay to oogle and make jibes about a woman in a public place?

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