PAGE 3 GIRLS WERE MY IDOLS. THEY REFUSED TO EQUATE THEIR SEXUALITY WITH SHAME.
Now there is No More Page Three in its place are women in bikinis. If it is a victory, it’s a pyrrhic one. Personally, I’m mourning the loss of an institution I once celebrated. I have always loved Page Three. If I’d got my act together sooner I’d have done it myself. Now I’m too old and too fat and too busy getting drunk to apply myself properly to such a demanding job.
I love Page Three mainly because I wish I’d been brave enough to do it. When I was nineteen I hated my body. I was scared of what my sexuality meant. I was frightened of being called slutty or slaggy. But Page Three girls are my idols: they don’t give a damn.
They challenge you to objectify them; they laugh at the idea. They refuse to equate their sexuality with shame. In an age of revenge porn and slut-shaming where men threaten to humiliate women by posting pictures of their body parts online, the best defence is sexual confidence. To refuse to be threatened by our sexuality but instead, to own it. Or display it, if we fancy.
Unlike hipster porn – a la Terry Richardson – built on the premise that women can only be sexual ironically, Page Three is unfashionably frank. It’s women enjoying their bodies.
Glamour modelling’s exploitative, is it? Then why is Tamara Ecclestone (daughter of millionaire F1 man Bernie) always posing in her bikini? While Kate Moss has signed up for Playboy again? In fact Page Three has enabled women to establish careers. As Jodie Marsh tweeted today. ‘I loved doing page 3, it was good money, I felt powerful, I was definitely in control & all the people (mostly women) I worked with were FAB’ (sic).
Some people say Page Three makes women sexually available. To me, those are the same arguments that equate short skirts with rape. Women do not get raped because they wear miniskirts, they get raped because men rape them. In the same way Page Three girls (who are having sex with no one) are only reduced to sexually available objects if you do that to them. I don’t assume Page Three girls are just tits or just sex objects, any more than I assume Dale Winton is just a tan.
That some women claim to feel objectified by Page Three baffles me. Like saucy postcards, it’s so twee that how could any serious girl care? You don’t see David Cameron or Alan Sugar fretting about David Gandy posing in his underwear. You don’t hear Ed Milliband demand an end to Torso Of The Week; men appear intelligent enough to know ‘that’s his job, this is mine’.
In the same way, we women shouldn’t lump ourselves together. We are not homogenous! One woman doing something does not represent us all. We can run the gamut – be journalists, doctors, firefighters, barristers, glamour models. We’re individuals, not just gender – that’s what real equality is.
And The Sun is a newspaper that represents women in all ways. I have written for them, covering Jeremy Clarkson’s column, where they promoted me, a young woman, at the front of the paper – uncensored – in her opinions.
This is my kind of feminism – one that lets women do what they want. Gives them the freedom to find their own equality.
Although, you know what does offend me? Ironic W.I. groups. Women’s pages. Women’s porn. The lame assumptions about women that patronise my brain. What infuriates me most, is the anti-Page Three movement: Women mobilising themselves to attack (predominately) working class-girls when there’s so many more critical issues to campaign on.
What about the women forced into marriage, genital mutilation; the low conviction rates for sexual attacks. Women bullied into situations of real powerlessness. Meanwhile, with no sense of irony, just weeks after millions marched for freedom, a group of so-called liberal feminists have forced women to put their clothes back on.