Thousands sign petition to end The Sun's Page Three girl

Sep 18, 2012

Campaign to 'drop the bare boobs' from The Sun takes off amid outcry over Kate's topless photos

THE topless photographs of Kate Middleton may have enraged The Sun – the paper said it was "disgusting that a young woman on holiday with her husband can't relax and strip off by the pool in private" - but is the tabloid about to suffer a similar backlash over its Page Three girl?

As the Murdoch-owned tabloid backed Prince William's legal bid to sue the French magazine that published the photos, a new campaign to get the 'family' newspaper to drop its Page Three Girl suddenly took off last Wednesday. Since then, signatories to the 'No More Page Three' petition have surged from 2,500 to more than 20,000.

The campaign, on Twitter, Facebook and the specialist petition website, personally targets the Sun's editor, Dominic Mohan. Rather than demanding that Page Three girls be banned outright, it asks him "very nicely" to "drop the bare boobs" from his newspaper.

Petition founder Lucy Holmes started the campaign three weeks ago after reading a copy of the Sun during the Olympics. Despite the extensive coverage given to victorious athletes such as Jessica Ennis and Victoria Pendleton, the dominant female image in the paper was still "a massive picture of a girl in her pants".

"It made me really sad," Holmes, an actress, told The Guardian. "It was the biggest female image in that issue, and I think pretty much every issue of [The Sun] for 42 years."

Holmes wrote to Mohan but when he did not reply she went public with the petition. In it she addresses Mohan directly: "Dominic, stop showing topless pictures of young women in Britain's most widely read newspaper. Stop conditioning your readers to view women as sex objects. Enough is enough."

Since then the campaign has gathered pace. The petition is being discussed on Mumsnet while journalists India Knight and Caitlin Moran and comedian Jennifer Saunders have mentioned it on Twitter. Moran, the author of How to be a Woman, tweeted: "Teenage tits are not news, or a feature".

It is not the first campaign against the Page Three girls. Labour MP Clare Short raised the issue in 1986 and was branded "fat, jealous Clare" by the paper. It was hoped the appointment of the paper's first female editor in 2003 – Rebekah Wade (later Brooks) - would lead to a rethink. It did not.

Last year the feminist campaign groups Object and Turn Your Back on Page 3 made a joint submission about "the hyper-sexualisation of women in the press" to the Leveson inquiry.

Holmes's campaign is still someway off its target of one million signatures but it is attracting a wide cross-section of the public.

One petitioner, Harry Wood from Liverpool, writes: "I am sick of rampant sexism and inequality being dressed up as freedom of the press" while Gary Miller from Faversham argues: "How are women meant to be taken seriously in the workplace when this is how they are seen?"

Rachel Tierney from London puts it more pithily: "Boobs on page 3 make tits of us all."

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Let's play a game that I often feature on my blog, Exiled Stardust. This game is called Spot the Misogyny.
How many misogynist myths can you spot in the news story above?

I spy with my little eye:
1. Reinforcing the idea that women should ask "sweetly and politely" to be treated like human beings, rather than "demanding" as men do.
2. Pitting women against each other: Holmes's approach is judged as superior to Clare Short's.
3. Quoting man after man, because men are the World Experts of Everything, including women's issues! Silly ladies can't be trusted to speak authoritatively about the issues that affect us. We need the Dudely Stamp of Approval before we're taken seriously!
4. At least you managed to quote a woman at the end? But, I fear, only because she said "tits". Har har.

dont ban page 3 stop being snotty we british :-)

MKH - I think you've had an irony by-pass. But perhaps I can only detect this because I'm male. And you could try to work out why male petitioners are quoted, too. If it's too hard for you, let me know and I'll help you out.

Sorry to be the harbinger of truth, but hey guess what, women ARE sexual creatures (not objects) as are men, humans are sexual beings. I think older, less pert, less attractive women who dont like to see what they probably used to look like, should buy a different paper, but denying the beauty inherant in a topless youthful female is actually attacking your own beauty, no matter how bitter you may be about the aging process.

So THAT's why people are protesting! Because they're jealous! Nothing to do with the damage Page 3 does, to people who don't even read the paper.
If you read the article at all, no-one is protesting here against topless photos per se. Just against putting them in a national daily newspaper.