Hearing that the No More Page 3 campaign reached 100 000 signatures gave me a child-of-the- 80s flashback today. Who else remembers the Lager Lovelies? These were the women who appeared on the sides of Tennent’s lager cans, generally dressed in their bikinis. I had a look online, and it seems a lot of people look back on the ‘Lovelies’ with fondness – there are archives, online enthusiasts who collect the cans, all sorts.
Even so, Tennents decided to get shot of these images – decades ago. My guess is they decided the public found them seedy and outdated – not really the feel-good associations you want for your brand. Or maybe they felt their product was good enough to stand alone without them. It was – Tennents didn’t go down the tubes because there wasn’t a sexy girl on the can.
The Sun though, that bastion of arrogance, has decided it knows better. This is the newspaper coy enough to asterisk the word ‘tit’ (t*t), but with no issues showing women’s actual, well, tits. And they arrogantly refuse to recognise legitimate objections to them doing so – if you protest, you are ‘elitist’. So says Rupert Murdoch
. That would be the billionaire with all the Tory buddies, and his own evil empire and lair (OK, I made the last bit up. But it wouldn’t surprise me. All this guy needs is the Springfield power plant and his own Smithers to do his bidding. Or is that you, Dominic Mohan?)
Seriously, accusations of elitism from this priveliged, wealthy white man are hilarious. They’re also wide of the mark. Girls supporting the campaign have articulated how worthless they felt growing up and being faced with Page 3. Parents have voiced concerns about its unsuitability in a family paper. Teachers have talked about how it contributes to sexual pressure on girls.
Even the ex-editor of Loaded
(formerly a cheerful purveyor of boobs to the masses) has talked about how since becoming a father, his views towards portraying women as sex objects has changed. Some people think Page 3 is creepy and embarrassing, the paper equivalent of a handsy old uncle. Others have simply pointed out that boobs are not news.
Contrary to what Dominic Mohan and Rupert Murdoch would like to believe, these are genuine concerns from a range of people. Ordinary people – not elitists. My own view is that it’s all about context; there’s a time and place for boobs, and it’s not a family newspaper.
Here’s a thought. Why don’t Rupert, Dominic and his pals take a break from scoping out female flesh to exhibit and actually listen? Over 100000 of us have signed so far, and we are not going away.