Supporters of the No More Page 3 campaign celebrated a victory on Monday 19 January as rumours of The Sun getting rid of bare breasts in its newspaper did the rounds on the internet.
Apart from a tweet from its head of PR (who told followers that page 3 would be in the same place it’s always been, between pages 2 and 4), the newspaper has given no formal statement on the matter, only removed nipples gradually from its print over the last few months.
The No More Page 3 campaign has been working for 28 months under the banner “Boobs Aren’t News”, and supposedly against the objectification of women in what they call a “family newspaper”. They would like women “to be represented with respect in the newspaper, rather like men are”. Rather like all those men involved in Hillsborough who were the victims of a slander campaign headed by The Sun?
Page 3 models have expressed disdain for the campaign in the past. One model, Holly Hagan, pointed out that page 3 is the only place in magazines and newspapers where women’s bodies aren’t being shamed for the way they look.
The problems with claiming this as a victory lie in that the objectification of women will continue. Topless models will continue to pose for the publication, only now the images will be shown on their website instead. Pictures of celebrity women in bikinis, who often don’t consent to their photographs being taken, still plaster the pages of the printed edition, with captions unmistakably objectifying them. The problem hasn’t gone away; it’s just been hidden from your immediate view.
The Sun will continue to write articles perpetuating the image of women as objects, of immigrants as criminals and of working-class people as scroungers. Liberal MPs patting themselves on the back for wearing a t-shirt (which surely must have contributed to this “win”) pull back the cover of their shallow nature even further, revealing the conservative truth that they are actually only concerned with the modesty of women.
If they were actually against the objectification, it would make no sense to stop at this point.