Over the summer I once again added my support to the ‘No More Page 3‘ campaign.
The national campaign is calling on the Sun newspaper to voluntarily remove its Page 3 feature, describing it as sexist and outdated and highlighting the impact of sexualised images on attitudes towards women.
I find it profoundly sad that the most prominent female image in one of the country’s biggest selling newspapers is of a topless model. This isn’t about being prudish or promoting censorship, it’s about highlighting how our society values women.
In a country where we want men and women to be treated equally, the images on Page 3 objectify women and reinforce sexist attitudes. What message does it send to a young girl to see women reduced to sexual objects? At the same time, how can we promote respect for women and tackle serious issues like domestic abuse when sexual images are so normal in everyday life?
There is a growing body of evidence to demonstrate that sexualised images fuel body image anxiety among young women and devalue the role of women in society.
There can be no doubt that the objectification of women is something that permeates throughout our culture. When the Parliament debated the issue last year, I reflected on the work of Zero Tolerance, an Edinburgh based domestic abuse charity, highlighting everyday sexism in areas such as fashion, advertising and the mainstream media. I also highlighted the role of technology with deeply concerning research findings suggesting that girls as young as 12 experience pressure to send topless pictures of themselves via text and instant messaging.
Part of the solution is to begin to question the prevailing wisdom that writes off items like page 3 as harmless fun. There is a growing wave of public opinion calling for an end to Page 3 and I hope the Sun will listen to those concerns.
Page 3 is an outdated concept that belongs in the past and I am delighted to support the No More Page 3 campaign.