Thursday, 20 June 2013

Stripped

Green MP Caroline Lucas has been spearheading a campaign to get rid of Page 3 of The Sun, going to the point of wearing an eye-catching "No More Page Three" T-shirt to the House of Commons - eventually being told (ironically) to cover up.
As a Green Party member, I applaud any action by the party to get more recognition in the House, and
BBC got a good picture, as usual.
in particular on a matter that isn't directly related to green issues (the idea of the GPEW as a single-issue party is still pervasive, and I can see why, even though it's the wrong idea!). My main issue with this is that I'm not, in principle, entirely against the idea of what Page 3 involves. I am, however, opposed to how it's being put into practice, and for that reason, Caroline Lucas, I salute you.


That and I'm paying £8 every month to be a member of the same party, so yeah.

Page 3 rankles with me because it is completely exploitative of something - pretty ladies with nice bodies posing nude - which, in other contexts, could be seen as more positive. It's the cornerstone, for better or worse, of a lot of porn (soft or otherwise), and there are things such as nude art through sculpture and paintings, life drawing or even naked photography, where (although there's always an exception) nudity is seen as something either not to be ashamed of or to be accepted for what it is.

As my old friend Syren once emphatically stated on DeviantArt, "there is nothing wrong with nudity in art... that is all."

Page 3 seems to go against this almost entirely. We have a topless girl (always a girl) posing for basically no reason (and if you're looking at her to get aroused, you are automatically a pervert), and to cap it all, the ridiculous "news in briefs" section, attempting to justify the whole page by virtue of the fact that you're pretending the model in the photo is saying something erudite about what's happening in the news... even to the point of making her look like an idiot. It's stupid, dumb, patronising and isn't fooling anyone. It's taking advantage of both the person in the photo and the reader... and that is why Page 3 is a really bad idea. Really.

Anyway, a week after she wore her T-shirt to the Commons (aka "yesterday", if you're reading this on the day I posted it), CL got to ask this during Prime Minister's Questions:

Caroline Lucas*: The Government’s own research shows that there is a link between the portrayal of women as sex objects in the media and greater acceptance of sexual harassment and violence against women.

Not something I've done much research into myself, but okay. One could argue that things like porn and erotica portray women as sex objects, but I've never seen too much evidence of that in the stuff I watch - usually it involves a lady on an equal par with the man. Something like 50 Shades is disguised abuse, though, so I see her point there.

That being the case, will the Prime Minister join me in trying to get our own House in order and calling on the parliamentary authorities to stop The Sun being available on the parliamentary estate until Page Three is scrapped, and will he have a word with his friend Rupert Murdoch about it while he is at it?

Nicely done with the Rupert Murdoch quip there.

It's a good idea to call for something like this, although in practice, it's never going to happen. Part of me thinks it's not such a good idea, as that may be technically one step towards censorship - but, in many ways, I think direct action is the sort of thing you may want to be looking for in terms of how to get people like the aforementioned Murdoch to take notice? Of course, the Prime Minister didn't agree (and it's his right to disagree, I just think he's wrong). But I take massive exception to the way he responded to her.

David Cameron: I am glad the Honourable Lady got her question asked after the dazzling T-shirt that she was wearing last week failed to catch Mr Speaker’s eye.

Personal insult. Very childish.

I am afraid I do not agree with her. It is important that we can read all newspapers on the parliamentary estate, including The Sun.

You see, the second part of his statement gives his opinion. But he didn't give much of a reason. I can think of several - because it's important to keep up with the news; because it may prove interesting to see how different media report upon the same happenings; because you have to have something ti ballast the escape pods with. But he didn't give any reasons for what he said. He just... said it.

I mean, I don't like the Prime Minister anyway, but... really, Cameron? Really? This is a serious issue for a lot of people, and you're just brushing it aside with a slight on the T-shirt and a pithy response? CL also made a point about Rupert Murdoch, to whom Cameron is reported to be close enough. Surely there could be a little influence there? I mean... he's the Prime Minister! Surely...?

I shouldn't be so surprised. He's not known for actually answering a lot of these questions particularly politely. But nevertheless, this is one of his worst so far. And on such an issue, it really doesn't deserve to be dealt with like this... and neither, I am sure, does CL.

* [All political statements in this post were taken directly from Hansard, so they are accurate.]

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