This is the most misogynistic thing I’ve seen today

Above is a video for the No More Page 3 campaign, and it is the most misogynistic thing I have seen today.

In case you don’t want to watch it, the narrative centres on a man buying a copy of a certain tabloid newspaper, and being stalked around by a topless woman every time he opens the fucking thing, which has a devastating impact on his family and leads to his young daughter making some paper mache norks. It’s so fucking ghastly and misogynistic I’d think it an April Fool, were it not uploaded a few weeks ago.

The whole thing reeks of largely discredited scarlet woman tropes as well as deliberately sexualising children. It’s the sort of thing I’d expect to see made in the 1950s: sexy lady destroys innocent family, and it’s all her fault. The man is not held accountable; indeed, he looks just as perturbed at being relentlessly tailed by the Page 3 girl as the video invites us to be. The blame is laid squarely on the woman, not anywhere else as we are invited to stare at her and mutter to ourselves that she shouldn’t be there.

And let’s talk about sexualising a child, because you know what publication has never, to my knowledge, put out images of little girls wearing false breasts? The Sun. Or, indeed, anything else I can think of, except that fucking video. Yes, we’re meant to be horrified by it, but do you know what I really don’t want to look at? Images of little girls wearing false breasts. Most of the internet and print respect this. Of course they couldn’t have gone for a girl just taking her top off and being cool with it: it was their intention to sexualise this child’s body as much as possible while simultaneously saying “look how terrible this is”. It’s like the Sidebar of Shame in the Daily Mail, except they’re seriously expecting us to fall over and applaud their feminism for this.

It’s sadly not uncommon for initiatives like this to fall back on objectification and sexualisation. In Playing The WhoreMelissa Gira Grant explains that this is the dominant discourse in carceral feminist initiatives against sex work: that sex workers are expected to be seen but not heard, that when they are not being held up as victims, they are being held up as the enemy. One can also draw parallels to PETA, who like to treat women like meat in order to make people eat more vegetables.

Make no mistake: this is what is going on in this video. Somehow, No More Page 3 have managed to produce something that manages to be more objectifying and misogynistic than what they claim to oppose.


ETA 1553 01/04/14: The “official” campaign account have distanced themselves from this video following complaints due to its misogyny. This marks a reversal on their original position, where they tweeted it excitedly. It is worth noting that while the “official” campaign do not endorse it, this video is not incompatible with any of their campaign talking points.

ETA 1612 01/04/14: The official account also allegedly deleted a tweet describing the video as “fantastic”. As I said before, there is no way this video is incompatible with the main talking points and aims of the NMP3 campaign. I would really like for NMP3 to engage with and talk about why using the imagery and tropes in this video is as misogynistic, if not more so than NMP3.

I’d also like to clarify that, when I refer to “No More Page 3” throughout this post, I’m not necessarily referring to the “official” campaign, but the movement itself, which, being ostensibly grassroots, ought not to be limited to a single Twitter account!

12 thoughts on “This is the most misogynistic thing I’ve seen today”

  1. I’ve had some sympathy with some of the no more page three stuff since my god daughters asked me why there were no naked women in my paper like there were in their dads. And then why it was okay for the women in their dad’s paper to be not wearing clothes where people can see them.
    I can see how as a parent you would might to respond to this by just getting rid of the topless women. But if this is an illustration of the reasoning these people are teaching their children as to why they’re campaigning then that’s going to be far worse for them in the long run.

  2. The video sort of looks semi professional, so I don’t know whether to overlook certain things or not (the editing isn’t the best), so I’m thinking that they probably meant well, but could have gone about things better. Maybe a comment saying about how page 3 shouldn’t be seen as “the norm” or similar.

  3. I’m a woman and a feminist, but I still don’t agree to the ‘say no to page 3’ campaign. Why? Because women’s magazines show a naked male torso consistently and yet no one is disgusted by that. The women in page 3 shoots are healthy and beautiful, and in comparison to models on a runway they are shown to be what they are – normal women with curves. We should be celebrating them. Now that’s not to say skinny women shouldn’t also show their body – as a sufferer from anorexia, I know exactly what it’s like to want to be stick-thin (even though I don’t actually find it attractive, but unfortunately it doesn’t quite work like that in my head when it comes to my own body). But we need to promote the idea that curves are fine, which is exactly what page 3 does. Men will want to look at naked women; it’s part of their nature and that’s fine, because guess what? The majority of adults enjoy naked bodies, and that is normal and okay. Exploitation, however, is not, and I personally think a tame topless shoot is a valid way for women to make money without being exploited. So yes, this video is over-sensitive, misogynistic and sexist. And moreover, it exploits the little girl who was involved in the making of this video.

    1. OK. No. No no no. On so many levels. Look, I’m fairly skeptical about the No More Page 3 campaign (I think it’s the equivalent of blasting someone’s pinky finger with a blow torch while their entire arm is riddled with gangrene) but the idea that existence of Page 3 is somehow GOOD for women is completed absurd.

      a) The problem is not naked bodies. The problem is not breasts. I love a good breast. Men can and do enjoy the nude female form all the time. The problem is context. Breasts are not news. They do not belong in a newspaper. They certainly do not belong in a newspaper that advertises itself as a family friendly. Pictures of naked women in sexy poses do not belong beside news stories about men in suits making important decisions about the way countries are run. Because that juxtaposition sends a very loud and clear message about what women are for and what men are for, and if that’s where you get your news every day, the message is going to start to sink in.
      b) Once again, the problem is not naked bodies. The problem is objectification. The women and their bodies are not being celebrated. They are there to be titillating objects for the benefit of the straight male reader.
      c) Page 3 is no way challenging the impossibly idealised and narrow beauty requirements imposed on women. The models are invariably young and white with big breasts, flat stomachs, long hair, heavily made-up and airbrushed within an inch of their lives. The difference between runway models and glamour models is not going to revolutionize beauty standards any time soon.

  4. I think the author has somewhat mis-read the video – I don’t see anyone blaming the woman – she only appears when HE opens the newspaper, and when his daughter asks questions, he looks ashamed and can’t answer them. It’s also not “sexualising children” – it’s illustrating the effect on children of the casual and ubiquitous use of sexualised images of women typified by The Sun. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear this post was written by David Dinsmore himself!

  5. Wow, just watched that video. I’m guessing that none, or very few, of the NMP3 women have children or even understand child development. A female child would be highly unlikely to want to appropriate breasts for herself at that age. I agree with the previous post that the video is deeply exploitative of the child involved, far more than page 3. The poor mite looks unbelievably uncomfortable. God knows how having adults ‘performing’ disgust and opprobrium at the sight of breasts will affect her later in life. Disgusting for all the wrong, misguided reasons.

  6. As a single-issue campaign NMP3 attracts a diverse selection of supporters who have different reasons for signing, and different ways of expressing support.Not everyone agrees on everything, but differing viewpoints are respected. This video, made by a supporter, may not have worked for everyone, but I think it’s clear that the intention was to highlight the absurdity of having sexualised imagery appearing, unbidden, at inappropriate times in daily life, like Page 3 does. It wasn’t saying that women and their sexuality is bad, and I don’t agree that it is more misogynistic than Page 3 itself because this has a context and a message, however flawed, rather than being objectification for its own sake. It can’t be compared with those PETA ads which sexualise, objectify AND eroticise violence against women for a cause which isn’t even connected. That is pure exploitation, this was an honest attempt to illustrate a point. And there was a bit of humour in it too – the model herself grins stupidly and cheerfully so that there is no mistake – she’s not there to be objectified, she’s got a personality.Which is more than the Page 3 models are allowed to have…

  7. It seems reasonably clear that the video is not shaming the woman but pointing out how inappropriate it is for a naked woman to be so casually appearing in a family situation: a parent who, fair enough, likes to look at soft porn would obviously not leave it where their children could see it, so why do we pretend that it’s ok in a newspaper where you can’t help but see it?

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