One of the most controversial pages of Britain’s best-selling newspaper is having a birthday – today The Sun’s Page 3 turns 44.
Whether you regard Page 3 a British institution or an outdated sexist emblem, the subject has always been contentious.
Images of scantily-clad young women have long divided opinion, with many believing it objectifies and demeans women.
Former MP Clare Short even tried to pass legislation in the 1980s to ban it.
The Sun’s editor-in-chief, David Dinsmore, is under increasing pressure to remove the daily breast baring from grassroots campaign No More Page 3.
The petition, started by actor Lucy Anne Holmes, is calling for Dinsmore to drop the long-running feature.
The campaign has amassed more than 210,000 signatures and various protests took place across the country last week to mark the page’s anniversary.
It’s backed by organisations including The Everyday Sexism Project, Women’s Aid, Great Men Value Women and the British Youth Council, as well as cross-party support from 140 MPs.
Unrepentant, David Dinsmore maintains that the pictures will remain with former managing editor Richard Caseby calling it a ‘British institution, regarded with affection and tolerance by millions’.
They also point to statistics that show 45% of Sun readers are women.
So, is Page 3 a British institution or does it normalise women’s objectification?
On the 44th anniversary of Page 3, SW Londoner took to the streets to ask:
Should The Sun ditch Page 3 after 44 years of bare boobs?
Marketing professional Marietta Constantinou, 26, from Fulham, said: “The Sun should drop Page 3 to create a more equal society.
“They should shut it down. I think the longer it’s acceptable to have a topless woman in a newspaper, the longer it’s okay for women to be treated only as objects.”
This view was reflected by Enita Kang, a 24-year-old consultant from Tooting Bec.
“I find it quite degrading,” she said. “It is quite easy for a child to pick up the newspaper and think that’s the way women are meant to be perceived.”
This view is upheld by research from the American Psychological Association on sexualised media images.
They found that girls and young women who more frequently consume or engage with sexualised mainstream media content offer stronger endorsement of stereotypes depicting women as sexual objects.
Matt Loe, a 32-year-old bouncer from Clapham, disagrees and argued that the feature should be preserved.
He said: “The Sun should keep Page 3 – it’s a British institution. We’re a liberal society and have freedom of press.
“If you don’t want to see Page 3 then don’t buy The Sun.”
It seems however that South West Londoners are overwhelmingly in favour of The Sun dropping the topless models.
Full-time dad Andy Isaac, 52, from Notting Hill believes that the feature is no longer relevant.
He said: “I think it’s obsolete. It only worked years ago because it had shock.
“These days you don’t have to look at Page 3 to see a girl. People don’t care anymore as there’s no shock value.”
What do you think? Leave your comments below.
You can sign the No More Page 3 petition here.
Featured image courtesy of the BBC, via YouTube, with thanks