Sexism in the Media: boobs aren't news

(Photo Credit)
Whilst you'd think the media in the UK were pretty ahead of the game in terms of equality, there is one massive issue that I've been passionate about challenging. When I first told Mr. Nomad (he's fresh from Australia), he was pretty shocked. Our best selling newspaper The Sun, features topless 'glamour' models on page 3 of their newspaper, daily. There's even a movement No More Page 3 dedicated to the removal of this newspaper feature.

Now let me paint a scene. Up until a month ago, I was working in a pretty high end supermarket. One shift was at 6am on a Saturday morning, and the first job I had was sorting out the newspapers and putting all the inserts in. One of these of course, was The Sun. Let me tell you, I used to dread it every week. At 6am the last thing I waned to see was pages upon pages of topless females waiting for drooling customers to gaze over the images. However, what was worse was that I felt so uncomfortable serving customers who bought The Sun and similar newspapers and magazines (The Star, FHM etc). It made me uncomfortable; uncomfortable knowing that the person buying the newspaper was supporting and being implicit in regarding topless women in a newspaper as news. The Co-op (another British retailer) has gone part of the way to actually doing something; banning magazines with 'overtly sexual images' on, giving the publishers the option of delivering the magazines in pre-sealed modesty bags or the Co-op not selling them at all. Whilst I find this quite amusing (I mean, how embarrassing is it that people actually PAY to buy magazines that are disguised in paper bags?). But it's not enough. 

Aside from the fact that in the store I was working in these magazines were displayed and sold, what I found incredibly worrying was the kind of people that were buying these things. I'm talking grown parents with children, and honestly it made me feel a little sick. I found it really difficult to make a bond with any of these customers who, especially on a Saturday morning, were particularly friendly. One in particular was so nice to me but he'd buy The Sun and The Star every week and I just couldn't really see past it. What does leaving a newspaper around and exposing children to page 3 teach them? That women are to be valued and judged based on their bodys, and that conversation based on rating women on their body is okay? Something is seriously wrong here. Boobs surely aren't news?

Of course, papers and magazines like this still exist because of a much deeper misogyny that exists within British society, and all societies in general (I've noticed since moving to Australia that there isn't main tabloid newspapers featuring nude women, but still there are a vast array of 'lad mags'- this name makes me quiver- at eye level of children in retail outlets). Why is this an acceptable norm? I certainly don't want my potential children thinking it's normal or acceptable. If equality existed, this issue would be a no-brainer. Scrap page 3 and get rid of magazines exposing nude bodies to the eyes of children who have had no say in seeing them on a magazine rack. 

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7 comments

  1. I had no idea about it! I have always thought that Britain is a pretty developed country in that way, and those are certainly horrible news. It is terrible that society in general can accept that, it shouldn't. It is not right for women to be exposed like that! Totally agree with you!
    With love,
    Vera
    http://theflashwindow.weebly.com

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    1. It honestly blows my mind that people accept it and regard it as normal! Thanks for your comment Vera.

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  2. A really important issue. Such female images implies only one thing- that women are to be looked at and have little other value!

    I think this would be a great focus for the #HeForShe campaign to tackle as, as long as men continue to buy these magazines, publications like this will continue to be sold. Customers like those you spoke of need to know the consequences such images can have on their children.

    A great post! xx

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    1. It really worries me about the effect it has on children and the message it sends out. The #HeForShe campaign could really go far in putting pressure on tabloid newspapers to get rid of page 3.

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  3. Oh my gosh I'd never heard of that! I just cannot even imagine what makes someone think that is newsworthy, and on a daily basis!

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    1. It still baffles me as well Kiersten, and I've grown up knowing it's existed!

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  4. Wow, this really surprises me too. I always thought topless "glamour" models were just for sleazy magazines!

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