Our friend Joanne Oliver is a PR for music and the arts – and also partner in a music management – and synchronisation (getting music onto films etc) – company. Why would she be interested in the “No More Page 3″ campaign?” We asked her to tell us
How Page 3 Affected little Joanne
As a 43 year old woman brought up on a council estate in Hull, I saw The Sun every school day as a child. The bingo helped sell it to my mother, not sure what drew my Dad to it? The women on page 3 were not really mentioned by him and my two older brothers, the “news” just something for us all to argue amiably about. As a little girl then, these women were pretty much the only young women I saw in there, and somehow I thought this was a job to which I might aspire, they seemed to do alright out of it. Sam Fox I still think is pretty amazing but I wish she hadn’t started out as a teenager getting her boobs out for The Sun. This thought passed, I grew up, somehow scraped it into university and saw a whole new world and my returns to Hull usually involved me flinching at the sight of the same rag on the coffee table. I had a strong suspicion the reason the only “real news” was printed on page 2 was to keep female eyes from seeing it as they skipped to page 4. “Woman, know your place”
The “No More Page 3” Campaign
The “No More Page 3” campaign numbers a massive 214,000 signatories (and counting) to its petition to get rid of those bare breasts just inside the paper’s front cover. Over 40k likes on the Facebook page (hint: why not add yours too?) suggest a significant desire to lose the boobs in the news. The campaign has been joined by Miss Baby Sol who has recorded a song “Now’s The Time” which was released this Monday (15th December).
I’ve tried to help out by sending it out to all my radio contacts, and press. Like any email campaign there’s no guarantee of airplay and it really depends on who opens the email, what mood they are in, and if they see the right words in the subject line. I know people have listened to it, and there should be a fair old bit of downloading this week. The point is people have put their heart into something they believe in. If it means my son doesn’t pick up a discarded Sun on a bus and be faced with soft porn when he expected some fairly light reading, then I’m all for losing the mammaries from the third page.
The Gender Imbalance
I read a lot about “what if my little girl sees this?” but what about how my son grows up to view women? Actually, he is rather unlikely to see The Sun unless it has been discarded somewhere. I just think it is well overdue for a change. It is a newspaper that lives on coffee tables in family homes, and women depicted like that do not belong in it. In reality page 3 is only a small part of the inequality in the way women are represented in the paper. The No More Page 3 people went to the trouble of cutting out all the pictures of women, and all the pictures of men, from 6 months of the Sun.
The differences were stark. There was not one female sportsperson. Most of the women were posed in a way that was meant to look attractive, pouting, smiling, often in a state of undress. Hardly any of the women were over 50. The men in contrast, were mostly caught in action, doing normal blokey things, talking, kicking a ball, being business-like, being funny.
Time For A Change
To maybe strike an age balance Madonna was very recently on page 3. She is 56. Would they have done a feature on her saying how great she is for her age if she hadn’t got them out? I somehow doubt it. What is it about two glands made of fatty tissue that makes them necessary to this paper? It seems to me just a case of digging the heels in. If they clean this up, will they have the other dubious representations of women questioned? Well I hope it does go, and I hope women can be shown in roles to which young girls can aspire like the women’s rugby World Cup winners England, and their captain Katy McLean who won the BBC’s Northeast Sports Personality of the year. Congratulations Katy!
It’s time for the tabloids to grow up a bit. The politicians need to grow up too. Why are some so offended by the natural, loving act of breastfeeding? The bit of boob visible when a baby is nuzzled into it is barely more than cleavage, and boys, it isn’t sexual, it’s feeding. The picture of a girl in her pants on page three IS sexual though, and just does not belong in a daily newspaper.
Joanne is CEO of Jowheretogo PR (working with bands such as Peculiar Disco Moves). In partnership with Michael White, Jo runs Music Panther, managing Denature, Alex Dobson and Silent Houses. Jo and Michael trained in matters of the music business with Generator Northeast and also have the music synchronisation agency, Sync Panther. Joanne is also a wife and mother and spent 20 years in science – the last decade testing cow brains for mad cow disease. She has been known to be a Saturday goth and release her own music as Protect and Survive.
Tom R adds: many thanks to Jo for spelling the case out so clearly, and big respect to her for standing up to be counted. Respect, dignity and equality are key issues that all of us need to address. Here’s one small, simple step we can take towards bringing about change: add our names to this petition at change.org.