Page 3 caught up in a feminist booby-trap: Readers of 'The Sun' are in for an eyeful
SUNDAY 18 AUGUST 2013
When one of
Yesterday Sarah Maple, a 28-year-old visual artist and one of the
UK's most imaginative and talented
art graduates, asked hundreds of campaigners to join her in drawing up a
replacement for one of the tabloid industry's most controversial pages.
And she was not left disappointed. Participants at the
UK's feminist "summer school" in swapped the
page featuring topless women for one with images of the world's first female
surgeon, a female vicar, a punk musician, Frida Kahlo, and even a scantily clad
man. They will be encouraged to slide their creations into as many copies of
The Sun newspaper that they can find. Birmingham
Maple, who has always thought it "wrong" that breasts appeared on the pages of Britain's most-read tabloid, wanted to "mirror the ludicrousness of it" when she created her own Page 3: a photo of herself with huge plastic breasts and a black skirt. "To me, fake tits in The Sun are as silly as real ones in the newspaper," she told The Independent on Sunday. "I wanted to use humour as a tool to get the message across."
And it seems the message has been heard. The No More Page 3 campaign, which was launched last year by Lucy-Anne Holmes, called for The Sun's editor to "take the bare boobs out" of the paper. It has been signed by almost 115,000 people, including Girl Guides, MPs, Jennifer Saunders and Lauren Laverne. The Irish edition of The Sun even decided to swap the topless shots for images of women in swimwear.
Maple said: "When I first did [my mock-up], I felt very alone. I don't think there was much of a feminist voice at that time. But in the last few years, it's gone crazy – it's really quite remarkable. You always have to start with something small like this – it feeds into the rest of the culture."
Jo Harrison, a 33-year-old graphic designer from
West Sussex, agreed. She drew a picture of the punk
singer Kathleen Hanna, formerly of Bikini Kill and Le , for her Page 3 yesterday. She said:
"It's about people having a stake in changing their culture. Just signing
a petition is not as beneficial as getting stuck in." Tigre
Sophie Bennett, acting director of the campaigning movement UK Feminista, said the number of people getting involved in the "summer school" was "incredibly exciting". She added: "Women are routinely portrayed as dehumanised sex objects through things such as lads' mags and Page 3. But the feminist movement is fighting back and finding creative ways to reclaim the media."
Ms Holmes, founder of the No More Page 3 campaign, said the message was simple: "We want to see women represented with respect."