This morning I awoke early, and with a start, from a bad dream. While I came to, I peered around my bedroom wondering where I was.
This morning was a particularly bad morning – there have been many since Hugo died.
This morning, I sat in bed with a cup of tea, catching up with my social media accounts on my phone. I do this on many mornings, trying to psych myself up for the day ahead.
This morning, I looked at my Twitter timeline in particular with dismay and frustration. It was full of tweets about The Sun not binning Page 3, after all.
My dismay and frustration was not related to The Sun. It was related to my thoughts of:
“Is Page 3 really all you have to get upset about?”
Yes, it is disappointing that The Sun persists with Page 3. Yes, the Murdoch empire is probably having a good old laugh at everyone who celebrated the apparent demise of Page 3 earlier this week.
Murdoch is not known for his philanthropy. He is a [insert preferred expletive/insult here]. It’s hardly a revelation.
And boobs making a reappearance on Page 3 is far from the end of the world.
It is not as if The Sun is the only place anyone who seeks such titillation can find it (pun intended). There is, too, the argument that if you don’t like it you don’t have to buy it, or look at that page.
This morning, I composed responses to several tweets, but deleted them. I obeyed my ‘count to 10 before tweeting’ rule. However, since then I have counted to about a billion and I am still pissed off, so here we are.
Before you come at me with pitchforks, I am a feminist. To me, feminism means that whether you are a human being who is a female, or a human being who is a male (or identifies as either gender), you are equal, and deserve equal opportunities in life to fulfil your potential.
I cannot abide the double-standard of how boobs are acceptable in a national daily newspaper, but women are asked to cover up while breastfeeding in public.
As a woman who has struggled with my weight and with body image for most of my life, I would love to see more positive images of women’s bodies in the media. Positive images that encourage us to celebrate our bodies, even the bits we don’t like, and help not waste precious time in our life obsessing about it.
As the proud owner of a pair of 34F bosoms, I have regularly been subjected to objectification. My boobs have been gawped at, stared at, and talked at. I have had such classic quotes like “Cor look at the tits on that!”, and been invited to “Get ’em out.” Needless to say, such ‘invitations’ are declined, usually by ignoring them.
Banning Page 3 might be a positive step forward, but it is not going to stop the objectification of women.
To be honest, it’s not just about Page 3. I get frustrated by those who I call ‘unconstructive moaners’, those who will passively aggressively complain about something, but take no positive or constructive action to help resolve it.
Many of us will tweet our views on current affairs. Many will wring their hands about whatever issue is topical, writing tweets describing how awful they think it is, making sure to include the relevant hashtag.
Twitter chatter and hashtags are fantastic for raising awareness, but too many people confuse such tweets with taking genuine action.
Without further activity, sending tweets simply expressing a point of view are unlikely to generate change.
Twitter will often be ablaze with talk about a particular topical issue. There will be lots of handwringing, and talk of ‘we need to something about it’. Then the topic fades from the news agenda, the hashtag flurry stops, and folk return to tweeting about the usual every day stuff.
There are so many important issues besides Page 3 affecting women. Issues that affect women every single day, not just when they are highlighted in the media.
From the top of my head, there are things like cancer, female genital mutilation, women forced to work in the sex industry, women suffering domestic abuse, miscarriage, baby loss, the shambles that is our perinatal mental health provision.
Passion about a particular issue is wonderful. Just please, make sure that passion to change the world sees the light of day outside of Twitter and relevant hashtags. Follow through with genuine action. Carpe diem, JFDI (just f*cking do it).
Let’s practice a bit of perspective, too.
Thank your sun and stars that Page 3 is the only thing that got on your tits this morning.