The place I encounter page 3 most of all is in my workplace. I am a nurse and when my patients come in for treatment they may be sitting for up to 3 or 4 hours so they often bring the newspaper to read.
Some Sun readers make a concerted effort to miss out that page, I assume they find it embarrassing to be seen looking at it, but others seem oblivious to it and sit with page 3 open. Sometimes even if patients are trying to cover page 3 the front page image can be equally as sexualised. There have been occasions where I am changing fluid bottles or checking cannulas and have the image right in my face. On one occasion the patient I was trying to canulate looked visibly uncomfortable because the man sitting next to him was holding page 3 open in both of your eye line. He seemed so embarrassed either for me, himself or both. I don’t think that is fair.
For a long time I used to laugh off the image when I saw it. Patients sometimes left the paper for us and I would open it on that page as if to confront it and laugh at it or laugh at news in briefs, I think to try and disarm the image. But now I have been given the space and ammunition from the No more Page 3 campaign I can see these experiences for what they were and still are – completely inappropriate sexual harassment in my work place. Not from the patients who have bought the paper in necessarily but from the paper itself and the editorial team who have chosen to incorporate sexualised and belittling images of women in something as mainstream as a newspaper. Ensuring that pictures that would not be allowed on the walls of any work place, hospital or cafĂ© can still reach us there, can reach us wherever we go. So that wherever we are, no matter how professional we might be expected to be, we are still reduced instantly to exposed sexual objects for consumption.
When I see it I feel a little disarmed, a little less like a knowledgeable professional, a little sullied and exposed but most of all I feel reminded that this society in which I live and work wants to keep me and all women in our place. This society is quite happy to make me feel like this any time it likes. This society is sexist.