My story is an everyday common one, I’ve felt embarrassed about sharing it for fear that it is not as important or relevant but I now realise that it is important and should be shared precisely because it is so everyday and common.
Growing up my dad bought the Sun most days. I was always aware of what was just under the cover even as a tiny child. A naked woman. I was a curious child and loved to read, I ate up anything I could get my hands on but for some reason I always avoided my dads copy of the Sun because I got a sickly and dark feeling from it. The picture inside it made me feel uncomfortable and dirty. It made me feel uncomfortable talking to my dad whilst he was reading the paper and almost resentful of him for bringing it in to the house even though at that age I could not really explain to myself why. I think I picked up on the unconscious messages that the suns page 3 give off, it felt like I was being degraded or humiliated even though I was only a small girl and not a full grown woman yet.
As I got slightly older and more self aware, my feelings towards the suns page 3 became more personal. I compared myself to this picture and having no other pictures of what naked women are supposed to look like to refer to I judged myself in light of it. I grew to hate my body, I grew to hate myself. I was not what a woman was supposed to look like. This was what women are supposed to look like. Even my dad has sanctioned this opinion by buying this paper and bringing it home. Being mixed raced and ‘normal’ sized with relatively average breast size I was unattractive and worthless. My mum for being black was worthless. I was not white, I was not a size 10, I was not a d cup. I hated myself. I hated my dad for making me feel like this. Worst of all I was embarrassed of my self loathing. I told no one.
One would hope that growing older I grew wiser, but actually I have found that the images of female beauty have become more and more narrow and the slimy unexplainable feeling of degradation and humiliation I feel when faced with images like page 3 is constant, on every music channel in every tv show on every movie billboard and website. And its still there just under the cover of the sun, so that society can condone it, publicly endorse it just like my dad has done my whole life by bringing it home, and keeps me embarrassed to feel like this, keeps me silent and hating every inch of me.