I got breasts at 10, that’s the final year of junior school, while you’re all still changing for PE with girls and boys together in the cloakroom. I was the 10 year old in a B cup bra. My name is Sam, and the favourite and most famous Page 3 girl of the time was Sam Fox. You can probably imagine the comments. Boys made giggling taunts about ‘Page 3′ as I changed for PE and lecherous fathers leered at me as I passed the school gates making remarks like “you could be on Page 3 too, with those”. Like it was all I could aspire to, all I was good for. Men would make comments as I walked home from school, some even yelled crude suggestions from their cars. Let me reiterate: I was 10.
It was as if developing breasts was the universal indicator to the Sun-reading public that I was ‘up for it’ regardless of my chronological or emotional age, or my actual somewhat confused understanding of what sex was.
That was certainly the view of my grandfather who began abusing me at this age. Beginning with my breasts, because they were “just as good as Page 3, and look, that girl isn’t making a fuss about showing them off” and she wasn’t, was she? And it felt like everyone thought that my breasts should be showed off like that, because they were all saying the same thing. The wider context of my experiences in school and at the school gates, being brought up with Page 3 at the breakfast table every morning, it all seemed to confirm what my grandfather was saying. I had breasts and he had a right to see them, play with them and eventually invade the rest of my body, because, it seemed obvious from the attitudes around me, by growing breasts I was now ‘ready’, it was, my grandfather explained, a sign I was a ‘big girl’ now. It didn’t matter that I was still hairless, hipless, and hadn’t begun menstruating, it didn’t matter that I was only just past my 11th birthday by then. I had breasts and I was expected to have sex, and I was expected to like it, and not tell anyone, because that was how it worked, the Page 3 girl doesn’t say anything. My grandfather abused me for about 3-4 years, less towards the end as he became less agile and I got better at escaping him, and when he died I cried with relief. I tried all sorts of things to stop him and one of those was putting on weight. I felt that if I got really fat and unattractive he and all men would leave me alone. In The Sun, they were always very nasty about women they considered fat and unattractive and I thought that would be safer. It was and it wasn’t. My bust was always bigger, out of proportion with the rest of me, so men would insult and grope me at the same time. Like the uninvited groping isn’t insulting enough. I couldn’t win.
Please don’t ever tell me that Page 3 is just a piece of ‘harmless fun’: Page 3 groomed me. It prepared me for my grandfather’s abuse. It and the attitudes it engendered in the children and adults around me prepared the way for a 72 year old to force an 11 year old to have sex with him and convince her that this was ‘normal big girl stuff’. A national newspaper that everyone I knew read – all the adults who I had to respect and obey – this newspaper made by people so far above me, so gilded in authority to my child’s mind, had given an example of what women with big breasts were supposed to be like and everyone seemed to agree that I had to be like that. Page 3 was my grandfather’s authority and evidence: “Look at her, she isn’t crying, she isn’t making a fuss, this is how big girls should behave, it wouldn’t be in the paper if it weren’t true”.

While this is a very minor story in comparison to many others shared here, I still feel it adds to the examples of why Page 3 is damaging.

I used to teach primary school children, in years 1 & 2, aged between 5-7. I remember laying out newspaper to cover a painting table, and ralising that I’d accidentally t page 3 of the Sun face up on the table. I removed it, and was careful from then on to always check the papers I laid out. Teachers shouldn’t have to spend valuable time making sure they aren’t accidentally displaying porn to children.

My grandparents read the Sun newspaper and I could never reconcile them and the topless girls on page 3. Growing up in the 90s my sister and I were exposed to it whenever we used newspaper for crafts, made a bonfire, etc. It did not even have to be open at page 3, just the sight of the Sun you knew there was ‘sex’ inside. This was what a girl was. And so just sitting in the front room with my grandparents and Dad was this elephant in the room – the Sun newspaper, sex.
I’m not sure if this shaped the way I thought later, but I did keep my Dad at an emotional arms length, and sought out child abuse and rape stories in my Mum’s women’s magazines. It was not healthy attitude. For the sake of others, and not just girls but all society, its time that page 3 reflected a more equal and healthy, balanced society.
Jo, Lincolnshire

In the local newsagents, just a few weeks ago an old man was standing with his hands in his trouser pockets ‘fiddling’ he had The Sun open at page 3 on the shelf in front of him, I was with my 4 year old buying her a comic. We had to leave without the comic, she was upset, how do I explain that people are masturbating at the shelves and I don’t want to be near that with her? Why should I have to?

Page 3 has been the bane of my life. When I was 8 my mum began taking me to her friends house. While they were chatting I was told to go play the computer with her friends then 14year old son in his room. Her son would push numerous images of page 3 girls in my face ,which he keep under his bed, and I vividly remember him saying “look at her tits”, “I bet you wish you had tits like her maybe then boys will like you”. I was so uncomfortable I wanted to run away but when I went into the living room where my mum was she would tell me to go play the computer with her friends son. I was so embarrassed and confused about what was happening I couldn’t tell her and would always go back to the room – “to play the computer”.
When my breasts grew he began grabbing and touching them and pulling up my vest and top so he could look at them, despite my protests he continued to do this and said he would beat and rape me if I told anyone. He never went any further than that but I was so humiliated and frightened.
My high school years were also plagued by images of topless women in their pants, boys would deliberately scatter them around the school grounds and outside the gates, and because my breasts grew to be on the larger side I was continually being stared and pointed at, particularly when the images were all over the ground. I began wearing loose shirts and jumpers to school in an attempt to take attention away from my breasts – which worked in a way as from then on I got bullied more for being “fat” than having bigger breasts. However i still feel sick at the sight of a sun newspaper.
I began university recently and the sun newspaper is very rarely seen or spoke of on campus which is fab. I even stopped taking public transport and got my own car so I do not have to see people reading the sun and ogling the young girls on page 3. However i almost crashed into the car in front of me when a van driving on the other side of the road had old page 3 cut out of Jordan taped to their windscreen for all drivers to see. I had to pull over for a minute to compose myself and stop myself from crying.
I truly hope that page 3 comes to and end very soon so no other young girls or boys are effected by its negative influence.

I was 12 years old in 1975. I spent a lot of time at my friend’s house and her father was a Sun reader. One day, I was alone with him and his son. Suddenly, he grabbed his paper, waved Page 3 in my face and shouted ‘Look! Titties!’ Then they both fell about laughing. At the time I was a sensitive pre-pubescent, with no ‘titties’ of my own. I was so mortified that I ran all the way home. I’m not sure why he did such an unkind thing, but instinct tells me he wouldn’t have done the same with a pornographic magazine.

As a child growing up, The messages I learnt about sex from images like page 3 was that sex was all about turning on and pleasing men and the woman’s needs seem to be irrelevant. As I’ve grown up, I’ve come to realise how distorted and wrong this view is. Yet these images continue to deliver this message.

When I was a child my uncle used to babysit me and my little sister, he would show us Page 3 and ask us what we thought about it, he would ask us questions like ‘do you want to look like that?’ and ‘one day you’ll be as sexy as this’. It made us feel uncomfortable and guilty at the time, even at that age we had a strange sense that something was wrong and blamed ourselves for the dirty shameful feelings we got. Over the years it escalated, I felt like I couldn’t say anything to my parents because it was just a newspaper and no one seemed bothered that he brought it with him everytime. I thought they would laugh at me.

When I was 14 my uncle raped me and everytime I see Page 3 now, which is in reality most days, it reminds me of him and what he did and how he used to behave with us growing up. I reported it and it went through the courts, etc, it was very hard on the whole family, I think I felt numb to what had happened, I think at the time it was hardest on my parents and grandparents, I felt again that feeling of shame, like I shouldn’t have made a fuss, like it wasn’t a big deal, like my uncle bringing the sun newspaper into the house with him every time he babysat us wasn’t a big deal. I now realise it is a big deal. And this feeling of shame is how these evil people silence us and give themselves a free pass to treat women and girls like pieces of meat. We’re served up as products and made to feel guilty about it.

I feel angry now when I see Page 3 littered in the streets, lying open in the dentist waiting room, on the floor of the train, blowing open on the shelves of Tesco at knee level, stuck up on walls of the car garage and in the toilets of my local bar, it makes me angry that I have to relive my years of grooming and eventual rape over and over again everyday. I feel angry that this hasn’t been gotten rid of already, not just for my own personal reasons but for the hundreds of reasons that are so blaringly obvious to anyone who cares about not just women and girls, but boys and men too, about decency, respect, compassion and basic courtesy. I feel angry everytime I see it against my will. But most of all I feel sad, and alone and unimportant.

My daughter aged 12 travels by school on the train. On one occasion some boys from another school found a discarded Sun newspaper and opened it to Page 3. They then waved and pushed it in my daughter and her other friends’ (girls) faces and demanded they get their tits out like this girl. These girls were very embarrassed and upset. They had no comeback and no way to defend themselves against this bullying. For girls going through puberty this was harmful and cruel.

My story (1)

When I was 4 yrs old, barely knowing what “newspapers” were, I found out what was on Page 3. I *never* liked my grandad after that, especially after I asked my grandmother and mother about the woman not wearing any clothes and why she was in something of Grandad’s. I still have no recollection of what either of them actually said in response, but I vividly remember the empathic feelings I felt as a 4 yr old doing as a 4 yr old does and watching their reactions including their body language very carefully.

It’s not what you say, it’s what you do after all. I remember I always felt awkward getting pocket money from him after that. I can’t tell you why. It felt like I was taking money from a bad man, a bad man who hurt mummy and grandma. So you could say it completely wrecked any relationship my grandfather could have hoped to have had with his grand-daughter. But growing up I also saw that my instincts in response to that occasion were more keen than I’d like because as I got older, I realised he really did treat my grandmother especially like she was only good for doing chores and looking after him.

Emily Parry