In the nightclub that I work in on Saturdays the walls are papered with hundreds, maybe thousands of page 3 girls, ripped out of the sun and glued to the walls. It makes me feel uncomfortable and awkward, I also feel uneasy, like I am myself being exposed and exploited. I feel like some of the men in the bar associate me with the pictures because I work there and are more inclined to harass me. I don’t think I am imagining it, I have worked in four different nightclubs over the years and I get a lot more harassment from customers in this particular one and I am convinced it is because of the atmosphere caused by the wallpaper. Men are constantly making comments, asking me to take off my top, a few times men and leaned over the bar and tried to pull my top down, I am grabbed constantly and pushed against the walls in an intimidating manner, men chant in big groups for me and the other girls to get naked, continuously say crude things to us and get very aggressive when we object and call us four letter words. In the other nightclubs you get your fair share of this type of thing from tipsy men, but it is definitely a lot worse here and all my female colleagues (most of which have left now because of the constant harassment) agree, the manager/owner has also been accused of sexually harassing female members of staff although I’ve not experienced this myself. It seems that his choice of wallpaper reflects his general view of women and their place. One of my male colleagues is very good and always jumps in when I start to get any trouble but I worry that one day he won’t be there, or I’ll be walking home alone and someone will follow me, and I’ll be treated like a naked piece of meat, they’ll see me as fair game out of association with the pictures I work around all day.
I’m lucky that my Dad is a feminist; he would never have allowed the Sun in our house, let alone considered buying it.
But I still saw copies while I was growing up. At friend’s houses, at school (in art classes on the tables, for example, and in an English Language class where the recently qualified male teacher made us do ‘nipple counts’ of various papers. Turns out tabloids have more nipples in – who’d have guessed), in cafes, on trains and buses.
In fact, Page3 was the only porn I saw as a teenager, it was my introduction to the objectification of women. It was instrumental in me hating my body. I’m recovered from bulimia and anorexia now, but my teenage years were horrible.
I still get exposed to Page3 despite never buying it; every time I feel like I’m sinking. So many women and girls have shared stories about how Page3 has hurt them, and had their stories dismissed – if you don’t like it, don’t buy it. It bites to realise that ogling a pair of boobs every morning is more important to some people than listening to and respecting women’s voices.
I found it very hard to breastfeed my daughter and had to stop after 3 weeks. I was so upset. I was so conscious of showing my breasts that my daughter didn’t latch on properly and feeding her was agony.
A few weeks after I stopped breastfeeding I went with a friend to my local community funded, breastfeeding friendly cafe. I could not believe that they provided The Sun.
I wanted to cry and I realised that the existence of this kind of soft porn in everyday life was the reason I felt so awkward about breast feeding.
I asked an assistant to remove it and she did. Five minutes later, a large man came out with an angry face. He had the paper in his hand and raised it high, then threw it back on the table with the other papers. I was quite scared but I waited till he was gone and threw it away.
I wrote to the cafe. Their board (of males) decided that as I was the only person to have ever complained, they would continue to keep providing soft porn.
The Sun is also provided in a soft play area close to my house. Soft play and soft porn for kids aged 0-11.
I ended up in hospital with severe post natal depression. During my stay, one of the nurses opened up page 3 in the kitchen. I was so upset and could not believe that there is no place I could go to get away from this ridiculous sexism and quite frankly I find it harassment. It hit me very hard.
I am happy to say that I am much better now but I will never ever stop supporting No More Page 3.
I have endured time after time on the train sitting next to a man with the sun open on page 3. It made me feel so self conscious that I now avoid going on a train to work, and drive. It seemed everyday it would happen. Out the corner of my eye I could see a mass of pink skin, made me feel quite sick.
Not all men were ignorant, and some made effort to cover this particular page. In addition, some, admittedly very rarely, women were also responsible for showing page 3 on trains…
Now I am a little older page 3 has invaded my world as a stay at home mum. My daughters first day at preschool, and on the table were a pair of boobs. Children were making things on this table. Teacher was mortified when I pointed it out and removed it, however.. Too late. Not to mention the number of times I have seen the sun ‘fall open’ on this page in its own newsstand, in cafes and lying on the pavement, a naked woman with big shoe marks all over her and covered in dirt.
Melanie, age 39
Back in the 80s, I was part of an ‘Employment Training’ program with the local Council. One of the sites we worked on had a ‘brew room’ which had all the walls plastered with page 3s on every single space available. There were only 3 girls on our team and we were made to feel very intimidated when we had to go in there. We complained to management and they failed to get them removed so we ended up having to have our breaks outside in all weathers. I wouldn’t put up with it now, but we were all young (late teens/early twenties) and vulnerable then
Last month (i.e. mid 2013) I was shopping my local Marks & Spencer food hall, and I noticed an old man standing absolutely still in the middle of an aisle, staring fixedly at a big photograph of a topless woman. My first instinct was shock at how brazen he was being, looking at porn in the middle of a family supermarket, and thought he must be deranged and therefore a possible danger to the public. I looked around for a security guard to raise the alarm. I then realised that the old man was looking at page 3 of the Sun, next to the newspaper stand where the Sun was on sale. He was looking at a product that Marks & Spencer had chosen to put on sale alongside everything else in the food hall. So I didn’t bother complaining – I didn’t think that the store would have done anything about it. If I saw it again I think I’ll complain, but it takes more courage, spontaneity and energy than I normally have on a Saturday morning supermarket run so I’ll have to work my way up to it. And until then I’ll just carry on feeling slightly nervous and ashamed every time I go past the newspaper stand in Marks & Spencer.
Mary Ann, Kent