I was in a cafe earlier and saw four guys on their lunchbreak (they were wearing hi- vis jackets so prob builders or cable fitters or something but anyway) and they passed round the Sun , sharing their views on page 3 and saying ‘fiiiiitt’ really loudly. Everyone looked uncomfortable. The waitress who came to get their plates etc was sneered at as she was to them ‘not fit’ (ie: she didnt look like a pornstar). They came across as thuggish and intimidating. So much so that I couldn’t bring myself to do or say anything. A climate of normalised porn creates an atmosphere of contempt for women and girls. It really is horrendous.
I used to work in Argos, East Kilbride in Scotland. On more than one occasion I went into the tearoom and was confronted by images of page 3 women scattered around the table with young stockroom men sitting chatting about these girls in the newspaper. This made feel so uncomfortable that I stopped going into the tearoom and went elsewhere to eat my lunch. When I finally decided to approach the manager about this issue the first thing I saw was a copy of The Sun on his desk and backed out. I have left Argos now but never have I experienced such sexism in the workplace. The men in this store would even shout a code to each other “G13″ when an attractive women would come into the store so that they could all stop what they were doing and come out and take their turn ogling her – even the manager did this. This kind of behaviour is proof of the impact that newspapers like The Sun have on both men and women, as the men seemed to have all the power whereas the women were all very submissive even the managers. My only regret is not making a formal complaint at the time but I felt very helpless and intimidated by the men in this store.
I was 13 years of age (1976) – following my mother and grandmothers genetic propensity for large breasts – the father of a schoolfriend who as far as I know had never shown any kind of strange tendencies neither was there ever any hint of it afterwards told me ‘By the time you’re 16 you’ll be able to make a fortune on page 3′ It was sadly my first but in no way last public comparison to page 3.
School was a nightmare for it with boys buying the Sun and asking if my breasts looked like the naked women on page 3, I even had one day a copy put on my desk with an arrow pointed at the breasts with my name written on it.
At 25 years of age I had to have a general anaethetic – in the pre-op room I jokingly asked the nurse if they could take me down to a B cup while I was in there and the reply came ‘you silly silly ‘girl’ you should be proud of them if I had a pair like yours I would be flashing them off on page 3 and making money, stop moaning and be glad that men like looking at them’
As a junior secretary my boss who happened to be a Personnel Manager of all things declared delightedly to a group of executives ‘I dont need to buy a paper Ive got my own page 3 girl in front of me all day for free’ who needless to say all then turned to look at my chest whilst I sat there knowing not what to do.
I learned from a very early age that my breasts were public property, they were to be compared to that of a woman who had chosen for her own odd reasons to expose herself in a national newspaper whenever it was deemed appropriate by any man in any situation. I understood that I would no be taken seriously with breasts of a larger size and that my only use would be as a topless object in a very lowlife newspaper which was laughed at by most people. In fact, at the time the sarcastic jibe ‘Oh well, if it was in the Sun then it MUST be true, hahahahaha’ was prominent.
This practice of sexualising women in a national paper has been the bane of my life, has caused me untold body issues to the point that I used to strap my chest very tightly with a cut up sheet that I fashioned to wrap around risking all manner of medical problems by doing so simply because of this awful page 3. I hope that it will stop soon – it is too late for me the damage has been done, but for the sake of those women who happen to be large breasted or those who are not and who are made to feel inferior as women and for our young men who are growing up believing that women’s body parts are public property and that women should strive to attain the kind of sexuality displayed by those that choose to exhibit themselves for money.
I am divorced now, but when I was married my husband used to buy the sun so we’d have a brand new pornographic picture on the dining table every evening. He was abusive and cruel to me for many years, and used page 3 to taunt me, I guess because it was just there and available. After I had my 2 children my body was not what it was when he married me at 22, and he would make me feel ashamed and embarrassed of it. He would tell me I was fat, flabby, stretched out, that my ‘tits’ were a ‘write off’ and hold page 3 up to me and tell me that’s what I am supposed to look like, that’s what I married. My confidence was so low and I believed him and felt worthless and unlovable. He sometimes told me he would leave me for someone else, that I was lucky he stuck around, he did it infront of my two daughters which probably upset me the most. My youngest developed an eating disorder in her teens and I do wonder if my ex husbands behaviour contributed to this. I eventually discovered that he had in fact been having affairs for many years, mostly with young girls, probably the same age as the page 3 girls he would compare me to so cruelly. It took many years of torture and a lot of strength to leave this man. I am fully in support of the no more page 3 campaign as I see page 3 as a degradation of women in general, a poster held up by society for the sole purpose of telling men what they are entitled to. It has taken me a long time and a lot of counselling to accept myself, (partially – I still feel insecure sometimes) and know that my body is mine and has created the miracle of life twice, my body has a purpose beyond that of being a toy for any man to compare and criticise over his dinner. The sooner this becomes unacceptable the better. Maybe when these people realise that we are not going to put up with this treatment anymore it will set off a positive chain of events. No you cannot treat us like sex toys. No you cannot do whatever you like whether it offends us or not. No you cannot talk to me like that. Or treat me like this. No you cannot shout at me in the street. Or grab me. Or pay me less. Or undermine me because I am female. I am a person too. It’s time the voices of the other 50% of us were heard.
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