When I was on the train the other day a young man,14 or 15 year old, picked up a copy of The Sun and began to open it. He quickly put his hand over page 3 in order to hide it and only took his hand away once he had turned the page…this just goes to show that even very young men find page 3 embarrassing and unnecessary.
I was a bit of an early developer, and it was bad enough having my painful heavy developing breasts ‘accidentally’ nudged by teenage boys in the lunch queue, or ogled openly in P.E.; but what really did it for me was a comment made when I was going to a Football match on a supporters coach with a friend and her Grandfather. As it was a warm day I wasn’t dressed in my usual grungy teenage attire of jeans and a loose jumper, but rather a jeans and a team shirt. My friends grandfather said to me as I stepped on the coach, ‘look at the boobs on you’ ‘they’re good enough for page 3′. I was 14.
It was bad enough that there was an audience of mainly young men laughing, but that my supposed guardian on the trip behaved in this way, was truly shocking and hurtful. Also a horrible realisation that may now be viewed in this way, I was not me, not a person with thoughts and feelings, merely an object for titilation and sexual gratification.
That was the last football trip I ever took with my now ex friend.
As an adult I am proud to put my name to this cause.
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.
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
My story is from the Autumn of 1971,when I was a 16 year old student, travelling home from college by train. A group of lads, probably of a similar age to me, got on the train, and one fo them was carrying a cope of The Sun. I remember them looking at Page 3, then looking at my breasts and loudly commentating. I should mention here that the train was almost full of commuters, who ignored the comments and buried their heads in their newspapers.
The comments got louder and more crude, until they got off the train two stops further down the line, and grabbed my breasts as they got off the train, laughing loudly.
I was a shy 16 year old, in tears, and totally ignored by every passenger on that carriage. I came to believe the incident was my fault for some reason, as NOBODY on the train even looked to see whether I was OK. I never told my family (I was too embarrassed) I am now 57, and still haunted by that incident.
When I was in my teens, my sister and I would often get the bus into Brighton – a thirty minute journey, sometimes alone, sometimes together. We lived opposite a man who was a neighbourly acquaintance of my dad and mum. Occasionally if my sister or I were travelling on the bus by ourselves, he would sit next to us and talk. The bus used to pass by a ladies underwear shop and he would make comments to us, such as “do you wear a bra yet?” or “do you like those knickers?”. Of course we would just ignore him, but it was creepy and we would always try to avoid him. The final straw for me came one day when I was alone on the bus sitting upstairs – he sat next to me and opened out the Sun to Page 3. He asked me what I thought of her. Did I want to be a model like that? I was 14 at the time. I was so upset and disgusted I couldn’t speak. I told my parents about it and they were shocked, but of course, in those days (the mid seventies) people didn’t report stuff like that. A few months later when my sister and I were in the car with my mum about to leave from outside our house – he came over to say hello. He seemed surprised when we blanked him.