OK. So what would you do if you were a liberal democrat?
You’ve formed an unholy alliance with the bad guys. You’ve gone back on all the promises you made before the election. Half the people who voted for you to keep the Tories out are vowing never to do so again. You’ve lost the one thing you stood to gain from dealing with the devil after the AV referendum shambles. You’re in the middle of an economic downturn which is forcing you to accept and implement some very unpopular slash and burn policies. Basically you’re being spattered all over by a political and economic shitstorm in which your Tory partners are using you as a shield to keep themselves spotless.
I know what I’d do.
I’d find a little issue. Something that people barely usually notice. Then I’d harp on about it. That might distract them! The poor, unemployed, unhappy masses LOOK OVER THERE! All that discontent frittered away by some political sleight of hand. It’s the oldest trick in the book but it’s tried and tested. It works for the Tories all the time. Problem is that this is the Lib Dems we’re talking about. Don’t forget that since the glory days of his smooth talking pre-election debate Clegg has turned into some sort of inverse Midas. Everything he touches becomes a worthless lump of dead flesh. So even when the Lib Dems try to distract us all with something fairly sensible it ends up stinking of desperation. An overwhelming scent of cheap aftershave stolen from your dad on a night out in the hope that it will make you seem more manly. Even though it’s probably something laughable like Hai Karate or Brut rather than Hugo Boss your popular mate splashes on.
Anyway. This weeks sleight of hand came courtesy of Evan Harris and the campaign to ban page three girls. Now to me this isn’t a bad idea. Page three girls are an awful anachronism. Well actually they aren’t even an anachronism. I mean. Think about this in the cold light of day. I’m not being prudish here. But it’s like a surreal joke isn’t it? A newspaper. Where you read the news. But with a girl with her tits out just in case you have an urge to look at a pair of tits? I mean. Why don’t they have a page in newspapers that just has calming images on it. Then every time I’m getting frothy mouthed at their idiot editorials I can turn to the “Mandala” page and just chill.the.fuck.out for five minutes.
I find page three disturbing for so many reasons. If I’m on the train and I pick up a Sun or a Star to read I only have to open the paper and there they are. A pair of breasts. Staring up at me. Me with a small child in the seat to my left, and old lady in the seat to my right and everyone staring at me like I’m a pervert. Not only that but the Sun even uses its page three models to perpetuate propaganda with “News in Briefs” where semi-naked pictures of dead eyed girls are accompanied by a little box of text peddling the rags latest editorial agenda like some attempt at subliminal conditioning “Mandy thinks immigrants should work for a living instead of sponging off the state” Fuck yeah. Where’s my immigrant gun.
The problem with the idea is that WE HAVE OTHER SHIT TO WORRY ABOUT. People want to know how they’re gonna keep their jobs, pay their mortgage, afford their spiralling bills as real wages fall and inflation soars… you know all that stuff people worry about when they don’t get to expense their second homes and claim it back off the taxpayer. Most people couldn’t care less about page three.
Well that’s not true. Papers with page three models care about page three. Cue Sun outrage full of clichéd terms like “Killjoys” and “Militants” and “Potty” – obviously accompanied by eye-pleasing pictures of young girls to keep the readers eyes on the page.
The Sun even rolled out quotes from “women’s think tank” womanon in opposition to the plan. Actually. I read the “woman on” thing here – while it condemns the Lib Dems for being knee jerk, it does so because “The causes [of sexual objectification] are much more complex and more difficult to address, which is perhaps why they are so often glossed over in favour of headline-grabbing solutions which achieve nothing.”
That didn’t stop the Sun squeezing in a reference to a page three girl though:
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has already distanced himself from the plan — which has enraged fans of Page 3 favourites, including Hollie, 22, from Manchester.
The “other” page three paper (I’m not including the Sport here, that’s not a paper) the Star took a similar stance – getting all pun heavy “CRACKPOT Lib Dems made a spectacular boob yesterday by calling for Page 3 girls to be banned.” before referring to its own page three girls as some sort of sacred cow:
The topless girls on Page 3 of the Daily Star are a national institution. It’s harmless, natural and the women enjoy themselves. They have successful careers because of Page 3.
Actually I’ll say this now. They aren’t a fucking national institution. They’re an embarrassment. It’s not harmless to have young girls showing their breasts specifically for older men to leer over. I’m also unsure about what is natural about having a special page in a paper just so you can look at a pair of tits. As for successful careers. If you mean falling into porn, glamour modelling or maybe getting a shot at celebrity big fucking brother then move over nobel prize winners – lets focus on those cleavage shots!
The problem here is that womenon made a very good point – but one that the Sun of interpreted as a resounding endorsement of making young ladies take their tops off.
Sexual objectification of women is everywhere. It’s not just on page 3 or in lads mags or the top shelf porn that even gets its own discrete plastic bags these days. Everyone’s at it. The Daily Mail website has a column on the right that is literally a reel of fleshy shots of young girls. The broadsheets love it too. If you get the Sunday times check out the cover of the “business section” every week. More often than not for no reason at all, they will put a picture of an attractive woman on it. Travel sections? They’re all blondes in bikinis. That’s not including the fashion sections of papers crammed with emaciated girls teasing out another eating disorder among their female readers.
Any excuse for a pretty lady and the press are all over it. This week with the Dale Farm eviction at the top of the news agenda papers were falling over themselves to get pics of pretty young traveller girls protesting about the eviction. In the aftermath of Anders Breivik’s mass murder there were pictures of pretty girls mourning. Every single possible opportunity to use a picture of pretty young lady is exploited by all the press. The recent news that schools were virtually pimping out their teens on results day for the press to gawp over shows how many wrong turns we’ve taken as a society. If the holocaust were to happen in modern times I bet the press would still find a way to crowbar in a shot of a nice girl looking into the middle distance even as they described the horrors of the gas chambers.
So if the Lib Dems want to ban page three maybe they should look at spreading the net a bit wider. Because if it’s a choice between consensual topless pics of Holly, 22, from Essex or non-consensual bikini shots of Suri Cruise, 5, from Hollywood then I think I’d rather stick with page three.