I signed the No More Page 3 petition a year and a half a go. To be honest, I kind of expected Page 3 to have become extinct by now, but its still there, and this week – in a surprise move – its trying to encourage women to check their breasts for lumps.
I’ve had a look at the campaign. It leaves a funny taste in my mouth. It makes me feel uncomfortable and weird. I actually find that the idea of the The Sun trying to give me medical advice and encourage me to cop a feel of my own breasts left me feeling a bit invaded. I agree with the New Statesmen – they focus on breast cancer because they’re obsessed with breasts. Of course breast cancer worries them – you can’t be a page 3 model if you’ve had a mastectomy! I feel like they’re telling me to make sure I keep my breasts nice and healthy, so they’re still nice and healthy to be oggled at by men. That’s how shallow this campaign appears to me.
I do think in the cover photo of Rosie Jones saluting, she looks beautiful. It does reflect what they’ve claimed is to be celebrating natural beauty, youth and freshness. But it shouldn’t be in the newspaper. That shouldn’t be were you find pictures of beautiful, naked women. What’s more, the cheeky photos sexualise the activity of checking breasts for lumps…its not a sexy activity. Its like trying to sexualise breast feeding. It just feels inappropriate to me, and I don’t want to associate The Sun and David Dinsmore with checking my breasts for lumps!
In the Guardian, Gaby Hinsliff seems to think the ends justifies the means, but I find her opinions patronising when she says the cheeky tone of the campaign “is probably a good match for the mood of young women who still feel too immortal to heed conventional public health campaigns” . I’m a young woman and I can tell you – it’s not a good match. In fact, I find it patronising that the Sun thinks it can use a sexist feature to try and educate me about my breasts. I know about my breasts, and I know about the Sun, and I don’t like page 3.
It is a bit of a tricky conundrum, as in the end, page 3 doing this has reminded me about checking my breasts for lumps. Which is a good thing. But the Page 3 vs. Breast Cancer campaign doesn’t make me feel empowered or enlightened or helped out by the friendly newspaper, it makes me feel queezy.