The Rambles of Neil Monnery

Another pointless voice in the vast ocean that is the interweb

Get your tits out for the lads – the Page 3 ‘ban’

with 13 comments

The Lib Dems aren’t planning on banning Page 3 but they do want greater regulation on glamour modelling. Well when I say that obviously I don’t mean all Lib Dems do because I don’t. Helen Lovejoy wants us to all ‘think of the children’ but I prefer to have faith that children are not as influenced by magazines and Page 3 as some will have you believe.

I was drawn on to this topic following having read Kelly-Marie Blundell’s post on it behind that link. She was inspired to blog about it following reading Andrew Emmerson’s post on it which you’ll find behind that link. But to sum up both believe that for the sake of the children these magazines or newspapers should be moved on to a higher shelf at your local newsagents.

Thinking about it I’m a pretty regular 28 year-old and I had a pretty typical upbringing. I was never influenced by pictures of naked women or semi-naked women that I saw in a magazine or a newspaper growing up. I didn’t buy The Sun and if I was reading a free copy on the train or in the Chinese whilst waiting for my take-away I certainly wouldn’t be looking at Page 3 – even today this is true. So I think nothing of it. A woman with her breasts out or wearing near to nothing at all is empowered and is doing so because they want to. I don’t think there is much debate about this (or is there?) so the question is clearly about what type of censorship or regulation needs to be placed on topless models or glamour magazines for the sake of the children.

Well you know what glamour mags and page 3 girls have been around for a while. Children are in general pretty interested in finding out all about the opposite sex (or same sex if they are that way inclined) at a fairly early age. Kids these days pretty much all have access to the internet. If they want to look at naked pictures of women or men then they can. Even if they don’t have the internet at home or their parents monitor their usage of the internet they’ll have a friend whose mum and dad don’t. Heck most young people have smart phones so have the internet on the go to use to look up pornographic pictures should they so like.

Does this and this alone lead to humans seeing other humans solely as sexual objects? No. No it doesn’t. Does it play a part? Well that is clearly up for debate a fair bit more but personally I just don’t see it and even if it did then how are you going to regulate it so no-one say under the age of 14 can see a picture of a woman’s breasts? You aren’t and any attempt to do so would infringe on those who want to look and those who want to sell their looks. It is a two-way street.

If there was regulation that curtailed the amount of people who could buy these newspapers or magazines then the money would go down for the models. Some may argue that is fair enough to save the innocent minds of the young but it won’t. The internet wins on this one and let’s be honest here no-one is that innocent even when they are young. Kids may not know it (some will) but they’ll have sexual fetishes and desires even from a young age.

It is normal and healthy for young people to explore themselves and explore the depths of their minds as they grow up. Part of this is dealing with feelings towards the opposite sex (or again same sex if they are so inclined). It is part of the growing up process and is perfectly normal. Seeing a picture of a woman in a skimpy dress or a oiled up man in a magazine is healthy.

There are other people involved in the growing up process to keep a child in the know as to what is right and wrong with how they deal with other people – and that includes teaching your children how to deal with people they want fancy. I am very much a nurture over nature guy and believe a parent should be able to teach their children how to deal with other people. I think by cocooning them it will only repress them and make them struggle once they get older.

Exposing children to the realities of adulthood is not a bad thing. Yes some people don’t treat people right but that isn’t because of magazines or Page 3 girls it is because they weren’t taught to treat people right. In this day and age of the internet and mobile internet you cannot cocoon children from the real world. It does scare me that children face sexual questions earlier and earlier in life but there isn’t anything we can do about that. Society has already gone that way.

The best way to deal with this issue is to be open with children. The cat is out of the bag so we have to deal with it in the most mature way possible and that is to put our faith in parenting and put faith in the children themselves. The more you push it away the more they’ll want.

Women (nor men) are sex objects. They are human beings. The best way to teach children this is by talking to them and treating everyone with respect. Children take the lead from their parents and not from magazines. I am sure of this and just keeping nude and sexy pictures away from their eye-line in newsagents with does nothing.

So I can’t support this even though I see it has good intentions. I just believe that children are not as stupid/influenced as some of us think. A few nude pictures do not change a person’s attitude and if it does then that says everything about the way that the kid was brought up.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any comments or contact me directly via the E-Mail Me link on the Right Hand Nav. You can stay in touch with the blog following me on Twitter or by liking the blog on Facebook. Please share this content via the Social Media links below if you think anyone else would enjoy reading.

Written by neilmonnery

September 23rd, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Posted in Politics

Tagged with

13 Responses to 'Get your tits out for the lads – the Page 3 ‘ban’'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'Get your tits out for the lads – the Page 3 ‘ban’'.

  1. Regarding paragraph 3: the plural of anecdote is not data.

    I don’t see any problem with consenting adults looking at naked bodies if they want to; children are not consenting adults, and research (as opposed to “well it never bothered ME!”) shows that the relentless objectification of women has a massive effect on the development of young people’s attitudes. I therefore am fully behind The Sun and The Star being moved out of their reach. If they are not aimed at children then putting them higher up should not harm their sales at all – in fact putting them at adult eye level should actually increase their sales.

    Jennie Rigg

    23 Sep 11 at 9:59 pm

  2. I fully admit I am using no data here just personal viewpoint. Do the Star also have a page 3 girl? I genuinely didn’t know this but anyway.

    It didn’t bother me as I was brought up well. I know the people it influenced and they were not brought up at well. Looking through the people I knew throughout those years I can identify those who treated women worse than the others and you could see a clear correlation between those with stable families and those without or with one parent who worked away/shift work and therefore didn’t spend that much time with them.

    At what age though are children really influenced by pictures of women or men not wearing many clothes? I’d certainly say not before 11 or 12 and by then they have access to whatever they like with modern technology.

    It is the parents and/or guardians who’ll have the bigger influence over a child’s development. I just don’t see how moving The Sun and the Star and other mags away from their usual position at a newsagents will make any difference.

    However I did suspect we might disagree on this one ;o)

    neilmonnery

    23 Sep 11 at 10:08 pm

  3. Ahhh so it’s all the fault of single mothers then?

    Again, according to research, gender roles start getting imprinted from birth. Of course, the positioning of the Sun on newsagents’ shelves is not the whole of this, but it is a part of it. Women (according to the structures of the kyriarchy) exist to satisfy the male gaze, and page 3 reinforces that perception.

    Think of it like the Forth bridge. The Forth bridge is huge, and has lots of supporting struts. Removing one doesn’t make much difference, but remove enough and the whole thing collapses.

    Jennie Rigg

    23 Sep 11 at 10:16 pm

  4. As I expressed in my article, it is the normalisation of the image of a semi-naked woman that is the problem. The hegemonic ubiquitous feminity of bared breasts exposed on a day to day basis in a sexualised pose means that young children emulate that sexualised pose as something to aspire to without realising the detrimental effects of that behaviour.

    There is evidence that the objectification of women is linked to a rise in sexual offences; from a variety of sources.

    Nina Power has an excellent essay on Breasts becoming commodities which identifies how these impact on a woman’s acheivements in life. Ludicrous proposals such as Khan’s Sexual Currency theory further undermine women for what they can acheive without conforming to a marketed ideal of sexy or attractive. We should promote this as much as acheiving through being sexy and attractive.

    Children are influenced by barbie dolls being the desired shape for the female body, therefore real embodiments of a so-called perfect form will influence them.

    Marketing has significantly shaped the perspectives of gender relations, and all the time women are allegedly “empowered” by sexualisation arguments pertain, the more they are in fact harmed.

    @kelblundell

    23 Sep 11 at 10:18 pm

  5. Jennie: No I did not say that.

    Quite often it is those with parents who are too busy/uninterested that turn out the worst. That is how I see it anyway. If a child is given time and love they will flourish. Left alone to their own devices and then who knows.

    As for this policy. I haven’t read the research. I don’t profess to know the research and it may well be very accurate.

    I just personally don’t think that it makes any great impact. All the girls mags with pictures of pop stars half naked that are aimed at the teen girl market? Do they objectify men in any way and does this have an impact on teenage girls?

    I don’t have all the answers. I barely have one or two but I do think that making semi/naked pictures a little harder to get will achieve nothing.

    neilmonnery

    23 Sep 11 at 10:23 pm

  6. Kelly: First of all best way to win an argument – baffle me with words above my brain scale.

    Secondly are sexual offences increasing or are just a larger percentage being reported these days? What is the true figure? I know we can’t actually answer that question but if we could I know what I think would be the outcome.

    Clearly I’m not a woman. I have no idea about empowerment etc… but I don’t think sex or sexual feelings are something that needs to be caged up. I think it’s healthy to look at pictures and to explore on both sides. I’m sure you looked at semi-naked men in teen mags when you were younger.

    Obviously half naked and fully naked are two distinct entities. If you look too deeply into anything then all you’ll do is ban or restrict everything. You bring up barbie dolls as an influence – then why not ban them too?

    Sometimes as a society we look too deeply into things. I happen to think this policy/motion is one of those times. I maybe wrong but I just don’t see it.

    neilmonnery

    23 Sep 11 at 10:29 pm

  7. See, I am very interested in the psychology of this. You freely admit to not knowing the research, and yet you stubbonly cling to your admittedly uninformed opinion anyway.

    This is actually a scientifically documented phenomenon (http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/06/10/the-backfire-effect/), and I genuinely think that cracking it is the most important problem of our times. If we can find out why people prefer their own gut reaction and cling to it even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary then the human race might be able to progress a lot faster in all sorts of arenas…

    Jennie Rigg

    23 Sep 11 at 10:33 pm

  8. When there’s overwhelming evidence then opinions can be changed. You say there’s evidence but I’ve not read it. Until I have then how can I change my opinion?

    As it stands my opinion is out there. If I get round to seeing some overwhelming evidence to change my opinion then I will change it. However I’m not going out of my way to find it and that might be your entire point then I’m happy to live in my bubble where my opinion is king and can therefore not be challenged.

    I am a gut feel guy and I don’t mind admitting that. I use my gut from my experiences in life. I do take in other facts and opinions if they make it into my conciousness but of now typing this right now I do not have any evidence apart from my own life experiences and those of people around me.

    I do feel that it is not the job of the state to regulate when children see or hear. If it was then I’d expect the internet to be completely key-coded and strict age restrictions placed on it and in magazines, newspapers and on television.

    Until then I think I’ll stick to my stubbornly held opinion that moving these newspapers/magazines up a couple of shelves will do nothing. As far as I’m aware these kids will still be able to buy The Sun or Daily Star no? If that is the case then really is it going to make any discernible difference? Really…?

    neilmonnery

    23 Sep 11 at 10:41 pm

  9. If you can’t even be arsed to look for evidence to support or refute your opinions that’s fine; I shall know not to pay any attention to them whatsoever in future.

    Jennie Rigg

    23 Sep 11 at 10:45 pm

  10. Ok Jennie I have sat here with the rugby on this morning and done some research on this issue.

    Regarding a ‘clear link’ between sexual imagery and violence towards women Dr Linda Papadopoulos produced a Home Office report on the subject last year that claimed the clear link was established. However when you look at the numbers then this clear link can easily be questioned. According to Harriet Harman violent attacks against women were down 64% throughout Labour’s past run in government. Now with the rise of the internet and mobile internet it would be fair to argue that people are more exposed to sexual imagery today than they were back in 1997.

    So more exposure to sexual imagery but violent attacks on women are down by two thirds.

    Yes rape cases have gone up in the same time but you have to take into consideration the replacement of the Sexual Offences Act 1956 by the 2003 version that broadened the scope of what rape was. So to go like for like is impossible.

    No doubt you have read the report but for those that might not have here is the link

    I don’t see that a clear link has been established if you look at the crime figures. Plenty of reports claim to have found that clear link but they don’t bear up to scrutiny once you hold a light up to the figures.

    Now if you were to stop children under 15 (like recommended in this report) from buying such magazines and I presume the Sun and Star then I could live with that. I just don’t see how moving them to a higher shelf will have any impact and that was the original point of this blog. This motion does nothing to address the issue for me. Obviously you and others disagree but if these mags are not illegal to buy for kids just ever so slightly trickier then does that really make any difference?

    To me it looks like fighting a fire with some wet wipes.

    neilmonnery

    24 Sep 11 at 10:31 am

  11. I think it’s up to parents to help kids make sense of sexual politics; since the internet is now the main source of porn there seems to be an argument here for widespread censorship and that doesn’t seem to be a very liberal position to hold. Better controls perhaps, but my little girl seems to have a fairly good grip on why women do this (poor education, low self-esteem and money) and why it’s probably not a great plan to go around showing your private parts to all and sundry – it’s my job as a parent to teach her these things.

    Naturally I’m concerned that some guy will eventually try to mess with her, that’s why she’s been doing Tae Kwon Do for 4 years. By the time they’ve started working out what to do with it all, she should be a black belt and she’s already quite capable of dealing with any boy her own age. I think the answer is not to design victims – parents often require their boys to “stand up for yourself”, so I think that necessitates reciprocal education for girls.

    I don’t really have a problem with Neil’s position; it looks like people have made up their minds on this issue, but I agree with much of what he’s said. Maybe we’ll never understand by virtue of our sex, but I’m reluctant to conceed that Rupert Murdoch is shaping my daughters self-image more than I am, because I don’t believe it to be true. If parents are reading The Sun or The Star as a source of daily news they have more to worry about than some tits.

    dave3000

    25 Sep 11 at 9:14 am

  12. Apart from the title, which I guess is intentionally grating and attention seeking, I agree with you Neil. My initial thoughts were that surely there must be more pressing/damaging issues to tackle than page 3 and the like. I feel quite strongly it was a safe/easy topic for the lib dems to take a high moral stance on, even then their argument was pretty wishywashy, high shelf ! The other issues like the huge amount of indecent images of children on the internet, exploitation of children in industry globally from which people in the UK benefit. Are all just too hard for them to take on. The next time any of us look at all that glitters in a jewelry shop window will any of us see just how ugly it is because of the pain and suffering it takes to get that bling there.

    @alisonbarton1

    27 Sep 11 at 11:01 pm

  13. Dave, Alison, thank you both for your comments.

    I think my point is really this would do nothing as you aren’t even banning young people from buying these publications. It to me is just hot air and fluff and sounds good on paper and morally when it the real world it is just legislation for the sake of it.

    There are many layers to the issues facing young women (and men) in this day and age. Moving topless pictures up a shelf or two isn’t something that in my opinion will do anything to actually do anything constructive on those issues.

    neilmonnery

    29 Sep 11 at 1:53 pm

Leave a Reply