These pictures turn all women into objects

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The Independent Online

The Duchess of Cambridge is of course "a young woman, and not an object". But so are all young women, and the endless repetition of pictures of pretty young women topless in papers like The Sun, in some important way, turns all young women into objects.

I am very pleased to hear that another generation of women are standing firm and objecting to the Page 3 phenomenon. Visitors from most other countries are completely shocked to find that such pictures are distributed in mainstream newspapers selling millions of copies. What the images say is: Here is a young woman, take her, use her, throw her away.

Behind the normalisation of such pictures lies the ever-growing pornography industry, which degrades women in particular and human sexuality in general. Of course it is natural for young men to want to look at pictures of women's bodies as they reach sexual maturity, but these pictures are not natural pictures of human nakedness and do not reflect the beauty and dignity of good sexual relationships.

Looking back, I still think it is shocking that The Sun and the News of the World went to such vicious lengths to try to undermine me when I dared to say that such pictures should not be permitted in newspapers. But I'll never forget the tens of thousands of letters that came to me from women of all ages saying how much they agreed.

The writer served as an MP from 1983 to 2010