In her closing speech to the party conference yesterday, Harriet Harman mocked Page 3 girls.
In a squeaky voice, Harman said “Hattie, 62, from Camberwell...and here’s today’s news in briefs”.
The MP for Camberwell and Peckham is campaigning to have Page 3 scrapped, but The Sun seems to think this was "a clear dig at the gorgeous girls who brighten up Britain’s favourite paper". (Debatable.)
One positive thing to see from this, is that Page 3 girl Peta Todd has fought her corner, arguing why her profession is valid career choice.
In response to Harman's words on the topic, Todd argued in
The Sun today that some women who have a harder start in life use their looks to make a fair income:
"Did it not occur to you that some young women decide independently that modelling is the industry they want to work in?", she asked.
Earlier this year, I wrote about Page 3 and how my main gripe was not with the girls who take part, but the paper for giving them an "opinion" which generally stood to undermine them. News in Briefs was just used as a way to excuse having boobs plastered in the paper. Either feature the breasts and make your case for it, or don't. Combining the view of a topless model on current political issues isn't to enhance the public's understanding of matters.
On their website, they list the girls with accompanying comments like "You can’t expect me to have brains as well?” and "With boobs like this what else could I do?". Vapid, innuendo-laden comments that only act to insult the girls. I also spoke to former Page 3 girl Nicola McLean, who said she frequently just told the editors to write it for her:
"Most of the girls aren’t really dumb, so it shouldn’t make them out to be dumb. Does anyone read it? Do they care what a Page 3 girl says about politics? No."
Peta Todd has been vocal in campaigning for various charities in the past, so I pointed out it would have been interesting to hear her opinion on some of the issues she defends. The Sun have at least finally given her a platform to defend her profession.
At Independent Voices, we recently ran the exclusive from Lucy Anne Holmes on why she started the No More Page 3 Campaign. With over 40,000 signatures, the idea clearly has a lot of support behind it. It's hard not to agree with a lot of the points made against the 40 year-old tradition in a family newspaper.
Todd responded to anti-Page 3ers saying: "Essentially it’s a cheap shot, an easy target. It’s a doddle to make fun of Page 3 and you think you’re oh-so funny. But it’s such a trivial issue and not worthy of the platform you insist on giving it over and again."
Whether you agree with running Page 3 and think the debate is trivial, or indeed think it's sexist and should be banned, one encouraging thing to come from this is seeing the girls join the debate and offering an opinion, instead of us making it for them.Reuse content