Viv Groskop: Page 3 is a fossil from a bygone era

Mohan says it's a 'matter of taste'. Come on, love, what are you complaining about?
  • @VivGroskop

It's maybe the most imaginative defence of Page 3 in history. Appearing at the Leveson Inquiry this week, for the second time, Dominic Mohan, the editor of The Sun, argued that Page 3 "promotes natural beauty" and is beneficial because the women are "good role models" because they're "healthy." This truly is creative genius. It is the most entertaining argument in favour of Page 3 ever. Mohan is suggesting that he is doing the world a favour and, if anything, the world should jolly well be more grateful. Hey! What is wrong with you people that you don't realise the service we're performing here?

Women, in particular, it is implied, should have a bit more appreciation for The Sun's sterling efforts. Come on, ladies, what are you complaining about? We're just celebrating how great you look with your clothes off! And look how healthy our specimens are! They're not anorexic like in all your fashion magazines! They're what a real woman should look like! Phwooar! (Does anyone still say "Phwooar!"? I hope so.)

Mohan goes on to say that Page 3 is "a matter of taste" and "worth looking at in the context of the wider range of women's issues that we cover". Just when you thought he couldn't get any more imaginative, there's another laughable idea here. Page 3, it turns out, comes under the remit of "stuff to do with women". Come on, love, we've included one of your lot in the mix, haven't we? Look, there's a picture of one of you!

It's easy to mock Mohan's comments. But they're also a fascinating insight into a dying world. Page 3 should have been dumped 20 years ago. The only reason it has limped on is because Rebekah Brooks wanted to make a statement about not being soft as a woman editor.

Personally, I always found the captions more insulting than the pictures. Some clever dick gets to make up a quote which basically pokes fun of the supposedly-empowered-because-soon-she-will-be-as-rich-as-that-Jordan topless model.

That tradition is still going. In yesterday's Sun, Danni, 25, from Coventry was quoting Winston Churchill's philosophical statement on the animal kingdom: "Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals." How apt.

Nowadays, whether you love it or hate it, Page 3 just looks dated. There's something almost nostalgic about the fact that The Sun is still wheeling out these desperate not-even-logical-anyway arguments in defence of the indefensible. A newspaper should contain news. Not breasts.

In any case, The Sun's problem is no longer feminism. It's the 30p cover price. Why pay when you can come by naked ladies for free online? (Wording intentional.)

In the YouTube age of "Two Girls, One Cup" – warning: please don't Google it – Page 3 has only one place left to go. Tits up.