Neil Wallis likes to compartmentalise women. You have the high flying, middle classes who like to get angry for anger’s sake; battling any cause celebre that comes their way.
“Overwhelmingly white, middle-class, aged late 20s-late 30s, university educated, work in academia, meejah, public services, know what macrobiotic means and how to use a fondue set, don’t watch X Factor, go to Greece on their holidays, read the Guardian and watch Channel 4 News, suffer serious sense of humour loss at certain times… (add in all the other obvious ones I can’t be bothered to list.)”
These are the women who care about everyday sexism and the No More Page 3 campaign. These women have too much time on their hands and too many brains in their heads. The silver spoon socialists.
Then there are of course the “ordinary women”. These women don’t care about Page 3 or even if some lad thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to grope their breasts without permission in a nightclub because society tells them “it’s okay”. These women have more important, real things to worry about. These women,
“ worry about their kids’ health, the rent, putting food on the table, work, their relationship, benefits scroungers, immigration, the telly, and a drink at the weekend.”
These are the salt of the earth women, the ones who really count.
But I don’t buy it. Are we really so easily reduced to just two groups of women? How about me? Where do I fit in? I have a disability, I live in a council property, I worry about my food, rent, my relationship and my husband’s job. I don’t worry so much about television, drinking, scroungers and immigration. I am white, 30, university educated, and know what macrobiotic means but don’t indulge in fondue as I’m lactose intolerant. I read the Guardian, don’t watch X-Factor and can’t afford a holiday, let alone to Greece. I’ve also never tasted “wheat germ” as apparently the high flyers have. So where does that leave me? Am I demographicless? Do I even exist? I’ll be honest with you, old Neil Wallis has sparked off an existentialist crisis within me. I’m quite concerned that it’s now me versus society and I better find me a cave.
Alas, I digress, as we non-women are wont to do, perhaps, who knows, we don’t even have a stereotype to call home! My point is this. Despite worrying about all of the above issues, I still ardently care about Page 3. When our national press reduces women to their sexual components we have to question how far is too far. When a “news” paper feels the need to parade a woman’s naked body on the third page, with a little box, The News In Briefs, intended to highlight that she is of course too stupid to understand the news, we need to stop and reflect on that. Reducing women to their sexual parts offends all women. Whether I’m living it up in the Algarve or looking through the Whoopsie section in ASDA is an irrelevance. I do not want to be reduced simply to my sexual parts. I want to be empowered. I want to have equality. There are many issues effecting women today: rape, domestic violence, benefits cuts, to name but a few. All of which are easily seen as more important than Page 3. I am not going to argue against that. But Page 3 is a ubiquitous symbol of a system which sees women as less than capable. It is a system which helps to support all of the other battles we as women face. It is not the only battle which needs to be fought, but that does not have to undermine its importance.
So, I’ve signed the petition and I’ve hash-tagged #NoMorePage3 to my heart’s content, whilst doing my online shopping with Tesco because I can’t afford Waitrose. I hope other people do the same http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/dominic-mohan-take-the-bare-boobs-out-of-the-sun-nomorepage3 I’m off to worry about the price of fuel now.