Written by Sara Pascoe

Voices

Loads More Page 3

The ever-inventive Sara Pascoe has worked out a way to keep Page 3 – and everyone happy. It’s particularly good news for donkeys.

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Illustration by Lousie Boulter

As a teenager, I felt uncomfortable around Page 3, although at the time I couldn’t articulate why. I felt assaulted or embarrassed when I came into contact with it on public transport or pasted on businesses walls. Boys at school might occasionally rip that page out and shove it in girls’ faces – a hilarious form of criticism and intimidation. So I supported the No More Page 3 campaign from the beginning; signing and sharing the petition, getting rid of it seemed achievable and a symbolic
injury upon the objectification of young women that surrounds us every day.

I have since become aware of criticisms of the campaign; those who argue that censorship and banning things is a form of oppression. That we live in the western world; no one is co-erced to become a page 3 model; women do this by choice and feminism should be liberating women, not limiting their choices or taking away their livelihood. I agree with this A LOT and so thought the whole issue was an unsolvable problem.

Until I did solve it – in a dream.

I dreamt that we made Page 3 like jury service. Suddenly every woman over the age of 18 became eligible, and all that happened was one day you got a letter that said:

“Dear ______, please come to The Sun offices at 9am tomorrow. Bring some snazzy pants, and a pithy quote about Syria.”

So you have to go, and you have to do it. BECAUSE if Page 3 represented the whole spectrum of what it looks like to be a woman, it wouldn’t be objectification anymore, it would just be nudity. Page 3 would portray all the different kinds of breasts: there would be small ones, saggy ones, different sized ones, hairy ones. And heterosexual men would still like it, because it’s still boobies.

But the main difference would be to the woman’s face. Currently the facial expression they all have is ‘coquettish’. An expression that says, “oh you just found me in the garden, and I don’t have a top on, and you shouldn’t really be looking cos you’re my best friend’s dad!” It’s permissive. With our new system the model will be a 52-year-old dinner lady, aghast and horrified at what they’re going to say at work the next day and staring straight down the lens knowing exactly what you’re doing… It means Page 3 might just die out on its own; people might just lose interest with no one having to oppress anyone.

Also, we can still give the Page 3 ladies all their wages and anything else they want and make sure they know that it’s not them or their beauty or their decisions we’re attacking. Maybe we could keep them in a donkey sanctuary so they can run around with their breasts flowing in the wind, safe from prying eyes? Or not if they don’t want to.

Therefore if you know Rupert Murdoch or can hack his email, let me know as I would love to get the ball rolling on this ASAP. I saw how having a dream launched Martin Luther King’s career and think this could be really big for me – and also for society and donkey sanctuaries etc; we’ll all benefit.

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Written by Sara Pascoe

Comedian and actor. I have won QI and Pointless.