I feel that, at times, there is a duty to speak out for the other side. Not because I like it, or because it is essential, but because it is right to do so. Now, let me be clear, I have spoken out against Rupert Murdoch and his phone issues for some time, yet when I saw this article in regards to page 3 (at http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/nov/05/sun-page-3-advert-banned-sexist), I felt it was essential to stand up in favour of page 3. So what is the big deal? I remember seeing page 3 when I was young, innocent and thought that page 3 offered newsworthy information. You find me any boy between 15-18 who thinks that it was not news worthy, then there is a 1% chance he is gay, which is fair enough and 99% chance that this boy is lying (just to coin an option).
That is pretty much the gest of it, but what is in play? The issue is not with the page 3 girl immediately, but with the text behind it “Promotion offered subscribers who recruited 10 or more players to their fantasy football league the chance to win a date with a Page 3 girl“. Is that not great?
No, it is stated “More than 1,000 complaints were received by the advertising regulator about the email promotion“, how lame is that, which I admit is my view of it.
Consider “10 lucky readers can win the ultimate Valentine’s Date with Hawkins herself“, it was a chance to win a date with Miss Universe Jennifer Hawkins. So how many letters were sent there? There was an equal complaint of zero to win a date with Brad Pitt through some gossip girls column, whilst he was already married to Angelina Jolie. Then there is the option to Win a date with FHM cover star Georgia Salpa! The list goes on, Ed Sheeran, Cody Simpson, Melanie Iglesias, none of these drew the complaints, but the Page 3 girl did. This is of course the additional weirdness, it was not Mellisa Clarke, Lucy Collett or Lacey Banghard (all former page 3 girls), but the term ‘page 3 girl‘, the label that grew the Sun, that is the part that seems to be under attack. Lucy Colette is now regarded by FHM magazine to be one of its 100 Sexiest Women in the World, so no sexism there? Some of these models have been active for PETA, some have backed a major breast cancer awareness campaign for Breakthrough Breast Cancer, and this list goes on. There is no denying that most men watch page 3 to stare at ‘the twins’, yet these women, many of them used this platform to launch awareness and activities on social levels that have lasted for years.
So, can we all agree that these are either these 1000 complaints come from men who are either jealous or moms who consider their 18 year old on a date with a page 3 girl too offensive? I know that neither is likely the case, but in my view this complaint was hypocrite at best and if we want to have a go at Rupert Murdoch then that is just fine with me, but choose something that should be attacked (like phone hacking). Not some date with a woman, likely to be in a place where she will remain all dressed (many restaurants in London tend to frown on their topless clientele, even when those clients are male).
This is the crux, page 3 is a gimmick it is advertisement, one that has been there for decades. On one side from the newspaper to the topic of sex sells and on the side of the model, to get perhaps a chance to get into modelling, to make some money, whilst they know that a photo, is merely a photo, and these women might sunbath topless and that will not bring them money and still they are likely to get photographed. There is nothing apprehensible about this. The woman does not have to pose and this extra option for a woman, perhaps a model to go out on a nice date with a guy and all is paid for from the credit card of Rupert Murdoch, possibly in a location neither could afford is just an extra bonus. Now let’s look at the other side, were these women truly demeaned, or are they strong independent women setting themselves up for another round of them marketing themselves. You see, these women are basically doing the same thing Brad Pitt and Jennifer Hawkins were doing, just because these two are making millions, no one is complaining. How hypocrite can people get?
This all takes another turn as the Advertising Standards Agency upholds the entire issue. The wordplay, which is what we are used seeing from the Murdoch machine is the same as ever, half-baked innuendo, but no added fire. The text of the ASA that “the offer of a date was sexist, demeaning, offensive and objectified women“, means that they must now ban ANY date option from so many magazines. I wonder how Rupert Murdoch will strike back, because he will in some way. So why is this, a big deal? Well, it isn’t a big deal, but it does show an amount of double standards, which I personally find offensive.
You see, there is another side to all this, as we see some actions which I consider to be lame and counterproductive, because they also defuse the actual need for action as we see the aggravated harassment of Caroline Criado-Perez, as she was able to get Jane Austen on a 10 pound note, that was important, to fight for the safety of Anita Sarkeesian as she is threatened for her right to freedom of speech, this is a massive issue. Yet the issue of some people winning a date with a woman who posed topless by her own free will is just a little too stretched. What makes a date with one of these models more objectifying then a date with former Miss Universe? It does not and I think that the women are not objectified, which makes me wonder who the 1000 complaints were from.
Let’s take one final look at the one part the ASA had upheld: ““In the context of the ad, we considered that to offer a date with a woman as a reward for success in the game was demeaning to women and objectified those offered as prizes.”“, is that so? I am not debating whether it is or it is not, but how come we see no persecution (or is it prosecution) for FHM and other magazines offering the main prize to be a date, simply because no complaints were filed?
It seems to me that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has its work cut out for them, if we consider the 2010 ‘Cosmopolitan Win A Date with Bryann F and Fabio Ide‘, and if we consider the ASA advertising codes on consistency, then quoting the ASA “Consistency is a principle of good regulation; it helps to create clarity which leads to good practice amongst businesses. Something that is good both for industry and consumers. It also helps us to do our job better and concentrate our focus on where it is most needed. That’s why we strive to ensure that the advertising standards set by CAP and the rulings reached by the ASA have proper regard to consistency“, under that guise it will be up to them to ‘outlaw‘ any magazine to offer a date as a prize, I just wonder how the Justin Bieber fans will react when their possible dream date is off the table, not to mention all the other people who allow themselves to be the date for fattening the wallets of good causes and charities, I think that this entire page 3 issue was overexposed and many others might not like the consequence of the result.