Blogs

Page 3: With boobs like this, what else could I do?

Laura Davis

Untitled 116 298x300 Page 3: With boobs like this, what else could I do?

“Fancy taking a gorgeous topless Page 3 girl for a spin? That’s exactly what you can do with The Sun’s great iPad app.” There are “interactive animations which bring to life the nation’s favourite models before your eyes.” A big thank you to The Sun for all those who are fans of the derrière, as opposed to breast lovers.

During the Leveson enquiry, editor of The Sun, Dominic Mohan, described topless Page 3 girls as “good role models” who are “very healthy”. Further commenting “some of the allegations I’ve heard about the Sun being sexist… is a false one.”

Don’t we realise Page 3 isn’t about sex or misogyny?

The girls are smiling! They’re empowered! And now…practically in 3D!

Empowering – very specifically it seems – if you’re white, under 25 and have massive jugs. At the time of searching, the first one hundred girls on Page3.com, only two have listed with ages over 25, one is black, two sisters even appear in one image with their breasts pressed up against one another.

The average age across the first hundred is 21, bra size is 32D (not a single AA or A cup, this isn’t “healthy”, apparently) with a 24 inch waist and hip size of 34 inches.

The average bra size in real life is now 36D, with a 30in waist and 36in hips.

It may not be chasing the malnourished ideal as seen on catwalks but it is the Barbie girl ideal – a tiny waist and large breasts. A curvy figure also doesn’t necessarily mean one at the pinnacle of health.

While the comments on the site are undoubtedly amusing, browsing through can leave you with a twinge of discomfort:

Peta Todd 21, from from Essex
“With boobs like this what else could I do?”

Emma Davis 20, from Birmingham
“I’m ready to turn my hand to anything.”

Ruth Gordon 22, from Surrey
“You can’t expect me to have brains as well?”

Do they realise the irony? Do they mind?

A selection of comments that infer: You’re wasting big boobs if you cover them up; an innuendo Ron Jeremy would be proud of, oh and that you can only have beauty or brains.

That’s the message of a good role model?

Peta Todd (pictured above) interestingly, has spoken a great deal about charity work she’s done in the past, that would be something to talk about.

During the Leveson Enquiry, Anna Van Heeswijk, campaigner against Page 3, also accused tabloids with images of semi-naked women of “creating a culture of fear which silences … anybody speaking out against the portrayal of women as sex objects”. She noted the example of former MP Clare Short who was bullied and branded a jealous, fat, killjoy by The Sun when she made her opposition to the famous third page heard. Would a man be subjected to vicious jibes at his appearance for the same criticisms?

Writing about the topic, you have to brace yourself for comments of the same nature.

Part of the moral defence is that the girls are natural – no boob jobs. But many more well-known Page 3 girls have gone onto have breast enlargements (Nicola McLean, Lauren Pope, Katie Price, Jodie Marsh). Perhaps once some girls are known for one thing, they feel they’re exposed to criticism and a lack of career options if they aren’t deemed impressively enough endowed.

As with “News in briefs”, which Rebekah Brooks introduced in 2003, why even give the girls an opinion? It’s almost more exploitative and condescending, the implicit message being that the women have to get their baps out to be heard. Or given the chance to voice an opinion.

Speaking to Nicola McClean, Page 3 girl for The Sun during 1999-2004, she comments how when asked to write her opinion, she’d tell them to write it themselves as it was “stupid and pointless”. Further adding: “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.” She also said that a lot of girls feel the need to lie about their age to make themselves appear younger.

I understand that sex sells; if I’m posting an article where a picture of a scantily clad woman can be used, this is unquestionably preferable as it gets people clicking. A story about Olympic Volleyball players shot straight to the most viewed recently. I also personally wrote a naked photoshoot feature and described how the experience of being photographed nude can indeed be liberating – but it was my words and opinions coming across, I wasn’t being undermined.

There are several counter-arguments that are churned out each time a discussion of this sort is broached: it’s a way to make money, breasts are just a part of the body, it’s harmless fun… There are of course passable defences but, ultimately, some of these women feeling that they had no feasible career options that involved skill, training or education is sad to see. Especially if at 25 they’re going to be considered past it. (Of course this applies more broadly to modelling as a profession.)

There is nothing wrong with soft porn. It’s natural to want to see the human form uncovered, and if it’s a way to earn a living which anyone feels comfortable with, so be it.

But don’t post pictures of women under the guise of offering them a view and the pretence of being a role model – then unreservedly undermine them.

Page 3 turned 40 in 2010; if it isn’t time to put the girls away, can we finally be honest about what Page 3 is all about?

  • peterhayes

    Sex exists between your ears, so what you find sexy or stimulating depends entirely on the individual. What the article doesn’t mention is that it started in black and white and was printed on poor paper. It seemed more distanced from real life. When colour came in there was a bit of a backlash. By the way Maxwell took naked women out of the Daily Mirror – whether this further dented its sales is not for me to say.

  • Craig McLeod

    Topless modelling is a valid career. Nothing wrong with it at all. I guarantee you that a girl who does topless modelling will earn more money by the time she is 25 than most girls her age. Same goes for lap dancers and even hardcore porn stars. If that is what these girls choose to do and so long as no one is forcing them to do anything they don’t want to do, then no one should be telling them they shouldn’t be doing it. There is nothing wrong with a women wanting men to find them sexy and attractive. 


Property search
Browse by area

Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter