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How No More Page 3 harms feminism

04 Nov

Yeah, NoMorePage3 hurts feminism and feminist goals, and here’s why:

Firstly, the campaign founder’s statement that sex is something “beautiful”, “blissful” and “loving” between “two people”. Now that’s a huge no-no right there. It excludes poly people, swingers, kinky people, etc. The word “loving” could exclude ALL sex outside of a committed relationship. In fact, there is nothing I can recognise in her description that would apply to my own few experiences and especially to my own desires, which are rarely limited to two people. As for “loving”, education and career often delay middle-class womens’ search for love. And of course I have found no use for love in my adventures.

This is just positing a static right way of doing sex. Which is what the patriarchy, the Catholic Church and certain UK and US politicians have done and are doing. This is not feminism. It is nothing but the repression and sexual restriction of these institutions masquerading under the name of “feminism”. The campaign and this statement is aimed at women, so it is telling women that there is a right way of doing sex which society and page 3 have “debased”. Telling women that there is a right way of excercising sexual expression is a very old patriarchal device used to control women. Along with it come strict gender roles, the virgin/whore dichotomy and the double standard.

And the implicit assumption is that women, like me, whose idea of sex doesn’t fit in the Christian-esque box, are debasing this beautiful thing called sex that was “given” to humankind (another little flashback to the Bible).

 

Secondly, the campaign and its discourse ultimately takes away the models’ agency and stigmatises them as victims or gender traitors. By stigmatising these womens’ jobs and choices, the campaign impinges on womens’ freedoms and creates an anti-modelling, anti-sex industry, anti-sexwork ethos that is just patriarchal sexual repression and Victorian prudery in a new guise. Women should feel free to model and work in pornography (whether as actors, scriptwriters, models or directors) without fear of shaming and judgement. This campaign is the antithesis of the fight against slutshaming, the fight for women to be equal to men and the fight for sexworkers’ rights.

Thirdly, the campaign assumes that only men objectify women and only men consume pornography. This view degrades female sexuality by assuming that women are inherently less sexual than men, or that they shouldn’t consume porn. Again, these are patriarchal ideals of the ‘good’ asexual woman.

If women consumed and created porn, this campaign would be hypocritical, right? So to support it, it is necessary to believe that women don’t create or consume porn, or at least that women shouldn’t do so.

Spreading this idea that women don’t like, consume or create porn is very damaging to attitudes towards womens’ sexual expression. This view only makes society feel that women naturally aren’t sexual – great fodder for slutshaming attitudes. And perhaps even increased objectification, because women will be seen as sexually passive, something to therefore be chased or approached, something to get sex from. Instead of the reality that women aren’t passive objects, they too pursue desired mates and are sexual; they are also out to get sex from men.

Fourthly, the campaign makes a very dubious connection between hardcore porn and softcore porn, and also between page 3 and violence against women. There is absolutely no evidence for this and no study has ever been done on the effects of softcore porn on behaviour or on rape. (For more details read The Sex Myth by Dr Brooke Magnanti).

Just because a man views porn doesn’t mean he will then rape. This is just making excuses for rapists and abusers. It’s their fault, no one else’s – not the director, producer, actors, models or scriptwriters. It’s just porn – a film or a photo. It’s not a gun to your head and a person saying “Rape or I will kill you.”

Let me illustrate this with examples from my real life and this blog. In the Fiction section of this blog, you will find a story that depicts a 15 year old boy being raped by a same-age girl and an adult man. Yet, writing this story doesn’t mean I want to rape underage boys, and I can prove it: under the Feminism section, you’ll find a post about a woman who had sex with a 15 year old boy. In that post, I do nothing but express anger and disgust that her sentence was far too lenient and that the article and comments were insensitive and victim-blaming. I also have a story on here about the government torturing and spanking everybody for protesting and a rapid descent into a dictatorship. Yet surely you don’t all think that I want to live in a dictatorship, or be tortured by David Cameron? I have several notebooks filled with stories, some of them about myself being raped. But being raped is actually my biggest fear – or one of them – and surely it is clear to anyone who reads this blog that I am against rape.

Fifthly, given the fact that women do watch and make porn, this campaign makes no sense. It’s unfair and hypocritical to not want men to look at porn when women are free to do it. Also, if models lose work then how do those models benefit from the campaign (which has goals beyond just page 3)? It is just taking their income and careers.

Sixthly, the campaign is sex-negative, and sex-negativity usually does far more harm than good.

Seventhly, without challenging the attitudes of misogyny, sexism and objectification, even if page 3 was stopped forever, nothing would change because the attitudes would still be there. Just like criminalising drug use or sex work doesn’t stop it happening. The cause, not the effect, should be targeted. The campaign is trying to target what it sees as an effect of sexism – page 3. It fails to target the attitudes which caused page 3 and allow it to flourish. Also, the fact that other, much more hardcore porn would still exist would make the eradication of page 3 quite pointless.

 

In conclusion, the NoMorePage3 campaign takes away womens’ rights to choose their careers, ultimately shames women for their choices, prescribes a narrow Biblical model of sex, is not evidence-based and makes no logical sense. It is against feminist goals of women being allowed to express their sexuality as equals.

 
16 Comments

Posted by on November 4, 2012 in Feminism

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

16 responses to “How No More Page 3 harms feminism

  1. jemima101

    November 4, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    I didn’t know about the mono bias of the founders, totally unsurprised though given their total lack of self awareness or awareness about the world.

     
  2. Russ

    November 4, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    I was under the impression that the campaign was only trying to point out that a daily family newspaper is not the appropriate place for soft porn pictures. Especially as the women featured represent a very narrow range, i.e., thin, young, D cup or above.
    I wasn’t aware the campaign was trying to restrict the models from working in their chosen profession, or trying to restrict peoples access to such images just that the inclusion in a daily newspaper normalises women as sex objects, and presents unrealistic body image to young people every day.

     
    • Kalika Gold: VirginWhore

      November 5, 2012 at 3:07 am

      Hi Russ, thanks for commenting!

      Those are good points, and true. However, the apprpriateness of the pics is not a feminist issue and many things in The Sun – even on the BBC website aren’t news, such as celeb gossip, cute animal stories etc. And what is appropriate in a family newspaper (and whether the Sun is even a family newspaper, or what a family newspaper is) is a censorship or age-rating discussion completely separate from feminism.

      It is true that the campaign isn’t trying to restrict the models, but most of its supporters hope that page 3 will be gone soon, which would affect the models. Also, the supporters are anti-porn, anti-sexwork, anti glamour modelling, so that is their agenda.

      I also am very much against the unrealistic images given to us every day and as a teen I felt their effects. However, page 3 is not the biggest or only source of it, nor is it aimed at young people. Teen magazines and TV ads, product packaging, ads in bus stops, etc are more likely to be viewed by teens – whether they want to view them or not. To view and be adversely affected by page 3, they would have to regularly read The Sun.

       
    • Kalika Gold: VirginWhore

      November 7, 2012 at 1:53 am

      Yes, but the effect is still that people view the models as somehow hurting women or being exploited. And Lucy Holmes as well as her supporters want page 3 eventually to be stopped, and are against pornography as they mae very clear on Twitter. Holmes’ blog criticises all pornography and is a clear statement of being against all porn and glamour modelling: http://howtostartasexualrevolution.com/about/ If Holmes and her supporters got their way, people wouldn’t have jobs in the porn or glamour modelling industry.

       
  3. Cassie

    November 5, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Again you have hit the nail on the head.

     
    • Kalika Gold: VirginWhore

      November 7, 2012 at 1:56 am

      Thank you 🙂 It was a very quick post to write, because the arguments had been buzzing i my head for ages. I also find the idea that The Sun is a family newspaper quite incredible – aside from the Mail, it’s the last paper I would give a child. And even if ‘boobs aren’t news’ it’s not like the Sun is particularly full of news anyway; it’s just celeb gossip, other gossip, and photos of barely-covered boobs that aren’t on page 3. As well as stereotyped gender roles, sexism and social conservatism throughout.

       
      • jemima101

        November 7, 2012 at 2:04 am

        This point is the one that got me going. If you dont mind am going to link to my thoughts. The idea of the sun being a family newspaper is just sickening, and the simpering approach of the @nomorepage3 campaign is even worse!

        http://itsjustahobby.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/tits/

         
      • Kalika Gold: VirginWhore

        November 7, 2012 at 4:00 am

        That’s a good post, Jemima. I tweeted it.

         
  4. Cassie

    November 5, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Reblogged this on Cassie Being Cassie and commented:
    Some very good arguments here that deserve reblogging.

     
  5. Peter

    November 5, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Hello, Doctor Magnanti retweeted your blog link, so I’m here to chip in.

    First of all, I do not like it that you have to drag in the patriachy, Catholic Church, and politicians, and then conveniently leave out the feminists who are also hostile towards sex workers and are pushing for prostitution to be banned. It gives the impression that you are just a typical feminist who hates men and doesn’t want to attack your fellow women, when the men are the ones paying you for your services. It is hard to put myself in your shoes when you like to blame everything on men only, but I’ll try to chip in anyway.

    When I was younger, the idea of a prostitute feminist or porn star feminist was an oxymoron. I thought it’s impossible for a woman to support women’s right when she also supports the degradation of women. I was brought up in a country where prostitution is banned, and you are encouraged to have sex only when you are married, so the happy sex worker is an alien concept for me. I thought she was only pretending to enjoy her work because she is paid to do so.

    Then you have interesting women like Doctor Magnanti who was a sex worker, who is now a scientist with a doctorate who thinks that prostitution empowered her and does not find porn degrading. She does not need to pretend to enjoy prostitution because she is no longer one, so there is no need for her to lie about it. So I believe there are indeed women like her who enjoy being a sex worker. She is probably the best example of one.

    However, women like her are very few. Most women, and men like myself, do find prostitution degrading, but not because we want to suppress women. This is about prostitution, not women’s sexuality. Despite the existence of happy sex workers, I believe they are only the minority, and the majority of sex workers do not enjoy their work, where every time a man takes them, a small part of them is eaten away from the inside. They do it for the money, and some probably even need to drug themselves to tolerate their work.

    Maybe it’s because I was brought up a certain way, but it is not with hate that I find prostitution degrading.

    For Page 3 specifically, obviously I do not live in the UK, but I have checked out their website and the women are gorgeous. I do not find them degrading, I find that it celebrates the beauty of women rather than degrade them, much like Playboy.

    However, despite enjoying porn, I find that it does degrade women. Do I enjoy the degradation of women? That is something I’m afraid to answer.
    I’m not being judgemental and looking down at pornstars. I believe that there are women who enjoy watching porn or being porn stars, but I cannot say that it empowers women. Even if women really enjoy being a sex worker, it still doesn’t change the fact that a woman’s body can be bought with money. That is why even if they enjoy it, prostitution or pornography at its very base objectifies women.

    So the reason why people thinks prostitution or pornography is degrading towards women is not because they want to control women, as what your blog suggests. It is because the majority do not think the same way as you or Dr Magnanti. Maybe it is because of how we are brought up, but a prostitute or porn star can never be a reputable profession that I want my future daughters to have.

    But now I believe that there can be happy sex workers who truly enjoy their work. The term sex worker feminist isn’t an oxymoron to me anymore, and the phrase “A woman’s right to porn” doesn’t sound so ridiculous anymore. It’s just that the majority of women think differently and cannot possibly understand your viewpoint.

     
    • Kalika Gold: VirginWhore

      November 7, 2012 at 1:45 am

      Hi Peter,

      Thank you for your considered comments; it’s great to know my posts are being read attentively and are provoking so many thoughts. I do not mean to blame men only; that is why my post is against the sex-negative feminists behind NMP3. I am glad you now know that sex workers aren’t all ‘prostituted’ victims – a small number, especially streetwalkers, are. But streetwalkers are only less than 10% of sex workers; it is all the anti-sexwork NGOs’ lies. They use long-disproved statistics as Rhoda Grant is doing. You probably know all this anyway as you seem very familiar with Dr Magnanti’s work on the subject. And yeah, women have a right to viewm create or work in porn just as much as men do. I call the fiction I write “erotic fiction” but it is probably pornography rather than fiction, as there is much sex and little plot. I never could stand plot.

      I understand your point about people not wanting to control women, but I believe some do – not explicitly, but because of cultural norms descended from traditional patriarchal control of female sexuality. And yes, the radfems have continued this control. I call women who regularly slutshame others “enforcers” as they enforce the double standard.

      “It is because the majority do not think the same way as you or Dr Magnanti. Maybe it is because of how we are brought up, but a prostitute or porn star can never be a reputable profession that I want my future daughters to have…It’s just that the majority of women think differently and cannot possibly understand your viewpoint.”

      Yes! But we can stop it. You are so right saying it is “the way we are brought up”. Well, if you bring up your kids to be more natural, free and less prejudiced, the next generation will think in the same way as me and Dr Magnanti! It is not difficult to break free, as a society, from these shackles. And the day will come when we are free, and you will be proud if your future daugters (or sons) have careers in the sex industry or porn industry. I have such hope for the future. I have hope for all of us. Dr Magnanti I believe could be instrumental in this, because of her celebrity, influence on discourse and academic credentials. And where she goes, I’ll follow.

       
      • Peter

        November 8, 2012 at 9:52 am

        Thanks for the response. Sorry for the long post, because I feel the need to explain where I come from.

        On Page 3 specifically, I don’t see how there cannot be a compromise. Maybe don’t abolish it, but move all content to their website instead. I do feel uncomfortable that topless women are within reach of children, since newspapers are very readily available. Of course there is the internet, but, we should do our best to keep these kinds of content out of children’s reach, newspaper and internet included. Rather than be against each other, maybe work together on a compromise.

        On women’s right to porn, I don’t know if it will ever be an acceptable thing for women to be in the sex industry or to consume porn. Then again, it wasn’t so long ago that good girls don’t have sex. Maybe women do enjoy porn, but they are embarrassed to admit it so they lie about hating it, much like how they lie about never masturbating, being a virgin, the number of sex partners they have, to protect their reputation.

        Anyway, it is refreshing to hear from women like yourself and Dr. Magnanti who openly love porn as much as men and don’t find it degrading. Makes me feel less guilty. Maybe if we meet in real life we can casually chat about it over coffee or something. 😉

         
  6. chris

    November 6, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    NMP3 seems to have no official webpage, aside from their petition (Dominic Mohan…) and their FB page. Neither of those places seem to say, for example, that sex is between two people. I can find no evidence of models being seen as the bad guys, in both the petition and the FB page, the impetus is on the Sun to voluntarily take it down in the face of (supposed) public opinion.

    Now maybe that evidence exists somewhere, but the onus is on you to present it. And I really have had a jolly good google.

     

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