The ‘No-More-Page-3’ campaign faces a vociferous opposition who see a superficial trade-off between ‘freedom of the press’ and freedom of women from sexism, or even sexual assault which is undoubtedly reinforced by cultural representations of women as sex objects.
I always find it interesting how those making sexist comments or laughing off/ denying/ downplaying discriminatory attitudes (usually white males) are the first to protest against potential ‘tyranny of oppressive censorship’. Yet, the idea of the tyranny of actual lived oppression reinforced by cultural images, stereotyping and behaviour never crosses their minds and is entirely disregarded. Maybe because it’s so far removed from their own lived experience.
I read an article by Liz Kelly from 1996 which listed recent news articles about men killing women. She concluded:
“There is a common thread, which none of the reporting seems to notice – these are all stories of men engaged in the pursuit of entitlement, men who rage at being challenged or denied, men who have no respect for the lives of women and children”.
Is this debate an argument between those who feel entitled to oppress (maybe in some cases without realising, because this is so deeply embedded in culture), and those who are actually entitled to a life free from discrimination, exploitation and sexual aggression?