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No More Page 3 Campaign


Is it realistic in the Internet Era?

By William Mills

In the 1980’s Labour’s Claire Short MP started a campaign against nude photographs in newspapers. William Mills argues this has been outdated by the availability of porn on the Internet.

To ban photographs which depict scenes from ordinary life is pointless and diverts attention from where it is most needed-the Internet videos.

Recently the Green Party’s only MP Caroline Lucas, speaking at a Brighton NUJ event, tried to revive the ‘No More Page 3 campaign’ against print editions of newspapers, notably the Sun, from publishing pictures of bare breasted young women claiming that children would see them on news stands and in waiting rooms making adults feel uncomfortable.

Caroline Lucas MP
Caroline Lucas MP


Yet the sight of topless women on holiday beaches is a regular sight both in Britain and abroad. Children who see the real thing in a public place are unlikely to be subsequently shocked by a still photo of the same.
Mrs Lucas spoke of the ‘objectifying’ of women but failed to put this into a global context of centuries of African women wearing very little in a warm climate.

Pornographic videos, freely available on the Internet, are entirely a different category. However these seem to have escaped under the radar of women’s rights activists. Many foreign made videos have scenes which most folk will never experience in real life.
Some are performed with girls who are wafer thin and may be performing acts, in return for drugs, that they won’t normally consent to. It short, these films are appalling and should be banned from being viewed by both adults and children alike.

Realistically a balance needs to be struck between letting people see what they are going to see anyway and a firm ‘No!’ to certain Internet videos, particularly those involving harm to the participants.

What is needed is not a ban but direction towards what is tasteful and least likely to be offensive.
From the earliest of times the human body has been worshipped. Roman mosaics herald curvaceous women against a hunting scene backdrop. Statues from Ancient Greece are among museums most highly prized treasures.

Surely Mrs Lucas isn’t advocating preventing children visiting the British Museum in case they see the Elgin Marbles?

What is needed is a revival of artistic suggestion. As recently as the 1970’s so called pornographic magazines rarely showed full nudity, instead leaving much to the imagination. One iconic picture shows the back of a topless women kneeling on a beach surrounded by sand dues. She is looking over her shoulder smiling. What is she offering? Excitement? Mystery? It’s a thrill aimed at young adults.


Brighton Beach-crop (570x276)

As a society we should act responsibly and promote artistic stimulation of the imagination, while at the same time regarding full frontal pornography as coarse, uneducated and somewhat vulgar.
The way forward is an abstract glimpse, the thrill of suggestion in a tasteful form which would transform modern Britain’s cultural conscience. Heavy handed banning would rather do the opposite.

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