Tits and Tosh: Covering the ‘glamour’ of The Sun’s Page 3 Girl

During my 6th form years, there was always a copy of The Daily Sport or The Sun in the common room to pursue during the lunch break, much to the disdain of female students and faculty. I would always pick it up with fascination, desperate to uncover why people would buy a paper commanding the reading level of an 8-year-old on a daily basis.

Existing since 1970, the Page 3 feature of The Sun has now become unique to British culture, is a registered trademark and a reminder to feminists around the country that women have still not achieved gender equality. Britain is further becoming a ‘raunch’ culture, as women are encouraged to be sexually provocative by idolising Glamour models like Katie Price to command empowerment over men. Women can send in snaps to the Page 3 website of their glamour poses while people vote in a contest that resembles a ‘boob idol’.

Furthermore, the News in Briefs from the girls can also be seen as propaganda. Sure, sometimes their harmless comments are tongue-in-cheek and humourous:

STACEY, 21, from Plymouth: STACEY can’t wait to hear a Snoop Dogg and SuBo duet. She said: “I think combining the emotive medium of musical theatre with rap, which has its roots in the story-telling riots of West Africa, will be perfect. It will shizzel my nizzle.”

But during the 2010 general election, the ‘girls’ were very blatantly parading Murdoch’s anti Labour and then anti Lib-Dem message.

CHLOE, 22, from Leeds: CHLOE says David Cameron’s manifesto “reminds us that we have the ability to run our own affairs. In George Bernard Shaw’s words, ‘The people who get on are those who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them’.”

Taking it one step further, May 5th Page 3 features 16 topless girls pleading with the voyeur and voter to save them from the dole queue, as voting Labour or Lib-dem would “move swiftly to change the law and ban page three forever”. But are we really stupid enough to fall for it?

One response to the idea of the Page 3 girl is the website www.newsinbriefs.net which documents the daily comments  from these scantily clad women. As they describe: “Some have accused it as propaganda: use the image of a naked girl to seduce the white van man before whispering a right-wing comment into his ear. Others simply don’t notice and look at the boobs. Not us. We notice.” The site exposes the subliminal messages that are hidden by the tits that decorate the most read page of the newspaper.

Earlier this week, Dazed and Confused magazine featured the work of Katie Horwich, who since her foundation year has illustrated the Page 3 girls with items from her own wardrobe. Eight year later and her daily routine has now turned into an exhibition at Utrophia Project Space in Deptford, showing until the 26th June.

Art Historian Kenneth Clark suggested that there was a difference between nude and naked. The Page 3 girl is the low-brow Venus, in her mesmerising beauty connoting the artists intention. It’s clear from these two examples, the agenda of the supposedly impartial paper becomes more clear when the girls are ‘covered-up’. Before we were blinded by boobs and numbed by nipples, when the fleshy façade is removed it’s only the The Sun’s ideology that is naked for the eye to see.

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