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Why ban page 3?

(583 Posts)
jackburton Tue 12-Feb-13 20:44:18

Hi, this is my first post, please be gentle smile . I'm looking for some thoughtful discussion on page 3 and the objectification of women, my wife suggested posting here. Any recommendations for good articles or feedback would be great.

My main issue with a lot of the traditional discussion on this issue is that there seems to be an implicit assumption of passivity and conformity in women that I can't really relate to as a man (or feel is present in many of the women in my life). I don't particularly worry about my son seeing body building or gay lifestyle magazines or other fetishised representations of men because I see them as part of a range of different types of lifestyle that he could adopt. I would think it quite alien that the occasional image of men in this way would significantly affect me (or him). In contrast, advertising and lifestyle magazines aimed at women seem to impose a very disturbing level of conformity and one that I feel would not be acceptable to most men. Frankly a lot of female targeted products seem to objectify (in the sense of judging purely by appearance) and be misogynist (in the sense of appearing to gain pleasure from and dwelling on the humiliation of women, particularly if their superficial appearance is non-conformist). In contrast most pornographic products aimed at men include a great diversity of female personality types, some are passive but many are not, Jordan being a classic example. They aren't treated as objects in the sense that their desire is critical to their appeal, sex dolls are relatively undesirable. While there is certainly some pornography and lifestyle discussions that appear to encourage pleasure in the suffering of women I feel this is in the minority with most magazines presenting their female models as stars who are the centre of attention and whose happiness and desire is an important part of their appeal.

My initial feelings about the campaign against page 3 is that these images are being judged assuming they were present in the kind of magazine targeted at women i.e. they are a conforming image and that they would lead to humiliation of those that didn't conform. I think the majority of male culture is not oppressive in that way. Personally I find mainstream female culture to be much more of a problem for women's liberation than these products. What am I missing?

FastidiaBlueberry Wed 13-Feb-13 17:20:40

How many of those girls who take Jordan as a role model are going to end up running blue chip companies? Passing legislation? Becoming experts in their fields? Living a life free of the necessity to accomodate a man less capable and brilliant than they are, because society has been structured to enable him to function and them not to except as a supporting part in his life?

jackburton Wed 13-Feb-13 17:21:37

"This is patriarchy. This is the "influence from others" - other men, who are buying into patriarchal values."

I honestly don't think men have a monopoly on unpleasant status hierarchies.

FastidiaBlueberry Wed 13-Feb-13 17:23:04

jackburton, you really need to do the reading.

Seriously, you do.

You are utterly unaware of your privilege. When women fight for your approval, they don't even realise they're doing so, neither do you.

I'm not surprised your wife sent you here, I bet she's bashing her head against the wall at your wilful blindness.

Go and do something useful like put the bins out, will you.

jackburton Wed 13-Feb-13 17:27:09

"How many of those girls who take Jordan as a role model are going to end up running blue chip companies? Passing legislation? Becoming experts in their fields? Living a life free of the necessity to accomodate a man less capable and brilliant than they are"

I think this is a very important point. I certainly am not advocating Jordan as the only female role model. I think a very important project is the creation of more female role models. Your point about the Bechdel test is very important. I think that needs to be a focus of campaigns similar to how racist depictions in media have been campaigned against. In terms of addressing oppression of women I actually find Kate Middleton to be a much more harmful role model than Jordan, not a view that mainstream journalism seems to embrace (but that might be getting off the point a little).

FastidiaBlueberry Wed 13-Feb-13 17:27:28

"I honestly don't think men have a monopoly on unpleasant status hierarchies"

They have a monopoly on the status hierarchies that matter, that have POWER in society

BubblesOfBliss Wed 13-Feb-13 17:30:07

" I have not experienced any women fighting for my approval."

Jack you enjoy the benefits of women fighting for approval of 'men as a group'

jackburton Wed 13-Feb-13 17:32:28

"I'm not surprised your wife sent you here"

smile Please see this as an opportunity to put me right, I genuinely want to understand. (I did the bins yesterday smile )

When I read my wife's glamour magazine it often has sections obsessing over how to please your husband in bed and what men secretly think etc. So I can understand why a woman might get the impression that they should be trying to gain their partners approval. Frankly such articles scare the hell out of me due to their submissive tone. Although I don't know why men wouldn't find that sort of article acceptable and women would be attracted to it, other than because that is what is being presented as normal by other women.

BubblesOfBliss Wed 13-Feb-13 17:38:30

FastidiaBlueberry "I'm not surprised your wife sent you here, I bet she's bashing her head against the wall at your wilful blindness." topic question.... Is that unsisterly? Despairingly admitting her husband is an ignorant plank - she sends him over to FWR for other women to sort out! Pretty under-handed behaviour grin

jackburton Wed 13-Feb-13 18:50:52

Ok, so I'm interested in your take on this.

Men often use the threat of female approval as a tool for oppressing one another. Exploitative status hierarchies are facilitated by the threat that unless a man is rich, handsome, strong, deep voiced, hairy, famous etc. they are to some extent unlovable I know of a number of men who have tolerated abusive working environments because of the fear that their wives will leave them if they don't.

I don't think that this is men being oppressed by women. I think this is men being oppressed by men, who are concealing that oppression through an exaggerated and largely fictional threat. I think in reality women's interest in men is a lot more subtle and personal except for a minority who I feel are enforcing this oppression because of their own insecurities. Objectification and misogyny of women can be viewed as a direct mirror of this.

LineRunner Wed 13-Feb-13 19:10:52

There are no 'direct mirrors' when comparing men and women within a patriarchy.

FastidiaBlueberry Wed 13-Feb-13 19:20:07

" I think in reality women's interest in men is a lot more subtle and personal except for a minority who I feel are enforcing this oppression because of their own insecurities. "

Sorry I don't understand what you mean by this?

jackburton Wed 13-Feb-13 19:27:09

"Sorry I don't understand what you mean by this?"

Apologies it was too elaborate a point to make at the end of a sentence like that.

What I mean is that I think there are a minority of women who would leave their partners if they didn't conform to oppressive status hierarchies. I think those women are imposing this oppression because of insecurities they have about their own status and are trying to validate themselves through their partners. Likewise I think sexist behaviour in modern men can be interpreted as insecure men reinforcing oppression on women, not because they find sexist roles appealing but because by doing so they feel more important. Although the values that are being enforced may seem to be appealing to men they are likewise more subtle in their interests and don't really want sexist stereotypes for partners. These values may come from other women trying to impose values on each other, just as men threaten men with being unloveable for not conforming to their own abusive stereotypes.

FastidiaBlueberry Wed 13-Feb-13 19:27:12



jackburton Wed 13-Feb-13 19:38:50

BOB? (

Who's the BOB?

FastidiaBlueberry Wed 13-Feb-13 19:42:32

Still not sure whose values you're talking about tbh.

The men's values or the women's?

Not sure what you're getting at?

FreyaSnow Wed 13-Feb-13 20:04:09

What is Katie Price a role model of?

She has certainly survived some abusive situations and has dealt with a lot of prejudice in the process of raising a child with disabilities. So clearly she is a strong person and that is to be admired.

So certainly she might be a role model for young women who are experiencing abuse or prejudice.

But I'm not sure what other role it is she's representing. I don't really hear young people talk about her; I think they notice actors and musicians more.

jackburton Wed 13-Feb-13 20:07:10

I think it's confusing because I'm describing one situation and then describing it again with the sexes reversed.

In the first case where I'm describing men oppressing men I'm saying that within those relationships women sometimes reinforce the oppression because of their own insecurity (i.e. treat men as status objects).

In the second case, imagine the sexes reversed. i.e. women oppressing women. I'm suggesting that male sexism can be understood as a male mirror of the first case i.e. insecure men treating women as status objects.

This perspective suggests that rather than their being an overriding oppressive male domination that it is really two parallel systems of same sex oppression. Men just look more successful because they can't give birth and so get more money at the top, but really lots of men and women are being oppressed but primarily by their own sex.

jackburton Wed 13-Feb-13 20:10:37

"What is Katie Price a role model of?"

I think she has a similar role for working class teenage girls that footballers have for working class teenage boys. An example of how to be rich and do what you want while having your sex appeal validated.

LineRunner Wed 13-Feb-13 20:10:43

OP, I think you are locked into a circular argument there, and one that is detached from the reality of the partriarchy we live in.

jackburton Wed 13-Feb-13 20:21:36

LineRunner, could you explain what I've missed in a bit more detail. I don't understand how my argument is circular. I'm suggesting an underlying psychological and sociological explanation for the dynamic between men and women. I think it offers explanations for most of the issues raised here but I may have missed something. I don't really understand the alternative Patriarchy one. I'm still confused as to why men's attitudes/actions indirectly create such strong Female to Female oppressive behaviour. Much stronger in my experience than that of the majority of direct Male to Female oppression, which I feel is relegated to an insecure male minority. Although a lot of the posts refer to an implicit male oppression, e.g. through porn, can that really be so much more influential than the explicit form in the majority of women's magazines?

FastidiaBlueberry Wed 13-Feb-13 20:38:00

Let's take slavery.

The master very rarely bothered to do the whipping himself.

The black overseer did it.

The master didn't bother to get his hands dirty.

And it might have looked like the rich white master was oppressing white poorer men, and women (which he was).

And like black overseers were oppressing other black slaves.

But they had their own system of heirarchies as a result of slavery. House slaves vs field slaves, American born vs African born. All hierarchies within slavery, all oppressions within it, existed only as a result of the original oppression. That's the long and the short of it. Any attempts to come up with fancy theories about how really field slaves were much more oppressed by xyz slaves because of blah, is really bollocks isn't it? It's just obfuscating the real source of oppression.

Which I feel is what you're doing here on this thread. And so I urge you to do the reading and then think about it. I realise that it's more reassuring and comforting for men to pretend that they're not responsible as a group for oppressing women and women actually oppress each other more than men oppress them, but tbh I'm not going to give any man that validation because I simply don't believe it's true. And if you read Kat Banyard just as a starting point, you'll see why it's not true - Banyard doesn't say anything particularly revolutionary, she just goes through facts.

FreyaSnow Wed 13-Feb-13 20:43:39

Professional football is a stereotypical aspiration for boys and singing, dance and drama is a stereotypical aspiration for girls. I don't think wanting your sexual appeal validated is equivalent to these things.

Katie Price started her career at 13 being photographed in her underwear by a convicted paedophile. I think almost all people of all ages just find that distressing and sad. My daughter aspires to creative careers and celebrity - her role model is Anne Hathaway. My daughter is a year younger than Katie Price was when she started out; I'd be really worried if she thought the way to achieve celebrity was to have her sexual appeal validated by adult men.

I think some people in their twenties did buy into that Loaded culture as teenagers, because it was quite new and a lot of people didn't realise how dark it was. Teenagers now have been exposed to it through the Internet and media and mostly seem really aware that it's not aspirational. As my teenage niece explained to my mum, it's not about how attractive you are; it's about what you're prepared to do.

jackburton Wed 13-Feb-13 20:55:46

Thanks, FastidiaBlueberry the racial analogy is a very good one and a very disturbing one to me.
I suppose that issue has not really been addressed either, although things like Obama being president help. I also see analogies in how black music stars are often photographed to make them look like tanned Caucasians although I don't get the impression that that approach is common in magazines targeted directly at black readers (although I am hardly an expert). I think there is still insufficient objection to mainstream female culture and I still find it difficult to understand how direct male actions are leading to oppression except through a sort of post-colonialist legacy kind of way.

I have ordered "The Equality Illusion" ( so hopefully that will clear things up bit for me.

jackburton Wed 13-Feb-13 21:03:36

"Teenagers now have been exposed to it through the Internet and media and mostly seem really aware that it's not aspirational."

I completely agree that the industry is seedy and exploitative, although so many are, particularly singing. I wonder what the new role models are, I still think there are some teenagers who are reading Katie Price's autobiography as a guide to how to escape their limited prospects, as that is the feedback from my wife's friend in teaching. The advantage of Katie Price's career is that, superficially at least, it looks attainable to many girls. I wonder what other, vaguely credible, role models exist for working class girls?

FastidiaBlueberry Wed 13-Feb-13 21:05:34

It's a good start. wink

This will also help, maybe.

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