Page 3 – RIP

Rumours in the media today suggest – although there has been no official confirmation of a change – that The Sun, UK’s best-selling tabloid, is “quietly” dropping the long-running practice of featuring a topless woman on Page 3. Here we share our recent interview with Lucy-Anne Holmes, founder of the ‘No More Page 3’ campaign – massive congratulations on your campaign, Lucy-Anne


Page 3 – RIP

I’m really passionate about issues surrounding female sexuality and how this is presented in society. For me, it was very confusing to grow up in a world where all the images of female sexuality I was fed were designed by men – Page 3 being a prime example. Growing up, absorbing that image of a sexual woman is quite complicated. I believe that this is a space where women are often not equal. I think we need to talk about sex more and that women should be in on that dialogue.

My mother taught me to value kindness. Today, I think it is underrated. When we think about the bullying language used by tabloid newspapers every day, it’s no surprise we are so critical and judgemental of each other and ourselves.

I uncovered feminism because I was curious about my relationships with men. I came to the end of another relationship in my mid-thirties and started to question why I felt I had lost my power and become so passive. I realised it was because I had been fed those female stereotypes while growing up. So I started trying to step out of that passivity and become more empowered, both in my everyday life and in my sex life.

I think we are always learning from people, even if their values are not those we align ourselves with. I’ve probably learnt most from my mistakes. For example, the relationships I’ve been in; my partners weren’t right for me, but I’ve learnt about myself from that experience. Mistakes often hold great lessons.

I wrote a three-page letter to The Sun detailing the reasons I thought it should end. But I knew it would do nothing. I bought a copy of The Sun during the Olympics and found that in the UK’s biggest-selling newspaper, the largest image of a woman was a Page 3 model in her knickers showing her breasts for men, even though Jessica Ennis-Hill had just won a gold medal. I couldn’t stop thinking about what this was teaching young girls about their values, and what it was teaching young boys about how to respect women. Showing women as naked and passive in a family newspaper limits them. It said to me that this is a man’s world. Some of the men in my life were worried I would be destroyed by taking on The Sun, but I wasn’t scared. Once I’d seen through the way I had been feeling about myself as a woman, I felt passionately that it was pictures like these that had made me feel disempowered.

I find it devastating that so many women are plagued by negative body image. I have spoken to lots of girls who hate their bodies and want cosmetic surgery before they have even reached adulthood. We live in a culture that is setting women up to believe in a very extreme beauty ideal. We need to challenge society on this and have conversations to raise awareness.

I think if we saw more women in positions of power across the world, we would live in a more harmonious place. There is a real inconsistency in power and we live on a huge living organism of a planet, in which men and women need to live together in balance. So if I could change one thing in the world, it would be to have a greater equilibrium and place more women in power.

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Photograph: Pål Hansen