Saturday, 29 November 2014

Reach for the Star (and the Sun)

An update on the No More Page 3 campaign.

This is a brilliant campaign to persuade the Sun newspaper to stop featuring naked women on page three.

The bad news is that the tradition of the Page 3 Girl lives on, waving her nipples at you every day of the week from between the news pages.

The good news is that she's slightly less visible in some high profile supermarkets.

A lower profile on a higher shelf

Tesco and then Waitrose and Marks and Spencer have announced changes to the way in which they display the Sun and the Star.

Tesco has decided that only the names and logos of the two newspapers will be visible from the sides of the cubes in which they are displayed, so they are no longer in the sight line of children, and are less visible from a distance.

Waitrose has announced that it will be doing something similar, and M&S has moved them to the higher shelves.

This means that sexualised images of women are no longer within easy sight and reach of children, it also relegates these titles to less prominent positions. Hopefully this will have an impact on sales, because if that happens then it's more likely that the Sun will sit up and listen and maybe, just maybe, it will put the Page 3 girl into retirement.

A small step for woman, a giant leap for womankind

This tweaking of newspaper displays by supermarkets is relatively small beer in the greater scheme of things. But it is one more small step for feminism in a great long journey that began with women asking for the vote and won't end, I hope, until we have a truly equal society.

By taking steps, however small, to move these newspapers, these three immensely powerful corporations are sending a message that these publications are not completely socially acceptable,

Moving the publications to the top shelves does more than that - it takes pictures of bare-breasted women out of the mainstream and puts them out of clear sight, somewhere that is niche, and more difficult to reach.

It would be great would be if these shops stopped selling the Sun altogether, but even without that, this is a small but significant cultural change, which pushes the Sun and its Page 3 slightly nearer to the margins.

In the meantime, I'm hoping that more big stores will be following the lead.

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