Surely they’re both? Well, rather, the Page 3 “institution” (yes, really, that is what Murdoch has called it) is both a product, and cause, of sexism. It exists because of sexism (product) and it perpetuates further sexism (cause) in its continued objectification of women.

What this battle has mostly missed is thatPage Three is a productnot a causeof a sexist society. As Alyssa Rosenberg wrote in Slate, “Stopping publication of that feature won’t get rid of the market for images of topless, compliant women.” Jessica Grose put it another way: “This could have been replaced with Maxim or Playboy or the cover of Paper magazine or Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue, or ESPN’s BODY issue.” Even if The Sun abolished Page Three, teenage boys would still be able to pick up any number of “Lads’ Mags” at the supermarketunless, of course, the “Lose the Lads’ Mags” campaign succeeds.

Unfortunately, what we have here is yet another “feminists are doing feminism all wrong” piece. (I blogged about this trend here.) No, we’re not. What we’re doing is challenging systemic sexism, in which Page 3 (see also: women on bank notes, Slutwalk etc.) is one part. Page 3 is a function of systemic sexism. Sociology 101, there.

Picking at Murdoch and his empire doesn’t seem like the best expenditure of feminist energy. It’s unfortunate that Murdoch is one of the most powerful people in media, but that status doesn’t automatically render him a worthy adversary. As he shows time and time againlike when he tweeted in the wake of Charlie Hebdo that ordinary Muslims should be “held responsible” for violent extremismhe has no qualms about airing his repulsive opinions. Page Three is sexist, yesbut Murdoch and The Sun just aren’t worthwhile targets.

Piece on The New Republic.


p class="wordpresspost">(Orig. posted on feimineach.com)