In spiked, Gabrielle Shiner explains that she doesn’t want or need the “Turn Your Back on Page 3” campaigners to pre-select what she’s allowed to see in the newspaper:
With the Leveson Inquiry currently insisting that the press bares all, campaign groups such as Turn Your Back on Page 3 have spotted an opportunity to force the tabloid’s topless ladies to cover themselves up. And all in the name of protecting girls like me from being terrorised by tits.
The campaign to get bare chests banned is certainly not short of grand claims. Apparently, Page 3 and its like perpetuate sexism by, ‘at best, encouraging and endorsing negative attitudes towards us and within us, and at worst, [encouraging and endorsing] acts of violence committed against us’. According to campaigners, the government therefore has a responsibility to satiate these campaigners’ appetite for paternalism, which they believe equates to ‘stamping out sexism once and for all’.
The Turn Your Back on Page 3 campaigners are right about one thing: an offensive misrepresentation of women exists in society. But it is this group of self-appointed saviours that has offended. The group parades itself as representative of women in order to justify forcing its views on the public. But if these supposed advocates of women’s rights were serious about liberties, they would not condone such bans.
And it is not just that the campaigners are unjustified in speaking on behalf of women — they have also misrepresented women and men. These campaigners present women as pitiful animals teeming with self-loathing. Men are depicted as uncontrollable beasts who are so mesmerised by the breasts on Page 3 that these images, at best, define their perception of women for evermore and, at worst, turn them to violence.