Eight or nine years ago, I removed some dying lino from the bedroom floor of a house I was living in and found some old newspapers there underneath. The newspapers were from January, 1976. They were mostly copies of The Sun. Sadly, much of what remained was partially decomposed and quite unreadable. But enough remained to provide a telling snapshot of what life was like in the mid-70s.
1976 was of course an exciting new age in Great Britain, with everyone – not least tabloid journalists – coming to terms with the Sex Discrimination Act, passed in November of 1975.
In The Sun, this meant the appearance of Libby, a progressive female cartoon character who reflected the desire of modern women to be treated equally, or at the very least to be treated as more than mere flesh-chattels fit for cooking, cleaning, sexing and shopping. As you can see here…
Well, at least the days when cartoons suggested that for men, women were really nothing more than a pair of breasts, were well and truly over.
Well, at least when jobs were advertised now, they had to be offered to both men and women. Because they were equal now. Men. And women.
Well, at least now – and I mean now, nearly 40 years later – things have certainly changed. Women are treated with respect in The Sun, which is, let us not forget, Britain’s top-selling newspaper. Not as second-class citizens whose bodies come first, whose house-making skills come second and, yeah, go on then, love, if you’re gonna rattle on about it all day, you can go out and get a job (just don’t expect to be paid the same).
So I just popped over to The Sun’s website, for the first time in a very long time, and on the front page today, to illustrate a story about an 8-year-old boy marrying a 61-year-old woman in South Africa (you can read it here if that kind of thing titillates you), they did this…
LOL! ROFL! See, he’s only 8, right, but he still knows what his wife’s good for.
I don’t know. Maybe that’s not such a great example. It just struck me as rather telling.
At least they don’t have Page Three anymore though. In the newspaper they do, yeah, of course. But not online. Nah. Now, it’s got its own site.
I have some friends – seemingly very intelligent friends – who can’t understand why the existence of Page Three might be seen to be damaging our society, or in the words of Bill Hicks, how it might be seen to be tainting our collective unconscious and making us pay a higher psychic price than we imagine. Because to me it’s obvious.
If it’s obvious to you too, the campaign to persuade Dominic Mohan and Rupert Murdoch to stop it and to finally fulfill the promises made in 1975 is still very much alive and kicking. Please support it by adding your signature here. It really is the very least you can do. As a human being. A decent human being who realises that we are all connected. And we all deserve basic respect.
But if all you really came here for was to find out how to be outrageously successful to women, here you go. This is for you…
Don’t mention it.