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On putting dicks on page three

As you’ve probably noticed, there’s been renewed hoo-ha recently about the presence of tits on page three.

Some people are campaigning against it, and I can see why. It’s a bloody odd thing for a newspaper to print, it makes the assumption that there are vast armies of men who won’t buy newspapers unless there’s something in there to give them an erection, and it perpetrates the myth that women are sexual only in so much as they have lovely tits to look at.

On the other hand some people I greatly respect and admire have denounced the campaign, saying that – among other things – there are worrying tendencies to slut shame the young women who pose topless, and what the fuck is wrong with naked bodies anyway?

All good points – there’s clearly a problem in here somewhere. I’m going to say at this point that I personally hate bans. While it’s clearly necessary to outlaw certain things, banning can occasionally prove to be the last resort of the unimaginative arsehole. There are often better solutions that don’t involve curtailing people’s behaviour.

So I’m not going to suggest that we ban the tits. I’m going to suggest that we add to them, by including dicks on page three as well.

The page three problem

The main problem with page three, and the reason that people want to ban it, is that it encourages us to view women as sexual objects. On the other hand, as Hayley Stevens argues, perhaps this argument itself is perpetrating negative attitudes – that you’re useless to society if you take your clothes off, that you being naked betrays other women, etc.

Both of these issues are focused on women. Let’s be clear – no one I’ve read has suggested that seeing a naked man will send all women into a misandric, frothing, abusive frenzy. Or that men being photographed taking their clothes off might be betraying the brotherhood.

So why is it specifically naked women that are the problem? It surely can’t be that, as well as having tits, women also have magical and hidden society-altering powers that are involuntarily activated as soon as they take their tops off. No – it’s not that women are somehow different, it’s that they’re the only bloody ones we see naked.

A parade of naked men

I’m not saying that we never see naked men. You only need to look at covers of things such as Attitude to get a really good see of a naked man. Occasionally I’ll spend upwards of two minutes in WH Smith seeing the naked men, with a thin string of drool running down my chin.

But the reason I’ll dwell on these pictures is because they’re a special treat.

Naked men are not a part of our culture in the same way that naked women are. Their dicks don’t come out on saucy postcards, they are less frequently employed as strippers, in films their good bits are usually hidden from the camera, and in posters and advertisements their cocks are usually well and truly covered. There are a few notable exceptions, such as the famous David Beckham package, which caused an appropriately well-endowed storm at the time, but it’s exceptional because it’s rare. As one who looks out for it on an almost constant basis, I can assure you that male nudity is disproportionately scarce. Most importantly, it’s completely absent from page three.

Solution: put dicks on page three

So, here’s my proposal, and it’s a disappointingly simple one, motivated in equal parts by my insatiable horniness and my sense of fair play: put cocks on page three. In fact not just the cocks – the whole body. Stick naked men on page three too.

I’m unlikely to open The Sun, but if I did I’d like to see Tony, 23, from Bradford telling me that although GDP has dropped by 0.5% he feels reassured that the Treasury has a plan for recovery. And more importantly, I could look at his dick. A nice, long, thick, photogenic dick. Not erect, of course, it’s a family paper.

You could alternate the days, with a man one day and a woman the next or even – just to blow everyone’s minds – put male and female models next to each other in the same picture. It would at least give the whole charade some semblance of realism. After all, men and women are often naked together, but it’s bloody unusual for a lone girl to spontaneously get her baps out while standing awkwardly next to a rose bush.

Should we ban tits on page three?

Look, I know it sounds facetious, and I realise that I’m a horrible coward for ducking controversy and not putting a tick in the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ box, but I’m not entirely sure I understand the question yet.

Do I object to newspapers publishing naked people? Not if they’re sold responsibly. Do I object to tits in papers? Maybe – but not because I object to tits, I object to inequality.

Right now I think it’s great that we’re having this discussion, and it’s important that people are aware of why this is causing such a stink. Whether you think it’s OK or not, I hope you’d agree that we should definitely be talking about it. Because when national newspapers dedicate an entire page just to a pert-breasted Tanya, 19, from Birmingham, not even mentioning it would be fucking odd indeed.

We need to think about this. We need to think about why we might object to nakedness in papers, and what we think about women, and whether we’d be having this discussion at all if the sexes were reversed. Why when it comes to sexual content women are rarely seen as the consumers instead of the consumed. Whether printing tits actually does anything to increase newspaper sales. Whether as a nation we’re demeaned, repressed, over-sexualised, or all of the above.

I know I've used this picture before but it's the closest I could find to a page three pose. Just imagine I'm doing a cheesy grin out of shot. It’s a thorny issue indeed. Girlonthenet, 28, from London, says: “I don’t know much about the objectification of women, but how about you print some lovely dicks for me to look at while I mull it over?”

If you would like to join my campaign, please express your vigorous support in the comments below, or tweet/facebook this blog to make it clear to your friends just how much you like equality and/or cock.


  • DB says:

    Couldn’t hurt. There’s already a large number of very thick dicks running, writing and reading the paper, might as well put some in it as well.

    O SNAP

  • Tom says:

    The day they start putting dicks on page 3 is the day I start working out, getting fit and training to become a dick model.

  • O says:

    Wholeheartedly support this, however, you may have more success with a male rear view or torso – genitalia may be a step too far!

  • rny says:

    Let’s hear it for equality and/or cock!

    Am reminded of this post from Girl With A One Track Mind:

  • rny says:

    ack, sorry. thought first one hadn’t gone through. feel free to delete if you can!

  • MLM says:

    They tried putting men on page 7, I think, but people weren’t interested.

  • Dumb Domme says:

    Brilliant(?) Protest Idea:

    1. Organize as many people as you can who will agree to participate.
    2. Print various photos of cocks and naked men (and cut them out if you’re feeling crafty).
    3. On a predetermined day, you and the “Page 3 Cock Team”(?) go out and “borrow” stacks of newspapers (grab 5 or 6 and sit next to the rack for a few minutes), and tape your cock/naked man prints and cutouts *on* page 3 over whatever is there.
    5. Put the newspapers back where they were for sale or for takeaway.
    5. Repeat with as many newspapers as you can find, all day long.

    Bonus step: Distribute/print/email stickers or sticker templates with some sort of text that explains your protest or web address for more information.

    Let the fun begin! Um… I mean down with unequal objectification of genders! …and up with cocks!


    • Dumb Domme says:

      1, 2, 3, 5, 5?

      Oh, I know! I’m so non-conformist I eschew the patriarchal hierarchy of chronological order… fuck numerical order!

    • Girl on the net says:

      Rather predictably, I love this suggestion. Although it should probably come with the warning that cocks should only ever be stuck where tits used to be – i.e. in papers like The Sun and The Star, to avoid terrifying any children who might happen to pick up a paper. Or, indeed, any newshounds looking for updates from the Labour Party conference, who would be horrified to find that Ed Balls has morphed into an actual phallus.

    • Ian says:

      to save time with taping, buy some printable adhesive labels and print the cocks onto those.

      (not suggesting vandalism, etc etc)

  • Vaguely Anonymous says:

    I have no objection to showing naked men and women in in a newspaper, whether on their own or together. That being said, I don’t buy the Sun because it’s not what I want to read and not because it has pictures of women’s tits in it.

    Incidentally, GOTN, that picture of you is gorgeous. Yum!

    • Girl on the net says:

      It’s a bloody good point – would be-jumpered liberals like me ever buy a copy of The Sun anyway? Nah. So The Sun themselves probably give less than a millionth of a shit about my opinion. Still, though, my point stands =)

      And thanks – the pic was taken by @BinaryDad, who is a magic wizard and makes me look a fuck of a lot nicer than I actually do in real life. He made me put my can of Strongbow down to give the shot a sense of class.

  • The Hill Mouse says:

    Interesting idea but one of the recent worrying trends is that boys and men are starting to suffer from many of the same body issues that girls and women have been suffering from for years. I can’t help feel there’s a connection between these conditions and the emphasis on society on how people look and stereotypes of what looks good and what doesn’t. Unfortunately, while I sympathise with your aims, I think your suggestion would only make matters worse.

    I would much rather have a UK wide ‘nude day’, preferably the first really hot day of the summer, when all clothing is banned. This would manage to combine many of the things we, as a country are all ready good at – it would be hilarious, subversive, troubling and sexy – and help us all see our own and others bodies as they really are.

  • Ash says:

    I would gladly be the first dick model, but only if I can keep my shirt on.

  • Edward says:

    Great post, the equality is a very strange issue that people really should think about, but I don’t think you will ever get anywhere with your cocks on Page 3 campaign though. As a society we just don’t think of cocks as sexy (and I am pretty sure that if just not because I am a man). For example, objectively speaking, that amazing pic of you, I have to agree with the earlier comment – it is gorgeous, is so much sexier than the ones I sent you.

    Tits are just intrinsically sexier than cocks, it may be stupid but its never going to change.

  • Chris says:

    Ok, so I’m a journalism student at the moment and this is a conversation me and the rest of the (predominantly female) trainees have a lot, so I felt I should weigh in.

    Firstly, and this is an important point, the Sun readership is actually predominantly female. So having tits on page three isn’t just some ruse to get horny men to buy the paper. There are a lot of women out there who either like, or don’t mind, tits in the face every morning over breakfast.

    Secondly, in whatever sense you want to use, topless isn’t naked. The Sun can’t put dicks on page 3 for the same reason all the page three models have underwear on. It wouldn’t be legal.

    Thirdly, as far as topless modelling goes, the Sun is actually fairly progressive. Women appearing in there have to have natural breasts and they have to have a natural, curvy figure. Also there is a list longer than ten people’s arms of women desperate to be featured. It’s not that they grab a random woman off the street and cajole her into doing it. These women want to be there, baps out, in all their curvaceous glory.

    Finally, even if the Sun could put naked men on page three, they won’t, because who really cares? Topless women tick both gender boxes because men will go: ‘oh nice, tits’ and women will endlessly debate what the model looks like, whether or not they like her, whether or not her appendages are really natural and so on. Naked men will turn the male readership away, and women will give it one look and move on. In many ways the topless woman appeals to the women far more than either a topless or naked man would, which is why the Sun prints them for their mostly female readers.

    • Girl on the net says:

      OK, I have to disagree with quite a few of these points:

      – ‘topless women tick both gender boxes’ – no, they don’t. They really really don’t. They do different things to different people, depending on gender, sexuality, attitude to nakedness, etc. I think the rest of what you’ve written here is mostly speculation, based on a weird assumption that women would prefer to criticise other women than have any kind of sexual agency. Your point that most women ‘don’t mind’ some tits, is sort of annoying. Has anyone asked us? Or has society simply gone ‘well, we – the people who predominantly have the power – like seeing women in a state of near-undress’ so it then becomes something that women are accustomed to. I’ll agree that women are probably pretty accustomed to seeing naked women (more so than seeing naked men) but that doesn’t mean we like it.

      – putting dicks on page 3 wouldn’t necessarily be illegal, but I don’t want to dwell on the details – I’m happy to compromise with an arse, or one of those hot ‘boxers slipping down over hips’ shots.

      – your point about the women specifically – I get that they don’t drag women in off the street. This is partly why this discussion is a complex one – women should have the freedom to get their baps out if they want to. However, as I mentioned in the blog, it’s a much more complex issue because it does not exist outside of our society, which already holds women to odd standards. If we lived in a completely egalitarian world (which is ultimately what I would like), then we could have naked anyone on page 3 if we liked. But we don’t. And that’s why we’re having this discussion, and why the campaign kicked off in the first place.

      – the fact that they use ‘natural’ women is pretty irrelevant, in my opinion. Just because they’re not promoting, for instance, cosmetic surgery or impossible body shape, that doesn’t mean that printing tits is completely OK.

      Finally, thanks for chipping in – I genuinely didn’t expect this blog to cause much controversy, given that what I’m doing is saying ‘this is complicated, I’ll sit on the fence and look at some dicks for a bit until I make up my mind’, so it’s interesting that not only do you think I’m weighing in heavily anti-page-3, the commenter below thinks I’m weighing in on the opposite side.

  • M.K. Hajdin says:

    Way to ignore the fact that men have male privilege and women don’t. That privilege means they don’t suffer at all when anyone sees them naked, not that they would tolerate it being printed in the Sun anyway.

    You’re invited to show me anyone, anywhere, who was “slut shaming” the models. Pointing out that they are members of an oppressed sex class does not equal “slut shaming”. We’re working for a world where all people can make a living without submitting their bodies for the world’s judgment and humiliation. Funny, I’m not hearing any condemnation from you about the employees of the Sun who mock the models with “News in Briefs”, or the male readers who mock the models. The only mockery you seem to care about is that which doesn’t exist – in our camp. Seriously. Show us where we’re mocking the models. With quotes.

    The No More Page 3 campaign is not about banning Page 3. Read a little more closely next time. It’s about signing a petition, and boycotting the Sun’s advertisers. Unless you don’t think we should have the freedom to do that, because freedom is only for exploiters?

    • Girl on the net says:


      Angry though this comment is, I’m glad you posted it – when I initially tweeted the link to this blog someone replied to me saying that I was ‘denying patriarchy’, which confused me a bit but you’ve given it a bit more of a voice here so I’m happy to take it on.

      You say that I’m ignoring the fact that men have privilege – I think that’s completely wrong. In fact the main point of this entire piece is to point out that we cannot yet have a meaningful discussion about whether we’re happy with nakedness in the paper *because* men have privilege and women don’t. I’m not saying men don’t have privilege – clearly, *clearly* this is a big problem, and the reason (as I pointed out above) we see naked ladies fucking everywhere, but far fewer men. The entire point I am making is that because men and women are currently treated so differently, we cannot have a discussion that fails to recognise the distinction between having nakedness in a paper and having purely naked women in a paper – the latter being, of course, far more significant.

      You go on to say that I’m not mocking the papers for their stupid ‘news in briefs’ quotes. Very very clearly I am. I’ve also stated at least a couple of times that the Page 3 campaign has a bloody good point. And those who object to Page 3 have some bloody good points. I’m genuinely a bit confused by your anger, because I think you feel like I am attacking the campaign – I’m not. I’m saying that the issues involved are very complex, and don’t simply warrant a ‘we hate page 3’ vs ‘oh my God you hate sex’ discussion, because there are many different things entangled within that.

      So, there you go. Hope this answers your general points and stops you being so angry – I’ll reiterate – I’m not attacking the campaign. I’m hoping to respond to a lot of the debate I’ve seen out there, highlight some of the issues and explain why I think it’s complicated.

  • brin says:

    There’s a lot of in depth discussion here, but its missing the most important question.

    Which is, is there any significant number of people who actually want to look at guys dicks?

    The answer to that, at least in my limited experience is a resounding no. 10 minutes on ChatRoulette provides some clues as to why.

    There’s a massive disparity in sexual dynamics, both in supply and demand (i.e. most women are valued so highly that they can charge considerable sums for sex, and most men are valued so low that they struggle to give away sex for free), and in the nature of what women are attracted to.

    Imagine going out to the street with an attractive man and attractive woman. Both go round offering to show their goodies to strangers of the opposite sex. How many people do you think would take the man up on the offer?

    When “get your dick out for the girls” becomes a popular chant in the cess pit that is the inner city on a friday night, then we can start casting an accusative eye towards the tabloids double standards on dick/tits exposure.

    Until then I think the much more likely explanation is that there just aren’t that many people who want to see dicks.

    caveat: all this is a generalized view of thing and am not saying there aren’t girls who want to see indiscriminate dicks or guys who aren’t tit-hounds.

  • Concerned says:

    Dicks and tita are not equal. If you want to put dicks on page 3, then you need to put pussies on page 3. And I don’t just mean the bush, the whole (hole) thing. After we see pussy on page 3, then you can put dicks on page 3.

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