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.
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.