Sophie Wilkinson | Contributing Editor | Thursday, 22 January 2015

We Speak To Labour MP Stella Creasy About Page 3: 'It's Never Been About Boobs'

The Debrief: We spoke to the supporter of NoMorePage3 about the impact of having a half-naked woman on the third page of the UK's most-read paper every day...

Last night, The Sun played one of those ‘ner ner ner ner ner’ jokes/publicity stunts they like to do and put a half-naked woman back on Page 3 just one day after its sister paper, The Times, heavily implied it had gone.

While we shan’t bother ourselves with trying to get into the psyche of The Sun to try and make sense of this decision, which right now seems about as mature as the 'down below - whoops, too slow!' sort of playground humour, we’d hazard a guess that it was a good pop at the NoMorePage3 activists who’ve appealed for David Dinsmore, editor of the paper to remove the unbeared boobs from what is meant to be a newspaper.

NoMorePage3 has the support of 140 MPs, and one of them is Stella Creasy, the MP for Walthamstow and Shadow Minister for Crime Prevention. We spoke to her about what Page 3 means to the world, why the most-read paper in the UK needs to modernise and why this debate has never even been about boobs.

What do you think’s going on with The Sun right now?

It’s not really explicable, it’s like a drunken lecherous bloke on a dance floor who just needs to take a long, hard look at themselves. No-one’s telling women what to do. What we’re saying is what are the consequences to all of this, what kind of messages are we sending to our young people about what we really value about them, what really matters about them.

Some might say that we get to see boobs in fashion magazines, that there's a freedom elsewhere. Why is this different?

Some people might say this argument is reduced to: ‘I can look at boobs if I want to.’ It’s never been about boobs, it’s always been about the fact we have such a narrow story about what the value of women is.

READ MORE: Why I'll Be Mourning The End Of Page 3

So what do you have to say to The Sun?

They need to get their act together, they really need to decide what kind of world they want to live in and what kind of world they promote. It’s not some Great British institution; even James Bond has evolved over the years. It seems like The Sun is struggling to make sense of the world. I say, come on in to the future. It’s a great place to live, where men and women are more equal. It’s more interesting as well.

And what about those who say this is a small issue and we’ve got bigger things to focus on?

We are capable of multiple thinking. You think FGM is about genital mutilation. It’s actually about control, it’s about the designation of value, about women’s worth. If you can’t see the connection, then you don’t understand the scale of the problem. So you have to tackle the attitude as well as the act.

Some might say that glamour models will potentially lose their livelihoods with the demise of Page 3. How do you feel about that?

NoMorePage3 aren’t looking to ban topless modelling. ‘Have you seen the impact of it? Have you seen what it does, have you actually thought about and been accountable for the consequences of this way of looking at women?’ The Sun took the decision [to remove Page 3, temporarily perhaps] it wasn’t legislation.

We are starting a conversation about the kind of world we want to live in and that’s a world where everyone is freer, and freedom comes from not thinking 'people are worried about cup size rather than my contribution'.

READ MORE: Breast Cancer Patient Attacks Page 3 In Open Letter To The Sun

The Sun historically backs the party that wins the election. Do you have any thoughts on that?

I would debate The Sun on the policy platform we put forward, but I will also not back down on saying ‘really? This is what you want to go to the wall for, this is what you want people to think about when it comes to your paper?’

As we head towards another election, we hear surveys and polls saying certain parties have a ‘woman problem’ – do you think this extends to papers, too?

We are 51% of the population. When you miss out on our contribution, when you’re not talking and engaging with us, you’re missing out on a BIG impact.

READ MORE: 'As Far As I'm Concerned, The End Of Page 3 Is A Triumph For Women'

And what about the backlash you’ve had? Is there anything worth learning about it?

I’ve had two solid days of comments on Twitter calling me a ‘moose’ and a ‘munter’, saying I’m ‘fat-thighed’ and ‘flat-chester’ and a feminazi in sensible shows – as if I ever wear sensible shoes! You wonder in that kind of debate, do we really think tha’ts ok, do we really think that any time a woman expresses an opinion that’s the reaction she should get.

Our readers might feel a little hopeless right now. What would you advise to them?

Never give up hope. We are making progress, it’s just sometimes darkest before the dawn. So we should be supporting each other. The most heartbreaking thing I’ve seen in the past two days isn’t the abuse, it’s the teenage cmpaigners who are just devastated. And we need their energy, because they’re going to make the world a better place.

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Like this? You might also be interested in:

The Sun Drops Topless Models On Page 3, Activists Rejoice

'Being Boob-Shamed In My Teens Still Affects Me In My 20s

No Booze, No Buses, No Tinder. The Reality Of Saving For A Boob Job At 26

Follow Sophie on Twitter @sophwilkinson

Tags: Politics Meets Pop Culture, Sexism, General Election 2015