Thursday, 7 March 2013
IWD 2013 : Celebrating NoMorePage3 founder, Lucy-Anne Holmes
Our IWD 2013 Woman of the Week : Day 4
As a campaigning charity for the rights of women and girls, as well as charity that provides direct services of support and care for girls and women, we admire those campaigners who really make it happen. In the case of lobbying for the abolition of Page 3, Platform 51 has been involved in lobbying and communications at various times during the Leveson enquiry to push for the abolition of Page 3. For that reason, we admire Lucy-Anne Holmes, the founder of the grassroots lobbying campaign 'No More Page 3', whose work and campaigning has made significant strides towards spearheading the ultimate abolition of the anachronistic dinosaur that is The Sun's Page 3. Such is our admiration, that we want to make Lucy our Woman of the Week for Day 4 of this important week of International Women's Day.
Lucy's 'No More Page 3' campaign has touched a raw nerve. Her campaigning petition on the change.org website - 'Dominic Mohan: Take The Bare Boobs Out Of The Sun #nomorepage3' currently has 84,323 supporters. The petition addresses the editor of the Sun, Dominic Mohan, directly, saying : 'Dominic, stop showing topless pictures of young women in Britain's most widely read newspaper, stop conditioning your readers to view women as sex objects. Enough is enough.'. Well known supporters on the #nomorpage3 change.org petition page include Caitlin Moran, Lauren Laverne, Josie Long, Jennifer Saunders and Alastair Campbell to name a few.
As Lucy says, "boobs aren't news" and so why are they in a newspaper? She hits the nail on the head when she queries why an out-of-date editorial decision from the male-dominated newspaper industry of the 1970s [which is clearly out of kilter with the contemporary and evolved modern-day world today] still holds sway in The Sun newspaper today. She answers her own question when she says, "They are in the newspaper because in 1970 a group of men, in a male managed media, in a male run country decided to put them there. Possibly they didn't think how women would feel about being represented like this, nor did it occur to them that women read newspapers." She goes on ... "It's quite incredible now that this happened really. But it did. And even more incredibly it still does". We agree.
More importantly, we live in an environment where the global statistics for violence against women and girls across the globe are ramping up exponentially. Justine Greening MP, in a speech this week calling for a new focus on girls and women's rights, advised that "around the world, one in three girls and women will be beaten or raped in their lifetime". Hence, the absolute power and ripple effect throughout the world of the recent One Billion Rising campaign on 14th February where women and girls made a stand against such violence. It against this backdrop that Lucy, and many others, including Platform 51, seriously question the wisdom of repeatedly perpetuating a notion that women are sexual objects. As Lucy says, "Page 3 is the biggest thing normalising sexual objectification in our country. It is there for no other reason than the sexual gratification of men. She's a sex object".
What is so fantastic about the success of Lucy's #nomorepage3 campaign so far is the fact that Lucy is no strident feminist or seasoned political campaigner. She is simply an actress and writer from Brighton with real and passionate concern for the difficulties of young women growing up in a society where "it is acceptable to publish naked breasts in a 'family-orientated' newspaper". The driving force of Lucy's campaign is really, for her, and for Platform 51 too, the ripple effects which stem from Page 3's continued existence. Namely, low self-esteem among many young girls, eating and body image disorders, the desire for plastic surgery, and even, most concerningly, the fact that young women would appear to be accepting much higher levels of violence within relationships.
For Lucy, her #nomorepage3 campaign is about being able to work towards living in a world where sexual objectification of women is not the norm. And in a world where newspapers value women for their minds. For Lucy, and for many others, it is also a campaign which should be able to firmly shift the ability of Sun editor, Dominic Mohan to be able to justify and pass off Page 3 in such glib terms as a 'celebration' of 'youth', 'freshness' and 'natural beauty'.
Clearly, Lucy's campaign still has some way to go despite the extraordinary public support she has gained via her petition and active campaigning. Shifting Page 3 is, astonishingly, no easy challenge. It is clear, however, that Lucy is up for the fight and she has a natural gift for campaigning. Her crisp white campaigning t-shirts emblazoned with the #nomorepage3 message have been widely adopted by campaigners around the country. While others have gone directly onto YouTube, as indeed, Lucy has herself, to campaign further and gain viral acceleration around the #nomorepage3 message.
We admire Lucy's determination and focus with this campaign. We also admire the fact that she translated a moment in time and sudden recognition into a coherent and successful campaign with a strong head of steam behind it. The kickstarter behind Lucy's campaign was the simple act of picking up The Sun on the tube during the time of the Olympics in Summer 2012, not finding boobs of any kind on Page 3, assuming this must be on account of some essence of sophisticated cultural deference during the Olympics, and then lo and behold, finding Page 3 had been temporarily moved to Page 13. An unlucky number for some, but a very lucky number for Lucy. That number 13 drove Lucy to action and gave birth to the #nomorepage3 campaign.
Platform 51 is proud to have such a modern-day and impassioned campaigner for our Woman of the Week on Day 4 of this week of International Women's Day. We stand by her cause and will lobby and campaign alongside her until there is no need whatsoever for a #nomorepage3 campaign. If 84,323 supporters still can't influence a key editorial decision, you have to wonder how many it will take. But Lucy will get us there ...!
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