Jasmine Moores looks at this week’s referendum to remove The Sun from Guild outlets and criticises the culture of shaming Page 3 models and other adult workers as unfeminist.
For years now I have witnessed the term “feminism” being abused. Through my own experiences I began to build my own concept of feminism and what it meant to me, as all around me the notion of a “feminist woman” became distorted and twisted beyond recognition. The debate over whether or not we should ban The Sun from Guild outlets brought these feelings to a boil. This is what I felt was being overlooked in the dismissal of Page 3 modelling as nothing more than a derogatory example of sexism.
My initial reaction to the banning of the paper was this; if you don’t want to see tits, don’t buy the paper. If you buy the paper and moan because there are tits, you need to get a grip. I don’t believe that students are really being presented with the facts. Do the leaders of this boycott have a direct interview from a page 3 model documenting the hardships and oppression of her career? Have they worked as a glamour model, experiencing first-hand the humiliating and derogatory nature of the job? The answer is no.
When movements like this create a buzz even though it is allegedly started to support women, in fact it does the opposite. The assumption that every woman at university believes that Page 3 modelling/lapdancing, is derogatory, unrealistic and insulting.
It seems no one has considered that maybe, just maybe, someone who attends university and has half a brain could be involved with such “demeaning” work. In fact there is a completely opposing view based on personal experience, not constructed ideas of what feminism should apparently be. The reality is, you may see it as an insult that papers with topless women are being sold on campus, but others may find it an insult that you condemn their line of work as inappropriate, making assumptions based on your own opinions and moral compass instead of considering women as a whole.
You may feel you are liberating your gender by taking a dim view on modelling, but that is one opinion among many, and removing the paper deprives others of the opportunity to make up their own mind. If the intention is to give women a voice should this not also apply to the lapdancers and models of the world? Does feminism exclude women who don’t have “worthy” jobs? The voices of women in these careers are stifled beneath the overbearing and angry cries of the anti-Page 3 feminists. That, my friends, is girl on girl sexism right there, and that is not cool.
If you believe human beings are all equal, and that women are human beings, you are a feminist. There should be no ifs or buts about appearance or career choice, it should be based on feelings of equality. The aversion to Page 3 suggests that if a woman chooses to wear revealing clothes or work as a model she is less of a women – that if you do the following things (wear short skirts/show off your body etc.) you are a wrong, you are not a feminist and you are setting women back hundreds of years. Your opinion doesn’t count for anything because your outward appearance is not that of a “feminist” and even if you think you’re not being oppressed, you are, you just don’t realise it.
Am I missing something here? The liberation of women allowed them to show flesh and be proud of their bodies and yet people are still under the outdated illusion that a desire to reveal flesh makes you a “victim of social construction” and that your behaviour is only to please men. Well that’s bollocks. Western society is the first to criticise the burka and hail it as a single emblem that encompasses the oppression of women within the Muslim faith, yet it seems that in order to embody this distorted idea of feminism we too should cover ourselves as this is the only way we can demonstrate self-respect.
These feelings are based on first hand experiences combined with those of many close friends who have worked as strippers, lapdancers, promo girls and, shock horror, Page 3 girls. I have nothing but praise for the industry and even though I know everyone’s experiences differ, women who work in this industry are not degraded if they have chosen this as their line of work. A lapdancer who doesn’t enjoy her job is no more oppressed than a receptionist who doesn’t enjoy her job.
The point is we should have the choice to do what we want, be it take our clothes off, drive a bus or work in Hooters. If a girl wants to pose wearing nothing but a G-string made of jelly babies, not because she wants to pull, not because she’s being forced to, but because she wants to, then right on sister, pose away and good on you. The amount of times I have heard, “look at that topless model/girl wearing a short skirt etc. What a slut, she makes women everywhere look bad”. We should be showing female solidarity and supporting our fellow woman who is proud of her body not attempting to degrade her.
Feminism is not a one size fits all concept. I realise for every girl that recognises the importance of empowerment and self-respect there will be one who doesn’t have a clue. But that is life. Generalisations and assumptions made by women and about women are detrimental, regardless of whether or not they are based on the shaky and ambiguous grounds of feminism. Instead of trying to make other women feel less feminist because they do not fit with preconceived ideas, we should be supporting one another regardless of occupation/clothing/ability to catch £10 notes in their cleavage. F**k labels. Clothed or unclothed – be proud to be a woman.
For more from Jamine, visit her blog. Are there factions of feminism that do more harm than good to equality between the sexes? Is Page 3 work a responsible decision for those who could arguably be seen as role models for young women?Leave a comment below or write to the Comment team at the Exeposé Comment Facebook Group or on Twitter @CommentExepose.bookmark me