12 June 2013
Christian former topless model backs No More Page Three campaign
A Christian and former page three model has backed a new campaign to put an end to the harmful images.
Today, in a Commons debate on media sexism, MP Caroline Lucas was told to cover up a T-shirt and comply with the dress code when she wore the slogan "No More Page Three" in large letters.
The MP for Brighton Pavilion waved a copy of The Sun and said: "It does strike me as a certain irony that this T-shirt is regarded as an inappropriate thing to be wearing in this House, whereas apparently it is appropriate for this kind of newspaper to be available to buy in eight different outlets on the Palace of Westminster estate."
She expressed her support for the No More Page Three campaign and said the content of the page was not acceptable in a newspaper said to be seen by 7.5 million people each day.
The half a million-strong Girlguiding movement has added its voice to the campaign to persuade The Sun newspaper to drop its page three topless pin-up. No More Page Three urges Dominic Mohan "to finally take bare boobs out of The Sun".
The Guides have added their support to the petition after an online poll of 2,000 Guides between 16 and 25 years old found that 88 per cent believed page three should stop. One Guide, Katie Wormald, 17, had the idea to vote and said: "I believe it is wrong for women to be reduced to mere sexual objects in a family newspaper."
A No More Page Three campaigner said: "We have heard too many stories of how page three negatively impacts on young women and girls, either because of boys' reactions to it or girls' own feelings about their bodies and self-worth caused by being presented with such narrow definitions of beauty on a daily basis."
Susie Flashman Jarvis, a Christian and former model, has responded to this campaign, telling her story. "At the age of 19, I found myself sitting across the desk from an agent. I had come to London clutching my portfolio which contained a few topless pictures of me, taken when I had asked a photographer if he could help me get into the modelling business. Why he asked me to take my top off in the first place I do not understand. But I do know this – he misused an opportunity to help a young woman start out on a good path and instead started her on another journey by satisfying his own, private desires.
"I was immediately sent across London to see The Sun's photographer and within hours I was standing before a camera lens having my picture taken. All this happened over 30 years ago.
"Then in 2006 someone found topless pictures of me on the internet. I was mortified. I was a Christian who had experienced God's healing from drug addiction, and was now a happily married woman with four children who had been working as a counsellor for over 10 years. The discovery of the pictures plunged me into an angry pit of shame and I felt so dirty.
"I have heard arguments that say page three is harmless but I disagree. Young girls and women are bombarded with images that have been tweaked to enhance their so-called better attributes, and thus the normal girl on the street often feels as if they can never be good enough.
"The fact that a newspaper that purports to be a family paper has, as you turn the very first page, a picture of a young woman without her top on confirms the unspoken notion that women are objects to be ogled at. It gives permission for the man on the street to view women as sexual playthings to be commented on and rated, and can even give the impression that their bodies are not their own but are up for grabs.
"I work with teenagers and women who struggle with issues of self-worth relating to what they look like and how they are viewed by those around them. I believe that these images harm the women psychologically in the deepest senses. What God meant for sharing within marriage, the unveiling of the body to delight and satisfy in private, has been corrupted and misused in public. What should build self-worth in the intimate setting of marriage destroys it in the glare of the public eye.
"I challenge all women to join together and claim back their bodies for God's beautiful intention and glory, and to stand alongside the Girl Guides."
Susie is the author of Potholes & Belly-flops:Thoughts from a woman who knows! which has been published by Instant Apostle.