A short reply

After the abysmal letter I received from my MP, my feelings of disenchantment with the political system began to rise again. Rather than let him get away with it entirely however, I sent him this short reply.

Dear Mr Mosley,

Following my email of 27th September 2012 and your subsequent reply a week later, I just wanted to send you a quick response.
It will be quick, because clearly, you don’t actually take any time to read correspondence from your constituents. If you had read my email properly you would have seen the No More Page 3 campaign is a campaign asking the editor of the Sun to remove bare breasts from its newspaper – not as you immediately presumed, to ban the images of breasts from all publications entirely. This is an opinion you have decided I, and the almost 49,000 others who have signed the petition, have, not one we actually hold.
The most worrying thing about your letter, is that you completely disregarded my argument around the equality of women in our society, something I find extremely worrying in the person who is supposed to represent everyone in this constituency.
I had other issues with your letter, but seeing as you were arguing against an argument I have never made, I shall leave it there.
Yours sincerely,
Charli Dickenson
We shall see if I hear anything back!
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A quick note

To avoid confusion: The next few posts should be read from the bottom up – first, my letter to Stephen Mosley MP, second, Stephen Mosley MP’s response, and third, what I had to say to that!

Rage-tastic Refuting

Oh Stephen Mosley MP. You presumed a lot about me upon realisation that I was a feminist. Did you think I’d be happy with that response?

Dear Miss Dickenson,

Thank you for your recent email about a campaign to remove images of topless women from the Sun newspaper.

Well, no errors here. Well done Stephen!

 

I would be cautious about banning such images from publication. Personally, I do not wish to see these images in a newspaper, and I therefore do not buy the Sun. The choice remains with the Sun’s readers and if they do not wish to see these images then they should not purchase the Sun.

Ah. See now we have an issue. First things first: who’s talking about ‘banning images from publication’? Not once did I write the word ‘ban’, and yet this is not the only time we’ll see it in this letter. What does this tell me? That an assumption has been made, about me and about the topic of conversation. Stephen Mosley has assumed that I’m one of those pesky feminists, whose opinion he’ll never be able to change and therefore is going to churn out the most commonly seen ‘defence’ of Page 3.

Back to the point: I did not say that I wished to ban such images from The Sun, let alone from publication completely. The ‘No More Page 3’ campaign seeks to remove such images from an easily accessible national, family newspaper.

Stephen Mosley argues that if people do not want to see such images then they should not purchase The Sun. Easier said than done, Stephen. I have never in my life bought The Sun newspaper, and yet have seen more page 3 boobs than I could count. In pubs, coffee shops, trains, waved around by boys at school, taped up in the boys rooms in uni…need I go on? On the very day I received my MPs letter telling me that I didn’t have to see those images if I didn’t want to, I was with a group of young people, one of which turned up with a copy of The Sun. It was a girl of 15, who had specifically gone out to buy The Sun so she could get the token for the One Direction tickets. She was so excited that she wanted to show me and began to flick through the pages to find it. Straight away she became flustered as she realised what was on page 3, quickly grasping at the next page, and mumbled, uncomfortably ‘Hahaha…naked ladies…’. She was clearly uncomfortable, but felt she had to laugh off the situation, rather than face how utterly crap it is having to face that image unexpectedly.

I think its fair to say, that when I got home to read ‘The choice remains with the Sun’s readers and if they do not wish to see these images then they should not purchase the Sun’; I became a little irate.

And this was only on his first point!

 

Additionally, the question that this campaign raises is where to stop. Should all publications with provocative images of both men and women be banned (for example, Heat magazine publishes a weekly male celebrity ‘Torso of the Week’ column)? Should all forms of sexual imaging be banned from television and film?

No, no, no and no again. It doesn’t help Stephen that he hasn’t even read my email properly and he’s gone into this argument believing that I want complete censorship of everything ever. To iterate: we want the removal of these images from a NATIONAL FAMILY newspaper. There are plenty of places where these sorts of images are available and can stay available. Lets compare it to the watershed; programmes with a bit of boob have a clear place after 9 o’ clock. Why can’t those publications with a bit of boob have a clear place on the top shelf? Oh wait, they DO! So then why are these images in a national newspaper and not kept in those publications on the top shelf?

Oh and comparing page 3 girls to ‘Torso of the Week’? Now this is just lazy! The ‘Torso of the Week’ equivalent are the scantily clad women you see on the front of FHM. The equivalent image to page 3 would be an image of a man with his penis out in the Daily Mail. Having ‘torso of the week’ in Heat magazine is more comparable (but certainly not equal) to Zoo and Nuts.

 

The decision to read the Sun is a matter of choice and whilst I would not choose to do so, I believe that the choice should remain.

Yes choice should remain. If you want to read The Sun, then of course you can! And the choice to look at a pair of boobs should also be up to you, not, as I have said, thust upon you when you’re looking to catch up with the news. It should remain in magazines, and later on in the evening on the telly.

 

I appreciate that you are unlikely to agree with me on this issue, but I hope that I have at least explained my position on the matter and thank you again for taking the time to contact me with your concerns.

Ah, so you’ve already decided I’m not going to agree? So sending me this letter has been a complete token gesture? A box to tick off your duties as MP? My faith in politics is restored!

Now, having got to the end of this letter, refuting each of Stephen Mosley’s illogical arguments, I have come to the realisation that not once has he responded to my argument that page 3 is detrimental to women and equality. My entire argument against page 3 was about the fact that it perpetuates this view of women as objects, and normalises viewing women in a sexual way. I can only pray that Stephen Mosley just hasn’t bothered to take the time to read my email, because if he really refuses to even acknowledge the feminist reasoning behind this argument, it is very worrying indeed.

Yours sincerely

Stephen Mosley MP

I think the problem that Stephen Mosley has had here, is that once you get into it, there really is no argument for page 3. To try and argue for it would make anyone look like a bit of a sexist idiot. Whether Stephen Mosley is or not, is for you to judge. I know what I think. 

Sign the No More Page 3 petition here: https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/dominic-mohan-take-the-bare-boobs-out-of-the-sun-nomorepage3 

My First Letter to my MP

To begin my tale, I give you my blog post from exactly one week previous:

Yes, apologies, this is not a baking post (though I promise, there are some coming…). Just a quick post to show you something that I’ve really got behind in the last week or so. You might have seen things about the No More Page 3 campaign – I certainly have, and a lot of it has really resonated. There are some fantastic blogs out there that get into the nitty gritty – try out http://weekwoman.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/prejudice-in-briefs-why-page-3-is-toxic-to-all-women/ – so I’m not going to go into them here. I’m just going to show you the email I just sent to my MP in an attempt to raise awareness, and hopefully get something done. I’m not holding my breath!

Dear Stephen Mosley MP,

I would like to bring your attention to a recent campaign that you may have heard about. The campaign asks Dominic Mohan, Editor of The Sun, to remove the images of topless women from its paper. There is a petition with more details found here: http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/dominic-mohan-take-the-bare-boobs-out-of-the-sun-nomorepage3

I think that this is hugely important for women in the UK. These images have become so ingrained that many people I have spoken to about this issue haven’t even realised the impact that it has. The everyday use of these images in The Sun normalises seeing women in a sexualised way. It tells its readers, and those who unwittingly witness the paper, that these women are here for their pleasure, that its ok to view them as an object, that this is how all women should look and what they should aspire to. This attitude ensures the casual sexism, and worse, encountered in everyday life is set to continue. I urge you to have a look at http://www.everydaysexism.com/ and see just some of the cases of this. Of course, page 3 is not the only thing in our society that is having a negative impact on the perception of women and their treatment. The No More Page 3 campaign is just one step of many to combating sexism in our society.

The petition currently has over 37,000 signatures and is gaining more and more support. MPs are beginning to agree, signing up to the effort and even put their names to this letter http://mpsbacknomorepage3.wordpress.com/2012/09/27/letter-to-dominic-mohan-signed-by-mps-2/. For the sake of every single female in your constituency I am asking you for three things:

1. Sign the petition.

2. Promote the campaign and show your support.

3. Sign up to the letter.

We need to get bare boobs out of our newspapers. Because Boobs Are Not News.

Yours Sincerely,

Charli Dickenson

So there you go. Feel free to pinch away if you want to send something similar to your MP. If you’re not sure who that is, look here http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/. Otherwise, if you just want to sign the petition, look here http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/dominic-mohan-take-the-bare-boobs-out-of-the-sun-nomorepage3.