Professional lesbian and poverty chic Guardianista cookery writer “Jack” Monroe is unhappy.
Here’s the Sun ‘head of PR’ sending a collage of topless photos to targeted journalists. Creepy, abusive, harassment.
So too, we can safely infer, is former Equalities Minister Harriet Harman, who tweeted two days ago:
@TheSunNewspaper p3 gone. Women expect to be equal in C21. Not posing half naked. Well done Clare Short & 1000s of women campaign
So is Third Wave Feminist Caroline Criado-Perez:
When this is how the head of PR at the sun uses p3 how anyone can say this isn’t woman hating is beyond me.
So too, no doubt, is this veritable Smörgåsbord of angry birds (Deborah Orr, Stella Creasy, Polly Toynbee, “Bidisha”, the full set…) who, but two days ago, were crowing in the Guardian about their alleged victory in having denied less hatchet-facedly committed members of the sisterhood the right to bare their breasts on Page 3 of Britain’s favourite tabloid newspaper.
Why are they all so cross? Because the Sun has successfully deployed against them the weapon that tyrants fear above all: mockery.
At least I hope that that was the reasoning behind the Sun’s unexplained decision first to pull its traditional topless bird from page 3 and then to restore her in today’s surprise comeback edition.
M’learned friend (and ex-Sun columnist) Toby Young isn’t so sure. In this excellent post at the Spectator he has come up with a number of plausible competing theories which have more to do with business than they do with pleasure or ideological principle.
But let’s, for a moment, give the Sun’s strategists the benefit of the doubt and assume it was all just an attention-grabbing wind-up. If so, they have done a very right, very necessary and very responsible thing.
The tabloid press has come in for an awful lot of stick since the Leveson enquiry, the Sun especially which has had dozens of its journalists dragged through the courts, as a result of often needless, vexatious and politically-motivated investigations which have cost the taxpayer many millions of pounds in wasted police time.
By striking back in this way at its joyless enemies on the authoritarian left (the same people, of course, who are pushing so hard for Leveson-style press regulation), the Sun has reminded us why it is so important for the health of Britain that our tabloid press should remain robust, confident, unmuzzled and, yes, on occasion, offensive.
By “Britain” I don’t, of course, mean the spavined, mimsy, narrow-minded, egg-shell-treading, politically correct tyranny which exists in the warped imaginations of the progressive crowd and which they would dearly like to impose on the rest of us.
I mean the more traditional one which still exists, just about, and which the silent majority of us still inhabit. In this Britain – Real Britain – people look at the bare breasts on page 3 of the Sun and see not an assault on women or a threat to the very fabric of society but simply a bit of bawdy but essentially innocent fun.
Like Toby Young, I’ll leave the last word on this to the former Page 3 girl Jodie Marsh who, on the day of the ban-that-wasn’t, tweeted thus to the campaign group @nomorepage3:
may I humbly suggest that you now put your time & effort into something that actually matters like campaigning against FGM…