That was all terribly exciting for a bit, wasn't it? After 40 years of annoying and arousing in equal measure, it appeared as if The Sun had decided that maybe t*ts weren't so titillating anymore - or that they were at least going to try seem like they cared about sexism. The newspaper that is, not breasts.
It was suspect from the off, with no official announcement coming from the newspaper itself. But we dared to hope. It was reported that Kelvin MacKenzie - former Editor-in-Chief - was found curled up in the foetal position muttering about liberal madness and how the paper would be defending immigrants next.
Alas, all too soon, the dream was over. Page 3 hadn't disappeared, truck drivers across the nations would be able to butter themselves off these baps for a long time to come.
Hoozah for freedom?
There is of course, a whole cross-section of society that is delighted that the boobs are back. Aforementioned truck drivers, manual labourers and "The Lads" who, in all likely-hood, barely register the bare beauties on page 3 on a daily basis such is their exposure to it. Given the variety of porn available at the swipe of a button, a pair of boobs just doesn't generate the same level of shock it once did. It's background noise, like the ad to make £500+ A WEEK FROM HOME and the weather report. Unless that is those breasts appear in a non-sexual manner in public, like breastfeeding. Then it's gross and inappropriate.
Anyway, they were delighted. Sure if it ain't broke, don't fix it? Nobody's forcing a lass to get them out for the boys. Ahem.
Then, there's the girls themselves. Lots of talk of choice, of girl power, of how liberalising it is. Not a mention that they all have to fill a cookie-cutter model of Breasty Barbie to make the cut.
And of course, the newspaper; innocently citing itself as a pillar that just gives the community what it wants. Which is lovely topless girls. No harm in it, don't blame us, blame yourselves.
Should I even get into the myriad arguments against these points? How it's very easy for these lads, who have never been denied status, equality or rights (I'm talking as a whole, not on an individual basis) as a result of their gender? Who don't know a world where they are taught to expect harassment, degradation and a continuous up-hill climb to be viewed as something more than ornamental - just became of their genitalia? Of course they don't see the harm - they've never had to suffer it.
The Sun cites the machine of supply and demand, as if it is powerless to the masses. They also add that they are doing nothing wrong, nobody is forcing these girls to do anything. The idea that they as a newspaper can't take a stance and affect change is beyond ridiculous - just look at any number of examples, from the campaign to restore war heroes graves to the sway their endorsement has at election time -and you will realise how hollow that argument is. You cannot invoke arguments about the power of journalism and the ability to do good when it suits you, and then shake the poor box in order to defend your scrupulous choices.
But what about the girls you ask? Yes, it is their choice about what to do with their body. Yes, feminism is about choice. No, they're not being forced. But they have been conditioned. All women and girls have. Apart from those females in Fiji who were all good with their bodies until Western media came along and ruined their self-esteem (soz about that). And once these messages have been planted in your mind, you have to repeatedly rally against them in order to accurately see yourself.
When conditioning is done well, it's difficult to know it's even happened. Like waking up all fuzzily from a dream, questioning what is real and what isn't. I'm not going to get into the hundreds of ways girls are given signals and cues on a daily basis that their most important goal is to fulfill a narrow standard of beauty and submit to male-domination - there are plenty of psychological and sociological studies that demonstrate that fact. I'm not going to tell any woman what to do with her body. But I am going to ask why do we find it acceptable in our society to encourage young women to think "I need some money, I'll get my breasts out for The Sun". That it's okay to trade your body for money that will be converted to your objectification .
But, even in the face of all that, I say "OK." I hold my hands up in surrender to The Sun and the powers that be and I proclaim "My kingdom, my kingdom for the breasts!". I will however make a suggestion. My submission to Page 3 is this: Show all the naked breasts that you want, celebrate the female form in whatever way you think is acceptable. Just reduce the space you give it by 50% and in its stead, insert a fully-naked man. There - equality!
You see, you have to show some junk in the trunk because a topless man just doesn't have the same WOW factor as a topless female. We find it acceptable to see male nipples, but not female ones (Why is this... Oh, yeah. The conditioning). So, he's going to have to bare his bits. His state is entirely up to the editorial team but judging off years of breast pics, erect seems to be the norm. He should naturally, of course, be more buffed and oiled than a Chippendale sunbathing and his eyes should suggest he would jump my bones given the opportunity.
Oh, what's that you say? A naked man near the front of the paper would make some readers feel uncomfortable? It's pornographic in a newspaper that promotes "family values"? It's indecent and unnecessary? That there is nothing wrong with being aroused by that sort of thing but it's not appropriate content in a widely available medium that children can and do stumble across on a regular basis?
Oh that's alright then. Just stick with the t*ts. Then, we can teach a whole other generation of girls that this is what's expected of them.