This is our truth, tell us yours
In which Carter gets in on the Page 3 act, two years ago.
Page Three girls used to be celebrities. They used to be famous, glamorous, and able to make a very good living on the back of being a Sun stunna. The zenith of that narrative arc was Samantha Fox, groomed (in every way) for stardom as a Page Three girl and rewarded with a contract worth £100,000 a year in 1990 prices.
Now they’re an anachronism. Who looks at Page Three when the leading newspaper website, that of the dreadful Daily Mail, leads the way with upskirt shots of teenage actors and and paparazzi shots of glamorous fashionistas – like this for instance. Or this. Or this.
As Jemima pointed out, who needs to pay ambitious working class girls to go into a studio with a photographer and get their tits out when you can buy this stuff from paparazzis? And that’s before we get onto the topic of wardrobe malfunctions.
No, not that kind of wardrobe malfunction. We’re talking about the kind of wardrobe malfunction that got classified as looking where you shouldn’t when you were thirteen and trying to peek between the buttons of a classmate’s blouse.
The most pernicious of the lies that are making Page Three an anachronism is that, for aspirant Z list celebs , the road to the cash goes faster if you flash. It sets a model for young women that says that providing free copy to the like of the Daily Mail or the Sun is an acceptable career choice.
It was ever thus if course. Would be actresses and models would let the gossip columns of the Daily Express or the other papers know where they were going to be of an evening, and who they might be seeing. The difference now is that we’re not looking at monochrome pics of starlets in a smoky nightclub – we’re able to see glamorous fashionistas in full colour closeups that conceal little. Is it any wonder Beyonce might choose to feed the newspapers staged pics from Vogue to try and ensure she can control her image in a way Z list celebs clambering awkwardly out of a hired limo cannot?
In such an environment, in the 21st century, staging a campaign against Page Three makes about as much sense as a campaign against ducking stools or scold’s bridles. No-one would claim victory if a misogynist like Murdoch announced that he was opposed to the use of mechanical devices to silence women society disapproves of, but the death of Francis Andrade should remind us that there are other, equally effective ways of ensuring women remain silent. The fact that Page Three may be past its sell by date is not a victory, just an accident of history.