Would you bet against the Sun’s Page 3?


10:54 am - September 21st 2012

by Robert Sharp    


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Well well, this is interesting. The bookmaker Paddy Power have offered odds on a Change.org petition reaching 100,000 signatures. It’s 4/1 in September and 7/4 in October.

It will be interesting to see if this affects the rate at which people sign the petition. If it does, then we will see a new era of campaigning. Just as now, activists spend time trying to get re-tweeted by Stephen Fry, in the future Ladbrokes and Paddy Power may become targets of the same kind of secondary lobbying.

But there is more: there is a kind of open source game theory on offer here. If everyone in the country who agreed to sign the petition, while placing a £10 bet, we would all get paid for our social activism!

At the time of writing, the petition only has 26,000 signatures. So the conservative analyst would not favour September. However, we have seen in the recent past how social media and we interconnectivity it brings can have exponential effects. Remember how Claire Squires posthumously raised almost £1 million for the Samaritans.

I don’t know much about how bookies set their odds on certain outcomes, but participating in this particular ‘market’ seems odd. Unlike a sporting event, an election, or a financial exchange, there is no other person, group or team that can adversely affect the rate at which the figure in question rises.

It’s not as if there is a counter petition, and the bookies are taking bets on a race between the two. Opponents of this campaign cannot marshal their own supporters in a comparable way. So the bet is simply about how quickly a political constituency can mobilise itself. I wonder if someone who knows more about this might comment?

I am entirely in favour of the petition, by the way.

In my opinion, page 3 demeans and objectifies women. A formal ban on this kind of publication would be anti-free expression, but social pressure on an editor to make a particular decision is entirely right and proper.

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About the author
Robert Sharp designed the Liberal Conspiracy site. He is Head of Campaigns at English PEN, a blogger, and a founder of digital design company Fifty Nine Productions. For more of this sort of thing, visit Rob's eponymous blog or follow him on Twitter @robertsharp59. All posts here are written in a personal capacity, obviously.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Feminism ,Media

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Reader comments


2. Chaise Guevara

Christ, have you read that petition? It sounds like it’s being read out by a year-1 teacher. And it takes 10(!) paragraphs to make something resembling a point, and even that’s an unsubstantiated claim

If everyone started scamming Paddy Power I imagine they’d simply revoke the bet. Also, any evidence that a serious number of people are signing the petition after betting on it completely eliminates any power the petition has: who’s to say that the signers actually care about Page 3 rather than just seeing an opportunity to cheat at gambling?

While I have no problem with Page 3, though, I have to say you’re taking the right approach in using consumer pressure rather than demanding the creation of illiberal laws.

3. Chaise Guevara

By the way, do you have any idea how many signatories of the petition are regular Sun readers?

That’s not an ad hom – you’re fully entitled to a view on the matter whether you buy the paper or not. But I’m not sure what pressure you can bring if you don’t have a sizeable contingent of current readers who are threatening to boycott.

If the Sun takes this petition seriously, the most logical thing for it to do would be take a poll of readers and see whether they’d be more annoyed by taking Page 3 out or leaving it in.

Strange how the female body terrifies so many.

Still, a few more lasses on the dole – better all round I suppose.

Er, the Star has a page 3 as well, also doesn’t the Sun still maintain a policy of only having ‘natural boobs’ on their page 3, with no surgical enhancements? Isn’t that say objectively better than a paper that doesn’t mind splashing silicone enhanced breasts on its page 3? Seems odd to just focus on the Sun’s page 3.

6. Chaise Guevara

@ 4 wg

“Still, a few more lasses on the dole – better all round I suppose.”

Yeah. It always amazes me that people claim to “liberate” women by stopping some of them from making a living.

But isn’t page 3 where we get our legal news from: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2011/02/09/human-rights-with-hollie/ ?

Page 3 sickens me, I want to ban any woman from exposing her breasts in public, at any time. I won’t have women treated as objects.

This problem is so widespread and “normal” that i think wall women should cover themselves completely with a burqa for the foreseeable future.

Only once all women bend to my will and do exactly as i say will they know true freedom and equality.

Look at the bare arms and legs on that disgusting harlot.

http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/dominic-mohan-take-the-bare-boobs-out-of-the-sun-nomorepage3

Why does she insist on propagating the enslaving of her sister women.

@7 – I see the problem now. Do you share the happy hermits view that any opinion a hooker model has is invalid because she doesn’t wear clothes. Quite predjudiced and disappointing.

11. Chaise Guevara

@ 7 Andreas

“But isn’t page 3 where we get our legal news from: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2011/02/09/human-rights-with-hollie/ ?”

You’re making a tactical error in linking to that post. It’s silly to go around advertising the fact that you’re an unpleasant little bigot.

What a load of rubbish – “demeans and objectifies women”. No it doesn’t. A lot of them are proud to be on pg. 3 and good for them. If a woman wants to get her knockers out then great. Who are you to say she should be allowed to? If anything this suggestion makes you the oppressor. Is there really such disgust at the female body that if she want to show it off she shouldn’t be allowed? That sounds significantly more demeaning to me.

This isn’t even a bet on the Sun ceasing printing Page 3 pics it’s a bet on the size of a petition.

So its a story about a story about an non-issue: topless pictures are the least of the Sun’s crimes against humanity.

Boris should put topless conductors on the Route Master busses so council tax payers get their money’s worth. And for the ladies, he can drive his bike in a posing pouch.

14. Chaise Guevara

@ 13 Shatterface

“This isn’t even a bet on the Sun ceasing printing Page 3 pics it’s a bet on the size of a petition. ”

One day, LC might publish an article with an accurate headline. But I doubt it!

One day, LC might publish an article with an accurate headline. But I doubt it!

It’s always been bad but for the last week or so they seem to be composed of randomly generated phrases.

“In my opinion, page 3 demeans and objectifies women.”

This is ridiculous. Erotic imagery has been part of human culture for millenia and will be for millenia to come. Ultimately, we’re all objects for someone else’s sexuality – that’s how our species works.

17. Churm Rincewind

Page 3 “demeans and objectifies” women. How exactly? What’s the process? I’ve never really understood what’s meant by this claim. It seems to be used rather freely about any instance where discrimination is being asserted.

Can anyone explain?

18. Chaise Guevara

@ 17 Churm

“Page 3 “demeans and objectifies” women. How exactly? What’s the process? I’ve never really understood what’s meant by this claim.”

As far as I can tell, you’re expected to accept it on trust.

Objectification is treating someone purely as an object, and includes elements such as ‘infantilisation’, ‘denial of voice or agency’, etc.

You know, the stuff that people do when they prevent people making choices for themselves.

20. Churm Rincewind

@ Shatterface 19 – “Objectification is treating someone purely as an object, and includes elements such as ‘infantilisation’, ‘denial of voice or agency’, etc. You know, the stuff that people do when they prevent people making choices for themselves.”

Well yes, but we all treat each other that way all the time in our daily lives. We treat bus drivers, for example, purely as objects to be used (to get from A to B), and we are certainly concerned to prevent them from making all sorts of choices for themselves (such as determining the bus’s destination).

In short, we objectify them. But are they thereby also being demeaned? Or is “objectification” sometimes good, sometimes neutral, and sometimes bad?

21. Mike Killingworth

[20] CR, remind me who exactly is stopping you from saying “thankyou, driver” each time you get off a bus.

The correct answer to ‘what is objectification of women?’ is JFGI.

” It’s 4/1 in September and 7/4 in October. ”

” I don’t know much about how bookies set their odds on certain outcomes, but participating in this particular ‘market’ seems odd. Unlike a sporting event, an election, or a financial exchange, there is no other person, group or team that can adversely affect the rate at which the figure in question rises. ”

The mistake you are making is assuming the bookmakers estimation of the probability of the event occurring would remain constant in the event of weight of money (WOM)trying to influence the outcome of the underlying. They are offering September and October combined at around a 60% probability of occurring. However, the probability of neither dates exceeding 100,000 is just under 40% and that probability is still greater than either dates individually. Weight of money would see the adjustment in odds until the 60% moved to just short of 100%.

The 60% probability is not an accurate estimation. They are deliberately overestimating the probability in order to gain an advantage from bets struck at inaccurate odds.

” It’s not as if there is a counter petition, and the bookies are taking bets on a race between the two. ”

The counter is the bookmakers themselves. When someone is betting on this event to occur the bookmaker is betting that it will not occur. However, by overestimating the probability means that the bookmaker side of the proposition is underestimated and anyone taking the offer is getting the worst side of the proposition.

Men like tits, women like bums. Men like tits because it means that they know the woman who bears his child can feed it. Women like bums because they know that the man who has a nice tight set are going to be virile. Men like pictures, women like words. So 50 Shades of Grey is liked by women but men go for page 3. Just accept that men and women are different and have different needs and desires.

As for demaning women? It’s their decision to pose for it because they get fame and publicity and money. They are the ones who benefit. Men are the ones who lose out as they hand over good money for what ends up being little satisfaction and they get suckered into paying for it over and over again.

It’s men who are the ones who are exploited not women.

Men are the ones who lose out as they hand over good money for what ends up being little satisfaction and they get suckered into paying for it over and over again.

I agree with this description of the Sun newspaper.

@24
Leaving aside the silly “men like tits for child-bearing” nonsense – there’s a bigger problem with your sweeping statements.

Now it may not be true of Page 3 (especially the Sun) – but just because women ‘choose’ to be, say, prostitutes or be in porn it doesn’t mean it’s out of completely free choice.

It’s incredibly naive to think that just because someone is doing something, they have much of a choice about it.

What other country in the world has dailies in which there is a page dedicated to bare breasts? I can’t think of any.

Now that says a lot about this country and the way that men view women. It also says a great deal about those who buy papers like The Sun.

@24

“As for demaning women? It’s their decision to pose for it because they get fame and publicity and money. They are the ones who benefit”.

So what about those women who don’t agree with you or your view that The Sun doesn’t demean women? Are you going to tell them ‘lighten up’? The women who appear on P3 are the minority. What you seem to be doing here is implying there is a consensus. There is no consensus.

One more thing: this tells young women that the only way they can get ahead in life is to “get ‘em out for the lads”. Is that really the message we want to send out to young women?

Have a think about that.

30. Chaise Guevara

@ buddyhell

“So what about those women who don’t agree with you or your view that The Sun doesn’t demean women? Are you going to tell them ‘lighten up’? The women who appear on P3 are the minority. What you seem to be doing here is implying there is a consensus. There is no consensus.”

I don’t think he is. He’s just saying that these women benefit from being in page 3 – which they evidently agree with or they wouldn’t do it.

As for the women who disagree? Don’t send your photo into page 3. Don’t like the idea of near-naked women in general? Don’t look at page 3. Have political objections to near-naked women? Don’t buy the Sun, and sign the OP’s petition. But don’t go telling other women how they’re allowed to live their lives to fit your sensibilities.

“One more thing: this tells young women that the only way they can get ahead in life is to “get ‘em out for the lads”. Is that really the message we want to send out to young women?”

No it doesn’t, unless you’ve got a source to a Sun Page 3 with the legend: “Ladies! This is the only way to get ahead in life!”

If I visit a bakery, I don’t look at the staff and think: “My word, the only way to get ahead in life is to sell bread!” Because I’m aware that the world is bigger than whatever I happen to be looking at right now. I think you’re selling the attention-span of young women extremely short here.

31. Chaise Guevara

@ 24 Wyatt

“Now it may not be true of Page 3 (especially the Sun) – but just because women ‘choose’ to be, say, prostitutes or be in porn it doesn’t mean it’s out of completely free choice.

It’s incredibly naive to think that just because someone is doing something, they have much of a choice about it.”

Um, Sadbutmadlad was talking about page 3. So you’ve agreed with him, then accused him of naivity by pretending he was talking about something else.

In the bigger picture, you’re right. There’s no such thing as completely free choice, because decisions don’t happen in a vacuum. This applies just as much to any other job as it does porn etc. Most of the time we have reasonably free choice. If a woman could work as a waitress, but decides to do porn because it pays a lot better, I see no problem there. I realise that this may not be the reality faced by some (mainly in other countries, but here too), and that’s something we need to do something about. But banning porn would not solve the problem. You’d be addressing one symptom instead of the cause.

It’s a bigger problem in prostitution. There’s a LOT of exploitation there. Which is why we need to legalise and regulate it, so prostitutes have the same workers’ rights as everyone else, plus perhaps a few job-specific ones.

I have to work to earn money. It’s hard manual labour much of the time. I have no choice but to work. Am I being objectified and exploited any less than a pretty girl showing off her body?

If she had been painted by a decent artist would that be different?

Surely the problem is the newspaper, not the tits?

Chaise has answered very eloquently for me. Thanks.

No I wouldnt bet against the Sun’s page 3. Even if the petition did reach it’s target Rupert isnt going to scrap the boobs. In fact I don’t think I’ll sign the petition ‘cos it implies that Dominic Mohan listens to reason, which I’m sure he doesn’t.

@31 Chaise

I accused him of naivety because he seemed to be saying “If a women does X, then it must be her choice” in general terms as well. That was my interpretation of it anyway. In relation to Page 3 that’s probably true, but in general (as you say) it’s not.

I should say that while I’ve signed the petition because of the attitude towards women I think it encourages – I don’t support banning it or porn, and I’m for legalizing prostitution.

I used to think all the bad stuff people said about feminists was just sexist crap. Sadly these days I realise that only most of it is sexist crap.

37. Churm Rincewind

@ Mike Killingworth (21): “remind me who exactly is stopping you from saying “thankyou, driver” each time you get off a bus”. No-one does. I frequently do. But I can’t see that saying thank you is sufficient to “de-objectify” an individual, if that’s what you’re suggesting.

@ Cyclux (22): I did google it. And I found a great deal of debate, but not much consensus.

38. Chaise Guevara

@ 37

Although personally I don’t address the driver as “driver”. That’s a bit too Thunderbirds for my taste.

39. Churm Rincewind

@ Chaise Guevara (38): Indeed. It also occurs to me that addressing the driver as “driver” would seem to fulfil most of Martha Nussbaum’s oft-cited criteria for objectification.

I’m as puzzled as ever.

40. Chaise Guevara

@ 39 Churm

“I’m as puzzled as ever.”

I think that if you should see an attractive girl, or get a ticket from a bus driver, or interact in any way with someone you don’t know personally, you should think to yourself “I’m sure they’re an interesting person. They probably like tennis”. Then you’ve considered them as a Human Being and the world is prevented from coming to an end.

What other country in the world has dailies in which there is a page dedicated to bare breasts? I can’t think of any.

Germany? Bild had its tits on page 1. At least they’ve now joined the Sun in confining them to the inside pages.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Jason Brickley

    Would you bet against the Sun’s Page 3? http://t.co/OzJYJtv0

  2. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – Would you bet against the Sun’s Page 3? http://t.co/EJ3V7yow

  3. Tony Kennick

    Would you bet against the Sun’s Page 3? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/OTyXzZmi

  4. Dan Sumption

    Would you bet against the Sun’s Page 3? | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/OTyXzZmi

  5. Tom Troughton

    Interesting angle on the snowballing @NoMorePage3 campaign as bookies offer odds on it reaching 100,000 signatures http://t.co/9G0XrVfF

  6. Jonathan Deamer

    "If everyone agreed to sign the petition, while placing a £10 bet, we would all get paid for our social activism"

    http://t.co/13ICLQDd

  7. Tom Davenport

    "If everyone agreed to sign the petition, while placing a £10 bet, we would all get paid for our social activism"

    http://t.co/13ICLQDd





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