Friday, 7 March 2014

Did you cop a feel?

     I am angry. Really, really angry. I might not make much sense here, because I’ve reached that point of anger where you can only really articulate things like RAAAAARRRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!! And feel the need to push big things over and set fire to the world.

     If you’re a woman and I say ‘cop a feel’ to you, what do you think of? Because to me, I think of being groped by an overfriendly man in a pub. It makes me think of ‘lads’ and ‘banter’ and ‘Alright, darling? Givvus a smile!’ It makes me think of the type of bloke who sits in a pub reading The Sun and commenting, loudly, on the baps of the Page 3 stunnas. It makes me think of blokes bragging that they 'managed to cop a feel of her tits'. 

     And, if you’re a woman, and I say to you ‘Page 3’, what do you think of? Because to me, I think of women being objectified, sexualised, demeaned and being made to feel ashamed because my tits aren’t perfect.  They’ve seen life, my spaniels ears, and now they head south for the winter of my years.

     If I say to you ‘Cop a feel of Page 3’, what do you think of? Because to me, I think of the worst kind of unwanted male attention. I shudder. It sums up so much of what is wrong with the way society feels about women, breasts, and what we teach our children about both.

     I’m not a prude. Trust me, really I’m not. I wear tight skirts, short skirts, low cut tops, and push up bras when I feel like it. I have my bikini area waxed. I’d wear high heels if I could walk in them.  I love having my tits fondled. But crucially, by someone whose attention I welcome, in private. I’m not a yoghurt herding, hemp cultivating, moss-encrusted toenail hippy who sculpts fertility symbols and talks about breasts as being the giver of infant liquid gold. Yes, their primary purpose is to produce breastmilk, but, let’s face it, boobs can be sexy too. That’s why Page 3 exists. To exploit men’s prurience and lechery. To exploit women. To make women out to be nothing more than a pair of tits. Who cares what else she’s got to offer when you look at the tits on that? By having a pair of baps whapped on the first inside page of a national newspaper, we’re being told that our norks are public property, and we should welcome any attention they get. Well, no, actually. My tits belong to me and whomever I choose to share them with. My choice. But because of the existence of Page 3, it seems as though I have to shout a bit louder to get that message across, especially to men.

     Now let’s put ‘cop a feel’, ‘Page 3’ and ‘breast cancer’ together. What do you think of? Because to me, it doesn’t work. The first two go together, in a seedy and unpleasant way. The last one doesn’t fit at all. It’s a medical thing. A terrifying thing. A thing that can and does kill. A thing that requires invasive treatment, that might result in mastectomies. Doesn’t quite chime with ‘Kelly, 23, Essex, 36-22-32’, does it? It doesn’t suggest a glamour model with watermelon tits, grinning, dressed in just her pants, does it?

     So if I were to say to you that this is an actual campaign, that The Sun is promoting a breast cancer campaign called ‘CoppaFeel’ through Page 3… What do you think of that? Because to me, it feels wrong. It feels shabby. It feels exploitative. It feels that The Sun has cynically hijacked an already badly named crusade in order to bolster support for Page 3. How many women, realistically, buy The Sun? And how many of those women, realistically, pay any attention to Page 3? What do you think of that? I know what I think.


The Xenca Way / Why Collagen - Suzie said...

I need a shower, - it feels wrong, so wrong, its trivalising such a serious issue. And possibly giving men an excuse to grope.
My boobs are like yours - my property, nourishment for Harry (EBF 6.5 months so far) and what I do with them is my business,
Excellent post

Lucy Benedict said...

Thank you. Like you, I feel it really trivialises something that's important. The idea behind the campaign is to get more young women to check themselves for lumps. So why link it to Page 3? I can't think of anything less likely to appeal to young women, and the language used makes it very anti-women.