Page 3, Playboy & Questioning Modern Objectification

Hey Sweeties,

Apparently every household in the UK is receiving a free copy of The Sun today and I have seen several posts on Twitter this morning from people already taking action to prevent it being put through their letter boxes. Fair play to you! Imagine if our letter boxes could detect junk mail and shred it before it hit the door mat!

Of course it is an ongoing debate that the 3rd page in The Sun (more commonly known as Page 3) should be banned. For those that aren’t aware (I am sure these people exist somewhere) page 3 involves an image of a young woman with an enviable svelte body and her boobies out, this especially appeals to male readers of The Sun and probably why it is bought in the first place –boobies for 20p, what a bargain!

The argument by women, feminists and the like is that it objectifies women and enough is enough and I somewhat agree being a feminist. However, I also go against everything by having an interest in Playboy. Two years ago I completed my degree in Media Communications concluding with a written dissertation tackling the perception of Playboy magazine, I wanted to prove that the magazine isn’t all about naked women and what must be a great surprise to most… it’s not! Analysing a ten year sample (2001-11) which results in about 4,000 odd pages of content, the centre folds and other features concerning naked imagery makes up a feeble 17% (ish). Hardly a porn magazine!

If I could develop my research on Playboy magazine picking up where my dissertation left off, I would want to concentrate on the women that put themselves forward to be a Playmate and submerge themselves in and around Hugh Hefner’s lifestyle and this concerns as much equally about how I feel about the women that put themselves forward to appear on Page 3.

Q. Is it objectification if the women have chosen to feature there?

I appreciate that is a bit of a firework thought for a Thursday morning and I can hear you all gasping but seriously, the rules have changed now. I discussed briefly some of my thoughts on modern feminism in my post to The Editor (of Elle) a little while ago but fundamentally, there is no longer one definition of feminism and there is no ‘wave’ anymore to speak of, modern feminism has no boundaries and it encompasses many things and many different types of women. There is of course still a totally unfair and unjustified reason as to why men get higher salaries for the same job that their female colleagues are also doing, it is also unbelievably unfair as to why child care is so ridiculously expensive forcing many aspiring career women to stay at home and it’s these aspects of society that underpins and forms the backbone of feminism in all its strains. But who also is to say that (some of) the women featuring on Page 3 and in Playboy aren’t feminists?

For me, page 3 is just silly titillation and I do cringe a bit when I see aspiring Playmates play dumb to be more appealing to male audiences but you know what, these women are choosing to do this and until they all decide to stop putting themselves forward, the newspapers and magazines will continue to feature them and pay them ridiculous sums of money for the honour and ‘readers’ will continue to buy and keep it all in circulation. What can you do?

You can read further about my dissertation here. Also, if Hugh or Cooper Hefner is reading this, I would LOVE to visit the mansion and complete my pilgrimage so do get in touch!


Until next time x




  1. Lee 19th August 2014 / 2:46 pm

    Thank you for your reply Claire. The reason why I find it so distasteful, is because it took me quite off guard for a news site, that doesn’t normally post pictures of anything provocative, to have a picture of the cover of playboy magazine with a woman’s breasts partially exposed on there. The way I’m looking at it is, if I wanted to see that or those types of pictures, I’d look at the magazine or it’s website. I believe that Playboy magazine also objectifies women, and only uses women of a certain size and beauty to take part in it’s spread. And I believe that it encourages men to have a certain view on how everyday women should look. All women are beautiful, and you are correct, everyone has their own opinion on how they feel, and I’m not as comfortable with looking at anyone else’s nudity, male or female, other than my partner’s and my children’s. I believe that nudity should be more intimate and special. I may be old fashioned for my 32 years, but I don’t believe that my views are that far fetched and unrealistic.
    I have friends that have told me about the sun’s paper, and how it uses topless women to sell their copies. I think that nudity is easy enough to access with the internet these days, and I don’t believe that the children should be exposed to it at the breakfast table while their parents are enjoying their morning coffee, and reading the paper. Similar to how I was exposed to it unexpectedly this morning while enjoying my morning coffee and catching the news.

    Thank you again for your time.

    • Claire Way 19th August 2014 / 2:57 pm

      …And this is exactly why the debate around page 6 and Playboy is so interesting. For the most part, I completely agree with everything you have said above and have much the same values and opinions myself. But then the other part of me somehow tries to justify and consider things from a more modernistic viewpoint. Yes female nudity is objectifying but is it objectification if the women have chosen to put themselves forward for such publications -do you see what I mean?
      But quite rightly, for a newspaper to print the front cover of Playboy is quite unusal and I totally agree, quite inappropriate considering who could pick up the paper and view its contents.

  2. Lee 19th August 2014 / 12:41 pm

    Hi there,

    I came across this article on our local news website. It kind of disturbs me that the reporter would post a picture of the playboy cover directly on the webpage, even if the article is about a local person hitting the cover. I find it quite insulting and distasteful.

    • Claire Way 19th August 2014 / 2:22 pm

      Why do you find it insulting and distasteful? For me, I have seen worse on the likes of Nuts magazine and FHM whereby they are/were your typical lads mag and often have the female models in degrading positions & accessorised with builders hats etc. Playboy magazine is by far more tasteful. I appreciate female nudity is still an uncomfortable aspect of the male magazine market but Playboy execute it in a much more mature way than the likes of The Sun’s page 6 and so on. But as my blog post explored (as did my University dissertation), everyone has differing opinions on this and rightly so.
      Thank you for your comment.

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