Show Hide image

The meaning of the F-word: Page three and upskirt shots

Rosamund Urwin, columnist, <em>London Evening Standard</em>

An unexpected – but very welcome – consequence of the Leveson inquiry has been to draw attention to media misogyny. In January, representatives from four women's groups took to the stand to discuss victim-blaming and objectification in the press. Among the horrors they highlighted were a newspaper describing the gang rape of a 12-year-old girl as an "orgy" and "upskirt" shots that make page three look like tasteful treatment of women.

Why focus on the media when there are hundreds of other potential feminist fronts? Not only are these battles winnable, but decisions made by a few have a disproportionate effect on the attitudes of the many. Fleet Street's tentacles stretch across the nation: its trivialisation of violence against women reinforces the idea that perpetrators will go unpunished, while the stream of "lovelies in their scanties" pics feeds a culture in which women are viewed as just bodies to ogle. Shame the press into changing and the benefits will be widely felt.

Next: Julie Bindel

Previous: Roz Kaveney

Back to list

This article first appeared in the 12 March 2012 issue of the New Statesman, The weaker sex