So, the Page 3 argument seems to hinge on “harmless fun” and “a celebration of the female form”.
I think this would hold slightly more water than a bucket riddled with holes and the bottom cut off if not for a couple of things:
1. “A celebration of the female form” rather implies a whole gamut of shape and size rather than a homogenised parade of 5’7″ fair-skinned, size 8, pouting, 19-24 year olds with perky breasts and a one sentence opinion as to the news of the day. The moment The Sun puts an outspoken menopausal woman with a muffin top on its dampest page is the day I consider this reasoning for any measurable amount of time.
2. The only reason I imagine that it can be brushed away as “harmless fun” is that these girls *are* a homogenous bunch. They’re nearly surgically sterile in their lack of wrinkles, pubic hair, root regrowth, chipped nail varnish, wobbly bits, and cellulite. It’s almost as if they are factory fresh Barbie dolls or post-pubescent children – so utterly lacking implications of adulthood or life or real life sex that somehow it doesn’t feel bizarre to let them roam the family breakfast table.
Maybe that these pictures are supposed to be so “harmless” because they are such blanks – men, and boys (and the occassional woman) can project most of their grubby fantasies onto the canvas (metaphorically and literally), women can see what their non-airbrushed bodies ought to look like and purge, exercise, seek counselling, or save up for lipo accordingly, and little girls can form a lifetime goal. Oh wait – that doesn’t sound harmless at all…