Kira Cochrane, in the Guardian: The women fighting sexism – from Page 3 to politics:
The Page 3 protest is just one of an extraordinary number of current campaigns against media sexism. Over the past few years, and particularly the past few months, anger about the media portrayal of women, in terms of visibility, sexualisation and humiliation, has grown at feverish pace. Along with the campaigns to end Page 3 are projects to highlight the paucity of female experts in broadcasting and the dearth of older women on TV, to make it easier for journalists to find female speakers, to show how media sexism affects women on a personal level, and clarify just how it feeds into a culture in which women’s confidence is undermined, ambitions narrowed, and experiences of rape and violence disbelieved. There’s a growing sense this could be a watershed moment, when coverage genuinely changes for the better.
The groups behind Just the Women have spelled out the changes they are hoping to see too. For instance, under any new press regulatory body, they would like it to be possible to make third-party complaints, as well as thematic complaints – so if an issue such as rape or domestic violence is regularly covered in a problematic way, that could be addressed. They also argue that sexually explicit images, which aren’t allowed on TV before the 9pm watershed, and aren’t allowed in the workplace under equality legislation, should not be printed “in national newspapers which are not age-restricted and are displayed at child’s eye level”.
On Thursday they will see if those and other suggestions are successful.
But whatever Leveson decides, it seems unlikely women will stop protesting about media sexism, much of which looks especially anachronistic in the wake of the Savile revelations. As Van Heeswijk points out: “Page 3 was launched in 1970, when there was no equality legislation, sexual harassment wasn’t recognised in law, and rape in marriage was legal. It’s now 2012. Isn’t it time we got rid of this form of sexism from our press?”