Dear Dominic (an open letter to Dominic Mohan, editor of The Sun)
c/o The Sun
You don’t mind if I call you Dominic do you? I know it’s a little informal but as you have been regularly showing me your “employees’” breasts, I get the feeling you care little for formality.
So Dominic, let’s move on to the main event; Page 3 and its continuing existence in Britain’s “favourite” newspaper. I know that you are aware of the “No More Page 3″ campaign, and although I can’t find any comment from you directly; you have made your feelings about it perfectly clear by your attempted mocking of Harriet Harman (a joke which many feel backfired). I also know that you defended Page 3 during your time with Leveson, with the argument that a 42 year old feature in a newspaper is part of British society. I find that argument interesting; are you suggesting that we should just accept things that are offensive simply because of their longevity? Your argument appears to be nothing more than the suggestion that Page 3 is a national tradition.
Personally I find those who actually think about the relevance of traditions and stand up and challenge those that are questionable to be more heroic than those who blindly accept them and defend them for their own ends; where would we be without Mandela, Pankhurst, Dr King et al? And no, before you retort, I am not comparing the “No More Page 3″ campaign to Martin Luther King, I am using him to illustrate the point that longevity alone does not make traditions good, and that sometimes they need tearing down.
I am far from alone in feeling that Page 3 is a bad tradition that has run its course. At the time of writing the “No More Page 3″ petition had more than 46,000 signatures. Why don’t you see for yourself and whilst you’re at it why not read some of the comments made by subscribers? Perhaps then you will appreciate how offensive, damaging and frankly out of touch with the world people feel Page 3 is.
This letter, however, is not to speak on behalf of all those people who have signed the petition, but to speak for myself, my own feelings towards Page 3 and to ask you to actually consider the relevance of Page 3. Think about it Dominic, there is an opportunity here to do something good. I often find copies of The Sun lying around in take away restaurants, on the Tube and in hairdressers, to name a few examples of everyday places, frequented by hundreds of people every day. It saddens me that I cannot even wait for a takeaway without having to see a topless “Katy from Brighton” in a ridiculous pose. Whilst I have no doubt that Katy is proud of her body, I am very confident that she would not walk topless into my takeaway. You see Dominic, there are laws against that sort of thing, because it is not felt to be appropriate in Society. That is why most so called “Men’s Magazines” have their covers obscured in supermarkets and newsagents, you know, places where children go, and where nakedness is the furthest thing from people’s minds. If Katy wants to pursue her career as a model, good luck to her, but I object to being confronted by it in my everyday life without being given any choice.
But let’s be honest Dominic, we are both adults after all, and I know my personal feelings about the objectification of young women, the reduction of a human being to merely physical “assets” and your desire to send a message to the world that a woman is nothing more than big hair, tiny pants and stunning “boobs”, is unlikely to change your view. So, Dominic, if I can’t convince you to ditch Page 3 for noble reasons, you know, because it is the right thing to do, I will have to talk to you in a language you will understand. Why not think about what a big win this could be for you personally? Just hear me out, I’m not a PR expert, but picture the scene for me…
Leveson is about to pronounce. Do you really think it’s going to be pretty for the tabloids – especially one from the News International stable? There is a storm coming Dominic – it is inevitable after the unscrupulous and immoral practices of British tabloids whose practices have been outed as both immoral and illegal. The Sun loves telling us it is Britain’s biggest paper; and logic dictates it will take the biggest hit. Are you going to have to print another front page apology? That’s going to hurt isn’t it? However, a big positive front page splash pre-emptive strike may just take the sting out of the tail..?
So, why not use your powers for good and plaster your pages with strong, powerful, beautiful women in clothes, all congratulating you on your decision to withdraw Page 3? Imagine the stars who will be thrilled to get behind this. I am sure Cheryl would be on board and where Cheryl leads, others follow. Politicians who have been signing the petition will have to acknowledge that you did something good. The liberal lefty media will have to acknowledge that you did something good. You’ll be on every news bulletin, on every 24 hour rolling station and not just in the UK but foreign press will pick this up too. In the world of UK tabloid journalism, You, Dominic, will be a maverick, a challenger of the bad tradition; in short, you’ll be a winner and who doesn’t want to be a winner?
Come on Dominic. Do you really think you will lose readers? Of course not, they can find their boobs elsewhere (here’s a “heads up” for you – the internet is full of them), but you will still have the sports coverage and celeb exclusives that your readers won’t find in any other paper – because if you are worried about losing readers then my only conclusion is that you honestly believe that your readers only buy the Sun because of Page 3. I’m sure you will agree that such a viewpoint is an insult to all of the journalists who write for the Sun and also your readership. You might even gain readers, I’ve heard lots of parents say that they don’t buy your paper because they don’t want their kids seeing Page 3, well that’s extra readers right there. Why not start letting young women see you as relevant to their world? That’s your future readership, right there.
I’m telling you Dominic, it’s foolproof.
Be a winner Dominic, withdraw Page 3 and do it your way, sell it your way, claim your own victory – I don’t care, it is a bad tradition and it should be gone.
Should you want to discuss my thoughts further, feel free to contact me I’d love to help you with this.