The Year Abroad


Since my last few lines about the not-so-incredible romantic nature of some Frenchies, I have received a visit from my Mother who arrived baring gifts of all things British. One of these items was my much needed Glamour Mag which is a treasure I saved for when she left and I wanted some comfort.

Whilst taking the metro on my daily commute to university, I stumbled across an article which stuck in my mind. Lucy-Anne Holmes has started up a campaign to drop the “boobs from the news” in The Sun, titled No More Page 3. She started it during the Olympics when she noticed that the girl in only her pants had a bigger image in print than any other woman in the issue; bigger than that of Jessica Ennis who had just claimed her victory and medal. Not only is this issue something which I feel is important, it also made me think a lot about the difference in societies and cultures vis-à-vis the comparison between France and England.

Holmes’ main arguments are that Page 3: degrades women and makes them an object rather that a being; provides exposure to all (many of whom shouldn’t have access to it such as younger children); and causes issues among the youth (mainly young girls who feel they should aim for the “perfect body” – something which doesn’t, or rather shouldn’t, exist.) She argues that The Sun sells itself as a family newspaper which can be found on countless kitchen tables, or bus seats, promoting to sons the “Cor, look at the tits on that” mentality, and to daughters it becomes an aim which the majority will inevitably fall short of.

Linking this to my year abroad, I realised that there is no parallel tabloid in France. England has The Sun, The Daily Star and The Daily Sport all of which display such “smut” every day. The French have no equivalent and stick just to Men’s mags, keeping in line with the market of destination. While there are a ton of cultural differences I could have rambled about, some much more light-hearted like whether eating a calf’s head is really appropriate, this is something that really hit home for me.

In reality, if men want to look at bare boobs they have endless images online or in magazines such as Nuts, depending on tastes. Should a ‘news’paper really be publishing a new pair a day? What makes it ‘news’? France’s idea of newspaper is just that – full of news. Granted, there was recently the controversy over the French Closer magazine which shockingly published topless photos of Kate Middleton. This, though, was soon retracted after the Palace put their foot down, and was for a completely different purpose: gossip.

So far, the campaign has gained a lot of support. Holmes’ petition is nearing 60 000 signatures and already includes those from celebrities such as comedian Chris Addison, actress and comedienne Jennifer Saunders, and singer Eliza Doolittle. It also has mine. France’s lack of any equivalent suggests to me that it too agrees. I’m sure many boys will flick over this laughing at my mild feminism (as my friend did when I published the link on my Facebook page saying “Shut up Hattie and get your tits out”), but hopefully one or two of you may actually agree with the principle and sign it or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.


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