"I believe it is wrong for women to be reduced to mere sexual objects in a family newspaper". This statement comes from the 17-year-old Girl Guide who organized the much touted petition to ban topless Page 3 models from British newspapers. Trying to reach people's minds is a good thing, but ganging up to force them out of work is not. She forgets that the easiest and only fair way to keep the Page 3 girl out of your home is to choose not to buy the paper, and she is blaming the Page 3 girls for men's actions.
More deeply, she is typical of the modern woman who believes women should have all rights except one, the right of sex, which means: the right to use and enjoy the benefits of your beauty. Quite often it is supposed feminists who see women as mere objects, as rightless creatures in the way of their desire to run things instead of as individuals capable of making their own choices. Healthy people, people who do not want to force every member of their sex into submission, see Page 3 girls as sex symbols, not sex objects.
The concept of sex symbol came about in the 1960s and 70s as a result of the new found freedoms women began to enjoy in that era, freedoms that included work, education, and sex. Today "sex symbol" has been mostly replaced by "sex object" in common jargon. The problem is: while "sex symbol" happily shouts that female sexuality is an instrument of change, freedom, and enlightenment, "sex object" implies that all a woman can be is a tool for sex. They are completely opposite concepts, and whichever label you apply to sexy women, "sex symbol" or "sex object", is becoming crucially important.
The awesome power that women have to inspire admiration through their beauty and to create life with their sexuality is probably the most feared and controlled human quality on earth, and women have always been distrusted, persecuted, and murdered over it, often by other women. Inevitably, whatever untruth society accepts to justify taking away women's right of sexuality will be used to justify taking away all their rights. For example, fundamentalist Muslims have come to believe (wrongly) that female sexuality corrupts men and inspires sexual assault and they use this belief to force women out of professions like medicine and education and forbid them to have any job where they might have contact with men. In such places women have been stripped of their rights, ripped out of workplaces and schools, denied proper medical care, and forced to live behind closed doors in private homes where they serve as little more than breeding cows. By losing their sexual freedom these women have lost all their freedoms. They have been reduced to sex objects.
Page 3 girls, on the other hand, are sex symbols. Page 3 symbolizes the freedom that women have only gained in the last half century: the freedom to be beautiful and enjoy it. It's an unprecedented and monumental achievement. We were saddened recently by the death of Margaret Thatcher, whose time as British Prime Minister is hailed as the epitome of female achievement in the modern world. As much as we respect the Iron Lady we must disagree. The height of female achievement in the modern world is Page 3. Seriously, there have been many capable and powerful female leaders of countries over the millenia. But there has never been a sexy woman smiling proudly, freely, and happily accepted as part of our daily lives until now. The Page 3 girl symbolizes the highest height of female freedom ever achieved and the most open acceptance of the power of female sexuality by any people on earth.
Britains should be immensely proud of the Page 3 girl and should protect her as they would their own daughter. The desire of many people to take away her rights and freedoms and reduce her - or any woman - to a mere sex object is what we need to protect our children and families from.