Page 3: A point of departure
In England, the tabloid newspaper ‘The Sun’ maintains a 45-year daily institution of showing soft-core pornographic images of topless women on ‘Page 3’ – often right next to images of death, disaster and horror – a recipe which might account for its status as England’s most popular newspaper. This popularity makes ‘The Sun’, (and therefore media mogul Rupert Murdoch himself,) heavyweights in the English political area, both with the electorate and the political classes themselves, and undoubtedly these tens of thousands of breasts featured over the years have been vital building blocks in the consolidation of this media empire.
The online campaign @NoMorePage3 which has called for an end to this institution has so far been rejected by the newspaper, which prefers to see those manifold breasts as being part of the corporate makeup of the publication, monetised by the top global news stories they are served-up with. Convenient for that expedient feeling of mastery that keeps male ‘readers’ hooked and hungry for more, as well as delivering divisive, offensive and utterly ludicrous gender norms to the rest of the English population, ‘Page 3’ is a sort of acceptable sadism for both home and workplace. And yet, this seemingly banal institution which is fixated upon breasts is only the tip of the English misogyny iceberg.
At The Unstitute we are taking the institutionalised, semi-fascist female body of ‘Page 3’ as the scene of a crime: these breasts, despite how they appear, do not belong to the bodies to which they are attached. They belong to and are disenfranchised by the culture which enriches itself on them, to each subsequent desiring-machine that plugs into them. This body is but a sequence of codes, a social construct in so many ways, a corporate entity or monetising agent in others. Part-fiction, part-biology, post-female, cybernetic, online, disenfranchised, tortured and/or dismembered bodies: each new variant or sequence of varieties acts as a multiplier of the plurality of bodies which we call ‘female’.
The Unstitute invites you to come and chew on some of the most exciting discourses on female bodies today…
Featuring works by Blanca Rego, Dawn Woolley, K.E.Wallwork, Banfield-Rees, Laura Plana Gracia, as well as guest practitioners from the Department of Fictions at The Unstitute.