There’s been a lot of talk on Twitter lately about Page 3. I’ve seen various posts by (articulate and very lovely) women, many of whom are good friends of mine, campaigning for the removal of Page 3 from The Sun newspaper, on the grounds that it objectifies women. They’ve made some very good points, and I can see why many people find the ‘national institution’ of nubile naked girl boobies on show in our newspapers to be offensive and outdated. But despite being a feminist, I disagree.
I agree that the way women are portrayed in the media is flawed. But inspired by Stephen Gough, the naked rambler who spent the best part of the past eight years in solitary confinement because he likes to swing in the wind, rather than banish naked breasts from the press altogether, I’d like to propose an alternate universe to Page 3. Get your kit off and put the kettle on, this may take a while…
Ultraboy has given you permission to view my naked bum, but only in comic form
I’m a university educated 33-year-old woman from East Anglia living with my partner in Scotland in a monogamous heterosexual relationship, and I love looking at pictures of naked tits. And vaginas, and penises, and bottoms. I just love naked people. I love being naked, I like looking at people who are naked, and I like the idea of being naked. I think everyone should spend more time with their kit off appreciating the fascinating human form in all its gorgeous glory.
I enjoy looking at naked bodies of all shapes and sizes, because it turns me on. But I also like looking at naked bodies because I’m fascinated by human beings. I like big people, little people, athletic people, hairy people, tattooed people, anatomically precise people, and every different variety of naked people on the planet. Not because I’m a sexual predator. The naked person I like looking at best of all is my lovely boyfriend Ultraboy (sigh). I don’t get off on viewing bare flesh because I want to hump everyone in sight. I have those needs well attended to at home. I’m a voyeur because I’m interested in human beings, the world, and what lies beneath all that Lycra.
I’ve always been this way. Perhaps it’s something to do with my liberal upbringing. As long as I can remember, I’ve been taking my clothes off and encouraging everyone else to do the same. As a child, you could always locate me by the trail of garments I’d hastily removed in my bid to achieve a more freeing state of attire.
Aged 16, I realised I could cash-in on my nudist attitude and started life modelling. Between the ages of 16 and 20, I modelled nude for all the local art colleges in Cambridge, and made an absolute killing. Probably because I was the only person under 30 willing to get my kit off. I imagine 16-year-old naked flesh was a novelty for the artists.
There are probably thousands of naked paintings, drawings, photographs and even the odd bronze statue of my naked arse floating around the world. It was never in any way sexual. It was all about art. It made me feel sexy, but I didn’t lie about with my legs splayed. I mostly lounged artistically, pretending to be from the Renaissance period, and occasionally tried to emulate a cherub.
I even modelled for my own art college, albeit at night so my fellow students didn’t have to see my vagina. Although a boy I had a crush on did once walk in unexpectedly when I was standing starkers on a table modelling for a night class (the classic ‘naked in school’ nightmare come to life). I went bright red from my nose down to my toes, but he painted such a beautiful picture of me, that I soon forgot to feel embarrassed and went home feeling slightly smug.
I’ve got a lot to thank my naked ass for. When I went to university, I paid for most of my studies by life modelling for the local art school. I basically got to sleep naked on a bed for a few hours a week for twice the wage I’d earn anywhere else. Sometimes I went straight to work having not been to bed at all, and slept off my hangover in front of strangers for cash. (Lord knows how those pictures came out).
Naked people: brilliant
It was never about ego. At 5 foot 3 with a naturally curvy frame, I’m not without my hang-ups. I’d love to tone up a bit and lose a few inches. I’m also a natural redhead, so I’m as white as milk and glow in the dark. But take a short, freckled, awkward girl out of her clothes and drape her on a chaise longue, and I suddenly feel like a goddess. It’s one of the few occasions in life when I am completely at peace. I was built for nudity. I suspect I was a rich Grecian layabout in a previous life.
In my late twenties my thirst for nudity led me to an even more questionable career, editing adult magazines for a living. Not Razzle (I’m not sure if it has any words to edit) but Penthouse Forum magazine. Think literary filth. (Alistair Campbell used to write for them). Again, this wasn’t through a sense of perversion, but absolute fascination. I was genuinely interested in pornography, erotica and naked flesh. I confess, I also thought it was a little bit hilariously funny. I have a really dark sense of humour inherited from my eccentric family and I find humour in the perverse and the macabre, which does on occasion get me into a bit of trouble. But if you can’t laugh your arse off at everything, what’s the bloody point?
And laugh my arse off I did. During my Penthouse Forum days I visited porn shoots, interrogated adult babies, crept into the odd dominatrix dungeon and even interviewed Buck Angel, the infamous female-to-male transsexual porn star with a huge ginger mangina (the sweetest man I’ve ever met).
These days I’ve toned it down a bit and prefer to write about running and fitness, while saving my nudity for the back garden (aside from the odd rambler, there is no one in the Scottish wilderness to see what I get up to). But while I spend more time with my clothes on these days (it is a bit cold up here) my move into fitness journalism was no mistake. There’s something decidedly sexy about people in tight Lycra, and the healthy, happy attitude of runners and fitness fanatics definitely lends itself well to my naked hippy mindset. I like being around people who are pleased with their own bodies. It makes me feel good.
Anyhoo before I start penning my memoirs, there is a point to my pro-nudist ramblings. I really don’t think we should do away with Page 3. Admittedly their captions need work; it’s a bit off to insinuate the pretty naked girl of the day would never get a chance to be a physicist if she applied herself. But otherwise, I would like to campaign for the complete opposite. I’d like to see MORE Page 3. But I’d also like to see Pages 4, 5, 6 and 7.
Why must we hide our vaginas away all the time? Are they really so threatening? Will you get lost up there, swallowed whole by the great lady garden devil woman in the sky? And what’s the big deal about tits? Is the subconscious fear of being eternally dependent on your mother’s breast milk so all-consuming that you must continue to both venerate and condemn those milky bags of flesh for time immemorial? In my alternate universe, in celebration of the female form, let’s give every damn page of every newspaper a naked woman, vagina and all! Let’s fill the world with bare naked ladies of all shapes and sizes and accept that we are all nude under our clothes. Boobs and bums are not scary, or intimidating, or otherworldly. We all have them, and they’re brilliant.
But let’s not stop there. To even out the playing field I want to see naked men too. Lots of them. I want juicy buttocks, bare naked abs, exposed chests and even a bit of cock please. Hell, let’s swing some balls out too (starting with Alcide the hunky werewolf from True Blood). Why not? It’s only fair. We’re all so bloody repressed. If everyone was naked a bit more of the time, then perhaps we’d all be a bit less obsessive about it and get on with the important things in life, like reading good books and running marathons.
Nudity is wonderful. Naked people are beautiful and sexy and interesting and should be celebrated, not clothed, hidden away and sneered at. Stephen Gough the naked rambler, I salute you! I’m off to dance naked in the field with the chickens (again. Yes that naked bum at the top of this blog really does belong to me).