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April 27th, 2013

In response to the Girl Guides’ campaign to abolish Page Three

At the age of nineteen I found myself sitting across the desk from an agent. I had come to London clutching my portfolio which contained a few topless pictures of me, taken when I had asked a photographer if he could help me get into the modelling business. Why he asked me to take my top off in the first place I do not understand. But I do know this – he misused an opportunity to help a young woman start out on a good path and instead started her on another journey by satisfying his own, private desires.

I was immediately sent across London to see The Sun Newspaper’s photographer and within hours I was standing before a camera lens having my picture taken. My feet did not touch the ground! My pictures appeared regularly in the papers for the next six months until I was encouraged to focus on different types of work – TV commercials, magazines and catalogues – to prevent me getting a name for topless work. All this happened over 30 years ago.

Then in 2006 someone found topless pictures of me on the internet. I was mortified. I was a Christian who had experienced God’s healing from drug addiction, and was now a happily married woman with four children who had been working as a counsellor for over 10 years. The discovery of the pictures plunged me into an angry pit of shame and I felt so dirty.

I have heard arguments that say Page Three is harmless but I disagree. Young girls and women are bombarded with images that have been tweaked to enhance their so called better attributes, and thus the normal girl on the street often feels as if they can never be good enough.

The fact that a newspaper that purports to be a family paper has, as you turn the very first page, a picture of a young woman without her top on confirms the unspoken notion that women are objects to be ogled at. It gives permission for the man on the street to view women as sexual playthings to be commented on and rated, and can even give the impression that their bodies are not their own but are up for grabs.

I work with teenagers and women who struggle with issues of self-worth relating to what they look like and how they are viewed by those around them. I believe that these images harm the women psychologically in the deepest senses. What God meant for sharing within marriage, the unveiling of the body to delight and satisfy in private, has been corrupted and misused in public. What should build self-worth in the intimate setting of marriage destroys it in the glare of the public eye.

As for me, I have taken the opportunity to redeem my experiences for God and put my story down in words for others to prosper from. So now, seven years later, Potholes & Belly-flops: Thoughts from a woman who knows! has been published. Is it a strange coincidence that after taking so long it happens to coincide with the campaign from the Girl Guides? I don’t think so, and hence my reason for writing this article.

I challenge all women to join together and claim back their bodies for God’s beautiful intention and glory, and to stand alongside the Girl Guides.

Potholes & Belly-flops is available from Amazon in paperback & on Kindle: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Potholes-Bellyflops-Thoughts-Woman-Knows/dp/0955913586

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