Sunday, 24 March 2013

No More Page 3 and the Tabloid Monstering of Lucy Meadows

Oh, I used to have a passion for blogging. I used to churn out writings all hours of the day on all topics that bubbled up, from the state of my jobbies, to the vagaries of the UK jobs market. I used to think it all meant something, that it was gently prodding my readers and society in some positive direction.

But as I've grown older, and faced the trauma of unemployment and just plain getting on with life, its all faded away. I no longer have the passion to write.

Other people do.

I still read blogs, I still click on links on twitter, but its all like a sheet of tracing paper has been placed over it all, its all opaque. Its less meaningful. Its just plain wrong.

Moments ago the member of parliament for West Bromwich East, Tom Watson re-tweeted a link to the No More Page 3 campaign's blog.

At this point I should point out that I don't buy The Sun newspaper, and when it is the only newspaper lying around in the canteen at work, I skip past page 3. Although, I fully appreciate that it is the most popular newspaper in the UK and that it arguably represents a centrist political viewpoint.

Anyhoo, the thrust of the No More Page 3 campaign blogpost seems to be that if only The Sun newspaper stopped publishing photos of topless women on page three then 13 to 16 year old girls wouldn't have their skirts lifted by teenage boys in the queue at the school canteen.

I think this is foolish. There's plenty of nudity and objectifying women in every other newspaper and magazine. The are plenty of websites that offer nudity for free.

Stopping page three will do nothing to stop teenage boys lifting girl's skirts.

Why are schools tolerating sexual abuse in their canteens? Why aren't teachers and headmasters disciplining teenage boys and educating them in the acceptable ways to behave in polite society.

What makes a 16 year old girl think that banning a page in a newspaper will change the behaviour of teenage boys? Its just so tenuous that it astounds me.

Does the member of parliament for West Bromwich East actually agree and believe that if The Sun newspaper stopped printing titties in their newspaper then it would affect the behaviour of teenage boys? Does he actually think this?
Does he really think that cause and effect work like this?
Is this really the sort of belief that the residents of West Bromwich East want in their representative in parliament?

I spent most of this morning investigating the tabloid monstering of Lucy Meadows. There's a variety of petitions out at the moment lobbying for the Daily Mail to sack their columnist Richard LittleJohn.

At this point I should point out that I don't buy the Daily Mail newspaper, and on the rare occasions where I have the opportunity and inclination to read it, I usually skip past the columnist pages. Although I do appreciate that its the second most popular newspaper in the UK.

I'm still unclear as to what degree Richard Littlejohn monstered Lucy Meadows. He wrote a column about her, but the press intrusion that she complained about wasn't about opinion pieces, it was closer to home. She wrote a series of emails to a friend as follows (source):
I was lucky to have a supportive head, but I think I’d have done it here regardless as I couldn’t put it off any longer and I have family and financial commitments as well. The guidance I’ve had from the trans community has been generally sound and very much appreciated, and I’d like to be able to say I’ve given something back. I suppose the best way for me to do this would be to educate the people around me and children at school – I am a teacher after all!
I know the press offered parents money if they could get a picture of me.
I became pretty good at avoiding the press before Christmas. I live about a three-minute walk from school so they were parked outside my house as well as school. I’m just glad they didn’t realise I also have a back door. I was usually in school before the press arrived and stayed until late so I could avoid them going home.
[M]any parents have been quite annoyed with the press, too, especially those that were trying to give positive comments but were turned away.
Richard Littlejohn isn't a reporter, the sort of intrusion that Lucy was talking about seems to be the work of people like:-

I see no petitions calling for these people to be sacked.

Even if Littlejohn's career did meet an untimely demise, then Lisa Woodhouse, Stuart Pike, James Tozer and Nazia Parveen would still camp on people's doorsteps, and wait outside their places of work, and hassle parents for photos and juicy details. At no point in their line of work would they think, "I better not do this, remember what happened to Littlejohn". That isn't going to cross their mind, ever.

Here's a picture of Stuart Pike, and presumably his wife Alia Pike, that I grabbed from his Facebook page. How much guilt does his feel for the death of Lucy Meadows? Is he wondering if he'd done something different, Lucy would still be alive, the pupils of St Mary Magdalen's School in Accrington wouldn't be mourning the loss of a popular teacher.

This is Lisa Woodhouse from the Lancashire Telegraph, I ripped her photo from her twitter account, although for a journalist, she doesn't tweet much. I can't find her on Facebook, so I'm guessing she's got something to hide.

This is 30 year old Nazia Parveen from The Daily Mail, I ripped her photo from twitter. She was named Young Journalist of the year in 2011, when she worked at the Lancashire Telegraph. Her prize for being a young journalist was £500 and a week's work experience at The Daily Mail, presumably they liked her work.

Anyhoo, my point is, that rather than tenuously going for trophy heads on spikes to change behaviour and society, people should be going for the people who commit the offences.

If 16 year old boys are abusing 16 year old girls, then discipline the specific 16 year old boys rather than signing a petition about a page in a newspaper.

If tabloid reporters are hassling someone to the point of suicide, then have a go at the tabloid reporters who are doing the hassling, rather than signing a petition about a page in a newspaper.

*** UPDATE1 *** 24/03/2013 13:44
Just to be sure, I used twitter:-

Eagerly awaiting a response.

*** UPDATE2 *** 24/03/2013 15:17
Looking through other tabloids for reporters who may have monstered Lucy Meadows, I find that in The Mirror, reporter Steve White reports Lucy Meadows's death with the headline "Nathan Upton: Sex-change teacher found dead at 32".

Its a little unclear why Steve White is referring to Lucy as Nathan, when the main thrust of the story, of both the sex change and the suicide, is that Lucy wished to be referred to as Lucy, not Nathan.

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