Friday, 27 December 2013

Julie Bindel and the War on Drugs

Julie Bindel was spreading Christmas cheer earlier this week, writing a scathing critique of affluent people who take cocaine at dinner parties. In an article titled 'Nigella, the chattering classes and the malign glamorising of cocaine' she writes:

They show apparent indifference to the human misery that cocaine spreads, both in Britain and abroad. Through their eagerness for a quick ‘high’, they are colluding in exploitation, cruelty, even death. 
What sticks in the craw with so many of these people is their hypocrisy. Most of them hold progressive opinions on human rights, gay rights and immigration, but they are effectively condoning oppression of the most brutal kind. 
Thanks to their self-indulgence, the big drug barons get richer, while the poor junkies on council estates lose all vestige of self-respect as they destroy their lives.

This pretty much sums up her entire argument. The drugs trade cause misery for lots of people, so for high-flying rich people who only buy free-range eggs to partake in them shows that they don't actually care all that much about the people whose lives are affected.

Of course she has a point - cocaine is about as far from an ethically-sourced product as you can possibly get, so if you're the sort of person who insists on only buying fairtrade coffee then snorts a loads of lines after then you might want to re-examine whether you can truly consider yourself a "progressive" "liberal" or similar.

The problem with this analysis is how it sets up a completely false equivalence. If you have a choice between an expensive 'ethical product' and a less ethical one, and you have enough money, you may as well buy the more expensive one. This applies to all sorts of products, like coffee or chocolate, or meat. But if you want to do cocaine, you can't buy an ethical version. Your only option is cocaine supplied via criminal gangs.

Ethically speaking you may as well go to Starbucks and ask for a latte made with orphans' tears.

Julie's solution to this is that nobody should take cocaine. She doesn't consider to what extent the negative social consequences of drugs is due to their illegality. In Julie's world, we should all just say no. If people just stopped taking drugs, then everything would be all right.

Another problem with this argument is the way Julie seeks to pit wealthy occasional cocaine users against "poor junkies on council estates", as if these are the only categories of people who take drugs. In a bizarre twist of logic, poor people only become addicted to heroin because rich people snort coke at parties. Poor people are susceptible to addiction, whereas rich people only dabble occasionally, just like Nigella.

Occasional cocaine user Daniella Westbrook

So how can we stop people taking drugs? With the War on Drugs, perhaps?

Politicians like to talk grandly of ‘the war on drugs’, but that is just so much empty rhetoric. There has been no ‘war’, barely even a skirmish.

Of course! There's been too much leniency! Tougher sentences, more money spent on arresting drug users, more stop and searches perhaps? Who cares if drug policing in the UK has time and time again been shown to be institutionally racist?

Julie goes on to say:

Money that could be spent on raising living standards, providing decent education and building a civic infrastructure instead has to be diverted into fighting a savage war against criminals bent on making a fortune from supplying drugs to the London coke brigade. It is the same story in Africa, where drugs wars are rife.

So there's "no war, barely even a skirmish" on drugs, but in the very same article, there is "a savage war", that wastes loads of money every year. I'm slightly confused by your argument here, Julie.

But wait a minute - isn't this article saying naughty people should stop taking drugs and then people would stop having their lives ruined by making the drugs? Why of course - this is the exact same "end demand" idea that sex work abolitionists are so fond of as a means to abolish prostitution. Here are two articles discussing the failure of "end demand" in sex work, but let's think for a moment what might happen if posh people did stop taking cocaine, thus reducing demand.

A rudimentary understanding of economics suggests this might lead to a drop in prices - will this mean soon those council estate junkies can move onto cocaine instead? How very glamorous.

Perhaps instead, people who take drugs don't think it's right that the state interferes with whatever chemical compounds they put in their bodies. Addiction is a real phenomenon and can ruin lives, but then why are alcohol and tobacco legal when there are far less dangerous drugs out there that aren't?

Found this on wikipedia innit

Nothing I have to say here is particularly new, but how about instead of lecturing people on the ethics of drug-taking we try to find solutions. How can we make drugs more ethical? If progressive liberals with Amnesty International memberships could buy ethically sourced, legal cocaine, would they continue to buy it off criminals?

The political Left is meant to be opposed to exploitation, abuse, brutality and violence, but these are the very qualities that the drugs trade breeds.

It is no exaggeration to say that cocaine supply is a form of hyper-capitalism, devoid of any humanity.

I agree. But prohibition doesn't work. People are still taking drugs. It's time to consider a more realistic drug policy than the laughable failure of 'Just Say No'.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Today's Immigration News

LGBTQ activist Irina Putilova is in fast-track detention at Yarl's Wood, facing imminent removal to Russia where she will almost definitely be sent to prison. In Russia, Irina was harassed, followed, and attacked by state officials, the police and far right groups because of her political activism and identity.

Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre has been the subject of several allegations of sexual assault by Serco staff. Sirah Jeng, an eyewitness, was almost deported last moth before she could give a statement to police. Three staff members have already been sacked - two for engaging in sexual activity with a detainee and one for failing to take action when the woman in question reported it. Another female detainee in a women-only wing has been admitted to hospital twice for complications related to pregnancy

In other news, Isa Muazu is still in the medical wing at Harmondsworth immigration detention centre in west London, where he is on hunger strike and has been since September. He is unable to stand up or see. He has been quoted as saying he would rather die than return to Nigeria, where he faces torture and death at the hands of the militant Islamic group Boko Haram. Last month Theresa May chartered a jet to send Muazu back to Nigeria, despite the fact he was declared unfit to fly by UK doctors. The mission was halted only when Nigerian authorities refused to allow the plane to land.

But on a more cheerful note, Trenton Oldfield, the London School of Economics graduate who interrupted the Oxford-Cambridge boat race will not be sent back to Australia. In court he explained that he was "vulnerable" and "emotional" after caring for his father in law who was dying of cancer, and this is what inspired him to disrupt the boat race, which he saw as symbolic of "elitism".

He went on to point out that "70% of the cabinet are Oxbridge graduates" and compared his attention-seeking stunt to the sports boycotts of South Africa in the 1980s.

God save the Queen.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

"Rape Porn": Why You Should Care

I should start by admitting that I don't pay for porn. I know - less people actually paying for porn pushes down wages for the people both in front of and behind the cameras, and isn't actually very ethical when you think about it. But this is how most people accessing online porn behave nowadays, in much the same way that sales of music singles are in decline and hey - anyone remember the last time they bought an actual newspaper?

The rise and rise of various 'tube' sites - RedTube, XTube, LubeTube, or the bizarrely named 'XHamster' - means that people aren't carefully sourcing the porn they watch based on the studios, directors or performers whose work they admire. instead they're making a choice based on that week's most watched, top rated or the most recent uploads. And often these videos aren't uploaded with their original titles, but rather a rough description of whatever happens in each scene. Often with questionable grammar. A quick look at today's front page on one site offers the following:

"Acrobatic sex big tits cum in mouth"
"Hot brunette gets sensual fuck"
"xxx outdoors orgy"
"From massage to a three-way"
"Big dick for lucky ladies"
"juicy nymph copulated hard in wow movie"
"Russian incest 1, brother rape sister"

It's immediately clear that the last one might qualify as "rape porn". The clue being in the title.

The video starts with a man in a bed and a woman sat on a chair reading a magazine. I don't know what they're saying as it's in Russian, but it goes on to show a simulated rape scene. It's unpleasant throughout, but the acting is in no way convincing.

The video has over a thousand views and a 99% positive rating.

I found it horrible to watch, and I didn't watch the whole thing. But in much the same way I found a particular scene from The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover quite a traumatic experience. (The scene I'm referring to is one in which a character is force-fed the pages of a book by pushing them down his throat with a wooden spoon.) Both scenes were clearly performed by actors, but knowing this doesn't change the visceral reactions we can feel when confronted with certain images.

Recently the government announced that possession of "rape porn" will become a criminal offence and those found guilty could face up to three years in jail. The definition of "possession" will be redefined to mean that at some point you watched something in your web browser. Even if you only watched it for a second. Or if you clicked it by mistake.

So here's why even if you think rape porn is awful and wrong you should think twice about supporting such a move: there is loads of poorly labelled porn out there. The idea of watching a simulated rape scene is not actually something that appeals to me, but this doesn't mean that over the years whilst looking at porn I haven't found myself clicking on the odd simulated rape scene.

I'm also not turned on by watersports or fisting, but I've still managed to accidentally click on a few videos with these in. (Potential idea for a new site - NoWaterSportsOrFistingAllowedTube.)

Enthusiastic consent should be an important thing when it comes to your actual sex life, but trying to apply the same standards to a scene where actors are playing characters doesn't make sense. To use an example from something I did actually choose to watch - what about this Ancient Egypt themed scene, in which the pharaoh chooses a new slave to be his concubine. Is it irrelevant that the concubines look pretty happy with this arrangement? If they're just slaves how can this be a free choice entered into willingly?

But all of this seems a bit meaningless when you consider the fact that the actual location they're filming in is probably a studio in California and the year, judging from the quality of the film, is probably some point in the 1980s. Or 70s.

And what defines whether or not something is porn? I've never watched an episode of Game of Thrones but this hasn't stopped me hearing people discuss all of the supposedly graphic rape scenes it features. Or what if you've got a book of Greek myths and legends? Or some Shakespeare? What this move will do is invite the state back into your bedroom. Or wherever it is you keep your computer.

And the state is already trying hard enough to police what porn people are accessing. Take this story from earlier this month:

A man whose life was ruined when he was charged with child sex offences after looking at legal gay pornography in a hotel room has accused the police and Crown Prosecution Service of a “homophobic witch-hunt” after his case was finally thrown out. The defendant endured a “two-year nightmare” after being arrested in front of his family, charged with 10 offences almost a year later and repeatedly bailed, before every charge was dropped. If convicted he would have faced jail and been forced to sign the sex offenders’ register. His father died while he was awaiting trial.
The CPS, which spent tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money pursuing the case, offered no evidence in court – in effect conceding there was no case to answer. His lawyers say they gave the CPS conclusive documentary evidence three months ago that all models featured in the pornography were of legal age.

And this wasn't the first time either. As his lawyer, Myles Jackman, wrote:
Having also represented Michael Peacock in his “obscenity” trial and Simon Walsh in his “porn” trial, it is with extreme regret that I have begun to form the view that the Crown Prosecution Service suffers from institutional homophobia.
Bearing in mind that the CPS is already accusing people of being paedophiles when they decide that the adult porn performers they're watching 'look too young', what is this government planning next?

It would be overly simplistic to blame their attitude on social conservatism, but there are authoritarian voices on the left pushing for censorship as well. It's a "feminist issue", it's about "equality".

But this of course completely drowns out the voices of women who themselves watch porn. As the academic (Dr) Jude Roberts writes:
Porn exploring women’s desires and sexual fantasies is taking precedence like never before. This includes fantasies of non-consent. The majority of studies of women’s sexual fantasies places the number of women who acknowledge having fantasies involving non-consensual sex at somewhere between 30 and 50%. Given the difficulties of speaking about sexual desire at all in our society, even more pronounced for women, and the particularly taboo nature of this fantasy it’s reasonable to assume that these percentages are on the low side, but even if they weren't, that 30% of women have this fantasy makes it something worth discussing.
Fantasies of sexual non-consent are crucially fantasies. This means that when we’re talking about porn that caters to these fantasies we are not talking about images of genuine non-consent. Images of genuine non-consent aren’t porn any more than sexual images of children are porn. In both these cases the images are evidence of violent crime and ought to be treated as such. In contrast, enjoying the illusion of a loss of control, usually at the hands of another extremely attractive and desired person or persons and being ‘forced’ to endure multiple orgasms and other sexual delights is about as far from genuine non-consent as you can get.
(By the way, this is from quite a long article that discusses a few things in depth and I'd highly recommend reading it all.)

To wrap up, there's no evidence that banning rape porn will have any affect on the number of sexual assaults. But there seems to be a lot of evidence that both the police and the Crown Prosecution Service are happy to pursue ordinary people for looking at relatively innocent porn. Some people find rape porn a turn-on. Some people like watching gratuitous violence in films. It takes a peculiar type of doublethink to hold the view that watching certain types of porn will make you more likely to go out and rape, whilst not also thinking that certain types of film will encourage you to shove a book down someone's throat.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Me vs The Polling Organisation

 Lucky me got myself a sweet sweet Amazon voucher for whoring out my opinions about the financial services industry. Me and filling out online polls go back a long way, as I used to fill out Yougov polls on a regular basis. What they don't tell you when you join Yougov is quite how many years it will take you to actually get enough points to get your £50 cheque in the post. In my case: about four years.

Towards the end I would just skip through surveys as fast as I possibly could, clicking at random like a crazed gunman. However for this latest survey I thought I should be honest. I owed it to them.

Well, we're off to a great start here.

When someone says 'Goldman Sachs', what's the first thing you think of? Ah, of course. Integrity.

Now that you mention it, we really mustn't forget the outstanding contribution from Barclays to our overall economic progress. Maybe not so much these last few years, but on the whole? A fine contribution.

In 2010 the top 95 staff in Goldman Sach's London offices earnt an average of $6.2m. Think how much time you'd want to spend doing your own ironing if your salary was $6.2m. Probably not very much, so just think of all the jobs being created! My only criticism is that none of these firms are paying $6.2m to ALL of their employees - if they did then just think about how many jobs would be created in the ironing sector. In fact there would be so many jobs in ironing that maybe the senior ones could hire new recruits to do their ironing for them. Now wouldn't that contribute to the well-being of society.

Ironing jobs for all.

Trisha: much as I love you, your days are numbered.

As always, my opinion is very important.

Monday, 25 March 2013

If I ever burn down a church

It will not be because of some protest against organised religion, against the opposition from various churches to gay rights, abortion rights, the right to die, condom use or sex before marriage - no. It will not be because of any of these things. It would be entirely down to one thing, and one thing alone.

Church bells going off all night.

Now I'm a heavy sleeper. I can sleep through anything once I'm actually sound asleep, but perhaps to compensate for this I am one of those people who takes ages to actually fall asleep. Thoughts whizz through my head, shopping lists and blog posts write themselves, Kylie Minogue sings bits of  her songs on a loop, dark and twisted sexual fantasies spring from nowhere.

Actually that last one is a lie - to my eternal disappointment most of my sexual fantasies are quite boring really.

Eventually I'll reach a state where I'm almost asleep. I'll start to dream. Usually I become aware of being in a 'dream location' before I can actually see it. I'm in my old school, or a buffet reception at a dingy hotel - i have some very cinematic dreams. I start to hear sounds. Voices etc. And then -BONG. BONG. BONG.

Fucking church bells. It's three O'fucking-clock and I'm still awake. Nowadays it's rare for me to be up past three even on a night, yet on this particular evening I've been hunched over a problem sheet til midnight and have been in bed trying to fall asleep sleep for over two hours. And just as I'm about to drift off, the clock strikes again. And again.

I do actually quite like the sound of churchbells. During the day. They're a bit useless in the morning as at say 10 O'clock I only really become aware of them once it's too late to keep count, but it's quite nice to be aware that it's something O'clock and then you can look at your watch or your phone or whatever the most convenient clock to you is saying, and then you'll know what time it is.

Perhaps in the middle ages, when nobody had their own clock, the hourly ringing of church bells would have been a lot more important, as presumably the only other way you could tell the time would be to stare at the sky and guess. But no more! We have clocks. We have watches and mobile phones.

And even if you're too poor to have a watch or a phone, or you smashed your phone on a dancefloor, or you got mugged - I fail to see how you could be more than an hour away from a working clock. Most people awake in the early hours of the morning are either still up from the night before or have the sort of job that requires you to be out of bed really early.

Waste disposal technicians (binmen), dairy delivery officers (milkmen. The hilarities of political correctness gone mad!) - these people all have to be up really early. They might have to be out of bed at something like 4.30 and out the house with barely enough time to eat a bowl of cereal. But these people surely set an alarm clock to do this.

Admittedly I'm coming from the privileged position of basically never having to get out of bed before 8 (and let's be honest, only very rarely before about half ten). But I just can't imagine a single group of people who appreciate hourly bells right through the night.

The sound of church bells should be a joy. You can be the most committed atheist in the world and still smile at the a load of bells going off in the middle of the day.  When they seem to be really going for it with tunes and everything.

Unless - like me - you live a stone's throw away from a church, in a Victorian house with single glazed windows. In which case you will probably want to scream.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: in the aftermath of that guy saying he was gonna blow up an airport on Twitter I'd just like to be clear - I promise I won't actually burn down any churches.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Fuck It I'm Writing A Recipe

I've been meaning to do some 'student cooking' recipes for a while. The general point was meant to be me showing off about what I'd cooked and how cheap it was and aren't I clever managing to eat such tasty food on a budget - well this meal fails miserably at that, because duck breasts are not cheap.

Some of this post was written yesterday, fresh from Tesco's and laden with shopping, after a rather eventful cycle ride as there's something wrong with my bike that means the pedals are only working about 50% of the time. I really should take it to the repair shop. I've since rewritten it, but some of the tenses might make no sense still, as I did my English GCSE five years ago and have since forgotten how to write.

What We're Having For Dinner:

Fried duck breast with red berry sauce, chickpea and kidney bean mash, sautéed carrots and salad.

You'll Need to Buy:

4 duck breasts (£8)
A bag of frozen mixed fruit (£1.50, or you could get just raspberries but that's £2)
Carrots (£1, you won't use all of them though)
A tin of chickpeas (80p - wtf is with this modern rip-off, when I was first year you could get 3 tins for a quid, maybe I should be buying dried chickpeas.)
-I wasn't even going to buy chickpeas, but Tesco was out of any white beans like haricots or butter beans.
A tin of value kidney beans (18p)
A red onion (18p)
A bag of baby leaf salad and rocket (Usually £1.50 but they have a 2 for £1 offer)

You Might Already Have in a Cupboard:

Salt and pepper
Brown sugar
Lemon juice
Ground coriander

Optional: some red wine for the sauce. Or balsamic vinegar. I forgot to buy either of these and it turned out fine without them.

Total: about £12. Serves: 4.

So it's £3 each - like I said this isn't amazingly cheap, but is only marginally more expensive than a McDonalds Happy Meal. IT doesn't come with a free toy though.


Finely dice the onion and fry. You want it to be nice and soft so do them on a medium-low heat. This might take a while, add a little bit of water to the pan if they look like they're about to dry out. 

While the onion's cooking prepare your carrots. I wanted to go for thin strips so I did this using the slicer on the side of my cheesegrater. I used 3 decent sized carrots although you could probably do more.

Keeping an eye on the onions, drain your chickpeas and kidney beans, and rinse off the starchy water they've been sitting in.

When the onion looks about done add both tins then a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice and salt to taste. You want it to be quite sour but not overpowering.

Mash up the mixture in the pan. If you've got a potato masher it makes it a bit quicker but if not just use the side of a fork. You're not aiming for a smooth puree so don't worry if it's quite rough with a few whole ones in. At this point you might want to add some finely chopped fresh coriander for extra flavour. (I didn't bother, but it might be nice.)

You probably don't want to keep the mash on the heat for too long because it might start to dry out - once it's ready transfer it to a bowl. You can stick it in the microwave just before serving to warm up - I went for 'warm' as opposed to hot and I think it was pretty nice like that.

Get your duck breasts out the packet and cut slices into the skin, going through all the fat but not too deep into the flesh. Find your sharpest knife for this as otherwise it's a bit fiddly, and you'll want this knife again later for slicing up your breasts before serving. Rub some salt and pepper on both sides.

Add a big handful (maybe 100g) of frozen berries to a small  saucepan with some butter and sugar.  I basically guessed the proportions, scoop up a decent tablespoon of butter and shake some sugar out a packet. You want it to be quite sweet to balance the sour bean mash and the peppery flavour of the rocket, mine was probably a little bit sweet and I made a bit more than needed. But - you can use leftovers as a sauce for desserts, as long as you make sure you don't accidentally get any bits of duck in the pan.

Heat until the butter melts and the berries are all defrosted. They'll start to release juices but will mostly remain intact. If you wanted a smooth sauce you could pass this through a sieve to get rid of the seeds and the fibrousy bits, but I couldn't find one, and to be honest as you spoon the sauce over the duck you can just avoid the solid fruits if you want. Once it looks done take off the heat - you can warm it up just before serving.

At this point I twiddled my thumbs for about 45 minutes as I was waiting for my friends to arrive and I didn't want to accidentally serve them cold duck breasts. The duck takes a lot longer than the sauce so if everyone you're cooking for is ready and waiting then you can get the duck on the heat before you start the sauce.

Get a nice big pan and put it on the highest heat. You don't need any oil as the layer of fat under the duck's skin will melt as the duck cooks. Wait until the pan's really hot then put in your breasts skin side down. Turn down the heat to medium and leave these for about 5 minutes until they've released loads of oil and the skin's starting to look a crispy golden-brown colour. Then turn them over.

I pretty much had no idea how to tell how ready they were so I enlisted the help of my friend Oscar, who gave me the following advice:

"Give them a poke and if they're as firm as your cheek then they're raw, if they're as firm as your chin then they're rare and if they feel like your forehead then they're well-done."

Here's a picture of Oscar:

I haven't ever tried a totally raw bit of duck but I can't imagine it's all that delicious, so you want it to be reasonably cooked but still quite pink in the middle. Flip them every so often so they cook evenly and when they look done transfer to a chopping board and wrap in foil so they don't cool down too much.

Now fry your carrot strips. Chuck in a teaspoon of cumin and/or ground coriander to add some nice flavours. Don't fry them for too long - they'll be quite firm still and will absorb some of the flavour from the duck fat. I think if you fry them for too long they'll get really caramelised and be a bit too sweet.

While your carrots are in the pan prepare your plates: chuck some salad leaves on them and spoon out the bean mash. It might need a little whizz round the microwave first.

When you think the carrots look done take them off the heat, and put on top of some kitchen roll to absorb the excess oil. I think this is worth doing as it might end up a bit greasy otherwise. If you don't have kitchen roll then maybe use a clean tea towel that you can put in the wash after.

Use your sharp knife to slice up your duck breasts before serving.  Wash it first as you're not supposed to mix cooked meat with raw meat in case you die of food poisoning. I found it was easier to hold the breast in one hand and cut with the other instead of using a fork - you want the slices quite thin and it gets a bit fiddly.

Pretend you're on Materchef as you arrange the carrots and meat on top of the salad.

And finally - spoon over the sauce.


Sunday, 24 February 2013

Useful ways to spend your time

1. Win your college's annual pancake race.

2. Log into Grindr and upload a photo of a crow. Wait for the messages to roll in.

3. Update your CV then forget to apply for jobs in time for the application deadlines.

4. Tinker with your privacy settings on Facebook

5. Consider uninstalling some programs from your computer in the hope it will run faster without them.

6. Devise a dance routine for the song 'Control' by Janet Jackson.

7. Respond to your Grindr messages.

8. Devise another dance routine for Janet Jackson's 'Black Cat'. And take a moment to fully appreciate that she wrote this song herself and that she is an overlooked genius.

9. Admire the many faces of the Jackson siblings.



10. Check Grindr again.

11. Write a blog.

12. Put on the kettle. Consider getting back to work.

13. Watch a film.

14. Sleep.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Thoughts on Page 3 and 'No More Page 3'

I am against Page 3. The fact that in the 21st century a newspaper thinks it's totally innocuous to run pictures of topless women every day shows that this is a very sexist newspaper. But I only think this because they don't also have daily pictures of topless men.

One of the primary ideas of feminism is that men and women are equal. In practice people can have loads of arguments about whether or not this is true, but usually people who argue men and women aren't equal are confusing the word 'equal' with 'exactly the same'. Broadly speaking there are quite a few differences between men and women, some related to biology and some perhaps influenced more by social factors, although it's unclear to what extent this might be so.

For example, in the UK most football fans are male. To what extent this is because football is 'naturally' more appealing to males than females is unclear. It may be that throughout childhood boys are encouraged to take an interest in playing and watching football to a far greater extent than girls to the point that this could totally explain the disparity. Or perhaps it's other factors - as a male-dominated space football might be openly hostile to women, or maybe men like being given the opportunity to run around being a football hooligan.

Even if you think those suggestions are totally wrong and the only possible explanation is in hormones and brain chemistry, it would be hard to argue that men and women aren't of equal worth as human beings. Not exactly rocket science.

Another obvious difference between men and women is apparent in their bodies. In many ways men are similar: they both have arms and legs and heads and shoulders and bums, but there are a few differences. Men tend to have a cock and balls, and women have something between their legs too terrifying to describe . Women also have long hair on their heads, and men have short hair  - oh wait a minute, I think that might be one of those social factor things I was talking about earlier. Maybe. Men and women both have nipples, women with breast tissue underneath and men without, although some men can develop a sort of chest cleavage of their own if they go to the gym loads. (See below.)

Because they've developed to feed babies with milk, women's nipples are generally a bit bigger than men's I think, but they basically look the same otherwise. So why, how can it possibly be, that women's nipples are more offensive, or sexual, or for the eyes of adults only, than men's?

Let's just imagine a male version of page 3:

I don't know who this guy is, but I just found him on a Google image search for 'man in underwear', with the highest level of safesearch on. Looking at this, it reminds me of an image I saw plastered all over billboards a while ago.

Oh yeah - an advert for pants. That we're happy to see plastered on shop windows and billboards, without provoking hysterical responses that these were supposed to be 'family shop windows' or 'family billboards', or that perhaps the seductive look in David Beckham's eye will lead to excessive horniness in adult women and the early sexualisation of young boys who will think they have to get loads of awful tattoos in order to emulate him.

Like I said, Page 3 is sexist. Defending it as 'a celebration of the beauty of youth' or something doesn't excuse the very obvious fact that if you choose to only celebrate the beauty of one gender then you're being sexist.

But porn it ain't.

Categorising women's nipples as more obscene than men's does not help women. And if anything, makes life a lot more difficult for a subset of women: those with young children who wish to breastfeed in public. Women are routinely harassed for this by members of the public, or even by political columnists on Twitter.

Everyone knows print and broadcast media are still very sexist. If you want to get into the papers and you're a woman you have to be Kate Middleton or Madeleine McCann. Or Mary Beard, but only so that they can report the fact that people on a messageboard had photoshopped your face onto a vulva. TV comedy shows routinely have no women on a panel of six. Or congratulate themselves for occasionally having two women on a panel of six, despite the fact they also have a male host. BBC Radio Four regularly has more male guests than female ones. Even with Woman's Hour on six days a week, there are still far more male voices than female.

In this climate I can see why lots of women don't like Page 3. To them, it symbolises what's wrong with British media. The No More Page 3 campaign is gaining momentum, picking up media attention and even Rupert Murdoch has said maybe it's had its day.

Well, fine. As someone who only very rarely pays actual money for a print newspaper, and has probably been on holiday to Dorset more times than I've bought a copy of The Sun, I can't exactly say I'll miss it. Maybe some of its readers will, and they'll have to move to the Daily Star. Maybe for a while some feminists will make a point of buying The Sun to congratulate old Rupert on finally joining the sisterhood.

Will the nation have lost anything? No. But to me, this whole thing seems as much like puritanism as it does feminism.

I'm reminded of the scene in the pilot of Malcolm in the Middle, when a topless Lois opens the front door to a startled reaction from one of her son's teachers. "They're just boobs, lady," she says. "You see them in the mirror every morning, and I'm sure yours are a lot nicer than mine."