Book Review: How to Start a Revolution by Lucy-Anne Holmes

A lot of shops put little cheap items by the till in order to prompt idiots to make impulse buys. I know because I am one of those idiots.
Sometimes, however, my idiocy pays off and I pick up something like this book, which is a gem.
I hate to admit I wasn’t familiar with Lucy-Anne Holmes, I haven’t read any of her novels and the name didn’t ring any bells. The campaign she founded did though.
LAH founded the No More Page 3 campaign to get The Sun newspaper to drop its traditional topless models.
I must admit that for years I hadn’t given Page 3 much thought, it just being one of those things that was just there in the background. I don’t read the paper so I wasn’t exposed to it.
When I heard about the campaign I did think about it, and agreed. I’m not a prude, this was about context. Why was a newspaper featuring topless women and what effect did this have?
Probably negative ones. Not only was it objectification but what did it tell people about women’s role in society? That they were just meant to look pretty? That all they had to offer was tits?
LAH’s book details her campaign and she concisely lists her objections, but the book, as the title suggest is also a great guide to how to effect change and mount a campaign, in a positive manner.
Holmes is clear on this throughout, the campaign wasn’t uptight, it was fun (they included a LEGO page 3 girl due to the toy company’s association with the paper and the problems this might cause, which is an eye catching and interesting approach, as you’ll see below) and friendly, there was very little ranting and self righteousness, they simply expressed their passionate opposition and explained why Page 3 was problematic. And in the end they won.
Its a great quick read and Holmes is a warm, engaging writer and gives good advice on how to mount a campaign and how to deal with trolls. It’s just wonderful, one of the best impulse buys I’ve ever made.
Verdict: A warm and witty guide to 21st century campaigning and a brief history of the No More Page 3 campaign. Holmes is a wonderfully charming voice and the book has a nice, positive vibe. 8/10.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


2 Comments on “Book Review: How to Start a Revolution by Lucy-Anne Holmes”

  1. As someone across the pond, I don’t get the Sun so never got to enjoy or not enjoy the Page 3 girls thing. however, I did hear about it and frankly thought the campaign was bs. The simple fact was that the entire campaign was an exercise in slut shaming and censorship. Given that my impression of the Sun was that it was a bit of a tabloid, focused more on fun and sensational stories rather than “serious” news, and the Page 3 Girls actually being a very good way to get into the modeling profession (many of my favorite models got their start in Page 3, it seemed less about how “problematic it is to have nude women in the news” and more “how dare people look at naked women who want to be looked at and make more money than I ever will!!!!”

    See, you can wrap it up in terms like “problematic” and “educating” and “offensive” but really what it all comes down to is someone’s morals are violated and they feel the need to censor it so that even if the rest of society finds it an acceptable behavior, it is stopped because a few moral prudes can pat themselves on the back and say things like “look at all those women we just helped out of a job I found offensive, they should be so grateful to me for ending their exploitation, I don’t care if they enjoyed it and made lots of money.”

    • chrisebpage says:

      The thing is that the Sun has long tried to pass itself off as a “family paper” and has itself been pretty judgmental of others.
      I get that for some it’s been a gateway to success, but it ran for around 40 years, and off the top of my head I can’t think of more than 10 who have gone onto bigger things.
      The Sun’s response to some of Page 3’s critics has been horrible at times, and for a “family” paper the fact that the most prominent females featured in some editions are topless does send a bad message.
      And the major question is that if the Sun wants to be taken seriously as a paper Page 3 hampers that?
      The best way to think about it was put forward by Josh Widdicombe (I think)- the test of if it was inappropriate or not is if you wouldn’t do it now. And its hard to see a modern newspaper including topless models.
      It’s not about nudity or prudery, I’m largely pro-nudity and pro-expression, it’s about context and how things are being expressed. The Page 3 girls were passive and not expressing themselves, they were just objectified for the male gaze, and a newspaper, which is available everywhere, isn’t the right place to put boobs.
      And let’s face it, anyone missing Page 3 could always turn to internet and have their boob viewing needs fulfilled.
      Thanks for your feedback, and get where you’re coming from in some regards (anti-porn campaigns are not something I’d back), but with this campaign I disagree and think it approached it in a civilised and well reasoned way.
      But that’s just one man’s opinion.

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