Over the last two weeks Students in Bangor have been debating the No More Page 3 campaign, and whether or not Bangor Students’ Union should support this campaign. We’ve put out more than 15 different student/graduate written articles in the run up to the debate, highlighting different angles and arguments, with the intention of sparking public debate. At tonight’s Student Union Senate (20/5/2014) the matter will be debated extensively before being voted on – where it could either become policy, go to referendum, or be rejected.
This blog post presents all of these arguments together in the same place, highlighting the breadth of discussion which has taken place. When I submitted this idea, the aim was not just to change policy (which would be great, but in reality isn’t going to have an immediate or direct impact on The Sun and The Star), but to create the discussion. Two years ago, before becoming President, I saw no problem with Page 3. Each to their own, I said. Not doing any harm, I say. But now I’ve changed my mind. I’ve become acutely aware of the gender imbalance that exists within our society – the misogyny that leads to catcalling in the street, significant pay differences, and ultimately a society that is dominated by men. Page 3 is not the root cause of all this evil, but it does play a part in reinforcing a societal image of women as sexual objects for the titillation of men. This isn’t the society that I want to live in, and if this debate has allowed others to weigh up the pros and cons, to challenge their own views, and to take positive steps in making the world a better place then we will have taken a step in the right direction. So, here are the arguments presented in all their glory – plenty of food for thought.
President, Bangor Students’ Union
In favour of NMP3:
The No More Page 3 question has gathered pace in recent years, and students and Students’ Unions have been leading the way in saying no to a newspaper that displays the most visible expression of misogyny in our country’s media.
Page 3 represents women as passive objects, their worth reduced to their appearance. As another campaigner put it, “it’s the largest representation of womanhood in about 60 other pages which are dominated by photos of men who are being active, not passive, and crucially dressed, not semi-naked.”
The Sun routinely ignores media guidelines that recognise that reports of rape and sexual violence should never be placed alongside images like we see on page three. One blogger who opposes the national no more page 3 campaign said that these women choose to put themselves at greater risk of rape by posing, so who cares, let them do it.
The ugly myth of rape.
The attitude that still tells women that they are in some way to blame for being raped.
Did you know it makes no difference what you are wearing, or what you look like? Yes, it’s the truth, honest!
Women are far more likely to be raped by someone they know than the stranger who jumps out from behind the bush late at night. One out of four women in the UK are raped. By placing these images next to reports of rape, the Sun continues to almost promote myth that rape is only about sexual attraction.
Another Students’ Union made this point;
“In the 42 years that the Sun has been published only four black women have featured on its pages.
Do we want to continue to publicly declare our support for a national newspaper that promotes a very narrow and arguably racist conception of beauty? Or do we want to take a stand and say, no, we respect women, we think beauty doesn’t have to be white, and more than this, we think women are more than the sum of their bodily parts?”
This isn’t about the Students’ Union or anybody else banning freedom of speech – if you want to buy the Sun, there are a number of other outlets in Bangor that sell the newspaper. What we’re doing here is opening a debate.
Students’ Unions exist to defend and promote the right of students, but we also form and reflect a vision of what society could and should look like. Our values of equality and diversity and the work that we do to ensure fair representation through open and transparent democracy, for example.
We believe that in the 21st century we shouldn’t publicly support a newspaper that promotes a certain vision of women, a vision that routinely undermines and objectifies women, and even violence against women.
We have to challenge the attitude that victimises women, encourages women to think of their self-worth in terms of sexual attraction and appearance, and the prevailing attitude that women are passive and there only to be looked at.
Our vision for society is one where women are treated equally to men, where women are respected, and where women are not valued based on the sum of their appearance or sexual attraction – so we’re saying No to Page 3 on campus.
Jo, (Undergraduate student 2009-2112 and Master student 2012-2013).
I signed [the NMP3 pledge] because at the time I came to hear about it I was working in a male-orientated environment (a petrol station). I regularly push-started cars, lifted calor gas bottles up to 50kg, refilled the automatic car wash tanks, carried out pump tests, even did things to help customers that we theoretically weren’t meant to like adding oil or topping up radiators and changing wipers & light bulbs. I noticed that when I was with a male colleague, either he would do it and be thanked, or they’d ask him to do it when I volunteered (only reluctantly accepting MY help after my colleague apologetically waved his walking stick at them and explained I was quite capable). If it was myself and another female colleague, we were almost never thanked for our efforts. The usual comments included “shouldn’t you get a man to do this?”; “watch you don’t break a nail!”; “wow, you’re stronger thank you look” or “you’re no Barbie, are you love?” I was fed up of being reduced to the sum of my obvious physical features and supposed mind-set. The Sun was the most popular red top in our petrol station. For the contractors coming through who paid with fuel cards, they’d flick through to page 3 whilst we processed the transaction and many of them made not-so-subtle comparisons between the models and the serving staff. I was fed up of being asked by balding older men who’d stroke my hand when I took their store loyalty card whether I had any other perks to offer. I used to enjoy dressing smartly for work. I eventually ordered uniform several sizes too big in an effort to make myself seem more shapeless (since I am blessed/cursed with large breasts). I don’t feel that I should have to take these measures to stop myself being made an object of – particularly when (ironic comparison coming up) I’m nowhere close in terms of attractiveness to a p3 girl. That’s my story and those are my reasons why I’d be over the moon if Bangor supported NMP3.
This blog was originally going to begin much differently, but as I sat down in the library to begin writing this blog, I pulled up a series of documents, websites, blogs and pictures that I was going to use to help me, and immediately a large picture of a semi-naked page 3 model appeared on my screen. I was of course immediately asked by a very embarrassed librarian to close the website, as porn is not appropriate to be viewed in the library. I couldn’t help but see the irony in this. If page 3 pictures are classed as pornography when viewing them in our university library, why on earth are we selling them in our university shops?
The Sun sets itself out specifically as a family newspaper, and yet everyone knows that behind the front page, is the largest image of women in the 60+ pages that the newspapers publishes, an image in which the featured model is semi-naked. There is no doubt that this can be classed as ‘soft’ pornography such as ‘lads mags’ which are also focussed on models being semi-naked. A key difference here however, is that ‘lads mags’ are not sold as family friendly, nor are they sold below the top shelves in newsagents across the country.
The page 3 images also receive criticism from the insensitive and hypocritical way that they are often placed next to headlining stories on paedophilia, sexual assault and rape. The images often show women in passive, humiliating or infantilising positions, and to place these next to articles talking of sexual abuse is disgusting and completely undermines the seriousness of the issues.
This is also linked to the issue of the age or perceived age of the models that The Sun’s page 3 can often show. Until as recently as 2003 The Sun still showed images of models as young as 16, and many of their models today are just barely 18. In addition to this, the models are often shown in clothing which makes them seem even younger or more vulnerable than they actually are. This can have a highly damaging effect on young girls and their body image, with magazines and newspapers showing them that there is only one kind of beauty accepted in society, and their worth is dependent on this. With rates of anorexia are increasing in younger children, particularly in young girls, and the effect that body image can have on their self-worth and overall mental health for years to come is outrageous. This lack of representation which enforces a strict narrowing of what we define as beauty, is shown not only by the lack of body types shown in page 3, but also with the racist attitudes that are clearly featured when you take into consideration that there have only ever been four black women featured as a page 3 models.
Some people will undoubtedly argue that a student union ban on selling The Sun in our university shops is censoring and against freedom of speech but that is not what this campaign is about. This campaign is about banning it from our shop, not banning our students from buying it. There is nothing stopping a student from buying and reading this newspaper from any other store in Bangor, because we all know it is most almost everywhere. This is about our union taking a stance and saying no, as a student union with the care of our students at the very heart of what we do, we do not support the systematic objectification of women in one of the most prominent newspapers in the UK, and neither should you.
Abi, 4th year undergrad
I support the no more page 3 campaign as I believe there is a time and a place for topless models and page 3 of a newspaper is not it. I am not against topless models, but having a photo on page 3 makes it too easy for young children to access it. For women, it can be quite belittling and like most media, it portrays ‘perfect’ bodies that a lot of women pressure themselves to strive for. Bangor should support the no more page 3 campaign as newspapers are for news, not topless models.
Marta, 3rd year Undergraduate and International Student
Using female breasts to sell more copies of a newspaper does not only imply that articles reported on said paper are of scarce quality and interest and therefore would not attract readers- it is humiliating and cowardly. Polite manners and respect are always associated with the United Kingdom by International Students like me, but p.3 is not a good example of that.
For me the idea behind the No More Page Three campaign is very simple. Their slogan embodies the term ‘News Not Boobs’ which states very clearly that it’s simply not appropriate for the biggest picture of a woman in a newspaper to be topless, whereas all the men in the paper are clothed. NMP3 isn’t about censorship, it’s not about being offended by boobs or saying that women should cover up. Its aim is not to criticise topless models and it’s not about a bunch of middle-class women looking down on those models or on the readers of The Sun.
Quite simply, the NMP3 campaign is about equality. It’s about the equal representation of men and women in newspapers and it questions why, in a ‘family’ newspaper, it is appropriate to have soft porn in a publication that ends up in a lot of public spaces and in schools. It’s about the fact that having page 3 sends a very clear message to young girls about what their bodies should look like and that, in The Sun, their bodies exist only for the titillation of men and are available to be commented on and invaded in public spaces. It’s about the fact that having page 3 sends a very clear message to young boys about how they should treat girls and perceive female bodies.
Page 3 reinforces a message that is continuously reverberated throughout society by the media and advertising: the most important thing about being a woman is that you must be sexually desirable to men at all times. This is a message that is both damaging and dangerous. The NMP3 campaign has received countless stories of women and girls being harassed and assaulted in public spaces, where their assailers have made specific remarks comparing the victims to Page 3. Page 3 contributes to an overall societal belief that women’s bodies are not their own and that men have the right to comment, look at and touch them without consent. Where on average 85,000 women in England and Wales are raped every year in the UK (rapecrisis.com), this is not a message that can be taken lightly. Page 3 needs to go. Today.
Jenny Collier, Comedian
“Breasts aren’t news. Here’s a sketch my friend made which I think covers a lot of the points https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLYOdm1_gik. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOXX0PIZz48
Lydia, 4th year undergrad
As far as I can see, all page 3 brings to our society is yet only another form of repression of women. I have attempted to see the recurring idea of a topless woman on a page in a newspaper from a different way, by asking friends and acquaintances about their view on the matter – maybe I was missing something, and it wasn’t just a sexist objectification of women, but perhaps held some freedom and liberation within, or maybe the matter wasn’t really as detrimental as I thought. But after various discussions about page 3, I cannot come to any other conclusion other than this – It should be eradicated.
Many of the friends I asked about it said that it should stay – that it was a woman’s choice to be involved, and it was their right to appear topless if they so wish, as they should not be held back by a society that tells them they will be branded with negative connotations if they reveal their bodies. Which I agree with. Women should be free to feel confident and powerful and sexy without worrying about others telling them to wear something less revealing, (or wear anything at all!), and branding them as “easy” etc. But page 3 isn’t empowering in the way it is presented, and the fact that a lot of people think that it is, is extremely damaging to gender equality and the termination of sexism.
Firstly, the way in which the women are posed on these editorials is submissive: There are many examples where women are posed looking up at the camera with this sultry and enticing expression, proving that the images are not meant as a woman’s sexual liberation, but simply to become attractive in the male gaze. The images are exposing in not just their nudity, but the way they hold their bodies, where in every circumstance, the woman holds herself to look most flattering: Imposing that it is a woman’s job to be constantly attractive.
Secondly, the women featured in the majority of these articles are assisting in this unhealthy obsession with this ideal beauty that every woman (myself included as much as I hate to admit it), aspire to. The extent of this ‘perfection’ is not as severe as in other cases of media and advertisement culture where the bodies are photo-shopped and airbrushed, but the women chosen are always this embodiment of what we are told is sexy and attractive, pressurising others to feel alienated and dejected if they do not look this certain way.
Lastly, but equally as important, page 3 is imposing something onto men. Feminism and gender equality does not just lie with women’s opinion of themselves, but equally lies with the reaction and mind-set of men, their interrelations with women, and importantly on their own gender, too. Page 3 tells society, simply by existing, that this is what men want. The media is a powerful tool, and by projecting this onto the male population, it convinces many to believe that this is what they should be interested in; that it is the norm of their gender. Men may feel they have to enjoy this type of image, and this type of woman. And it embeds in their minds this idea that women enjoy being spectated in a sexual way, and that in some sense it is their purpose to play the role of the spectated, and the submissive.
In the 21st century, many women feel that the only way we can gain equality is through sexual power (reflected in pretty much every pop song in the last 2 decades), and this prevents us from striving for power that really matters – political equality and equality in the workplace. And page 3’s existence is detrimental to this.
There are so many other ways in which women are objectified in the media, and I’m sure many feel that page 3 is so small a problem with little effect in comparison to other aspects of society and culture today. There are obviously bigger problems to overcome, but by starting with gaining support against page 3 and showing that we can change our society, albeit little by little, this may begin to help decrease incidents of rape, sexual abuse and sexist behaviour, which are all clearly linked with the objectification and sexual domination over women projected upon us through the media.
Penny, 3rd year
I’m Penny, chair of Bangor University Guides & Scouts (BUGS). As a society we offer the chance for members to enjoy activities with like-minded members, in a safe, all-inclusive & welcoming environment. Therefore, this campaign is of utmost importance to us and hopefully the Guiding (and Scouting) view point will add plenty to the discussion!
An initiative which GirlGuiding UK has taken a strong stance on. As an organisation for young women, where young women are at the heart of every decision made and every campaign supported, Guiding offers a safe haven where the experiences and achievements of every young woman is celebrated. Guiding members were consulted and shared opinions such as ‘It’s disrespectful & embarrassing’ – surely coming from a young person, this has got to be seen as a massive negative impact on the lives of the people who will soon be taking on leadership roles within their communities & our country.
In order to portray the effects of this, and other aspects of the media, GirlGuiding produces a ‘Girls Attitudes Survey’ every year. This gives young members of the organisation the chance to have their say on issues that affect them. Last year’s survey includes some pretty terrifying statistics about the effect of the media on the opinions of these young people, it states that ‘80% of 11-21 year olds feel that there is too much discussion about women’s weight in the media.’ The thought that 11 year olds can have this opinion has to go some way to prove that simply the presence of the images on page 3 of The Sun is having a negative effect on the lives of these young people. The video outlining last year’s Girls Attitudes Survey can be found here: http://youtu.be/jVBCLZptMoQ.
It’s not just GirlGuiding UK which shares its opinions on this topic. The UK Scout Association also supports its members in their campaigns on the matter. Explorer Scouts (co-ed, 14-18 years) are encouraged to discuss complex issues and one can often find debate on the programme of an explorer unit. An explorer unit in Haringey has recently debated the concept and agreed that ‘Page 3 of The Sun is a major contributor to misconceptions of women in our society.’ Just today, Scouting released information for leaders and the general public on its vision for 2018. This describes that by 2018, Scouting hopes to have 500,000 young members (5-26 year olds) who feel empowered, valued and proud. A vision which will hopefully encourage more young people to speak out and encourage change for the better for this campaign and many others.
We believe that it is incredibly important to ensure that young people have positive views of both themselves and can have access to media which will develop those views, not put us in danger, both in our health & wellbeing as well as our ideas on what society views as acceptable. This is why I think Bangor should be standing up against page 3.
Some useful links:
GirlGuiding, Take action: http://girlguiding.org.uk/campaigns/take_action.aspx
GirlGuiding, Girls Attitudes Survey: http://girlguiding.org.uk/campaigns_and_research/what_girls_think.aspx
Haringey Scouts news report: http://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/highgate_scouts_first_in_country_to_support_no_more_page_3_campaign_1_2022553
Scouting, Vision 2018: http://www.scouts2018.org/
Pippa, 1st year PHD student
For me, the issues with page 3 are double sided. It’s great that the women pictured on page 3 have enough body confidence to share it with the nation. I’m sure it’s empowering for those women and when it comes down to it, it is their choice. Good for them!
However, what I personally take exception to, is when people say it is ‘harmless’. We have no idea about the subjective and individual effect this has on people who view page 3, willingly or not. Some people may shrug it off and say that ‘it’s not hurting anybody’, but the truth is that we just don’t know that this is the case.
Personally, although I am all for women making positive choices in their lives (which may include appearing on page 3), it seems to be another contributor to the characterisation of women as objects, sexual or otherwise. Another ridiculous, shallow standard that young women may think that they have to hold themselves up to. I know that page 3 is an entrenched part of the Sun and that it’s not the worse aspect of this culture, but it could be an opportunity for something more positive. I would love to see the stories of successful, powerful women appear on page 3. Women who have attempted to break through the glass ceiling and who are making positive choices in their lives. Surely that’s the kind of role models that our culture should be parading?
Adam, 4th year PHD
Page 3 girls may well be consenting adults and they may well find the experience empowering, but these facts are irrelevant to whether or not Page 3 is socially harmful. We don’t shy away from banning or discouraging things that people want to do if we deem them to be psychologically or physically harmful to others, even if that harm is indirect or subjective – think of exhibitionism, racism, smoking in public or any number of other things. We wouldn’t think of justifying any of these simply on the grounds that they’re empowering for those who practice them. If page 3 is harmful then we cannot condone it, regardless of the feelings of those involved in producing and distributing this material.
Besides, I don’t think anyone at NMP3 is suggesting that women (or anyone else) shouldn’t be allowed to take off their clothes and be photgraphed if they so wish. The issue is about where and how those photographs are distributed.
With a few days until the NMP3 debate at Bangor Students’ Union, here are some more of my own thoughts, put together with a little bit of help. This article is all based on the following story:http://www.buzzfeed.com/kimberleydadds/sarah-millican-has-an-awesome-message-for-the-people-who-moc
Some of these comments are horrible, and I think it is a crying shame that as a society we are so obsessed with image. I wore the same suit to 3 different awards ceremonies within a 7 day period this year, and nobody judged me for what I was wearing. Why do we have these bizarre double standards?! There are so many things wrong in this world, so many problems which society faces, so many great ideas which need supporting, and yet we are constantly faced with a media barrage of trivial, pointless, disposable entertainment which distracts us from what really matters.
The real problem with the criticism of Sarah Millican’s dress is that it reflects the staunch belief held by the media that they have an inherent right to criticise, sneer at, leer over, deliberate and discuss womens’ bodies under the guise of critiquing celebrities’ fashion choices. Or in the case of page 3, comments on women’s bodies reflect the belief that womens’ bodies are plaything, sex toys for men to comment on and ogle and that men have a right to access images of women that portray them as such, which is the argument that many have used to oppose the NMP3 movement- “But why do you hate boobs? I love boobs! You must be just jealous of the models!”
Where there is an overarching societal belief that makes it OK to fat-shame (http://www.policymic.com/articles/88879/actress-inspired-speech-gives-the-finger-to-fat-shamers-everywhere) women in the public eye, it also becomes OK to food-shame(http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/apr/07/women-who-eat-on-tubes-photos-women-eating-social-media) women who are just trying to go about their daily lives. Hell, it even becomes OK to tell women what their bodies are for and in what capacity men should be allowed to see and consume images of (real and printed ) breasts!(http://www.nottinghampost.com/Breastfeeding-mother-told-leave-sports-shop/story-21004058-detail/story.html).
When a woman ‘fails’, therefore to fit into the media’s tight binary settings of what is ‘attractive,’ for example [cis] [white] [thin] [able] etc., (and even when she DOES meet this criteria, she can still face criticism, see the Vagenda’s BRILLIANT project that turned sexist comments into headlines that actually saw women as people: http://www.buzzfeed.com/rholdup/snarky-headlines-turned-into-normal-headlines-ow72 ). The media comments on any diversion from the [woman_in_public] norm as if it is newsworthy and, worringly, as though it is their right to be able to do this if that a woman should dare to turn up to a public event without fitting into what they deem to be an acceptable body image or fashion choice.
This story is not about the dress, as much as NMP3 is not about the models. What anyone decides to do or not do with their bodies in and out of a public space, is nobody’s business. The fact that this happened to Millican is shameful, but it also reflects the kind of culture we live in, where if a woman leaves her house in anything less than what is deemed enough for her to be seen to be making an effort, then she’s fair game. The existence of page 3 feeds this culture, making it acceptable for women to be criticised in this way, portraying women’s bodies as objects available for the consumption and the comments of the public gaze.
I don’t know if I support this campaign. I am a woman who has never had much of a problem with Page 3, although The Sun was a banned newspaper in my childhood home because of it. I suppose I wouldn’t be averse to seeing a half-naked man with the woman, or on the next page – to even things out, you know? But then, wouldn’t that make people talk about objectifying men? I’m no politician, but if half-naked individuals (men or women) are censored from our papers then does this not go against whatever freedom of press acts the UK has in place? What I would like to see is more articles and stories about successful women!-in every UK newspaper and magazine! There are so many publications directed at a female audience that run stories about horrible things that happen to women. I say remove these stories of failure and abuse and betrayal, and replace them with stories about success and humility and self-awareness! Even after writing this, I still don’t know if I support the No More Page 3 campaign. Maybe before banning it altogether The Sun could simply introduce a text box beside the half-naked individual, introducing her and explaining why she has taken this job. And a story about her greatest achievement.
Rebecca, 4th year undergrad
I am a feminist and I think that the No More Page 3 campaign is very difficult for me to support. Skimming through some Internet forums, I find it very distressing to see women commenting on Page 3 models in such an aggressive manner. Apparently, these models should not be baring their breasts to millions of people a day. It is apparently promoting rape culture, making men see women as objects and making other women feel conscious about their bodies. Seeing these comments, and so many women feeling the need to tell other women what to do is depressing. Feminism is not about a group of women taking the moral high ground and telling other women who do differently that they are wrong or are badly representing the female gender. There is next to no mention about the beauty of these models or their confidence with themselves and their bodies. The models are not forced into getting their boobs out, they actually want to do it, so why should we stop them?
The Sun recently teamed up with Coppafeel, a breast cancer charity and introduced “check ‘em Tuesday”, encouraging the female readership, yes, women also read The Sun, to check their breasts for any signs of breast cancer. Some may argue that this is in bad taste, that they are using cancer as a marketing scheme, but hey, if “check ‘em Tuesday” encourages a woman to check out her breasts or influences a man to ask his other half if she’s checked her breasts recently, I think this partnership is a good thing. Women need to be more aware of the importance of checking breasts for signs of cancer, the more avenues that can be explored to get this message the cross, the better, in my opinion.
I understand that the images on Page 3 may cause young women to feel self conscious about their bodies, and that really sucks. Nobody should be made to feel that way about themselves, but a whole host of other things can make young women feel insecure about their bodies too. I was never really exposed to Page 3 as a teenager, and I cannot imagine many are. When I did catch a glimpse, seeing a girl with huge breasts in a newspaper sort of fascinated me in a way. The insecurities started because of the comments from my peers at school and the changing rooms in P.E.
Looking at Page 3 images, I see a smiling, healthy woman who yes, has fake boobs but that was her decision and it was also her decision to be paid to be photographed and be printed in one of the UK’s national newspapers, fully aware that people are going to see her. If women did not want to model for Page 3, it would not exist. I think that the emerging pattern of women telling other women what is right and wrong is incredibly negative and we all need to take a step back and remember that we need Feminism to encourage women all over the world that we can do whatever we want to, regardless of what other people, men or women, think, and that nobody should ever stand in the way of this freedom.
I’m not 100% convinced by this whole campaign. Especially after hearing from various people that the idea was to have the sun removed 100% from University outlets. If this is just a cover up for that and a way of speeding up the removal of The Sun from said outlets than I’m very much against it. I personally have been brought up in a family that have never been readers of The Sun because of things said about the Hillsborough Disaster all those years ago, still, I don’t mind it being in shops alongside a paper that I would read (I don’t think I’ve ever bought one whilst at Uni). I also think it is unfair that people would have this option taken away if they do choose to read said paper.
In regards to the NMP3 campaign, has anybody reading this ever had a quick look through Mens Health or the like? In a very similar vein this is objectifying men by broadcasting images of their half naked bodies, with obviously similarly covered up areas of the body to the page 3 models.
I am yet to see many posts from people against this campaign and it would be interesting to see if anyone had a similar view to me. I personally don’t feel that this is an absolute pressing matter within the SU. Surely their are more important matters to be discussing in such depth with the Senate.
Amy, 2nd year Undergraduate
No More Page 3? More Harm Than Good
Society as a whole have this ingrained notion that a womans body is lewd, that women are sexual objects and that they should be covered up and hidden away. This is wrong. Women should be in control of their own bodies and they should be taught that the have nothing at all to be ashamed of. Banning Page 3, I honestly believe will have a negative effect on the views of womens bodies and lead to more shame and more oppression. At present women can not in the public eye be sexually driven beings the way men can, women are taught to be ashamed of their sexuality (and by this I’m not talking about sexual preference). For me censoring Page 3 will only lead to more shame. It’s the same notion as telling women to stay covered up to prevent rape, telling women they have to carry a baby to full term, telling a woman she shouldn’t have visible tattoos and telling a woman that she can’t use her body the way she wants to. Women are holding naked protests around the world to promote freedom of the female body and censoring that freedom is in fact degressive. Don’t ban Page 3 make Page 3 more accessible and diverse. Educate the readers and the writers of The Sun on everyday racially diverse women, men and trans men or women. Call for representation not objectification and exploitation.
Finally – some thoughts on censorship. One of the strongest arguments against NMP3 is the idea that we will somehow be censoring the press. The No More Page 3 campaign nationally has been clear from the start that it is not calling for censorship, it is calling on The Sun to remove topless models from its pages. The aim of the Idea I am presenting is not to censor the press, but to take a positive step in the right direction towards making our society a better place to live. As such, if Senate votes in favour tomorrow, here is the text of the letter which we will be sending to the University – asking them to consider their position, rather than calling for them to censor it. For information, the Ffridd site shop already makes a decision not to sell the Daily Sport.
DRAFT TEXT OF LETTER TO BE SENT TO UNIVERSITY IF THE NO MORE PAGE 3 CAMPAIGN PASSES
I am writing to you today after a recent discussion at our Students’ Union Senate, at which policy was passed to lend our support to the No More Page 3 campaign. The campaign against having topless models in newspapers has been in existence since the 1970’s, and have gathered pace in recent years as internet communities such as The Vagenda and Everyday Sexism highlight the problem our society has with the objectification of women.
The objective of the No More Page 3 campaign is not to secure a ban or censorship of newspapers, but to put pressure on the editors to make a positive decision to remove topless images of women. The national petition, which exists to put pressure on The Sun, has already had nearly 200,000 signatories, and widespread support from MPs, Girlguiding, Mumsnet, The British Youth Council, The National Assembly of Wales, The Scottish Parliament, and many more. On top of this, 33 Universities and University Colleges have made the decision to stop selling The Sun until it drops the page 3 topless image feature of its newspaper.
I know that the Ffridd shop already makes the choice not to sell the Daily Sport, and in light of our recent discussion at Senate I would like to encourage you to consider your position on the sale of The Sun and The Star.”
And if you’ve read this far – thanks, and I hope these arguments have been useful.