Tensions have been running high here at Swansea University this week after a forum was held to discuss the ongoing ‘No More Page 3’ campaign. Here we have the viewpoint of one strongly in favour of supporting the ‘No More Page 3’ campaign and why it is so important to them.
Something that really gets me down is when I have to watch a veritable shitstorm on Facebook over as important an issue as sexism in the media. The recent motion to ban the sale of The Sun on Swansea University campus has caused one such shitstorm. What’s worse is that those who opposed the motion had such awful arguments; I fail to understand how the motion could have fallen through. Rather than vent incoherently on a social networking site, however, I feel like I need to go through these arguments and explain why they’re wrong, one by one.
“Banning the sale The Sun from campus opposes freedom of speech”
No it doesn’t. No one is banning you from reading The Sun, or any other newspaper for that matter. They are making a statement to the editor, and the owners of the paper, that it is not acceptable to have a pair of breasts on the third page of one of the highest selling newspapers in the world.
A naked woman in a national newspaper is not relevant or newsworthy, and it sends a message to society that it is OK to objectify women. The biggest image of a woman in any newspaper is of one in just her pants. THIS IS NOT A GOOD THING.
“Women choose to be on Page 3, and by banning the newspaper we are removing that choice”
Again, no. Firstly, a woman “choosing” to be objectified on the third page of a national newspaper should not be a valid career choice. Modeling for Page 3 is also not the only work she does, so it’s not like you’re putting her out of work.
The women featured on Page 3 are not your average woman, and therefore promote negative perceptions of body image, not only for this generation, but for future generations as well. Not only this, but The Sun rarely features women from diverse ethnic backgrounds or with different sexual orientations.
“If you don’t like it, don’t buy it”
The Sun has a daily readership of around two million copies a day, and is seen in offices, on buses, in train stations, and on our very own university campus. In a society where figures range from 300,000 women being sexually assaulted and 60,000 raped each year, it is not wise or helpful to perpetuate a notion that women are sexual objects, particularly through a publication that promotes itself as a “family” newspaper.
“Why aren’t we focusing on bigger issues, like poverty, or crime?”
Sexism is a serious issue. The media doesn’t just mirror society; it reflects and changes it. Everybody has issues that matter to them, and many people campaign for several different but equally important issues at once. If we all argued over what issue deserved the most attention, we wouldn’t make any progress with anything.
“Women wouldn’t complain if it was a man on Page 3”
But it isn’t, is it? There is no male equivalent to Page 3. I’d also ask you to count how many women have featured on that page who are disabled, LGBT+, black, or bigger than a size 6. Hardly good for fair representation, is it?
“What about freedom of the press?”
This is the dumbest, weakest argument out of all of them. In case you don’t actually watch the news or go on Twitter or visit newspapers online or read them in print: David Dinsmore (editor of The Sun) and Rupert Murdoch (owner of The Sun) have both admitted that Page 3 is no longer culturally relevant. Journalists who work at the paper do not want the page to stay. They find it embarrassing. The more pressure the No More Page 3 campaign puts on this issue, the faster the page will be dropped.
“Why should our university drop the newspaper when no one else is?”
So far Abertay, Aberyswyth, Birmingham City, Bradford, Cambridge, Cardiff, Chester, Durham, Dundee, Edge Hill, Edinburgh, East Anglia, Essex, Hull, Kingston, Leeds, Leeds Met, LSE, Manchester Met, Manchester, Newcastle, Oxford Brookes, Sheffield, Stirling, UCL, Warwick, and seven colleges at Oxford have all voted in favour of removing the newspaper. Our university has ignored this issue for far too long, to the point where it has become embarrassing.
Sort it out, Swansea.