News, not boobs

The No More Page 3 campaign is here to boycott The Sun, as a political protest, until David Dinsmore voluntarily chooses to remove the soft pornography from its third page. Quite honestly, why does the picture of a topless woman even need to be in a newspaper? It isn’t news. It doesn’t add any newsworthy value. It simply promotes the idea, that in the widest-circulated newspaper in the UK, women are there to be looked at as passive objects.

no-more-Page-threeAs a Students’ Union, we should not be promoting these views of women. We are a university made up of 52% women, and these 52% are capable of appearing in a newspaper for more than their looks. This isn’t to say that if a woman at this university chooses to go into glamour modeling for any length of time they should be denied the right to do so – but there are so many more appropriate (and better-paid) outlets for glamour modeling than a daily newspaper! We are here to represent and empower our members to make change, and by selling a publication that takes such a dismissive attitude to women is not consistent with these ideas.

Currently, 29 Students’ Unions across the country have joined the national campaign to boycott The Sun, with Midlands neighbours Nottingham becoming one of the most recent universities to join the campaign. While one SU may not be enough to make a significant impact, the more we can get joining the campaign the more voice we have to champion equality. Joining them is an action we can take to make a difference and strengthen this voice other SUs have built up, and hopefully even bring an end to the objectification of women in national newspapers once and for all.

I don’t like it; I don’t buy it; but that doesn’t mean it’s not still there. Page 3 is there when I go for a coffee and someone’s left the paper open in the library cafe, Page 3 is there when I catch a train home for the weekend and the man in front is reading it, Page 3 is even there when I’m walking to work at 6.30 in the morning, bleary eyed and half-asleep, and someone’s abandoned The Sun on the pavement. There is literally no way to avoid it, and while it’s still readily available in our SU and elsewhere, women will still be able to view and be disempowered by these images. Society might have accepted this as normal and ‘traditional’, but it doesn’t need to be this way. It shouldn’t be normal for women to be represented in a paper by a pair of breasts while men are out doing important things and making change to the world. Women are doing these things too!

While women are underrepresented in every way, shape and form across all types of media, we cannot sit back and accept that the largest photo of a woman in any newspaper at any given moment is one of her in her pants. We have a responsibility to actively make a difference on the way women are viewed in national media and by staying quiet and hoping it goes away this won’t happen. This might only be a small issue to some, one that ‘doesn’t warrant spending time on’, but to us, this is one small change that could change our culture for the better.

by Rachel Holland

You can sign the petition to boycott The Sun in University retail outlets here.

To read Katrina King’s opposing argument, click here.

34 comments on “News, not boobs

  1. You are not getting the last word Dr Pepper. Students are mightily pissed off about having their freedom of choice taken away, so you will continue to hear about this whether you like it or not.

  2. Men have struggled desperately to be seen as more than cavemen every day, finally winning the right to come to university, and are now regarded as something vaguely equal to women, but still regarded as cavemen by some women. Still, some women pick up a paper in the uni shop, and can see a caveman as a representation of men on page 3 for women to get some satisfaction and reminder of what the usual representation of men are. And as a man, trying desperately to be seen as an intelligent being, as NOT a caveman, I would forgive you for feeling oppressed and devalued. It’s not nice being called a caveman, and have women hoot at you, asking where you keep your stones, and where your cave is. Afterall, you’d think on university, there would be campaigns to make sure that image of page 3 cavemen of your kind didn’t still exist. But hey, its our right to see you as cavemen wherever we want. Who cares if it’s a derogatory picture of your kind, a stereotype you’re trying to fight against, I deserve to see your kind as a derogatory image anywhere on campus. And I enjoy it. yes, I love seeing your kind as a cavemen AND its my right to see you as cavemen for my satisfaction. how’s that for you? Don’t come at me with your maleism ideology, look, some of these men ARE cavemen, they get money from it, how could you be so insensitive to their job prospects. Now excuse me, I’m going home to look at men as cavemen on the internet, so you shoo now and take your male-nazi ideology with you. Honestly, bloody cavemen.

    Doesn’t sound familiar to you? Nope, didn’t think so.

  3. Even my Dad thinks Page 3 is out-dated. The weird thing about it is that it isn’t even sexual or erotic. You might as well have a picture of a fridge or a car. This is what is even more offensive. There is just a woman and a caption like; ‘This is Jane, she has an MA in Engineering’ and for no apparent reason she is photographed with her top off. It is just ludicrous. It has no place in the modern world and you all know it.

    1. You do realise Page 3 models participate voluntarily and consent their bodies for publication.

      They certainly haven’t been dragged and forced to take part – most actually love doing it and make a good living.

      1. It doesn’t make it right though. There was a show on TV in the 70s called the Black and White Minstrel Show, in which white people blacked up for comic effect. It had been hugely popular and I am sure the actors who starred in it enjoyed their job and there were probably even one or two black people who liked watching it. However, eventually it was (rightly) deemed to be inappropriate and degrading to black people and was taken off the air. The campaign to get this showed stopped started with a petition and I am sure there were people then who at the time thought the petitioners were making a fuss about nothing.

  4. I, for one, do not like Page 3 and (even as a male) wish The Sun would stop printing it but I feel that trying to ban the newspaper from our campus only damages the equality/feminist cause.

    Enforcing one’s morals on others will not change the beliefs of anyone and do you think The Sun really give a shit if our campus bans its publication? No, of course not. All that will come of the ban is that the student body will feel as if the Student’s Union is nannying us and that it doesn’t trust us to make our own choices in which newspaper we read.

    Telling our students they are forbidden from reading The Sun, rather than allowing them to abstain from buying it of their accord, is a rather shallow victory.

    1. If there was a newspaper which contained racist or homophobic content being sold in the Student Union, I am sure that would be banned and you probably would not argue with that. If Page 3 is offensive to quite a large proportion of the student body, which it is, and not only to people who consider themselves feminists, but to a wide variety of students (male and female) for a variety of ethical and moral reasons, then the student union should set an example by banning it. The Student Union needs to make a stand for student equality. If people want to buy the newspaper, they can do from outside the union. Your argument that banning the paper would not make any difference to the status quo is a weak one. What would be the point in making a stand against anything in that case?

      1. So what if some students are offended?

        They are not the arbiters of what is and is not acceptable.
        If they want to change something, they are going to need to find a better reason than “I don’t like it”.

        It is not even a point which should be made

        1. Exactly Burgandy.

          AL that is a classic reductio ad absurdum. You say that Page 3 is offensive to a large proportion of Leicester Students. Where is your evidence for this?

          It sounds like you’re enforcing your own views and generalising.

  5. Some of those defending the freedom of the tabloid/magazine to show the soft pornography believe that the nitty gritty of when she sees it in public is untrue and exaggerated, but the point that this article is making is equality. If there are half naked women in a magazine/tabloid, then why arent there half naked men? Im sure you can answer that one yourself.

    1. What about the half-naked man in the Diet Coke advert, being ogled by women. Or the famous advert of David Beckham in his underpants. Or the coverage of ‘fit’, shirtless men in women’s magazines.

      I suppose in your myopic obsession with non-existent oppression of women, you have overlooked such obvious double standards.

      1. Those kind of adverts and pictures of men still fit nicely into gender stereotypes. In the diet coke advert you might notice the man is working with his hands, labouring physically, while the women sit or lie passively on the grass. Even though the man is topless, there’s continued focus on the women as sexual objects as they bite their lips and play with their hair. One particular image of David Beckham in his underpants shows him upright, holding a rope and flexing his muscles, drawing attention to his strength and dominance. Most images of these women in the sun show them sitting or lying, looking up to the camera.

        You’ve missed the point entirely. It’s not so much about looking at a nice pair of tits or a muscular torso, it’s about women being submissive and men being dominant. If you don’t think those images affect people, it’s because you’re so entrenched in a patriarchal society which harms men as much as it does women.

  6. “I don’t like it; I don’t buy it”
    That’s great, good for you. Boycott all you like, just don’t force a ban upon everyone else regardless of their own personal opinion.

    “But that doesn’t mean it’s not still there” – it’s usually tucked away on a newspaper rack in Nourish, hardly staring everyone in the face.

    “Page 3 is there when I go for a coffee and someone’s left the paper open in the library cafe” –
    Let’s be realistic Rachel, when does this actually happen on campus? Reading material in the library café is generally far more highbrow than a red-top.

    “Page 3 is there when I catch a train home for the weekend and the man in front is reading it”
    Quelle surprise, Page 3 just magically appears on every train you happen to travel on. Really?

    “Page 3 is even there when I’m walking to work at 6.30 in the morning, bleary eyed and half-asleep, and someone’s abandoned The Sun on the pavement”
    If you’re genuinely ‘bleary eyed and half-asleep’, why are you so preoccupied with and magically able to identify litter on the floor?

    “There is literally no way to avoid it”
    There is literally a way to avoid it – ignore it, reasess your priorities and find bigger issues to worry about.

  7. This is very similar to the ‘blurred lines’ attempted cull which failed because the majority of students had no concern with the lyrics. It was just poorly interpreted by radical feminists and everyone jumped on the bandwagon. If you asked the girls on page 3 if they liked doing their job. They’d say HELL YEAH! Because they make a lot of money for expressing themselves. Maybe you should interpret it as being a powerful tool to dominate the growingly inferior ‘narrow-minded’ male culture.

    Another point. The SUN is not a newspaper it’s a tabloid. In other words uneducated gossip and stories based on manipulated facts. However, people enjoy reading it so let them. You talk about equal opportunities, which i fully support. No woman is forced to go on page 3 nor read the SUN, likewise for a man. Let’s keep our freedoms please.

  8. Dear Chris,
    I don’t think you should feel sorry for someone who is prepared to stand up for something they feel passionate about. What is surprising is that you are almost as passionately defending apathy. Your message to Rachel is condescending and shows a lack of understanding of the point Rachel is making. Page 3 is an out-dated and inappropriate institution which does not belong in the modern age, rather like fox-hunting or having TV presenters who are pedophiles. Page 3 makes women look stupid and it is wholly unnecessary. I know it is hard for you to imagine an equivalent, but try to imagine a world dominated by women. How would you feel if there was a daily newspaper which had a picture of a man sticking his bum out and pouting every day, do you not feel that this would be slightly undermining over time?

    Rather than being a ‘pathetic cause’ as you label it, this is a legitimate cause and one that can probably be easily won. The University and Student Union promote equality and therefore should respond positively to a campaign which takes a stand against inequality. If you don’t even care for this newspaper, why are you so keen to defend your right to buy it?

    1. “How would you feel if there was a daily newspaper which had a picture of a man sticking his bum out and pouting every day”

      I’d just ignore it, put down the newspaper and carry on living my life without moaning about it. You should try it too.

    2. All you have to do to to find images of men such as you described is look in Cosmo or other similar high circulation magazines. Except in those magazines there is far more sexual content and men are often displayed as nothing but sex objects. Large numbers of women like it, and I have zero problem with it, as long as men are also allowed to enjoy their sexuality without being ridiculed as misogynistic.

      Your comment on TV presenters is also ignorant beyond belief

      1. I think Cosmo is pretty repugnant too, but it’s not exactly the same thing though. The Sun (tabloid or not) is still sold as a newspaper and as such the inclusion of Page 3 has no place there, it is irrelevant and inappropriate and only serves to make women look stupid. There is nothing wrong with men liking boobs or women liking boobs or boobs in general. There are many places you can see breasts and I think there should be less weirdness about public nudity in general. However, Page 3 of The Sun is just ridiculous and an out-dated ‘institution’ which needs to change to reflect the current climate. I think it probably will change and then people won’t even believe that it ever existed.

    3. “Why are you so keen to defend your right to buy it” – an astonishingly naive comment.

      I believe in free speech and freedom of expression – even though I don’t read the Sun, I want to make damn sure a bunch of authoritarian idiots don’t take away my freedom of choice.

  9. If you don’t like Page 3, don’t buy the Sun. But don’t ram this feminist drivel down our throats and expect everyone else to conform to your demands.

    Do you really believe your views are shared by more than a handful of cliquey feminists?

  10. I actually feel sorry for people like Rachel Holland,
    Mass infiltration of the moronic ultra-left wing/feminists into union politics across the country has convinced her, and others like her, that this sort of stuff actually has support.
    It must hurt tremendously to leave university and realise that you have changed nothing and that nobody outside of your close-knit group has any time for your ideologically driven ramblings.

    I don’t buy then sun, and I don’t ever plan to, but the freedom for me to do so is non-negotiable.

    On a note about the actual argument presented here, it is obvious to me, as I am sure it is to most people, that Rachel is drastically overstating the amount of times she inadvertently notices page 3 (The horror!!!). The amount people spend on page 3 is a tiny fraction of the time spent reading the paper as a whole. I rarely if ever catch that particular page open. Pathetic lies in order to push a pathetic cause. Grow up

    1. Unfortunately, Chris, sooner or later you’re going to be on the wrong side of history, and it’ll be you that’ll end up looking like…. a tit.

    2. I suggest you have a little read of this:
      You clearly have no idea of the kind of weighting behind this important campaign.

      And in regards to your, oh so persuasive ‘Grow Up’ response – perhaps you have been fortunate enough to never encounter sexual violence/objectification. But thousands of people face harassment everyday. And Page 3 is just one example of normalising the idea that women are objects, which, in turn, makes them a vulnerable target.

      1. Actually I find your conflation of the impact of page three and sexual violence to be grossly offensive.

        Classic scaremongering tactics with zero basis in reality.

    3. People with destructive opinions such as yours make me sad, but also give me motivation, the motivation to avoid ever becoming as passive in attitude as you are, or view life with such an external locus of control. Her impact goes far outside her ‘close-knit group’, I live in Southampton, her views have reached me and I will support them. Your comment reeks of an attempt at self-justification for having given up on something you once felt strongly about. You make points which are irrelevant to the actual issue, while trying to nullify Rachel’s efforts, which simply portrays you as someone in need of justifying their weak and undetermined self.

    4. Chris, I understand your point that you’re free to look at some tits if you want to. This campaign isn’t aimed at taking that away, it’s aimed at changing an archaic and backwards ‘tradition’. There is no purpose for those images, all it does is promote an unhealthy attitude that women are supposed to be stared at like a sex object, not a person. It’s also a newspaper, it shouldn’t be in the business of softcore pornography.

      Also that level of vitriol is uncalled for, you can disagree but you don’t need to insult people to make your point.

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