The University of Nottingham has joined a nationwide campaign alongside other universities in a bid to boycott page three tabloids including The Sun and Daily Star.
The boycott was initiated by feminist campaigners from the University who fought for newspapers such as The Sun and Daily Star, who feature topless models, to be removed from all Student Union shops on campus. The choice not to sell the newspapers was backed by Nottingham University’s Student Union 15 votes to 3.
Francesca Garforth, who led the campaign group University of Nottingham Feminists said:
“It is simply wrong to use suggestive pictures as a way of selling papers. It takes the idea that this woman has an opinion and is allowed to voice it because she’s also got her breasts out”.
The new action against topless papers has been led by the nationwide campaign ‘No More Page 3’.
The campaign began last summer when campaign leader, Lucy Holmes, wrote a letter to The Sun newspaper editor Dominic Mohan expressing her concerns about the effect the feature has on women and their moral rights. Holmes, has expressed strong views about the publication of topless photos and said:
“I think women like me would read your paper if you dropped the bare breasts. The bare breasts say to the woman, this is a man’s paper.”
35 Universities across the UK have since signed up supporting the notion to ban the page three tabloids in their student union shops. Cardiff, Oxford and Manchester are amongst these which are now adding pressure to Universities who haven’t signed up, such as Nottingham Trent.
Rosie Tinker, a member of The Nottingham Trent University Feminist Society feels that the University should follow in the footsteps of other institutions already involved.
“I think they should ban it because it will make a statement… I think with banning something like The Sun, which is obviously everywhere and you’re exposed to, it would have a better message. And if Uni of Nottingham have banned it as well, it resonates the strength behind the message, that we shouldn’t be selling a paper that promotes a negative image of women that objectifies them.”
Protests have been taking place up and down the country since the campaign started. Nottingham staged its first protest in November last year raising its public profile to both the public and the vast student population.
Lisa Clarke, Nottingham’s ‘No More Page 3’ campaign co-ordinator believes that the items being sold within universities should reinforce a learning environment;
“The NUS Women’s group backed the campaign over a year ago now, so there’s been quite a lot of background work going on amongst students. I think Nottingham were number 29, so there are 28 other universities as well as quite a lot of further education colleges that are boycotting.”
It’s not just Universities who are beginning to follow in favour of the campaign,
the coverage now means that celebrities are also taking an interest in ‘No more page 3’. Gender equality activist and comedian Russell Brand as well as local football team, Nottingham Forest Ladies have been photographed wearing shirts promoting the cause.
The new Sun editor David Dinsmore has said that they will continue to print and feature Page Three girls because it’s what “The readers wanted”. The ‘No More Page 3’ Campaign is on going and currently has the support of many organisations including: The Royal College of Nursing, Mums Net, The British Youth Council and Women’s Aid.
Lisa Clarke, Nottingham’s ‘No More Page 3’ campaign co-ordinator gives her view on the boycott of the tabloid papers in universities.