Perhaps the most alarming aspect of the former emergency proposal (now White Paper) that could serve to ban The Sun and “Lads Mags” from the University of Leicester’s Students Union shop is how unnecessary an idea it is. While I personally have little interest in The Sun’s Tabloid Journalism with Tits, it seems that at least some students at the university read the rag. If The Sun didn’t sell, I doubt the shop would stock it. Yet some at Union Parliament take offense at the fact our Union stocks reading material (if it can be called that) which they disagree with. So the obvious solution, it seems to them, is to ban all “material of a sexual nature”, just in case the material in question might “offend” someone, somewhere.
Through potentially banning the sale of The Sun, our Union utilises the opposite tactics to those employed by the noble No More Page 3 campaign. While our Union could ban the entire tabloid, the No More Page 3 campaign seeks to generate a significant opposition to one disputable page. Through applying pressure to the paper’s editors and owners, it’s hoped they will remove the outdated page, which their website argues exists “for no other reason than the sexual gratification of men”. My concerns about Page 3 echo that of the No More Page 3 campaign… The page seems to encourage infantile views towards women and sex, treating them both as objects or commodities that exist solely for male sexual pleasure.
Yet the Union Proposal avoids this nuanced view of The Sun. Instead of mobilising societies on campus to combat and campaign against the unhealthy attitudes towards sex, women and homosexuals that these publications sometimes encourage, it’s argued we should ban them outright. By assuming opinions and attitudes towards these pages cannot be challenged or changed through argument and debate, the proposal patronises those who may have been persuaded through reason. I doubt this would be an easy campaign to embark upon, but it would be entirely an entirely worthwhile endeavour.
My hope is that one day there won’t be a need for any emergency proposals or white papers to remove this sort of derogatory material from newspapers. Through rigorous and reasoned debate with readers, perhaps they could realise how unpopular and unnecessary this material is, and urge the publishers themselves to cease its publication.