A month ago I started at the University of Warwick. A single mother, aged 32, living over 30 miles from campus I didn't expect to have much time available for societies. The No More Page 3 campaign is something I've been following for some time though and I contacted our Student Union's Women's Officer, Louisa Ackermann, to offer my support if there were any plans to remove the publication from Warwick campus.
I was immediately handed over to Hannah Seaman, the exec for Warwick Anti-Sexism Society and since then we have had a whirlwind of a campaign, and we are only just at the beginning.
SUs around the country have been voting to remove The Sun from their campuses, and have been successful. For us at Warwick though, it's a bit tougher. We do not own or manage the store selling the newspaper. Therefore we can't just make a vote and stop. Unfazed by this, we at NMP3W believe that this is something we can, and must, achieve. We do not want this 'institution' to continue on our grounds.
We started, somewhat hopefully, by requesting the removal of the publication to Costcutter and were met with a, shall we say, baffling, but 'positive' response. At least, we are trying to see it as positive.
They claimed that the opinion voiced in our request was not that of the student/staff population but merely a small group. They also informed us only 30(ish) Sun newspapers are sold a day. We are hoping that by proving just how large a group of people want said publication removed from campus we may get somewhere, hoping, but not holding out. I suppose it will come down to whether Costcutters want to 'stick-in-the-mud' so to speak or listen to their customers.
They also claimed that since our Rowers teams have nude calendars out for charity that we were being hypocritical but the difference between nudity and objectification is a whole other article (one that we will be covering, with a response from the wonderful rowing teams.)
Partially due to our own campaigning and partially due to the media attraction to the recent debate on the subject held by Warwick Debate Union, we have gained plenty of publicity from the media. We have been quoted in The Independent and now have been granted the platform of a blog series in the Huffington Post. (Which we are extremely grateful for!).
This introductory article is to explain who we are, what we are doing and how and why we are doing it.
So, who are we? We are five students all involved in the campaign at Warwick for varying reasons and will be each tackling different arguments we have experienced.
We will be tackling responses brought up by those in favour of Page 3 such as Natasha Devon's claims that we were 'A minority of predominantly middle class women who are attempting to bully a three million predominantly working class Sun readership into submission'.
Personally I'm far from middle-class. I spent my early childhood in a single parent home, in a council house and later after various issues ended up in fostered lodgings and then the YWCA hostel for homeless women. I have been both on benefits and working and the closest I get to middle-class is when I sit in the centre of a lecture theatre.
There have been arguments put to me on Twitter that I am against sexual freedom. Hell to the No! I am all for sexual freedom, but when the person telling me Page 3 is a 'gift' to women in that they have been 'allowed' to grace its pages topless I have to wonder just how 'free' that is?
There have been claims that we hate men, and believe page 3 is capable of turning them into rapists.
I love men. I even made two little ones myself! I think suggesting we need to keep page 3 for them to buy a certain news publication is as insulting to them as to anyone.
These are just a few of the arguments we wish to raise and respond to in this blog series and hope you'll enjoy reading, and maybe agree with some of the things we say.
And if you do agree and feel like supporting us, here's a shameless plug to our petition, would be fab if you could sign it!