CNB Comment with Harriet Smith Hughes (published 12.05.13)
BRASENOSE COLLEGE JCR has voted unanimously to unsubscribe from The Sun and Daily Star newspapers. An amendment to the motion mandated their women’s welfare representative, Alex Sutton, to sign and circulate within the JCR the ‘No to Page 3’ petition, which reached 100,000 signatures nationally last week.
The motion was proposed by Henry Zeffman and seconded by Ella Crine. The motion noted that “boobs are not news… If one wants to look at boobs, Gertie’s [Brasenose snack bar] and the JCR are probably not the most private places to do so.”
Similar motions have been passed at Exeter and St Edmund Hall.
Other points raised in the debate emphasised that the JCR did not want to censor the right to free speech by outright banning of the newspapers in question, but instead wanted to stop “endorsing the practice of objectifying women”. Other comments criticised the captions which accompany images and were said to “imply it is a ‘funny joke’ that topless women have views on politics”.
Henry Zeffman observed that the motion was unusual for Brasenose, commenting, “I am delighted that Brasenose JCR has voted unanimously to stop buying The Sun and The Daily Star. It shows that even JCRs which are not ‘political’ are willing to strike a blow against these newspapers’ shoddy and degrading treatment of women.”
James Blythe, JCR President, was mandated to “make sure that copies of The Sun and The Daily Star are no longer purchased for Gertie’s and the JCR.
“It is wrong for there to be quasi-pornography in national newspapers and I am delighted that the JCR is joining the campaign to end this strange and misogynistic practice.”
Blythe further commented, “Nonetheless, I was rather sorry not to hear more speeches in opposition, as a wider debate would have been interesting and informative.”