On Thursday 5th February, LSU hosted the Page 3 Debate in Fusion. The event was organised by our VP Welfare and Diversity, Isobel Ford and the Women’s Network. LSUTV also filmed and live streamed the event online. VP Media, Bryn Wilkes was the compare of the debate. For Page 3, we had Finalist Engineering student Lucy Moy and our guest Jerry Barnett from the Sex and Censorship Campaign. Against Page 3 we had Harry Earl, Chair of the Debating Society and from the No More Page 3 Campaign, we had our guest, Bianca Franqueira Hanks.
The debate began with some opening comments from each member of the panel, starting with Jerry Barnett. His main first points were about sexual expression and also the fact that “If you don’t like it, you don’t have to buy The Sun”. Bianca’s argument contrasted with his points, stating that “The biggest picture of a woman was a half- naked woman”, referring to the first publication of The Sun after so- called “Super Saturday” during the 2012 olympics. Even a picture of a half- naked woman was bigger than the image included of Jessica Ennis. Bianca’s main points included some background about the No More Page 3 Campaign, as well as getting us to imagine “a half- naked woman on the 6 o’clock news”. Jerry believes that Britain is “a prudish country”, suggesting that we need to lighten up and simply need to get over our problem with nudity.
The input from Harry Earl and Lucy Moy was strong on both sides. Harry said that he believes that “page 3 is basically pornography”, stating “I don’t want my children to be living in a misogynistic country”. Lucy believes that “it is the peoples’ choice to be part of it”. She also raised an interesting, unique point about female nudity saying that “breastfeeders in public wouldn’t feel so victimised” if we were more open and accepting of the female form.
The debate also brought up various points about the diversity of the models presented on Page 3. Ella Gibbons, Women’s Officer, asked “Are we teaching that only white women are beautiful?”, as part of the audience participation. Lucy replied that she believes in a more diverse range of women being presented and that perhaps this should be the focus for The Sun, instead of dealing with “taking away the freedom” of Page 3 altogether.
Many arguments were discussed about the idea of Page 3 mainly being an issue because it is presented in a family newspaper. This seemed to be the general consensus of the Against side, Harry Earl stating that “it is totally inappropriate for a family newspaper, it’s archaic and belongs in the 20th century”; this was later backed up by Bianca who said that the No More Page 3 campaign “is not anti- women’s sexuality, and is not anti- breasts; there is simply a time and a place”.
Overall, the main points of the evening were that the No More Page 3 campaign is not seeking to ban The Sun but simply wishes for people to consider its appropriateness in a family newspaper. Jerry was very explicit in saying that trying to get people to stop selling The Sun is censorship- despite the fact that Bianca consistently stated that they are not there to ban. Lucy Moy used a very interesting description of the No More Page 3 Campaign, suggesting that the title in itself is “very banny”. The overall conclusions were that education about things such as objectification and body image are important, the For side agreed with this but still believe that freedom is necessary and that Page 3 provides a great platform for glamour models to express themselves and their sexuality. Free expression is not the issue for the Against side, simply that Page 3 shouldn’t be somewhere where it can be regularly accessed by people who may not want to see it, such as children for instance.