The newspapers are currently purchased every day for members of the JCR and are available to read both the JCR and in Gertie’s, the College’s snack bar.
The motion enjoyed unanimous support from the JCR and was also amended to include a wider pledge to join the “No more Page 3” petition, which pushes for the removal of Page 3 from all newspapers.
In 2010, The Sun ran a feature celebrating 40 years of topless, Page 3 “girls”, giving viewers the added online bonus of 360 degree views of the models. This has prompted many activists and Oxonians to bring attention to the problematic nature of running what many consider ‘soft’ porn in a daily newspaper.
James Blythe, Brasenose JCR President commented: “I believe strongly that 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.
“Our subscriptions make a statement about what the JCR believes, and by ending the subscriptions to The Sun & Star, we are making clear that the JCR believes this practice to be sexist and outdated.
“I am especially glad that we have combined the decision with an amendment to encourage members of the JCR to sign the ‘No More Page 3’ petition.”
The JCR also noted that: “There is a large number of websites where one can look at boobs.” It added: “If one wants to look at boobs, Gertie’s and the JCR are probably not the most private places to do so.”
The JCR made particular objection to the fact that the captions on the photos often imply that it is a “funny joke” that topless women have views on politics, believing that the photos objectify women against a background of actual news.
One Brasenose student, Ella Crine, commented: “I was actually surprised how receptive the JCR was to our motion, given the initial uncertainty and opposition. There was a good discussion and the unanimity was encouraging. We hope that many other JCRs will follow suit.”
Henry Zeffman defended the motion against accusations of censorship in the JCR meeting, commenting: “We do not subscribe to many national newspapers.” He went on to explain that he believes the paper is “objectionable” and said: “The JCR does not want to buy [The Sun] nor endorse it as a community.”
The motion has received the support of the national “No More Page Three” campaign, which commented: “The action that has been taken by Brasenose College, along with many other Student bodies in the UK, is incredibly important. They have demonstrated that the attitudes towards women demonstrated by Page 3 of The Sun are not in keeping with the Brasenose JCR ethos of equality.
“Page 3 is one of the most iconic, anachronistic examples of sexism in our media, and we believe that the removal of it from the pages of The Sun would represent a watershed moment, showing that society no longer wants to see women being treated as mere decoration.
“Hopefully this will have ripple effects through the media by sending the message that sexist representations of women are no longer acceptable to the British public.”