One story coming out of the UK political party conference season is that of a motion passed at the Liberal Democrat conference which seeks to end The Sun’s ‘Page 3′ by restricting publications that sexually objectify women to the top shelf. The motion was led by former-MP Evan Harris who reportedly held up examples of ‘Page 3′ during a debate at the conference in Birmingham, and argued they – and the Sun newspaper – should only be stocked on the top shelf at news retailers.
Harris argued that while “these images can be available for adults if they want to access them, but they should have to reach up to a higher shelf than what is at the general view for young people.” The motion challenges ‘page 3′ through questioning its effects on young people. It explicitly seeks to tackle “the projection of women as sex objects to children and adolescents by restricting sexualised images in newspapers and general circulation magazines to the same rules that apply to pre-watershed broadcast media.”
The motion, detailed below, is now part of Lib Dem policy.
F26 Tackling Violence Against Women
Glasgow North and 18 conference representatives
Delete 1. (lines 41–43) and insert:
1. Seeking to prevent violence happening in the first place through work towards culture change,
a) Using all means available to raise awareness of the issues including through the education
of children in relationships and consent, and training of teachers.
b) Tackling the projection of women as sex objects to children and adolescents by restricting
sexualised images in newspapers and general circulation magazines to the same rules
that apply to pre-watershed broadcast media.
The Lib Dem motion comes on the back of support for a challenge on ‘Page 3′ from equalities minister Lynne Featherstone and deputy Labour party leader Harriet Harman. Featherstone and Harman were asked in a pre-election debate last year “If we are to take women’s equality seriously, shouldn’t we be getting Page 3 off the breakfast table and out of the sight of children?” They answered by agreeing to ‘take on the press barons’ but admitted they could only do it if they took on this challenge together, as the threat of humiliation and ridicule bestowed upon other women who had been brave enough to go up against Murdoch and his empire i.e. the kind inflicted upon Clare Short in her original campaign to ban Page 3 in the 80s was too powerful to take on alone.
In addition, campaigning group OBJECT have recently launched their STOP.PRESS.PORN campaign which calls on the Government to take a stand against the ‘Page 3 phenomena’ by coordinating a joint letter to the Prime Minister and the DCMS calling for an end to the sexual objectification of women in UK newspapers. You can read the OBJECT letter here.
Send a letter of support to Dr Evan Harris: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email OBJECT to sign your organisation up to the letter
Join the Turn Your Back On Page 3 campaign