Sun Blocked Again
Dark day for Sun supporters in Pembroke as boycott vote, clouded in controversy, is sustained.
A motion to reinstate the Sun newspaper at Pembroke College was defeated today.
The vote in the Pembroke Junior Parlour (JPC), 34 to 24 against the motion with 2 abstentions, confirmed the college’s commitment to a boycott of The Sun newspaper in their common room.
Last week a motion to support the No More Page 3 campaign, backed by a range of national groups including the Girl Guide Association, was passed by the college representatives.
However a group of Pembroke undergraduates, led by OJ Watson, challenged the vote, putting forward a motion to reinstate the college’s subscription to the paper. The students claimed that not enough warning had been given of the vote to boycott the newspaper, rendering it unconstitutional.
Whilst the vote was done by secret ballot, critics of the reinstatement motion were eager to draw attention to the role played by the Pembroke Idlers drinking society in the challenge.
Most arguments in favour of reinstatement revolved around a woman’s right to choose to profit from exposing herself, and scepticism about the actual impact of the boycott.
Kit Holden, a second-year who attended last night’s meeting told The Tab: “I agree whole heartedly with the belief that page 3 is anti-feminist and contributes to a culture of objectification.”
However, he was skeptical of the boycott, saying, “While the decision to boycott it is an admirable statement, in order to change issues posed by newspapers such as The Sun, one has to know how such newspapers work.
“Having The Sun in the JP allows us to read it and understand it, while at the same time not having to spend our own money on it.”
Others pointed out The Sun‘s influence on British politics and its role as a representative of public opinion.
Arguments against the reinstatement of The Sun in the Junior Parlour centred around the need to make a stance against the gratuitous objectification of women, and to be careful about the messages conveyed to those visiting the college about how women are perceived at Pembroke.
Fresher Jonathon Hazell commented: “Misogyny is one of the few real problems left in Cambridge. Clearly getting rid of The Sun isn’t without costs, but when you compare them to the benefits of combating misogyny in Cambridge, they just don’t really compare.”
Pembroke, as the second last college to admit women in 1987, has recently been keen to prove itself receptive to feminist concerns. Several speakers expressed hope that, even if on a national level Pembroke’s decision had little significance, other colleges would follow the precedent they set.
JPC President Harry McNeill Adams said the Pembroke committee was “delighted that the boycott passed, and really hopes it forms another step on the road to the abolition of the institution of Page 3.”