The Page 3 ban was one step back for mankind – sorry – womankind

Difference of opinion and the freedom of choice should be celebrated, not shut down, says James Parker


If we approve banning The Sun and The Daily Star because they objectify women (apparently no other publication does this), then why stop there? Why not go further and get rid of meat products from the SU shop to prevent the university objectifying animals? Surely this would please the vegetarians among us, in the same way that axing Page 3 is a victory for the UoN Feminists.

Next stop, ban all dairy products – yes, even chocolate – to satisfy the vegans, then throw out cigarettes and alcohol because, aside from possible religious objection, let’s face it, they just encourage unhealthy, irresponsible behaviour.

Portland – a choice-free zone

Once all these “offensive” items are abolished, the remaining publications should be assessed. Any left-leaning newspaper should be boycotted for fear of upsetting conservatives (and vice-versa), and magazines that air-brush should be removed in case the edited pictures harm self-esteem or cause eating disorders.

Pretty soon, the SU Shop will be empty. But at least no one would be objectified or offended.

Or we could be wise about this. If you don’t want to smoke or drink, then don’t buy cigarettes or alcohol – just get over the fact others will. Likewise, if you’re a vegetarian, no one will force you to buy meat, but please continue to accept that some of us enjoy eating dead animals, even if it does seems inhumane.

And those of you who disagree with the message The Sun’s Page 3 sends (and by the way, I am one of those people), you could simply choose not to buy it. Just hope that whoever does read it is intelligent enough to look beyond the breasts.

The campaign came to Nottingham

The campaign came to Nottingham

Regardless of how offensive certain things might be to different groups of people, offence and difference of opinion are not, and should never be, valid reasons for interfering with others’ freedoms.

It might, for example, be offensive to members of the LGBT Network that some religious societies at UoN deem homosexuality a sin. But does this difference of opinion mean religious societies should be banned? I certainly hope not. How about getting rid of the LGBT Network out of respect to those who disagree with them? Again, no!

The answer is co-existence. We need to understand that difference of opinion and freedom to choose should be rejoiced, not shut down – even when the choice is questionable, if not immoral. Any other approach is completely illiberal.

Whilst ultimately the decision to ban The Sun will only affect the few people who (used to) read it, the lack of tolerance shown to these individuals’ freedom is a problem that affects all of us. Until the forbidden papers return to the SU shelves, an oppressive precedent will have been set. Our freedom to do something perfectly legal could be taken away in the event it rubs a few people (and by people, I mean feminists) up the wrong way.