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Protestors gather outside News International to demand an end of Page Three

Pic: Sarah Howell

A protest calling for an end to sexist misrepresentations of women in the British press was staged outside News International headquarters in Wapping today.

The protest called for the Sun’s Page 3 to be banned and was part of a wider ongoing campaign to end sexism in the media. It was coordinated by women’s rights organisation OBJECT and the Turn Your Back on Page 3 campaign.

Anna van Heeswijk, OBJECTS’s CEO, said: “The images on Page 3 would not be broadcast on television, but they are in a national newspaper for anyone to read.

“It’s about time we had some consistent regulation about this sexist portrayal of women.

“It is harmful to portray women as sexual objects. What message does Page 3 send out to our society when these women are passive, naked objects?

“42 years of Page 3 sexism is 42 years too many.”

Protesters were encouraged to sign a giant ‘birthday card’ to mark the 42nd anniversary of Page 3 which is today.

Featuring images of topless women on one side and fully clothed men on the other alongside the phrase ‘Spot the difference?’, the campaign groups planned to take the signed card inside News International’s headquarters to give to Dominic Mohan, editor of the Sun newspaper.

Speaking about her reasons for attending the protest, Jennifer Stephenson, a postgraduate student at UCL, told Eastlondonlines: “I think it’s about time people recognised how insidious Page 3 is.

“People haven’t associated the objectification of young women with harm, but things like Page 3 normalise access to a woman’s body. Like Claire Short said, you can literally pick these women up and throw them away.”

The protest reached its peak when the campaign groups attempted to take the signed card inside.

Security guards blocked the entrance to the building while protesters banged on the glass frontage. During the confrontation one protester’s foot was caught in the revolving door, causing her to fall to the ground.

Following this incident, protesters moved away from the entrance to News International and the card was laid in the square outside.

According to OBJECT’s website, they hope today will mark “a national day of action against media sexism.”

During the protest, Eastlondonlines spoke with Sophie Bennett, Campaigns and Policy Officer at OBJECT:

Video: Stephanie Okupniak-Vaughan

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8 Responses to Protestors gather outside News International to demand an end of Page Three

  1. Pingback: No More Page Three protest London | Insane in the fembrain

  2. The Great Smell Of Brute

    November 21, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    According to your previous story Page 3 protest planned outside News International, ‘Over 1,000 people [were] invited to the protest’ – so where were they? Hardly a show of force, was it?

    ‘Anna van Heeswijk, OBJECTS’s CEO, said, “The images on Page 3 would not be broadcast on television, but they are in a national newspaper for anyone to read.”‘

    In point of fact, nudity (including the full-frontal variety, which the Sun doesn’t feature) is broadcast after the 9:00 pm watershed – but why let a fact which is easy to verify get in the way of your cheesy rhetoric, Anna?

    “Like Claire Short said, you can literally pick these women up and throw them away.”

    Err, no Anna: what you can literally pick up and throw away is the newspaper; it becomes rubbish, just like most of your groundless claims!

    As someone who’s been following Anna van Heeswijk’s ‘career’ for a while now, I can confirm that the above remarks are pretty representative of her general level of accuracy.

    ‘According to OBJECT’s website, they hope today will mark “a national day of action against media sexism.”‘

    Does that include derogatory protrayals of ordinary (as opposed to celebrity) men in advertising, for example?

    OBJECT is a spent force, which has never represented the vast majority of women in Britain.

  3. TonyN

    November 21, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Well firstly would point out that technically Object are a Lobby group rather than Human’s Right. I am sure everyone is wondering where the 1000 protesters invited were, I see about 50 in the video. So of the 1000 invited 95% either couldn’t be bothered or felt it was a waste of time.

    All in all a very subjective report of a less than impressive (in my opinion) turn out.

  4. TonyN

    November 22, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Actually would like to add that the claims about sexual imagery being a causal effect on violence on women has very little to back it up. Object in their campaign against Lap Dance clubs uses the Lilith report as the cornerstone of its argument, in fact it is linked from the Object website. I finding this disturbing about how Object operate as the report has been proven to be a total misrepresentation of the facts and in real terms the claims made are totally inaccurate. When an organisation uses a report that it knows does not represent the truth as its cornerstone… well I have several name that would apply but would no doubt see this comment moderated.

  5. Consider this

    November 22, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    I would have been more impressed with the above commentators had they actually addressed the issue rather than the turnout. Are we to assume that they support the dehumanisation and objectification of women in the press? Sound mental health and well being is created and sustained by respectful, meaningful, positive relationships with others. Page 3 girls and it’s equivalent for women and men undermine that need.

    We are social beings and as such are influenced by what we see and hear. Page 3 girls etc are not a benign influence.

  6. The Great Smell Of Brute

    November 22, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    “Are we to assume that they support the dehumanisation and objectification of women in the press?”

    Ah, the mud-slinging has begun in earnest!

    Perhaps you’d like to qualify what exactly constitutes ‘dehumanisation’ and ‘objectification’ in your personal opinion, before decending to the level of smear tactics…think you can do that?

    “Sound mental health and well being is created and sustained by respectful, meaningful, positive relationships with others. Page 3 girls and it’s equivalent for women and men undermine that need.”

    Care to cite some reliable evidence to support that point of view?

    “Page 3 girls etc are not a benign influence.”

    Because you can prove otherwise, or simply because you say so?

  7. TonyN

    November 22, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    Objectification only has validity if you believe that men cannot separate fact from fiction for men at least. Because I see an image of a woman clothed/partially clothed or naked does not mean I automatically react within a defined set of boundaries. I have positive, respectful and meaningful relationship with my girlfriend, imagery from the media does not affect that relationship. We are intelligent beings and can grow beyond worrying about self image.

    If we dig deeper into the thoughts behind objectification remember Martha Nussbaum states that there can be positive objectification. Further more by denying other women the right of choice you are denying their agency which is a key feature in Objectification.

  8. Sarah Howell

    November 22, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    We are now closing this thread

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