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