LSE bans The Sun - anti-sexism or anti-freedom?by Harriet Lawrence 03rd December 2012 16:44:00
The London School of Economics Students Union has voted to stop selling The Sun newspaper in any of its campus shops.
This decision (approved by more than half of the eighty LSE Union Members) follows a growing enmity towards The Sun’s portrayal of women, with the No More Page 3 campaign at its head.
LSESU’s General Secretary Alex Peters-Day proposed the decision because she believes the paper is sexist, as well as because it does not sell well in the union.
However, Women’s Officer Alice Stott took an unconventional stance and stood against the eventually approved motion.
“I think it’s very easy to single out The Sun as sexist,” she says, “but in doing so you turn a blind eye to sexism which is pervasive and pernicious across all of the mainstream media.”
Peters-Day did admit that the singling out of The Sun was ‘symbolic’ and that the problem of sexism in the media doesn’t end there.
“The fact that The Independent has hardly any woman columnists is a really awful thing,” she said, “but I’m not sure it’s as bad as The Sun and Page 3.”
But the banning of the newspaper and brought forth complaints against Peters-Day, with The Beaver (LSE’s student newspaper) describing her as “willing to stifle free speech.”
Peters-Day originally wanted to ban the newspaper without putting it to the general vote, believing it to be “a good idea commercially to get rid of it as well as a good idea politically.”
She says: “Once Liam [Brown, Executive Editor of The Beaver] and the newspaper got wind of that they weren’t particularly happy so we had to facilitate a debate on it.”
Opinion about the ban seems to be similarly divided.
“I really think the ban serves as an important symbol against sexist misogynist reporting, but ultimately support it as a temporary measure,” says Sociology Masters student Amy Clark.
“LSE needs to be a lot more active in its campaigning if we're going to make any real difference.”
The Hayek Society, which supports liberalism, portrayed their disagreement rather more forcefully, giving away free copies of The Sun until their stall was vandalised later that day.