I recently read an article on how some of the “top” universities’ students’ unions have banned The Sun from being sold on campus. Now, let me get something straight, I am not a fan of the The Sun by any stretch of the imagination, I think it’s a pretty woeful publication and I would never purchase it. However, seeing that it has been banned has really got me questioning why exactly this practice of universities banning things has caught such momentum. Why is this a thing that keeps happening?
Okay so, yes, The Sun is an awful publication, run by a big monopolising corporation, that sensationalises everything, publishes lies, objectifies women.. (What was that point I was trying to make again?) Oh yeah, BUT, if universities BAN the newspaper what difference is that making exactly? I am a strong believer in the freedom of speech and The Sun, as detestable as it might be has every right to continue publishing just as I have every right to post this article. By banning the publication it is doing nothing to solve the terrible things about the newspaper, if you’re going to ban it you may as well just pretend it doesn’t exist because, and I should definitely make this clear, that it WILL be available in other shops that aren’t on university campus, where students can y’know go into and PURCHASE it (WHAT?!)
The same goes for the recent censorship of Blurred Lines by the glorious (that definitely WAS sarcasm) Robin Thicke which many, many universities including my own have actually banned from being played on campus. For a long time I was very conflicted about whether I agreed with it being banned or indeed if I agreed with any music being banned, because again it is acting as though it doesn’t exist. I came to the conclusion that I don’t actually agree with it being banned. I am a firm believer that retaliation is a much better means of tackling the problem hands on as opposed to what is the equivalent of covering your ears and shouting. If you have a problem with the song you have the means and the capabilities to speak up about that, get the message out & PROVE why it’s terrible, why it objectifies women, shapes a rape culture and everything else that’s woeful about that song. Shape and continue to shape opinion of that terrible song so that it the majority’s collective, personal distaste for the song becomes the reason for it disappearing from consciousness and playlists as opposed to pretending it doesn’t exist in a tiny section of a town or city. Like other shops selling The Sun, other nightclubs CAN play that song and will.
Don’t get me wrong, I can see the merits of banning The Sun and Blurred Lines. It will foster the message that it’s a terrible publication and a terrible song. It will tarnish the reputations of the two making both students and society to some degree less inclined to purchase The Sun and/or listen to the song. However, it needs to be remembered that it’s universities that are banning the publication and the song. I love the reputation of university being a place of heated debate, activism, formation of ideas and opinions and discovering our own opinions on things. An environment that simply perceives something negative and puts on blinkers or earplugs to block it out instead of rising against it isn’t in line with that brilliant reputation universities have. So please, let’s take the blinkers off and the ear plugs out.