UK newspaper stops featuring topless models

UK newspaper stops featuring topless models
An active petition to stop The Sun featuring topless models gathered more than 217,000 signatures.

Britain's best-selling newspaper The Sun has dropped photos of topless women from page 3, ending a controversial tradition that has lasted 44 years. The move was hailed by feminist campaigners.

The Times, which like The Sun is owned by media tycoon Rupert Murdoch's News UK, reported yesterday that last Friday's edition of the tabloid would be the last to feature a topless model.

"The Sun will no longer feature topless models on page 3," The Times said, adding that the change had been on the cards since billionaire Murdoch last year called the custom "old-fashioned".

The British tabloid, which has a circulation of 2.2 million, played down the story. Its head of public relations Dylan Sharpe described it as "speculation".

"The Sun hasn't said either way what's happening to page 3," he told AFP. "There's no confirmation from The Sun."

Yesterday's edition featured a photo of actresses in bikinis frolicking on a Dubai beach on page 3 while Monday's edition had a model in lingerie.

A tagline at the bottom of the page yesterday invited readers to view the online edition for topless photos of "Lucy From Warwick", implying that nudity may have shifted from print to the web.

The pin-ups have featured in the newspaper since 1970, when German model Stephanie Rahn became the first Page 3 Girl and the feature became something of an institution for nearly two generations of British males.

CRITICISED

The page, which launched the careers of models Samantha Fox in the 1980s and Katie Price in the 1990s, has also long been criticised as sexist.

An active petition to stop The Sun featuring topless models gathered more than 217,000 signatures.

The No More Page 3 campaign welcomed the apparent change in a Facebook posting, calling it "truly historic news and a great day for people power".

The campaign was founded in 2012 by actress Lucy-Anne Holmes, with support from groups including Girlguiding UK, Mumsnet and Breast Cancer UK.

Ms Holmes told BBC 2's Newsnight programme: "The Sun hasn't suddenly decided that women say, think and do interesting and incredible things. It's still basically saying women are here for decoration, but it's a step in the right direction."

Labour MP Stella Creasy said that The Sun's portrayal of women was "not the world we wanted to live in any more".

"The sexualisation, the objectification of women in this way was basically saying to all of that what mattered, frankly, were our breasts, not our brains," she added.


This article was first published on January 21, 2015.
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