After 44 years of exhibiting topless women on Page 3 of its newspapers, The Sun has finally pulled down the curtain. The Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper “quietly dropped” the feature on Friday, the Guardian first reported.
Until this week, The Sun’s women always appeared in either only bottom-half underwear, or nothing at all (in those cases an object would be strategically placed to hide the most private of areas.)
But this morning’s edition showed two soap opera actresses in their bikinis frolicking on the beach. They remain, as some on Twitter note, “scantily clad,” but are more covered-up than ever. They follow yesterday’s paper, which featured an actress and model, also wearing more clothes than normal.
It’s believed last Friday’s print run would be the last to “carry a glamour model with bare breasts on that page,” the Guardian writes. While women will no longer be fully naked, the feature remains. The online edition will stay the same. Nevertheless, it’s a landmark moment for the UK’s media industry.
The Guardian suggests that the decision “comes from high up in New York” and Murdoch himself made the call. But nothing is certain. The Sun has yet to confirm the move. Only The Times, also owned by the media mogul, was given anything substantial.
“Page 3 of The Sun is where it’s always been, between pages 2 and 4, and you can find Lucy from Warwick at Page3.com.”
As always, The Sun’s nudity is divisive. Women’s blog Mumsnet, tweeted:
Another supporter wrote:
But some look sad to see the nudity go:
Campaigners have been fighting to see the tabloid’s Page 3 women dropped entirely for years. Critics of the paper say photos are offensive, sexist, and demeaning to women. The most influential group is No More Page 3, which has swathes of supporters including universities, charities, and celebrities, as well as MPs, the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments.
On its Change.org petition, Lucy Holmes, who started the group, asks Sun editor David Dinsmore: “David, stop showing topless pictures of young women in Britain’s most widely read newspaper, stop conditioning your readers to view women as sex objects.”
No More Page 3 has greeted the new, less revealing title with positivity. A spokeswoman has dubbed the moment “historic” and “a great day for people power.”
The protest group wrote a message on its Facebook page, which read: “This could be truly historic news and a great day for people power. We don’t know the details for sure and there’s still lots to be done. But this could be a huge step for challenging media sexism. And we are so incredibly grateful to all of you who stood up and said ‘No More Page 3.'”
One of No More Page 3’s members, Angela Towers, says in The Independent: “It’s a historic moment, but the devil will be in the detail, and there’s still a lot to be done.”
Towers mentions the fact that The Sun will carry on showing women in their underwear. In effect, many feel there’s more to be done.
The Sun has been displaying topless women since 1970, soon after Murdoch took over the publication. It’s publisher, News UK, has maintained the feature is popular with a lot of readers — and it’s believed the change could even be reversed if sales decline considerably as a result.
But it’s been coming for some time. Early last year, Murdoch remarked that Page 3 had become “old-fashioned,” though did criticise “feminists” who “never buy the paper.” In 2014, the paper introduced naked men on page 7, but failed to attract much interest.
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