UK's 'Sun' Drops Page 3 Topless Shots

One of the best-known, if not exactly venerable, traditions of British tabloid journalism is coming to an end, with The Sun’s announcement that it will stop publishing photos of bare-breasted women in its “Page 3” feature. The topless “Page 3 Girls,” as they were known, are being replaced with relatively demure photos of attractive women in lingerie, following pressure from women’s groups and children’s advocates.

The Sun isn’t making a big deal out of the transition, which apparently comes at the behest of Rupert Murdoch, who last year criticized the Page 3 nudies as “old-fashioned.” (He was also responsible for their introduction 44 years ago, in a move that helped make The Sun the biggest newspaper in Britain).

Topless images of Page 3 models, including an archive of previous photos, will continue to be accessible online at The Sun’s dedicated Page 3 Web site.

The regular publication of nude photos in a national newspaper had been the cause of controversy for some time, with women’s-rights activists lambasting the feature as misogynist and objectifying, while conservatives condemned it as soft-core pornography and warned that children could be exposed to the risqué images.

Previously, The Sun nixed the topless feature in its Irish edition in August 2013.

It’s worth noting that despite all the criticism, the feature was only withdrawn after the rise of the Internet made sexual imagery, much of it far more graphic, easily available to anybody online. That suggests Page 3 may have succumbed more to shifting media consumption patterns than changing cultural mores.

Critics are celebrating the demise of Page 3 as a victory and a demonstration of “people power.” Angela Towers, a leader of the No More Page 3 campaign launched in 2012, told The Independent: “I think people are fed up. Everything that we’ve done as a campaign, every video and blog, has been created by our supporters. We're just here with a platform, and it’s a community that’s been built from people’s frustration.”

1 comment about "UK's 'Sun' Drops Page 3 Topless Shots".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, January 21, 2015 at 8:02 a.m.

    Soft porn in print has been surpassed by ubiquitous images on the Internet. This is hardly a new development in view of the plummeting sales for Playboy and Penthouse over the last decade.

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