Newspaper Pulls Plug On Topless Page 3 Models — Or So It Claims

Photo: London News/Rex USA.
UPDATE: So much for progress. The Sun's supposed banishment of topless photos appears to have been nothing but a bait and switch. Last night, the British tabloid gleefully tweeted the news that its "mammary lapse" was over while issuing a tongue-in-cheek "apology" on behalf of media outlets who "have spent the last two days writing and talking about us." Yes, there's a topless Page 3 girl right above the statement. Disgusted much? 

It's the end of an era for readers of British newspaper The Sun. All we can say is: Good riddance.

After 44 years, the tabloid is putting an end to its controversial practice of featuring a topless model — known as a "Page 3 girl" — in its inside pages. Before you punch the air with your fists and declare a victory for gender equality, take note: The models aren't really going anywhere. Though they'll no longer be topless, scantily clad women will remain a mainstay of The Sun's content.

According to reporting by The Guardian, the decision to stop featuring bare breasts — last Friday's issue was the last to do so — appears to have little to do with sexism. Head honcho Rupert Murdoch has called the topless photos "old-fashioned," arguing that women are more attractive when a little (as in, a very little) is left to the imagination.

"Aren't beautiful young women more attractive in at least some fashionable clothes?" the 83-year-old News Corp CEO asked on Twitter.

The Sun is reserving its right to revert to topless photos should sales slip. The decision also seems to affect only the paper's print edition, not its online counterpart. In today's paper, there is no standard pinup at all, merely a paparazzi shot of two bikini-clad reality stars and a banner directing readers to meet today's Page 3 model, Lucy from Warwick, online. The British lass poses topless, with her jeans unzipped, in three racy photos on The Sun's website.

Clearly, this isn't actually striking a blow against sexism. Whether online or off, with bare breasts or crossed arms and panties, women continue to be objectified in Rupert Murdoch's little empire.

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