In a historic decision by The Sun newspaper’s editors and owner (Rupert Murdoch), the infamous feature of topless women featured on Pg3 of the red-top seems to have become a thing of the past. This Monday’s edition raised eyebrows when its third page featured a scantily clad model (Rosie Huntingdon Whitely) kept – relatively – decent with a bra. Today’s edition doesn’t even have the feature at all, it has been bumped for a full page report on the death of Coronation Street actress Anne Kirkbride (Deirdre Barlow).
The Page 3 feature has been a regular for 45 years now, ever since Murdoch bought the tabloid in 1970. Despite this there has been a growing objection to the inclusion of topless models in a tabloid which markets itself as a family newspaper. Although the campaign against Pg 3 has garnered wide support from Feminist groups, The Girl Guides, the welsh assembly and numerous MPs and celebrities it has been criticised in the past for unfairly focusing on one newspaper. Murdoch himself once criticised detractors for “banging on forever about Page 3” despite “never buying [the] paper” however, in what appeared to be a change of heart on the topic, he said – only a few months ago – that he thought the feature was “old fashioned” and that wondered whether “beautiful young women more attractive in at least some fashionable clothes?”.
Although The Sun made no official comment on the news, it was reported by The Times that it had been signed off by Murdoch himself providing it doesn’t significantly alter sales. Although campaigners have welcomed the decision as “a huge step for challenging media sexism”, in reality the decision makes less of a statement than some may wish. The Sun has said that its “glamour models” will still be found between pages 2 and 4 at Page3.com, a part of The Sun’s growing subscription only news site and the possibility for their return if the sales of the paper suffer because of it.