Page 3 is a British tabloid newspaper tradition of publishing an image of a topless woman on the third page, the vast majority of whom are glamour models. The concept is known to have helped launch the careers of many famous British models, such as Samantha Fox, Linda Lusardi, Jordan, Maria Whittaker, and Kathy Lloyd.
The concept originated as an occasional feature in The Sun in 1970, designed to compete with the Daily Mirror , which was publishing pictures of women in lingerie and bikinis. By the mid-1970s, The Sun had made Page 3 a prominent feature. This led the Daily Mirror and Daily Star to also publish topless women to compete with The Sun. By the 1980s, the Daily Mirror removed images of topless women from its publications, citing them as "demeaning to women". However, in 1988 a new satirical publication, Sunday Sport , entered the market and began featuring topless women as a softcore publication. Following the success of Sunday Sport, a sister softcore newspaper, Daily Sport , was launched in 1991.
In 2011, the parent company of the Daily Sport and Sunday Sport entered administration. The Daily Sport ceased publication and remained only as a website.However, Sunday Sport would continue with new editions, alongside new sister softcore publications Midweek Sport and Weekend Sport.
In August 2013, the Irish edition of The Sun discontinued its topless Page 3 feature, only showing clothed glamour models, citing differences in British and Irish culture.In January 2015, after 44 years, the UK edition of The Sun also began showing only clothed models or celebrities, though would continue showing topless models on Page3.com until March 2017. The Daily Star amended its policy in April 2019, only showing clothed models, but they are still scantily clad and referred to as Page 3 girls.
As of late 2019, there are still topless models who feature in editions of Sunday Sport, Midweek Sport and Weekend Sport, though these publications feature softcore pornography throughout the entire publication (except in the sport pages), rather than just the third page.
The feature generated heated debates throughout its history, stemming from critics' concerns of it being demeaning to women and easily accessible to children. There were unsuccessful efforts to create legislation to remove the feature, notably by Labour Party MP Clare Short. The No More Page 3 campaign was launched in 2012. Many defenders often characterised it as harmless fun, as when former Sun editor Dominic Mohan told the Leveson Inquiry into press standards, in February 2012, that Page 3 was an "innocuous British institution, regarded with affection and tolerance by millions".By the mid 2010s, many deemed the feature as "old fashioned".
When Rupert Murdoch relaunched the flagging Sun newspaper in tabloid format on 17 November 1969, he began publishing photographs of clothed glamour models on its third page in a move intended to help the paper compete with its principal rival, the Daily Mirror , which was printing photos of women in lingerie or bikinis.The first edition featured that month's Penthouse Pet, Ulla Lindstrom, wearing a suggestively unbuttoned shirt. Page 3 photographs over the following year were often provocative, but did not feature nudity.
Whether it was editor Larry Lamb or Murdoch who decided to introduce the Page 3 feature is disputed, but on 17 November 1970, the tabloid celebrated its first anniversary by publishing a photograph of 22-year-old Singapore-born model Stephanie Khan in her "birthday suit" (i.e. in the nude). 's principal Page 3 photographer until he retired in 2003. Lamb thought the models featured should be "nice girls": he believed "big-breasted girls look like tarts". Page 3 was intended to be "breezy, not sleazy"; Chris Horrie wrote in 1995 it was intended as comparable to the naturism of Health and Efficiency magazine rather than top-shelf pornography titles.A sub-editor misread her name as Stephanie Rahn, a German surname. Sitting in a field, backlit by the sun, with one of her breasts visible from the side, Khan was photographed by Beverley Goodway, who became The Sun
Page 3 was not a strictly daily feature at the beginning of the 1970s.The Sun only gradually began to feature Page 3 models in more overtly topless poses, with their nipples clearly visible. The feature, and the paper's other sexual content, quickly led to The Sun being banned from some public libraries. The first such decision was taken by a Conservative council in Sowerby Bridge, Yorkshire, but was reversed after a series of local stunts organised by the newspaper and a change in the council's political orientation in 1971.
The feature is partly credited with the increased circulation that established The Sun as one of the most popular newspapers in the United Kingdom by the mid-1970s.In an effort to compete with The Sun, the Daily Mirror and Daily Star tabloids also began publishing images of topless women. The Daily Mirror stopped featuring topless models in the 1980s, deeming the photographs demeaning to women.
The Sun made some stylistic changes to Page 3 in the mid-1990s. It became standard to print Page 3 photographs in colour rather than in black and white. Captions to Page 3 photographs, which previously contained sexually suggestive double entendre, were replaced by a simple listing of models' first names, ages, and hometowns. After polling its readers, The Sun in 1997 instituted a policy of featuring only models with natural breasts.
In June 1999, The Sun launched its official Page 3 website, Page3.com, which featured the tabloid's daily Page 3 girl in three different poses, including the photograph published in the printed edition. On 1 August 2013, coinciding with the launch of the subscription-based website Sun+, the official Page 3 website became accessible only to Sun+ subscribers.
Before a change in the law in 2003, British tabloids sometimes featured 16- and 17-year-old girls as topless models. Samantha Fox, Maria Whittaker, Debee Ashby, and others posed topless for newspapers including The Sun when they were 16. The Daily Sport was even known to count down the days until it would feature a girl topless on her 16th birthday, as it did with Linsey Dawn McKenzie in 1994. After 2003, the legal age for topless modelling was raised to 18.
During her tenure as deputy editor of The Sun, Rebekah Brooks argued Page 3 lowered the newspaper's circulation because women readers found the feature offensive. When she became the tabloid's first female editor in January 2003, she was widely expected either to terminate the feature or to modify it so models no longer exposed their breasts. However, Brooks changed her position and became a staunch advocate of the feature.She later wrote an editorial defending Page 3 from its critics, calling its models "intelligent, vibrant young women who appear in The Sun out of choice and because they enjoy the job". Guardian journalist Hadley Freeman in 2005 accused Brooks of having "played up" Page 3 by introducing the "News in Briefs" caption (a paragraph attributing the newspaper's editorial views to the Page 3 model). The caption was removed in June 2013 when David Dinsmore took over as editor.
Critics usually considered Page 3 to be demeaning and objectifying to women, a form of softcore pornographythat was inappropriate for publication in a national newspaper readily available to children. Some campaigners sought legislation to have Page 3 banned. Others, wary of calling for government censorship of the press, sought to convince newspaper editors and owners to voluntarily remove the feature or modify it to no longer depict a topless female model.
A YouGov survey in October 2012 found marked differences in attitude toward Page 3 among readers of different newspapers. 61% of Sun readers wished to retain the feature, while 24% said the paper should stop showing Page 3 women. However, only 4% of Guardian readers said The Sun should keep Page 3, while 86% said it should be abolished. The poll also found notable differences by gender, with 48% of men overall saying that Page 3 should be retained, but just 17% of women taking that position.
Political campaigners for legislative action against Page 3 included Labour Party MPs Clare Short and Harriet Harman, Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone, and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas. The Sun has responded to such campaigns with mockery. When Short tried in 1986 to introduce a House of Commons bill banning topless models from British newspapers, The Sun branded her "killjoy Clare".When Short renewed her campaign against Page 3 in 2004, The Sun superimposed her face on a Page 3 model's body and accused her of being "fat and jealous". The Sun also branded Harman a "feminist fanatic" and Featherstone a "battleaxe" because of their stances against Page 3.
In August 2012, Lucy-Anne Holmes, a writer and actress from Brighton, began a grassroots social-media campaign called No More Page 3 with the goal of convincing The Sun's editors to voluntarily remove Page 3 from the newspaper. Holmes stated she began the campaign after noticing that despite the achievements of Britain's women athletes in the 2012 Summer Olympics, the largest photograph of a woman in the nation's biggest-selling newspaper was "a massive image of a beautiful young woman in her knickers". Holmes further argued Page 3 perpetuated the outdated sexist norms of the 1970s, portrayed women as sex objects, negatively affected girls' and women's body image, and contributed to a culture of sexual violence against women and girls. Some commentators, such as Kira Cochrane in The Guardian, were supportive of Holmes' goals although commentators in publications such as the Telegraph and New Statesman criticised the campaign, calling it "censorious" and "sinister".
At the Liberal Democrats party conference in September 2012, former MP Evan Harris with the support of others, lent support to Holmes' campaign by proposing a party motion to "[tackle] the projection of women as sex objects to children and adolescents by restricting sexualised images in newspapers and general-circulation magazines to the same rules that apply to pre-watershed broadcast media".However, party leader and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg distanced himself from the motion. In an October 2012 radio interview, Clegg said he did not support a legislative ban on Page 3, believing government in a liberal society should not dictate the content of newspapers. "If you don't like it, don't buy it ... you don't want to have a moral policeman or woman in Whitehall telling people what they can and cannot see," Clegg stated.
The Leveson Inquiry heard arguments for and against Page 3. Representatives of women's groups (including Object and the End Violence Against Women Coalition) argued Page 3 was part of an endemic culture of tabloid sexism that routinely objectified and sexualised women. The inquiry also heard testimony from Sun editor Dominic Mohan, who argued Page 3 was an "innocuous British institution" that had become a "part of British society".The Leveson report concluded arguments over Page 3, and the representation of women in the tabloid press more generally, raised "important and sensitive issues which merit further consideration by any new regulator".
In February 2013, Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News International, parent group of the Sun, stated on social-networking site Twitter he was considering replacing Page 3 with a "halfway house", whereby Page 3 would feature clothed glamour photographs but not bare breasts.
In June 2013, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas defied parliamentary dress code to wear a T-shirt bearing the slogan "No More Page Three" during a House of Commons debate on media sexism. Arguing The Sun newspaper should be removed from sale in Parliament until it dropped the feature, she said: "...if Page Three still hasn't been removed from The Sun by the end of this year, I think we should be asking the government to step in and legislate." Culture minister Ed Vaizey responded by stating the government did not plan to regulate the content of the press.Later that month, newly appointed Sun editor David Dinsmore confirmed he would continue printing photographs of topless women on Page 3, calling it "a good way of selling newspapers".
In August 2013, citing "cultural differences" between the UK and Ireland, Paul Clarkson, editor of The Sun's Irish Republic edition, announced he would no longer print images of topless models on Page 3. The Irish Sun now features images of glamour models with their breasts covered. The No More Page 3 campaign called the decision "a huge step in the right direction", and thanked Clarkson "for taking the lead in the dismantling of a sexist institution", and called on Dinsmore to follow suit with the newspaper's UK edition.
The hopes of campaigners were further raised when Rupert Murdoch, in his Twitter feed in September 2014, suggested the Page 3 feature was "old-fashioned". Eighteen months earlier on Twitter Murdoch had suggested it might be better to show "glamorous fashionistas" (i.e., clothed models).Murdoch affirmed that the feature would eventually end in an interview for India Today magazine in 1994. While defending it from criticism, he said: "But show it to me in any other newspaper I own. Never in America, never in Australia. Never. Never. Never. It just would not be accepted."
The feature in the British newspaper was reported as having been scrapped in 2015 with the edition of 16 January supposedly the last to carry the feature, after a 20 January article in The Times , another Murdoch paper, said a decision had been made to end Page 3 in the present incarnation.
On 22 January 2015, after an absence of six days, The Sun returned to publishing shots of topless female models. A notice appeared in the issue: "Further to recent reports in all other media outlets, we would like to clarify that this is Page 3 and this is a picture of Nicole, 22, from Bournemouth. We would like to apologise on behalf of the print and broadcast journalists who have spent the last two days talking and writing about us."In the evening of 21 January, Dylan Sharpe, head of public relations at The Sun, wrote on social media: "I said that it was speculation and not to trust reports by people unconnected to the Sun. A lot of people are about to look very silly".
The apparent ending of the feature gained much attention in the British press. Clare Short thought the dropping of topless photographs on Page 3 of The Sun "is an important public victory for dignity."As Caroline Lucas explained in an article for The Independent : "So long as The Sun reserves its right to print the odd topless shot, and reserve its infamous page for girls clad in bikinis, the conversation isn't over." Business minister Jo Swinson criticised the newspaper, saying the decision to replace topless models with women in bikinis did not go far enough. After the re-appearance of a topless Page 3 model after nearly a week's absence, Lucy-Anne Holmes wrote on social media: "So it seems the fight might be back on."
The edition of 22 January saw the return of a topless Page 3 model, but this revival has turned out to be a one-off.The Sun continued to run the Page 3 website, featuring multiple topless shots of a different model on a daily basis until 29 March 2017. Circa September 2018, the Page 3 website was taken down and the website's URL made to redirect to The Sun website.
The Daily Star discontinued its own topless glamour feature in April 2019, when it decided its models would no longer appear with their breasts exposed.
Born 1991 onwards
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Keith Rupert Murdoch is an Australian-born American media mogul. Through his company News Corp, he is the owner of hundreds of local, national, and international publishing outlets around the world, including The Sun and The Times in the UK, The Daily Telegraph and The Australian in Australia, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post in the US, book publisher HarperCollins, and the television broadcasting channels Sky News Australia and Fox News. He was also the owner of Sky, 21st Century Fox, and the now-defunct News of the World.
The history of British newspapers dates to the 17th century with the emergence of regular publications covering news and gossip. The relaxation of government censorship in the late 17th century led to a rise in publications, which in turn led to an increase in regulation throughout the 18th century. The Times began publication in 1785 and became the leading newspaper of the early 19th century, before the lifting of taxes on newspapers and technological innovations led to a boom in newspaper publishing in the late 19th century. Mass education and increasing affluence led to new papers such as the Daily Mail emerging at the end of the 19th century, aimed at lower middle-class readers.
Bild is a German tabloid newspaper published by Axel Springer SE. The paper is published from Monday to Saturday; on Sundays, its sister paper Bild am Sonntag is published instead, which has a different style and its own editors. Bild is tabloid in style but broadsheet in size. It is the best-selling European newspaper and has the sixteenth-largest circulation worldwide. Bild has been described as "notorious for its mix of gossip, inflammatory language, and sensationalism" and as having a huge influence on German politicians. Its nearest English-language stylistic and journalistic equivalent is often considered to be the British national newspaper The Sun, the second-highest-selling European tabloid newspaper, with which it shares a degree of rivalry.
The Daily Star is a daily tabloid newspaper published from Monday to Saturday in the United Kingdom since 2 November 1978. On 15 September 2002 a sister Sunday edition, Daily Star Sunday was launched with a separate staff. On 31 October 2009, the Daily Star published its 10,000th issue. Jon Clark is the editor-in-chef of the paper.
The Daily Express is a daily national middle-market tabloid newspaper in the United Kingdom. Published in London, it is the flagship of Express Newspapers, owned by publisher Reach plc. It was first published as a broadsheet in 1900 by Sir Arthur Pearson. Its sister paper, the Sunday Express, was launched in 1918. In February 2019, it had an average daily circulation of 315,142.
The Daily Sport was a tabloid newspaper published in the United Kingdom by Daily Sport Ltd., which specialised in celebrity news and softcore pornographic stories and images. The daily paper was launched in 1991 by David Sullivan, following its former Sunday sister title, Sunday Sport. It ceased publication and entered administration on 1 April 2011.
Kelvin Calder MacKenzie is an English media executive and a former newspaper editor. He became editor of The Sun in 1981, by when the publication was established as the Britain's largest circulation newspaper. After leaving The Sun in 1994, he was appointed to executive roles in satellite television and other broadcasting outlets, as well as being involved in a number of publishing enterprises.
Today was a national newspaper in the United Kingdom that was published between 1986 and 1995.
Linsey Dawn McKenzie is an English glamour model, pornographic performer, and television personality who made her topless modelling debut in the Sunday Sport tabloid newspaper on her 16th birthday in 1994. Known for her naturally large breasts, she went on to feature in a wide range of adult magazines, websites, broadcast media, and videos, including hardcore pornography productions after 2000.
Rebekah Mary Brooks is a former British journalist and former newspaper editor. She was chief executive officer of News International from 2009 to 2011, having previously served as the youngest editor of a British national newspaper at News of the World, from 2000 to 2003, and the first female editor of The Sun, from 2003 to 2009. Brooks married actor Ross Kemp in 2002. They divorced in 2009 and she married former racehorse trainer and author Charlie Brooks.
David Yelland is a former journalist and editor of The Sun and founder of Kitchen Table Partners, a specialist public relations and communications company in London, which he formed in 2015 after leaving the Brunswick Group LLP.
Sunshine Girl refers to pinup girls featured in most of the daily newspapers of the Sun chain in Canada.
Marina Hyde is an English journalist who is a columnist for The Guardian newspaper. Hyde writes three articles each week for the paper, on current affairs, celebrity, and sport.
The Mail on Sunday is a British conservative newspaper, published in a tabloid format. It is the biggest-selling Sunday newspaper in the UK and was launched in 1982 by Lord Rothermere. Its sister paper, the Daily Mail, was first published in 1896.
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Bernard Shrimsley was a British journalist and newspaper editor.
The Sun is a tabloid newspaper. As a broadsheet, it was founded in 1964 as a successor to the Daily Herald, and became a tabloid in 1969 after it was purchased by its current owner. It is published by the News Group Newspapers division of News UK, itself a wholly owned subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Since The Sun on Sunday was launched in February 2012, the paper has been a seven-day operation. The Sun previously had the largest circulation of any daily newspaper in the United Kingdom, but it was overtaken by rival Metro in March 2018.
No More Page 3 was a campaign to convince the owners and editors of The Sun to voluntarily cease its Page 3 feature, which it had published since 1970. Started by Lucy-Anne Holmes in August 2012, the campaign claimed that publishing images of topless glamour models in nationally circulated newspapers was an outdated, sexist, and inappropriate tradition that editors should discontinue. The campaign collected over 240,000 signatures on an online petition and gained support from over 140 MPs, a number of trade unions, over 30 universities, and many charities and other groups.
David Dinsmore is a Scottish newspaper executive and a former editor of The Sun newspaper. Dinsmore grew up in Glasgow, and began working for News International at the age of 22.
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