20 Jan 2015

No tears for the passing of the Sun's page 3 anachronism

What took them so long? Once upon a time, when Playboy magazine’s centrefold was virtually the only topless image in the newsagents, but cost a fortune, the Sun’s topless arrival was the only light relief for anyone desperate enough to need it.

For the past decade or two you could be forgiven for wondering whether the great men and women who run the Sun had ever heard of the internet. In the age of a medium awash with flesh, porn, and the rest, it is surprising so anachronistic an  institution as page 3 survived for so long.

Lamely, the Sun point out that topless page 3 will still be available on their website. They don’t mention that you’ll have to pay to access it – the Murdoch papers like to hide their wares, not in a brown bag on the newsagent’s top shelves, but behind a paywall.

What was it about the women and men in the Sun’s organisation that they tolerated the page anyway? And what does it say about the men that they felt needed the page anyway? What did they think that their own wives, mothers, daughters, or lovers felt about it.

“Dad, do you really need to look at it?’ – you can almost hear the plaintive cry. “Oh, it’s nothing, love,” comes the retort from behind the paper. Makes you queasy to think about it.


What was the great need for page 3? Was it Murdoch’s apparent crusade against feminism, equal rights, respect, and the rest? While feminists – men and women alike – decried it, many were the young women to whom the page gave a great boost to their careers.

But it’s hard to believe that this small benefit outweighed the negative misogynistic aspects of it all. “Oh, it was just a bit of fun,” you can hear some idiot from the management protest.

Page 3 is likely to prove the grim tombstone for a tabloid age which in so many other respects had much to be proud of.

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6 reader comments

  1. Deano says:

    Murdoch, blah, evil, Murdoch, blah, blah. Christ, you lot are tiresome.

  2. Philip Edwards says:


    “…a tabloid age which in so many other respects had much to be proud of.”

    That statement hasn’t been true since Murdoch got his disgusting neocon, profiteering, lying fingers into the pork barrel of mainstream media.

    The last time it had even a smattering of truth in it was the era of Hugh Cudlipp. John Pilger and Paul Foot.

    But that was over thirty years ago and we all know what happened then.

  3. Neal Champion says:

    Two, maybe three generations of women have had to grow up with this daily reminder of their second class status. Good riddance.

  4. Michaela says:

    But isn’t the crucial point money? How much did a Page 3 girl get paid and how much will she make from her photo online or will Murdoch be screwing her??

  5. peter graham says:

    John. I rate you as a pressing journalist. Dad did too. Long dad now. However, I saw a interview with a German journalist, forgey the long winded name of the paper he worked for, but he said some astounding admissions. You know who I mean? Question for ya john. Is the same said for you? Is that who your paymaster general is?. Please get back to me. Petetgrame 27@yahoo.co.UK.

  6. alexos says:

    Wonder if the female or LGBT population could make the Sun’s sales escalate if they showed MEN modelling under/swimwear, similar to catalogues using handsome eye candy models to advertise their products

    Topless I suppose would draw attention to breast cancer awareness.; The topless models should have been down on the physical attractiveness scale and had smaller or larger than average lactaction secreting glands, Would this make it less appealing?

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