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Page Three Girls

The Page Three Girls is a key feature of the British tabloid newspaper the Sun. For 45 years, the newspaper has published large photographs of topless girls on its print edition's third page. The feature was central to the turnaround success of the publication at a time when the Sun's circulation was dwindling. It transformed the Sun into a brash tabloid known for its irreverent style of popular journalism. The Page Three Girls also became a peculiarly British tradition in the process.

In November 17, 1970, Sun editor Larry Lamb made his big gamble when the newsaper’s owner Rupert Murdoch was out of the country. It was a year since Murdoch's second relaunch of a title that was already attacked by its critics for being obsessed with sex. Up until then, the Sun's new Page Three girls had kept their clothes on. But with Murdoch away, Lamb decided to boost the Sun's sexual content further and Stephanie Rahn, a 20-year-old German, became the first of its models to take her top off. Legend has it that Murdoch was incandescent with rage when he saw the first bare breasts to grace his title. But the subsequent rise in the newspaper sales - 1.5 million to 2.1 million in a year - rather soothed him.

Page Three Girls became popular with Sun readers, but they also attracted sustained controversy. Critics argued that Page Three Girls objectified and demeans women, while others believed that it should not appear in a generally circulated national newspaper. Some campaigners advocated for legislation to ban Page Three Girls , while others tried to convince newspaper editors to voluntarily drop the feature or modify it so that models no longer appeared topless. The No More Page Three campaign was launched in 2012.

In August 2013, the Irish edition of The Sun dropped topless Page Three models. On January 24, 2015, the UK edition of the Sun also dropped the feature. However, just days after women's rights campaigners celebrated the apparent disappearance of topless women from the Sun newspaper, the British tabloid brought the feature back and mocked its critics.

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