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If American feminists think that U.S. media leads the way in objectifying women, they might be surprised to learn that buttoned-up Britain has been receiving a dose of naked breasts with breakfast for 42 years now. The tradition of ‘Page 3 girls’—whereby a full-page photograph of a topless young woman appears on page 3 of The Sun, one of Britain’s biggest-selling newspapers—began in 1970, and despite various campaigns to end it, no one has yet been successful in dismantling this retrogressive media ‘institution’.

However, the latest ‘No More Page 3’ campaign, launched by U.K. feminist Lucy Holmes, seems to have captured the British public’s imagination in an unprecedented way. Her polite request to Dominic Monahan, editor of The Sun, to stop showing “the naked breasts of a young woman in your widely-read “family” newspaper” has gained 52,000 signatures and has sparked a flurry of support on Twitter, Facebook, and across the blogosphere. Both women and men are signing, with comments ranging from the concise—“Because women contribute to society in many ways that do not involve a man’s erection” to the poignant “Because I want my daughter growing up in a world that respects her for ALL she is, instead of treating her like meat”. Although the lack of diversity on Page 3 has largely gone unaddressed, it’s also worth mentioning thatThe Sun has always promoted the most prescriptive version of ‘sexiness’ imaginable—a white, slim, able-bodied, cisgendered young woman served up for male consumption. Of the thousands of women who have modelled for Page 3 since 1972, only four of them have been black.

But not every woman is willing to condemn Page 3. The Huffington Post’s Rita Pallabels the campaign “emasculating,” and argues that “we cannot control the biological sexual imperative of men”—that imperative being, presumably, to ogle the naked breasts of an 18-year-old while eating breakfast with your children. Elsewhere, Sarah O’ Meara argues that the body-critical culture of celebrity magazines is far more harmful and offensive to women, and dismisses the idea that “removing [Page 3] would have a significant impact on gender politics.”

[Read more: bitchmagazine]

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