It was never the breast we could do

Sunshine Coast Daily
January 23, 2015
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IN NOVEMBER 1970, Australian troops were still in Vietnam, former French president Charles DeGaulle died and Test cricketer Justin Langer was born.

And controversially, the first Page 3 girl appeared in London’s Sun newspaper.

Rupert Murdoch, then based in Australia, was a young Aussie upstart who had just bought the tabloid.

The Sun’s photos of topless young women joined a vein of 1970s British popular culture that embraced crude jokes, mini-skirts and pirate shirts. That culture never really caught on in Australia, but The Sun would become the world’s highest-circulating newspaper.

This week, though, its Page 3 girl disappeared. Looming large was a petition with 217,000 signatures, calling for the pictures to be dropped. The No More Page 3 campaign group welcomed the change, calling it “a great day for people power”.

Though the Page 3 photos were always tasteless, after 44 years they were also no longer relevant.

“(The Page 3 girl) doesn’t titillate sufficiently to sell papers. She doesn’t irk anyone enough to run articles about her naughtiness. She fails, even, to be classy enough to motivate defence of her on free-speech grounds,” University of Melbourne lecturer Lauren Rosewarne wrote for the ABC.

The Sun execs refused to say if the Page 3 photos were gone forever. Perhaps that attitude should be consigned to the rubbish bin too.