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Page Three (or Page 3) is a feature that has been found in the British tabloid newspaper The Sun since 1970. Consisting of a topless or tastefully nude photograph of a female glamour model, the feature takes its name from the tradition of publishing the photograph on the newspaper's third page. Women who model for the feature are known as Page Three girls. "Page Three" and "Page 3" are registered trademarks of News International Ltd, the parent company of The Sun, but similar features are found in competing British tabloids such as The Daily Star, and in other newspapers around the world.


History of Page Three

When he relaunched the flagging Sun newspaper in tabloid format on November 17, 1969, Rupert Murdoch began publishing photographs of clothed glamour models on its third page. The first edition featured that month's Penthouse Pet, Ulla Lindstrom, wearing a suggestively unbuttoned shirt. Page Three photographs over the following year were often provocative, but did not feature nudity.

On November 17, 1970, editor Larry Lamb celebrated the tabloid's first anniversary by publishing a photograph of 20-year-old German model Stephanie Rahn in her "birthday suit."[1] Profiled from the side, sitting nude in a field with one of her breasts visible, Rahn was photographed by Beverley Goodway, who worked as The Sun's main Page Three photographer until his retirement in 2003.

Gradually, The Sun began to feature Page Three girls in more overtly topless poses, with their nipples clearly visible. Although these photographs caused controversy at the time, they are credited with the increase in circulation that established The Sun as one of the most popular newspapers in the United Kingdom by the mid-1970s.[2] In an effort to compete with The Sun, the Daily Mirror and Daily Star tabloids instituted their own Page Three–like features under different names.

The Sun would often connect its Page Three photographs to topical sporting events. A model might pose in a short white skirt with a tennis racquet during the Wimbledon tennis championships, for example, or in jodhpurs with a riding crop during the Cheltenham Festival. From the 1970s until the mid-1990s, captions to Page Three photographs contained titillating puns and sexually suggestive double entendre about the models' lives or interests. Widely considered sexist, these captions were replaced in the late 1990s with a simple listing of models' first names, ages, and hometowns. The Sun reduced its use of sports-related costumes and props at this time, and also instituted a policy of featuring models with natural breasts only. Models with augmented chests, such as Jordan and Melinda Messenger, were thereafter "banned" from appearing on Page Three.

In 1999, The Sun launched its Page Three website The site features the tabloid's daily Page Three girl in up to four poses, usually including the photograph published in the printed edition. It also hosts an online archive of previous Page Three photographs, a "Page 3 Gold" section featuring models from earlier eras, and various other features.

Since 2002, The Sun has run an annual contest called "Page 3 Idol." Women aged 18 or older can submit their pictures, which are published on the Page Three website and voted on by the public. The winner of the contest receives a Page Three modeling contract. The 2004 winner, 18-year-old Keeley Hazell, went on to become one of the United Kingdom's top glamour models. The 2008 winner, 19-year-old university student Jenny Grant, committed suicide in the early hours of September 13, 2008.[3] The 2009 winner is Kelly Hall.

In 2003, Julian Jones made a documentary about Page Three girls, The Curse of Page 3, which examined the negative aspects of some Page Three models' lives, including addiction to drugs and involvement in abusive relationships.[4]

Page Three controversies

Page Three has often been controversial, particularly with conservatives and women's groups. Some critics consider it to be sexist, demeaning, and exploitative, while others regard it as softcore pornography that is inappropriate for publication in a national newspaper. In 1986, Clare Short, MP for Birmingham Ladywood, led an unsuccessful House of Commons campaign to have topless models banned from all newspapers. After her proposed bill failed, Short accused the House's predominantly conservative male MPs of not taking the issue seriously, remarking "If you mention breasts, fifty Tory MPs all giggle and fall over."[5] Short renewed her campaign against Page Three almost two decades later, in 2004, but found herself on the receiving end of an ad hominem attack by The Sun, which superimposed her face on a Page Three model's body and accused her of being "fat and jealous."[6]

Editors of The Sun have themselves periodically considered eliminating the feature from the newspaper. During her tenure as the newspaper's deputy editor, Rebekah Brooks (née Wade) had argued (on economic, rather than feminist, grounds) that printing topless photographs on Page Three damaged the newspaper's circulation by offending female readers. When she became the tabloid's first woman editor on January 13, 2003, she was widely expected either to terminate Page Three or to modify it so that the models would no longer appear topless. However, she retained the feature unchanged.[7] Wade later wrote an editorial defending the feature against its critics, calling Page Three models "intelligent, vibrant young women who appear in The Sun out of choice and because they enjoy the job."[6]

The Sun and other British tabloids have also provoked controversy by featuring girls as young as 16 as topless models. Samantha Fox, Maria Whittaker, Debee Ashby, and many others began their topless modelling careers in The Sun at that age, while the Daily Sport was even known to count down the days until it could feature a teenage girl topless on her 16th birthday, as it did with Linsey Dawn McKenzie in 1994, among others. Although such photographs were legally permissible in the United Kingdom under the Protection of Children Act 1978, critics noted the irony of Murdoch's Sun and News of the World newspapers calling for stricter laws on the sexual abuse of minors, including the public identification of released pedophiles, while publishing topless photographs of girls whom many other jurisdictions would legally classify as underage minors.[8] Controversy over these young models ended when the Sexual Offences Act 2003 raised the minimum age for topless modelling to 18.

Similar features internationally

European newspapers


Especially in the Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung, the counterpart is mostly found on the upper part of page six or seven (sometimes even on page ten), but the feature has no specific name. In the new daily free newspaper Heute there also appears a Page-Three-Girl, on wednesday there appears a picture of a half-naked man.


The leader in circulation among daily papers in Bulgaria - Telegraph - has been publishing a picture of a topless girl on page three since 2006, obviously taking the idea from The Sun. The girl expresses "her" thoughts about the leading article on the page in a bubble. The pictures are being taken exclusively for the paper, mostly of amateur enthusiasts, and on few occasions even of a page designer working for the newspaper. Also leading sports daily 7 dni sport has been publishing a nude girl on last page since 1996. Pictures are mostly copied from the internet.


There is a similar concept on the last page of Croatian daily newspaper 24 sata.


In 1976 the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet introduced topless models on page nine, referred to as Side 9 Pigen (the Page 9 Girl). The models are occasionally fully nude.


In Finland, the daily Iltalehti features models known as "Iltatyttö" ("Evening Girls").[9] "Tähtityttö" ("Star Girl") is also published in the weekly 7 päivää.[10]


In some German newspapers, such as Bild-Zeitung, the equivalent is found on the lower part of page one (below the fold), and is thus called Seite-eins-Mädchen (Page One girl).


One of the main Italian weekly newsmagazines, Panorama (Italian magazine), runs female nude models on its cover. However this tendency, strong in the Nineties, is now declining.


In Romania, the daily Libertatea features topless models at page 5, calling them 'Fata de la pagina 5'. When Averea was rebranded as tabloid Click, the owner hired many people from Libertatea; this new concurrent got a very similar look to the original, including the topless girls, who are featured on page 3.



Canadian tabloid newspapers in the Sun Media chain such as the Toronto Sun, Winnipeg Sun, Ottawa Sun, Calgary Sun, and Edmonton Sun feature a daily "Sunshine Girl", usually on page three (in fact, the Calgary, Ottawa and Edmonton Suns have permanently moved the Sunshine Girl to the sports section; while the Sunshine Girl is a daily feature, the Sunshine Boy feature only appears sporadically). The half-page, full-colour photo is of a woman in tight, revealing clothing, lingerie, or a swimsuit. In 2000, the Toronto Sun moved the photo off page three and into the last pages of the issue, or into the sports section.


The popular Chilean newspaper "La Cuarta" features every Friday a section named "La Bomba 4", in which a voluptuous girl appears topless.


The Indian newspaper "Mid-Day" features pictures of models (mostly in bikinis), known as Mid-Day Mates. Also in India, lifestyle supplements of leading newspapers like Times of India and Hindustan Times cover socialite parties and fashion show parties and feature them on Page 3, so they are commonly known as Page 3 photos in India. These photos are available on social network, Desimartini in their Page 3[11] section.


The Mexican newspaper "Ovaciones" features a topless model on Page 3. Other newspapers as "La Prensa", "El Metro", "El Universal Grafico" also include photographs of female glamour models, sometimes topless.

New Zealand

Tabloid newspaper New Zealand Truth regularly features topless or occasionally nude women on page three of their weekly publication.

South Africa

The Afrikaans edition of the tabloid Die Son features page-three girls, although not in the English-language edition.

United States

The American supermarket tabloid Weekly World News regularly featured a bikini-clad "Page 5" girl. Yes! Weekly, a local on-line and print publication in Greensboro, North Carolina, features Page 3 talent sometimes featuring men as well as women. FOCUS weekly entertainment paper in Hickory, NC, began featuring a Page 3 girl decades ago. Founder John Tucker did this as an homage to the British tabloid, as well as in appreciation for women of all types, sizes and ages.

Notable Page Three girls


  1. ^ Page Three girls - the naked truth By Mary Braid (Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 September, 2004) BBC News Online
  2. ^ Flirty not dirty at 30 Friday, 17 November, 2000 - BBC News - UK
  3. ^ Page 3 model 'commits suicide after argument with friends'By Daily Mail Reporter - Last updated at 10:34 AM on 16th September 2008 - Mail Online
  4. ^ The Curse of Page 3 (2003) (TV) - Released Date:15 September 2003 (UK) -
  5. ^ Profile of Clare Short By Nick Assinder BBC News Online political correspondent (Last Updated: Monday, 12 May, 2003) BBC NEWS - Politics
  6. ^ a b Sun turns on 'killjoy' Short in Page 3 row | Media | MediaGuardian
  7. ^ Sun's first woman editor to keep Page Three Girls - Telegraph
  8. ^ Britain Fights Tide of Anti-Pedophile Attacks - New York Times
  9. ^ Iltatyttö: Liina | Iltatyttö |
  10. ^ Tähtityttö - 7 päivää
  11. ^ Page 3
  12. ^ a b c d e f g The Sexiest Page 3 Girl Ever!
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j The Sexiest Page 3 Girl Ever!
  14. ^ a b c d e The Sexiest Page 3 Girl Ever!
  15. ^ a b c d e f The Sexiest Page 3 Girl Ever!
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h The Sexiest Page 3 Girl Ever!

External links

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