For some 44 years, British tabloid the Sun has featured topless female models on its third page in a controversial tradition known as the "Page 3 girls." But no more: Though the Sun itself has not confirmed the change, another newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch, the Times, reports that Friday's edition was the last to feature the "bare-breasted" photos. This week, the tabloid has still featured photos of scantily clad women there (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in lingerie yesterday; two actresses in bikinis today), but their breasts are covered up. Activists had been railing against the "Page 3 girls" feature in recent years, calling it sexist, AFP reports. According to the Times, Murdoch himself called the tradition "old-fashioned" last year and a change has been in the works ever since.
Even so, it was just after Murdoch bought the Sun that the tradition began, back in 1970 with German model Stephanie Rahn. Since then, models like Samantha Fox and Katie Price have seen their careers launched by the page. But the Sun's PR head insists to AFP that there's no official confirmation from the tabloid that the tradition is definitively over, and AFP also notes that in today's edition, readers were informed they could see topless photos online instead (the Guardian notes that viewers are being directed to Page3.com). Lucy-Anne Holmes, the actress who started the No More Page 3 campaign in 2012, wasn't exactly effusive in her praise of the move: "The Sun hasn't suddenly decided that women say, think, and do interesting and incredible things," she tells the BBC. "It's still basically saying women are here for decoration, but it's a step in the right direction." (Read more British tabloids stories.)