Germany’s biggest selling newspaper will “say goodbye” to its decades-long practice of featuring topless female models, it announced on Monday.
The Bild tabloid said it will “end an era” by showing “no more topless productions of our own with women". The paper said the regular feature, which was once called “Kitty”, was for the purpose of entertaining male readers, but that "many women find these pictures offensive or degrading, both here in the editorial department and also among our female readers”.
The announcement, published under the headline “men, you must be strong now!”, appeared on page nine of Monday’s edition. Models still posed provocatively in their underwear on the page, however, in what the editorial described as "the new, more contemporary style of photography".
Topless models were a regular feature on the inside pages of the Bild newspaper, after being removed from the front page on International Women’s Day in 2012.
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The German tabloid pointed out that, although it won’t produce any more of its own topless pictures, "there are also naked photos that the country talks about", which will be published. However Bild “wants to be more careful and more thoughtful when choosing these pictures,” the announcement said. “The look of women on such photos must be as important in our time as the look of men”.
The move comes three years after The Sun, one of Britain’s top-selling newspapers, scrapped Page 3’s topless women in January 2015. The regular feature, for which the paper was well-known, had at the time run for 44 years. Rupert Murdoch, the paper’s proprietor, tweeted a year before that he thought topless pictures had now become “old-fashioned”.
The popular British tabloid also faced increasing public pressure. A 28-month campaign, named “No More Page 3” and launched in September 2012 by Lucy-Anne Holmes, had repeatedly called on The Sun to “stop conditioning your readers to view women as sex objects”, and had garnered 215,000 signatories in an online petition.
A week later, The Sun published another topless picture under “corrections and clarifications”, saying “we’ve had a mammary lapse”. However the picture turned out to be a one-off.